For most people their home is their biggest asset and one they have spent years investing in as a nest egg for their later years, so ensuring they get the right price when they come to sell it is essential.

While the property market in Edinburgh and the Lothians is going through something of a boom, those in other areas of the country are more volatile.

Into this uncertainty has arrived quick-sale estate agents who promise a great service but often leave homeowners tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket, according to Trading Standards officials.

They are warning sellers to be on their guard against these companies following dozens of complaints across the country.

Typically, quick sales companies are not Solicitor/Estate Agents registered with The Law Society of Scotland or estate agents registered with the National Association of Estate Agents and they place adverts in newspapers and on social media offering to sell your home within seven or 14 days.

Struan Douglas, Managing Director of Haymarket-based solicitors and estate agents Purdie & Co, said: “Many of these companies look credible and will promise you the earth.

“They will tell sellers what they want to hear and for those looking for a quick sale, it can be tempting to believe what they say.”

He added: “The reality is that, in property sales, there are no miracle methods and no substitute for experience, demonstrable expertise and great local knowledge.

“High street estate agencies like Purdie & Co have been around for a long time for a reason, because across the piece, we offer the best and most dependable service.”  

BBC Radio 4's Money Box programme has heard examples where people have had the offer price of their homes reduced, without their knowledge or permission, by tens of thousands of pounds.

Marianne Phillips is worried her three-bed semi, which she agreed to put up for sale at £250,000, has effectively been devalued by the company she used. It dropped the asking price by £20,000 without her knowledge or permission.

When she found out, Marianne says she was "absolutely incredulous".

"No way did I ever give my approval for that, I was absolutely devastated. It's a lot of money to reduce a house by without ever getting in touch with the person who owns it," she says.

"The equity I've built up in the house, they've just potentially wiped a lot of that out by reducing it by £20,000. It could have quite a dramatic effect on my future".

Lee Reynolds, a lawyer who specialises in Trading Standards law, says "dropping the price of someone's house is a potential breach of what's called Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations.”

He added: “That's punishable by up to two years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. If it was done knowingly or recklessly it's still a potential breach.”

To have your home valued by trusted experts, call Purdie & Co on 0131 346 7240 or visit