We were asked to discuss some of the problems in the property market with Sean O’Rourke and Philip Farrell of Real Estate Alliance.
There are issues such as gazumping with other bidders, gazumping where there are no other bidders, under-pricing to increase interest and timed viewings which create an ‘auction type environment’.
It is incredibly difficult for estate agents to manoeuvre their way through this without upsetting somebody (and it can’t be the vendor who is their ultimate client). This is why we should consider some small rules where people get punished for anti-market behaviour such as the vendor having to pay a buyer a certain sum if they pull out after the contract is signed.
This isn’t going to stymie anybody, remember, it is only after the booking deposit is paid, accepted, and the contract sent out, signed and returned that this could happen.
An unintended consequence may mean that contracts don’t get sent out very easily in the future, but can we believe that people would avoid getting contracts sent out? That’s unlikely, some kind of structural change to help ethical behaviour prevail is probably a good idea.