When it comes to the business of selling houses, it’s wise to be wary. Of course it should be noted that the majority of real estate agents conduct themselves professionally, however, there are always exceptions to the rule.
Having worked in the property business for a great many years now, I’ve come across more real estate agents than you can poke a stick at – not that I’m encouraging anyone to start poking their real estate agent with a stick, mind you. But having dealt with as many as I have, there are always going to be some who don’t want to play by the rules. These are the ones you need to watch out for.
Keeping that in mind, I wanted to put together a list of lies that real estate agents can, and do tell. This way you’ll never be able to get caught out again. I won’t stand for anymore well-meaning homebuyers being conned out of their money, dammit! So let’s divulge some secrets.
- Their commission rate is non-negotiable
This is very likely not the case, and is something worth noting if you’re selling a property within a higher pricing bracket. Having the ability to negotiate even a 1% lower service rate could make a seriously big dent in their final pay out – and yours.
- You won’t need a lawyer to go over the contract
Uncomfortably loud alarm bells should be ringing if you ever hear a real estate agent say anything that undermines the importance of an official representative of the law looking over the housing contract. Unless you, yourself are a solicitor and can verify the agent’s dubious trust in said contract, I implore you to have all paperwork verified by professional eyes so you don’t get swindled into any compromising situations.
- You’re property is worth a LOT
I hate to say it, but there’s a very good chance that you’re home isn’t actually worth as much as an agent might tell you it is. Why? Because they know full well that there’s a better chance of of you securing their services if you hear that your house is worth more than you expected. Who wouldn’t want to hear that?
My advice? Ask for a second opinion before signing with any agent and do a bit of research on the average price of similar properties within your area. Knowledge is power, people.
- There is another interested party
OK, so there might be, but this is honestly one of the oldest tricks in the book. If you go to inspect a property and show interest in buying it, you’re going to become a lot more serious about it if you think that there’s competition. Bringing in a fictional party that shows just as much, if not more interest than you, will not only generate a sense of urgency and put pressure on you to act fast, it will inevitably result in you paying more than necessary.
If you get the inkling that this third party might not even exist, ask the agent some pressing questions such as whether or not the vendor has been given a signed contract. Whatever the case though, never let an agent pressure you into paying more than you’re willing to pay.
- You’re house isn’t going to sell itself, you know…
Well, technically speaking that might be the case. We don’t expect your house to miraculously learn the art of speech and property negotiation, however a house, is a house, is a house. At the end of the day, agents aren’t bequeathed with any special powers that are going to cause prospective buyers to buy a house, save for maybe a silver tongue. If your house is on the market, someone is interested in buying it and they have enough money, it will be bought.
Don’t let any agents trick you into thinking that you need them. Shop around and make sure you don’t settle just because someone tells you to.
- You won’t be able to do this alone
As with the above, this porky is basically just a way of making sure you don’t realise how easy it can be to sell a property all by yourself. Major real estate websites will frequently allow individuals sell their homes without ties to an agency, while some sites are dedicated to vendors looking to sell without the help (or hindrance) of an agent.
If you think you could use some extra help but also think you could do a better job yourself, there’s even a specific type of agency agreement for that called an open listing agreement. This means that you only have to pay commission to an agent if they find the official buyer of the home. If it so happens that you (the vendor) find the buyer yourself, no commission is required to be paid.
Now that’s a handy little tip, ain’t it?
- The seller wants you to sign the contract tonight
Whoa, Nelly! Let’s just back up here for a second. Why would the seller want contracts signed up so quickly? Unless the home you’re interested in buying is sitting smack bang on top of an Indian burial ground, it’s highly unlikely that the vendor wouldn’t want to bide their time and wait for more offers to roll in. If your agent is telling you that there are unreasonable time restrictions on when you need to sign on the line, it’s likely because they or the vendor are uneasy about having the property on the market for too long. Either that or they’re trying to buy themselves a few weeks of extra holidays – starting the second your house gets sold.
Essentially, don’t trust any agent that is pressuring you into signing contracts with ridiculous time restrictions. Or pressuring you into anything, really. That’s not a professional relationship and is almost never going to be necessary for a successful and mutually beneficial deal to be made.
So there you have it. 7 Sneaky Lies that you can now look out for when dealing with real estate agents, who I want to emphasise once again, are almost always highly professional individuals. Yet when there are great sums of money involved, you never can be too careful…
Also, while we’re on the topic of unscrupulous real estate agents, it might be wise to have a look over our article on how they can make even more big bucks by under quoting homes they list for sale. Dodgy dealings left, right, and center.