The latest property market survey from RICS has shown over 90% of buyers would like to see compulsory regulation of estate agents.
If agents are not part of a professional body they have no obligations to meet minimum standards or be subject to monitoring.
At the moment there is no statutory regulation to ensure agents are adequately qualified to operate.
RICS have said they would like to see all estate agents forced to sign up to a professional regulation scheme that provides safeguards for buyers and sellers and is clearer than the current regulatory regime.
If agents belong to a regulated professional body, such as RICS, they are duty bound to a strict ethical code and obliged meet minimum competency levels.
Commenting on the findings, Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director, said: “These results show a shocking lack of consumer trust in the estate agency profession.
“Clearly, when people are making the biggest purchase of their lives, they want to know that they can trust their agent and the advice they’re given.
“People who are buying or selling a house should always check that their agent is a regulated member of a professional body, such as RICS, who abide by ethical codes.”