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Estate agent wants fee even though house not sold


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House sale fell through after exchange ( 2 down in chain walked away leaving our buyer unable to complete) We managed to refinance and still bought . we still own original property .Estate agents want full 1.5% fee even though we only got deposit. They say money due on Exchange even if your buyer does not complete and buy property. Is this right?

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Depends on the T&Cs you signed up to when you appointed the estate agent.

 

Does the deposit you retained not cover the agent's fees?

Any knowledge I possess or advice I proffer is based solely on my experiences in the University of Life. Please make your own assessment of legality, risks & costs before taking any action.

 

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t&c state.

"The commission due to us shall be payable to us on completion of the sale of the property. You hereby authorise us to obtain from any solicitors or conveyancers acting for you on the sale of the property to disclose to us all relevant sale information and to pay us the sums due to us as soon as reasonably practicable after they become due to us out of any deposit or proceeds of sale held by them on your behalf"

 

We think the first line applies but they are saying we should pay out of deposit which we used to carry on with our purchase! By the way our solicitor not interested as we have payed final bill. We feel let down and ripped off by the whole thing.

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Even an estate agent wouldn't claim that exchange is completion - would they? It's the norm for exchange to lead to completion I agree and the agent may well think of rewording their contract because what it says is not what they want it to mean.

 

I too think the first line of the contract is quite clear even to a layman. The terms exchange and completion are understood by everyone to be two very different things.

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I'd be interested to know when a house is 'sold' in the legal sense. Most estate agents advertise 'no sale no fee' and I would suppose your agent is suggesting that exchange of contracts is a sale. I don't think it is because the agreed price has not changed hands, only a deposit. Exchange is only the agreement to a sale - or penalty.

 

Interesting that they are threatening debt collectors. You'd have thought they'd be threatening court as debt collectors can only send you snotty letters without a court judgement.

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Completion is different to exchange, probably a sign of the times that they are that desperate for money they are trying it on.

 

I had as estate try and charge me £350 before they even started!

 

Put your concerns in writing quoting their own T&Cs and take it from there.

 

Yorky.

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I would ignore them!

Are they still acting for you to try and sell the house, as not sold yet?

if so tell them to stop agreement is only for a term say 6 months then renewable. they cant ask you for a fee for selling and still be trying to sell it, how many 1.5% do they want.

Have you got any other agent involved

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I would say sold meant the buyers solicitor received the Transfer Deed and registered them as the owner of your house.

 

Tell them to get stuffed, and as a member of CAG, we laugh in the faces of DCAs.

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t&c state.

"The commission due to us shall be payable to us on completion of the sale of the property. You hereby authorise us to obtain from any solicitors or conveyancers acting for you on the sale of the property to disclose to us all relevant sale information and to pay us the sums due to us as soon as reasonably practicable after they become due to us out of any deposit or proceeds of sale held by them on your behalf"

 

 

If this is the only clause that is applicable, the word 'completion' says it all. The ownership of the new property is not transferred until the date of completion. i.e. no sale has taken place. Exchange is basically just a legal promise to complete the sale, it is definitely not completion.

 

Estate agents clauses are more likely to use the terminology 'binding contract' so that their fee then does become due on exchange i.e. a binding contract. In this case they have used 'completion' so IMO they have absolutely no case.

 

Stand firm, they're trying it on. Write a very firm letter to them saying in effect that as completion on your property has not taken place you have no liability under the contract you had with them & that if they consider you do, please present it to the County Court for a final decision, also pointing out that any action will be vigourously defended & your costs claimed from them when they are unsuccessful.

 

They can place this in the hands of a debt collecting agency to annoy the hell out of you with phone calls etc. However this would be harrassment & you can steps to stop this. The DCA would be unable to submit a summons unless the debt was legally assigned to them (unlikely if this is a small estate agents) & you can still use the same defence in any case.

 

These people sound like bully boys who are obviously desperate in a credit crunch. Don't let them get away with it!

Edited by foolishgirl
ommission

Any knowledge I possess or advice I proffer is based solely on my experiences in the University of Life. Please make your own assessment of legality, risks & costs before taking any action.

 

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