I picked this up from the blogs on confused.com. Apparently, not everyone realises that an Estate Agent works on behalf of (and is paid by) the vender, not the buyer.
They are obliged to get as much money for the houses they sell as possible, whether its a fair price or not.

However, how can you trust an agent of the seller to get the best deal on your mortgage?
The answer of course is you can't.
In addition to this the mortgage adviser will pay half of their commission fees to the estate agent and hence only make half as much money as your IFA and hence may afford you half the time and attention.

Anyway back to the blog story from Sharon Flaherty:

Buying a house can be a complicated process, especially if you’re doing it for the first time, but one thing that’s really annoyed me during the course of buying my property is that I’m really not sure who I can trust.

From the outset, I had an independent financial adviser on stand-by searching out mortgages for me, but then I got persuaded into using the mortgage services of the estate agent selling the property I wanted to buy.

They cleverly did this by: telling me mortgage applications were more likely to go through when done in-house, and I bought into it, and this apparently is not uncommon. (See my earlier blog.)

But what’s really annoyed me this week is that I’m not entirely sure my mortgage adviser is on my side at all and I discovered this when I tried to renegotiate the price of the house.

Whose side are in-house advisers on?

After getting back the survey and realising there were some things that needed addressed in the house, I got a few quotes done which racked up to £2,000 worth of work.

Naturally, as a first time buyer, I don’t have a lot of extra cash lying around, actually I have none, it’s all being used to fund the deposit to buy the house, so I went back to the estate agents in-house mortgage adviser to say I needed to knock something off the price.

I was expecting a better reception than I got and it seemed he didn’t even want to try asking the vendor to renegotiate the price of the house, even when I said I’d have to walk away. I know they must hear people threaten to do this every day, so maybe that’s why he took it with a pinch of salt, but I felt there could have been some support there. Instead, he was telling me how he didn’t think the vendor would budge.

I had to really push hard to get him to call the vendor to ask him to consider accepting a reduced price. Not what I’d expect from someone who I thought was on my side.

Ethically challenged

But wait for the worst bit. My adviser actually said this to me during the course of the renegotiation push conversation: “I don’t think he’ll accept anything lower, he’s adamant you’re getting a good price and the girls (the girls who work in the estate agent branch) have blocked out the diary now for viewings as there’s a lot of other people interested in the property.”


How on earth were there lots of other people interested in the property if it was supposed to be sold to me? There is a ‘sold’ sign outside the property which I’ve seen with my own eyes and I was told as soon as the mortgage was approved that the house was taken off the market.

Somewhere, lies are being told and it doesn’t make me very happy.  So who is my mortgage adviser acting for here? Me, the estate agent or the vendor? Because it certainly doesn’t feel like he’s on my side at all.

Needless to say, the vendor isn’t budging over the price but who’s to say the estate agent even tried to push him at all? I’ll never know, but maybe I’m being too sceptical?

The mortgage adviser has since said he thinks the quotes I’ve been given are too expensive and that if I could go in the loft myself and take a look I’d realise what a small job it is that needs done. He even offered to bring me ladders so I can enter the loft.

Am I being too harsh or is it problematic accepting advice from an in-house adviser that is part of an estate agent because it complicates the sales process?

Done and Dusted

All I want is for the house to be sorted and the contracts to change hands. I’ve accepted I’ll have to take the hit for the repairs in the hope I can find a cheaper quote for the work – and I’m sure I can.

Now, I just have to sit and wait and hope that the process doesn’t get held up further and that the house might someday soon actually be in my possession.

Had similar experiences, or want to share your thoughts? Comment below.