Reclaim mortgage broker fee from estate agent?

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Hi, hopefully this is the right place to ask...

I recently put an offer in on a house which was accepted by the vendor and the estate agent agreed to cease marketing the property.  The estate agent asked for proof of funds / id which I provided.  I then approached my mortgage broker with the estate agent confirmation of offer accepted, got a mortgage offer and paid the broker fee.  The mortgage company arranged to send in their surveyor but at the last moment, the valuation was cancelled because the vendor had exchanged contracts with another buyer.  It seems that the estate agent staff member had received my documents but done nothing further, the property was not taken off the market, another offer was made and accepted and I wasn't informed.  Is there any way to get the estate agent to reimburse the £499 mortgage broker fee I've paid?  Thanks for any insight.

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  • steampowered
    steampowered Posts: 6,176 Forumite
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    edited 21 October 2021 at 9:02AM
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    The estate agent works for the seller. Not for you. So they are not liable to you for any fees.

    If the seller/agent want to keep marketing the property and sell to the first person who exchanged, they are legally permitted to do that. Of course as a buyer you are free to say that you won't be taking any action to progress the sale until the property is off the market.

  • Smimsie
    Smimsie Posts: 10 Forumite
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    The estate agent works for the seller. Not for you. So they are not liable to you for any fees.

    If the seller/agent want to keep marketing the property and sell to the first person who exchanged, they are legally permitted to do that. Of course as a buyer you are free to say that you won't be taking any action to progress the sale until the property is off the market.

    I understand they don't work for me - but they have still told lies (that the property was no longer being marketed) and failed to communicate that they had agreed a second sale, knowing that I was still progressing my own purchase.  If it had been an open race to the finish, then lost fees are a risk I'd have to accept - but I was assured that the property was off the market.  I just hate the dishonesty.
  • lincroft1710
    lincroft1710 Posts: 17,726 Forumite
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    There is nothing to stop you asking them for the fee or even using Money Claim On Line to sue them for the fee which you believe they should pay due to their failure to communicate in a timely manner. It will of course cost you money which you would get back if you won your case.  
    If you are querying your Council Tax band would you please state whether you are in England, Scotland or Wales
  • Thrugelmir
    Thrugelmir Posts: 89,546 Forumite
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    edited 22 October 2021 at 10:08AM
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    Smimsie said:

    I recently put an offer in on a house which was accepted by the vendor and the estate agent agreed to cease marketing the property. 
    Did the vendor agree to take the property off the market? 

    Seems you were informed once another offer was accepted. Far too quick to have exchanged contracts. 
  • Smimsie
    Smimsie Posts: 10 Forumite
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    Smimsie said:

    I recently put an offer in on a house which was accepted by the vendor and the estate agent agreed to cease marketing the property. 
    Did the vendor agree to take the property off the market? 

    Seems you were informed once another offer was accepted. Far too quick to have exchanged contracts. 

    The estate agent confirmed at the time that the vendor had agreed to take the property off the market.  They also confirmed that contracts have been exchanged with the other buyer as the other buyer did not wait to have searches or survey completed.  I only found out about this as my surveyor had their appointment cancelled and I had to call the estate agent to find out why.  The offer went in a few weeks ago and I was not informed at all.
  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783 Forumite
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    Hi, I'm really sorry this has happened to you. It's called gazumping and it seems that 'it's back' in the UK. It's a terrible practice and one that really should be outlawed but unfortunately is perfectly legal.

    However, Citizens Advice might be able to help you take further steps. Don't give up because that is a lot of money to lose.

    Here's a link - https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/moving-and-improving-your-home/problems-with-buying-and-selling-a-home/

    Scroll down to "the buyer or seller has lost money because of the estate agent".

    But also the estate agent received your offer but failed to process it. I think that in the first instance, I'd want to send them an invoice for the £499 paid to the broker in good faith as you believed a deal had been struck. I'd also enclose a copy of the estate agent's confirmation of offer accepted - that has now become a very important document. 

    I'd definitely not give up without a fight but Citizens Advice may be able to advise you further. I've often won refunds by being persistent when people have said, "give up, you won't win this one". As I said, £499 is a lot to lose just because an estate agent has been lazy and negligent.
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • Smimsie
    Smimsie Posts: 10 Forumite
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    MalMonroe said:
    Hi, I'm really sorry this has happened to you. It's called gazumping and it seems that 'it's back' in the UK. It's a terrible practice and one that really should be outlawed but unfortunately is perfectly legal.

    However, Citizens Advice might be able to help you take further steps. Don't give up because that is a lot of money to lose.

    Here's a link - https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/moving-and-improving-your-home/problems-with-buying-and-selling-a-home/

    Scroll down to "the buyer or seller has lost money because of the estate agent".

    But also the estate agent received your offer but failed to process it. I think that in the first instance, I'd want to send them an invoice for the £499 paid to the broker in good faith as you believed a deal had been struck. I'd also enclose a copy of the estate agent's confirmation of offer accepted - that has now become a very important document. 

    I'd definitely not give up without a fight but Citizens Advice may be able to advise you further. I've often won refunds by being persistent when people have said, "give up, you won't win this one". As I said, £499 is a lot to lose just because an estate agent has been lazy and negligent.
    Thank you, this is really helpful.  It is painful to lose that amount of money for nothing.
  • nimbo
    nimbo Posts: 3,698 Forumite
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    My ma did not expect their fee until the had a mortgage signed sealed and delivered. 

    Surely they can then act for you on the next house?

    Stashbuster - 2014 98/100 - 2015 175/200 - 2016 501 / 500 2017 - 200 / 500 2018 3 / 500
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