Potential property buyers in the Free State are strongly warned against dealing with unregistered estate agents. Strong advice to verify estate agents follows the discovery that ten of the 12 estate agents operating in the Greater Mangaung Metro region (Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu) are not registered with the regulator body Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB). “The danger of using unregistered estate agents is that they are not on the EAAB’s data base. “If anything goes wrong, the EAAB will not be able to locate them,” Felicity Thwala, EAAB’s legal officer of the compliance department, said. “Buying property involves giving advice and negotiating the best possible price for the parties involved in the transaction. Registered estate agents are able to handle all of this. “Buying property also involves handling money such as a deposit, which in law is supposed to be held in a trust account, which is protec-ted by the fidelity fund. “Any money not held in a trust account are not protected and can be misappropriated by the unregistered estate agent,” Thwala said. Regarding suspected illegal conveyances, Thwala advised potential buyers to report cases to the law society which serves as the watchdog. To verify estate agents’ legality, buyers can request a copy of the fidelity fund certificate from the regulator (EAAB) by logging onto their website at www.eeab.org.za, or contact the EAAB call centre on 087-285-3222. Ten of the 12 estate agents operating in the Greater Mangaung Metro are not registered.