Can you trust an Estate Agent?

If you need advice and help with regard to building surveys, estate agents, buying at auction, residential builidng surveys, structural surveys, commercial property reports, etc then free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat with an independent surveyor.

Free phone us for Building Surveys

We market the services of independent Surveyors. Surveyors pride themselves on a high standard of work. We can offer Building Surveys also known as Structural Surveys and Home Buyers Reports. We also provide Specific Defects also known as Engineers Reports or Damp Reports. We can also carry out Independent Valuations. Note these are not for bank lending but are to advise you how much we feel the property is really worth. If you have a property problem we may even already have written an article on it and we would refer you to the many articles we have on our Free Property Articles page click here Always use independent surveyors who are more than happy to chat about your property or new home. Please Free phone us on 0800 298 5424 and surveyor will call you back.

Free phone 0800 298 5424

Who do Estate Agents work for?

They most definitely work for the vendor/seller of the property. However until the end of selling the property they will of course be very friendly to anyone that helps them achieve this task. They will of course be friendly to the buyer as this is the way they make their commission to pay their mortgage! Be under no doubt that the main aim of an estate agent is to sell the property (not find you the property you want) and they are very focused and very good sales people although as we will explain later they are also very keen to take on your mortgage business and insurance business as well as it is extra income to them. Some may say it's their main income.

Why do Estate Agents want my mortgage business and my insurance business?

The reason for this is that many estate agents are owned by mortgage and insurance companies. In fact it was back in the 1970's when many mortgage companies be they banks or building societies expanded by buying a lot of estate agents. Equally lots of insurance companies have also expanded by buying a lot of estate agents. We think this is known as vertical integration. The aim of the banks, building societies and insurance companies buying the estate agents was to get the work in relation to mortgages and insurance. This is a very lucrative business.

Estate Agents and vertical integration

What is vertical integration?

This is where you own several parts of the chain. It's very similar to the things that the mergers and monopolies commission investigate. It does make us wonder why they haven't investigated it. For example with breweries they did get investigated by the mergers and monopolies commission where they were actually brewing their own beer and selling it through their own pubs. In a similar way an estate agent may own parts of the house buying process. For example Countrywide who from their website say they own 1,300 estate agents or letting agents under 47 local high street brands. This means different names and means that you can be the same company Countrywide in the high street with several different names so you are actually shopping at the same place for a new house. In turn they own Countrywide Surveyors which they always recommend and they also own and recommend Countrywide Lawyers. It's up to you to decide whether this is fair. Here is a list of their estate agents:

Abbotts Countrywide Estate Agents

Buckell & Ballard Estate Agents

Alan de Maid Estate Agents

Chappell & Matthews Estate Agents

Austin &Wyatt Estate Agents

Bairstow Eves Estate Agents

Beresford Adams Estate Agents

Bridgfords Estate Agents

Carsons Estate Agents

Dixons Estate Agents

Entwistle Green Estate Agents

Faron Sutaria Estate Agents

Frank Innes Estate Agents

Freeman Forman Estate Agents

Fulfords Estate Agents

John D Wood & Co Estate Agents

 Mann Countrywide Estate Agents

Miller Countrywide Estate Agents

Morris Dibben Estate Agents

Palmer Snell Estate Agents

Geering & Colyer Estate Agents

Hetheringtons Countrywide Estate Agents

Spencers Countrywide Estate Agents

Taylors Estate Agents

Wilson Peacock Estate Agents

King & Chasemore Estate Agents

R A Bennett & Partners Estate Agents

Rentons Countrywide Estate Agents

Andrew Reeves Estate Agents

Sotheby's Estate Agents

Ashton Burkinshaw Estate Agents

Countrywide Residential Lettings

Andrew Butler Chartered Surveyors

Hamptons International Estate Agents

Churchill Lettings

Forest Bureau Lettings Agent

PMS Property

Property Quarters Lettings Estate Agents

Blundells Estate Agents

Slater, Hogg & Howison Estate Agent

Gascoigne-Pees Estate Agents

Stratton Creber Estate Agents

Watson Bull & Porter Estate Agents

Countrywide Scotland Estate Agents

Lock & England Estate Agents

Accord Lets

Countrywide SLM

Why do banks, building societies and insurance companies own estate agents (and lots of surveyors and lots of solicitors)?

As if banks and building societies don't have enough on their plate they also own lots of estate agencies. In fact all of the big banks and building societies own their own estate agencies in one form or another and in turn they own surveyors and in turn they own solicitors.

Why do Banks and Building Societies own estate agents?

We believe this is because they need to ensure when they are lending on a property they have a good supply of people that want to lend i.e. those people that want to buy a house and that they also have a good supply of surveyors to check the house is there with the valuation and that it is approximately the right price and solicitors to make sure the house purchase is complete.

My Estate Agent recommended a good Surveyor

We would never ever recommend you to use a surveyor that has been recommended by an estate agent, even if they say the surveyor is a good one. The reason the estate agents often recommend a particular surveyor is they are involved with them or have reciprocal agreements with them. It may be that the estate agents owns the surveyor, (remember the estates focus is on ensuring that the sale goes through). It may be surveyors within the estate agents practice or at least the estate agent maybe linked by a mortgage company that is owned by them for example see Countrywide above who own Countrywide Estate Agents in the many brands which in turn own Countrywide Surveyors and Countrywide Solicitors. You also have a similar situation with the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Halifax who own Colley Surveyors.

Caveat Emptor

Caveat Emptor means Buyer Beware. You should be aware that the onus is you the buyer to find any faults with the prospective property you are purchasing, as the estate agent certainly won't tell you if there are any problems. To be 100% sure of the property you are buying we recommend you have a building survey (often known as a structural survey), carried out by a qualified independent surveyor who will be acting for you, and you alone, and who will be able to tell you of any potential problems with the property.

Are Estate Agents looking for the house sale or the mortgage work?

Over the years we have been involved with residential house sales and for that matter commercial property too. We have seen a focus away from what we term as the professional estate agent although having said that there are many good independent estate agents we come across. To estate agents that are part of a corporate machine for want of a better phrase and as such their focus moved off just the house sale and onto other things that they can sell. We once had it explained to us that it was very simple really, a house sale is a one off fee whereas a mortgage is a fee every month for 25 years and equally insurance can be a fee every month for many, many years (although we are tending to change our insurance companies more now days). An estate agent is looking for multiple income streams from the one off fee for selling the house to the regular fees for mortgages and the insurance.

Estate agent annoyed that it wasn't the usual Surveyor

We recently went into an estate agent's to collect keys and the estate agent was very annoyed that we weren't the usual surveyor carrying out the work. They actually said that we weren't their surveyor which is an interesting comment as we thought surveyors worked for clients i.e. the person buying the house. It was very obvious that the estate agent was working for the person selling the house!

For whatever reason they then couldn't find the keys for the property and we had to return to the office at a later date to pick up the keys. It generally made it awkward for us to carry out the survey. They commented they had recommended a surveyor to their client (they actually meant the purchaser of the property and not their client the person selling the property) and were very annoyed that he hadn't used their surveyor. They couldn't understand why the purchaser hadn't used their surveyor and had gone to an independent surveyor like us. Unfortunately this is the general attitude that we find with estate agents. They feel they can almost bully people into making decisions and many of them would say that it is just good sales. We would say when it's about buying your house, which is normally the largest investment anyone makes it can feel very pressurised.

We only purchase a house once every seven years on average

We don't know where we got this statistic from but it is something that we regularly hear in the estate agency and surveying world. What it means is that as we don't regularly buy property where such large sums of money are involved we look to people in the property profession to give us advice. We often find that purchasers build up a good rapport with their estate agents as they often need to in a busy market or in a market where properties are scarce however they do need to understand that the estate agent is trying to sell the house and is representing the seller and at some point the person purchasing the house needs some independent advice of their own. This is where we come in as independent surveyors.

Estate Agent advising the purchaser from having a survey of their own

We often come across this where the estate agent is advising the purchaser, (the house buyer) out of having a survey advising that surely any problems would have come up on a valuation form. Remember a valuation has to be carried out where a mortgage is being taken.

However if you read the valuation form it stresses usually many times that you should have your own building survey carried out. A client that we recently did a building survey for said she was made to feel very uncomfortable by the estate agency for having her own building survey and as if she was being very awkward. We would just sum this up by saying that a house is bought caveat emptor, which means buyer beware, which means the estate agent doesn't have any liability or responsibility for anything they say. This is a strange but wonderful situation if you are an estate agent.

Caveat Emptor - why have a structural survey?

Caveat Emptor means Buyer Beware and whilst the buyer should be aware that they have liability it can help to make a unique selling point if your house has its own independent structural survey carried out.

We ask you to take a minute to have a look at an example of one of our surveys to see how good they are. Not only are they technically accurate and carried out by experienced, expert Building Surveyors they are written in plain English with photos and sketches to help you and the buyer understand and appreciate how your house is buying.

Independent Surveyors that recommend having a survey carried out!

If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a surveyor with regard to valuations, mortgages, mortgage companies, surveys, building surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, structural surveys, home buyers reports or any other property matters please call our free phone number 0800 298 5424 for a surveyor to call you back. We can also talk about any extensions or alterations that you want to carry out at the property and we are happy to propose ideas of how to alter and extend the property. Remember we have a wealth of knowledge on alterations and extensions as we are constantly looking at properties that have been altered and extended.

Commercial Property

If you have a commercial property, whether it is freehold or leasehold then sooner or later you may get involved with dilapidation claims. You may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site .

We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

The contents of the website are for general information only and are not intended to be relied upon for specific or general decisions. Appropriate independent professional advice should be paid for before making such a decision.

We would refer you to other interest articles on our website:

Buying Property at an Auction
Sorting out property problems with solictors and surveyors

All rights reserved by

All rights are reserved the contents of the website are not to be reproduced or transmitted in any form in whole or part without the express written permission of