What is a redress scheme, and how can they protect you when you sell your home?

News at Justin Lloyd | 11/10/2022

Looking at estate agents' office windows or their websites, you may have noticed that they proudly state their membership in various governing bodies. But, they often don't explain those governing bodies or why you, as the customer, should care. These memberships are the redress schemes that estate agents have to subscribe to - and this article will explain why and why you need to know about them.

So, what is a redress scheme?

A redress scheme is a governing body to which all estate agents must be subscribed. There are a few options to choose from. Still, ultimately, the point of them is to ensure that the standard of estate agency service is monitored and that you, as the client, receive the service levels you deserve. When paying the agents to sell your home, you must trust that your estate agent is good; they are genuinely honest people trying hard to sell your home. And, if it turns out they aren't whiter than white, the redress scheme is there to protect you.


You can make a formal complaint or raise a grievance against an agency if you have been poorly treated, and the redress scheme will investigate further for you.


Why do they exist?

Estate agents are some of the least trusted service providers in this country, which is a largely unfounded reputation. There are, of course, a few bad apples that spoilt the reputation for the rest of us over the years, but, on the whole, agents are trying very hard to sell your home. 


And the reason that agents get a bad reputation is primarily due to the sensitivity and emotion involved with selling your property. It's a huge undertaking and something that most families only do a handful of times in their lives. Not to mention that the amount of money you sell your home for affects the amount in your hand, whether you're using that to downsize and retire or buy a new home. Money and emotion are involved, and there are many variables that neither you, the seller, nor the estate agent controls. 


Being a member of a redress scheme gives a disgruntled customer the right to reply. Like consumer protection regulations, you can raise an issue if you feel you've been poorly treated or the agent hasn't done their job correctly.


Many agents have been members for years, showing their customer base they are confident in their abilities as excellent estate agents. To improve the industry's reputation and build trust with the members of the public, the government introduced legislation that ALL agents must be subscribed to a redress scheme. 


Of course, there are only a very small number of issues across the board, and most agents are exemplary at their jobs. Working with a client, sometimes for a year or more, during a personal and emotional time in their lives means that the agent becomes a friend to the family more often than not. When selling your home, you probably speak to your estate agent more than your family members, so you get to know each other very well. 


But, if you're very unlucky and something terrible happens, you have the right to complain. The agent that looks like they are doing the best for their clients will be apparent. Their passion for the profession will shine through in their marketing and the way they do business, so you don't need to worry about signing up with one of the bad apples. 


If you have any questions about the process of selling a home, get in touch with our team of experts today - they'll be happy to help.