Home truths for estate agents: ensure your marketing complies with the CAP Code

The UK property market may be ever-changing, but our helpful guide to marketing your estate agency services should help you feel more confident that your advertising is on the right track.

Here are three key points from recent ASA rulings to help you keep your house in order:

Be clear about what your fees cover

Any significant limitations and qualifications to advertised fees should be made immediately clear to consumers.  The ASA investigated and upheld complaints that an ad which claimed to sell a property for a flat fee but failed to make it clear consumers would have to pay an additional fee to use their own conveyancer.

Similarly, the ASA upheld against a marketer who quoted a 0.5% commission fee for the sale of homes without making it clear that the advertised fee did not include accompanied viewings. The ASA also upheld against an ad which failed to make it sufficiently clear that an upfront, fixed fee was payable regardless of whether the property sold or not.

The same clarity should also apply to how you present VAT in your ads;  the ASA found  an ad that offered a VAT-exclusive selling fee of “0.9% + VAT” was misleading because  the percentage fee should have included VAT; so remember to always present your fees inclusive of VAT.

Don’t stretch the facts

It may seem obvious, but don’t exaggerate the features of a property, and ensure that you hold adequate substantiation for any claims that you make; the ASA continues to receive complaints about ads that inaccurately describe properties. For instance, an estate agent’s ad was found to have broken the rules because it claimed a property offered a “private drive” when the drive was shared with other residents.

Using the term “local”

The ASA understands “local property experts” to be a claim which refers to their local knowledge and the geographical area they cover, rather than their physical location. It is therefore acceptable to refer to “local” property experts if you can prove that they have relevant knowledge and experience within a defined geographical area. However, take care not to imply you have physical branches in locations if that is not the case.


For further advice on this topic, take a look at our online guidance and why not have a listen to the This Week in Property podcast featuring our very own Senior Compliance Executive Jim Tebbett.  As always, if you need bespoke advice on your own non-broadcast ads our Copy Advice team are happy to help.

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