Zebra Homes is an online property forum, which does not carry out estate agency functions as defined by the Office of Fair Trading.
This means that by advertising your property for sale on Zebra’s site, you will not be acting in contravention of any existing sole of joint agency agreements you may have with an Estate Agent.
However, there are some agreements which require further thought, and you should check which type of contract you have and read below for more information on the effects of these agreements:
— This agreement does NOT prevent you from selling your property yourself, either on-line with Zebra or by placing your own local adverts. If you are in this type of agreement and find a buyer online with Zebra, provided that buyer has not already been introduced to you by the agency, you will not have to pay any estate agents commission.
Joint-agency / Multi-agency
— This type of agreement works the same as the above, but is relevant only if you are employing two or more estate agents to sell your property.
— This is an uncommon form of agreement as it is quite weighted in favour of the estate agent. Unfortunately, unless you get the estate agent to insert a clause (see below "Steps to take to avoid problems
"), the agent will be entitled to a fee, regardless of whomever you sell the property via.
Ready, Willing & Able Buyer
— Again, this is a rarely seen agreement, but means that if the estate agent you have appointed finds a buyer who is ready, willing and able to buy your property and is able to exchange unconditional contracts then you have to pay the estate agents commission even if you decide not to sell.
The above should only be taken as a guide. For further information please refer to the office of fair trading website www.oft.qov.uk.
Steps to take to avoid problems
If you are not already in an agreement with an estate agent, but wish to enter into one and use Zebra Homes to sell your home yourself, let the estate agent know your intention, and request that a clause be entered into the agreement to state that you, the client, always reserves the right to sell the property privately.
If you are already in an agreement and are concerned that due to the type of agreement, the agent may be able to charge commission, then negotiate with the estate agent to amend the terms of the agreement as above. Remember, you are in a strong position, as you always retain the right to cancel any type of agreement.
Points of reference
The Office of Fair Trading oversees much of what falls under the scope of estate agents, and provides a good reference point.
Also, WHICH? the consumer group hold information on their site relating to their efforts to make estate agents contracts clearer, and to clean up certain selling practice.