Why use a licensed NAEA agent?

Unlicensed agents can lose you money and turn your homebuying dream into a nightmare. Here the NAEA explains why it is so important to use a licensed agent.

Every year, unlicensed agents cause Britain’s homebuyers and seller unnecessary stress and hassle – and sometimes loss of money – by giving incorrect or misleading advice or offering poor standards of customer service.

By using a licensed NAEA agent you are guaranteed to be consulting with a qualified and experienced agent who can give you professional up-to-date advice and guidance. It is important that you are dealing with an agent who voluntarily follows the Code of Practice and Rules of Conduct laid down by their professional body, the NAEA. A licensed NAEA agent will have Professional Indemnity Insurance (this protects you, the consumer, from financial losses incurred through negligent or misleading advice) and should something go wrong, you will have a complaint procedure available to you.

Better for consumers

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) is committed to providing the highest standards of residential estate agency services through its licensed agents. The NAEA has set up its licensing scheme to provide you with best practice, consumer protection, high quality advice, guidance and service from reliable, responsible, professional agents.

The NAEA believes that estate agents should belong to a licensing scheme – so that you know that not only are you getting the highest quality service possible, but also that any unscrupulous, unethical and unprofessional agents are stopped from practicing as an estate agent. This is particularly important as there are currently no mandatory requirements fro training or qualification in order to practice as an estate agent.

Better protected

A licensed NAEA Agents is qualified (either by formal qualification or by many years of professional body membership) and is required to keep up to date with the latest  developments in the market and with the changing legislation affecting residential estate agency. Without this knowledge and expertise, whether you’re selling or buying your home, you may be badly advised or misled – you may even suffer financial loss as a result.

By choosing a licensed NAEA Agent you can be assured of professional standards, both in advice or customer care. A licensed NAEA Firm voluntarily abides by a Code of Practice as well as Rules of Conduct. This means you can be assured that the service you receive is to the highest standard and your enquiry will be dealt with professionally and fairly. In the unlikely event that things go wrong a Licensed NAEA firm has a written complaints procedure. If you are not completely satisfied with the service you have received from a Licensed NAEA Agent and cannot resolve the issue directly with the agent or firm, you have the option of taking your complaint to adjudication and redress through the Property Ombudsman  Scheme or Ombudsman Services: NFoPP Regulation can also consider a complaint and are able to instigate disciplinary sanctions and offer more protection.

A licensed agency

A licensed estate agency branch means consumers are guaranteed that at least one agent within that branch is qualified in residential property sales, either through formal qualification or through length of membership of the NAEA. This qualification requirement is unique to NAEA licensed estate agents – the only license of its kind in the UK property industry which serves consumers in this way.

At the launch of the NAEA Licensing Scheme at the House of Commons in November 2010, the licensing scheme was given the backing of Grant Shapps, Housing Minister, and Alison Seabeck, Shadow Housing Minister, Grant Shapps said: “In future anyone looking to buy a home or sell theirs should ask the simple question of their estate agents; are you licensed by the NAEA?”

Currently there is no barrier to anyone setting up and practicing as an estate agent. Many consumers are not aware of this and so do not realize the importance of a license. There is no legal requirement for estate agents to obtain the new license, leaving consumers with a clear choice over whether they choose a licensed or unlicensed agent.

Mark Hayward, Managing Director, NAEA said: “We would like all sellers and buyers to ask their prospective agents; ‘Do you have an NAEA license?’ If they don’t, they should ask themselves whether that’s the agent from whom they will get the best service when marketing their property. In a difficult economic time it is important for anyone placing a home on the market to use a professional, knowledgeable agents. NAEA members know their local area and know their local market. That is very important to consumers”.