Real estate agents in the UK are taking advantage of the lack of transparency to overcharge homesellers of fees.
A study made by HomeOwners Alliance found that only 2% of real estate agents openly declare their fess on website and 82% do not mention any fee rates at all.
Besides the lack of fees, both big and small real estate companies in Britain also do not reveal terms and conditions of their policies.
About one-third do not provide details of their fees if the agents are discussing business matters over the phone, while the other two-thirds prefer to perform home evaluation before they provide quotes on their fees.
However, most independent agents make known their fees at the start of transactions.
While the fees that agents charge range from less than 1% to 2.5%, plus VAT, the agents often do not mention to clients if their total fees includes or excludes the value added tax.
Other practices of agents considered unscrupulous include telling home sellers that are eligible to charge a commission even after the lapse of a contract term, when the deal fails midway and lengthy agency lock-ins.
Among the result of such practices are homeowners end up paying higher fees, questions arise between sellers and agents, more expenses for the seller and creating a stressful home-selling experience.
Paula Higgins, chief executive of HomeOwners Alliance, urged real estate agents to be more transparent in their fee structure to clean up the property sales industry. The aim is to place sellers and agents on the same page and to remove opportunities for exploitation.