End estate agent monopoly, says OFT

Candy Bellinger

Estate agents may have been given a clean bill of health just yesterday, but today the Office of Fair Trading has called for changes to the law that could end their monopoly on selling homes. The OFT says that homeowners should be given the choice of selling their property via supermarkets and search engines in a bid to rid the nation of excessive estate agents' fees.

Top estate agent searches:

  1. Tesco estate agents

  2. Property for sale

  3. House prices

  4. Buying property

  5. Buying a house fees

  6. Property estate agents

  7. Tips to sell your house

  8. Estate agents fees

  9. Private property sale

  10. List of estate agents

That would open the door for the likes of Tesco and Google to get in on the housing market action. Instead of charging a percentage fee, as estate agents currently do, these new additions would charge a basic flat fee for featuring your property.

Tesco has already attempted to muscle in on the home-selling action, but a website set up by the company last year was shut down because of restrictions on verifying the details of homes for sale. Should the OFT's proposed changes take effect, these requirements would no longer exist.

A recent study from the OFT suggested that homeowners looking to sell their property are being given a raw deal by estate agents, but could save a fortune if they haggled on fees.

Heather Clayton, senior director at the OFT, said, "We think there needs to be a jolt. We need to challenge the traditional way of doing things and the traditional contracts and challenge the sticky commission rates. We don't need everybody to abandon their traditional estate agent and use online sites, but we just need enough to start shaking things up and putting pressure on the traditional model."

It could bring a whole new dimension to your weekly shopping list. Are you in favour of supermarket home-selling or do you believe that the laws in place for advertising homes are there for a very good reason?