Welcomes the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Bill Announced in the Queen's Speech

Liverpool, United Kingdom, November 16, 2006 --( welcomes The Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Bill announced in The Queen's Speech earlier today.

This bill aims to address consumer concerns about malpractice within the estate agency industry and provide easier means of redress for aggrieved buyers and sellers alike. Estate agents currently have no legal requirement to join any ombudsman scheme and around a third have not yet signed up to the Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA), which was set up by the industry.

Complaints, which many are unfortunately familiar with, include:
· Deliberately overvaluing properties so as to gain the business in preference to other agents.
· Fee fixing amongst local agents, an anti-competitive measure which stops consumers choosing an agent based on his fees.
· Overcharging for the services provided.
· Misleading information, which at best leads to a waste of peoples time, but can cause much more misery and expense if only discovered late in the sale.
· Estate agents not keeping buyers or sellers informed, leading to frustration and at worst, lost sales.

Dissatisfaction such as this is exacerbated by the level of fees charged – fees which, as a percentage of the sale price, have increased well in excess of inflation over the years.

Any move to ensure compulsory membership of an ombudsman scheme can only be good for consumers and the industry itself, which needs any positive publicity it can find.

Should consumers remain concerned with the service they may receive from their local estate agents then the good news is that there is now a viable alternative. Until recently the only real alternative to using an estate agent was a home-made For Sale sign and an advert in the local paper.

These days there are a number of private sale websites offering a means to market your property very effectively on the Internet. When you consider that up to 89% of people now use the Internet when looking for their next home, private sales web sites can provide a very efficient and cost-effective means of selling your home. Most importantly though, selling your home privately will ensure you circumvent the issues mentioned above as you will set the price and handle all enquiries yourself

Elizabeth O’Hanlon, marketing manager for, commented, "This new Bill has been brought about by the estate agency professions’ continued resistance to self-regulation. The Bill itself won’t eradicate sharp practices by some members of the estate agency profession but it will make it easier for aggrieved parties to seek settlement of disputes and compensation.

"Selling your home privately with a company such as MyKeys ( enables home owners to circumvent all the issues associated with using an estate agent and, whilst there is certainly more work involved, you remain at all times in control of the sale process. Ultimately there is no-one better equipped to sell your home than the person living there so why pay an estate agent for some advertising that, on the whole, you can do yourself.’"

Simon Robinson
0845 021 6372