Property valuations can vary by as much as 125,000, suggesting they are stabs in the dark, rather than professional opinions, reveals latest research by Which?
Which? researchers posing as sellers invited 56 estate agents to value 14 properties across England in December last year. In six of the homes the top valuation was 25 per cent or more above the lowest.
Halifax valued one home in Tyne & Wear at 200,000, while Moody & Co suggested 325,000 63 per cent more. Bradford & Bingley said a house in Liverpool was worth 125,000, while Halifax thought 180,000 44 per cent higher.
The report discovers overvaluing is a common problem touting locking customers into a contract, before giving a lower price. Undervaluing is also rife, with the agent attempting a quick sale.
Which? editor Malcolm Coles says: The current consumer protection system is hopelessly ineffective and allows rogue estate agents to get away with daylight robbery.