>Portal Juggling
When you are selling your house, Rightmove and Zoopla are your best friends. They are the shop window that most agents in the UK use to advertise their properties. They keep you updated of what's available and what's not - simple? Think again. This online shop window, also allows agents to manipulate their listings in order to give the impression that they are performing better than they actually are. This is called portal juggling and its classed as fraudulent and illegal by trading standards. Portal Juggling - How It works Now there may be many reasons why the dishonest agent chooses to do this. It could be that they are trying to log more sales or more instructions so that they can use false claims and statistics in their adverts. It could be that they are trying to appear busier than they are. The list of possibilities is endless, but why should it bother you? Well as a member of the public, you are entitled to not be misled by an agent. It's frustrating and disappointing when you get a Rightmove alert telling you a new listing has come to the market and when you check it, it's already sold. A local competitor, who shall remain nameless, listed a property last week as being available. Friends of mine contacted me to ask my opinion about the house. It looked like a nice property in their ideal location and fitted their price bracket exactly. We spent an hour going through what their current property was worth, their prospects for selling it and the likely mortgage payments on the new place. We all agreed the circumstances were ideal, so I recommended that they arrange a viewing with the agent in question. The following morning, they awoke to find that the property was listed as a new listing again and Under Offer. Was the property available or wasn't it? Why was it listed as coming to the market that morning, when in fact it had been on the market for many months before? They were understandably heartbroken and upset when they contacted the agent to find that the property had never been available and had had a  sale agreed on it for many weeks previously. It's frustrating but these people had become the victims of portal juggling. Ever notice an agent listing stock as "listed today" and simultaneously "Sold STC"? This might give you the impression that the agent has sold the property overnight. In some circumstances it causes buyers to think that they have to pay the fully asking price in order to secure a property as they are flying off the shelves so quickly. In fact the truth is that these are old listings. They've been under offer or sold for weeks, if not months and the agent is trying to mislead you. We can all manipulate the data that Rightmove and Zoopla provide to agents as a tool to win instructions, but at what cost? Further mistrust and the denigration of our profession by the public. It's unfortunate that the unscrupulous and underhanded tactics of a few dishonest agents, tars the majority of honest agents with the same brush. So what can you do about it? Well, if you believe that you are the victim of a portal juggle, you can contact trading standards at [email protected] and you should contact whichever redress scheme the agent is a member of. It could be that the agent is a member of an organisation such as the NAEA or the RICS, in which case you should also bring it to the attention of those organisations as well. Portal juggling is being stamped out by honest agents and by the bodies that govern and regulate our industry. Real pressure is being brought to bare on both Rightmove and Zoopla in order to encourage the portals to police their listings more effectively but this will take time to come through. In the month of November and December there have been several instances of portal juggling in North Manchester in Prestwich, Whitefield, Salford by at least one  well established agent. It's not right and it needs to stop. Don't support fraud or be the victim of fraud, list with the agents of integrity, honesty and trust: Normie & Company. 0161 773 7715 [email protected] slugs to articles about Portal Juggling and coverage in the press: The Telegraph - Portal Juggling Scams to Inflate Prices Portal juggling? Beware, Trading Standards officers are on your case. Portal juggling ruled illegal in the UK Beware of 'portal juggling': Home buyers and sellers warned over new trick that makes property listings look newer than they really are Illegal practice that misleads homebuyers on property websites in the spotlight. Online scams and 'portal juggling': National Trading Standards lists threats The Property Ombudsman issues revised Codes of Practice to address 'portal juggling' NAEA boss Mark Hayward says portal juggling cannot be condoned Property Industry Eye - Coverage on Normie & Company's campaign its-illegal