7 Min Read
On your journey to buying a house, there are many things to be wary of. Hidden fees and dodgy developers are just the beginning. One thing that first home buyers should really look out for is real estate agent lies. It’s not uncommon for agents to bend the truth to make a property sale. They have strict deadlines and targets they need to achieve for their line of work.
A tendency for spreading lies about a property is just one of the reasons why sometimes the real estate industry gets a bad wrap. To help you navigate through the lies you might encounter, we’ve compiled a list of the most lies that real estate agents tell. This list will give you the right information you need to respond and take action against any real estate agent lies you may encounter on your house hunting journey.
What to Look Out For When You Contact a Real Estate Agent
Over quoting is one of those very common real estate agent lies used to advise property owners their house is worth more than it is. Every sale a real estate agent makes gives them a commission. So it’s within the agent’s best interest to sell a property for as much money as they can. The higher the sale price the higher their commission will be. Most agents will do the right thing and price a property correctly. But that’s not always the case.
Some agents will try and make the system work in their favour to get a higher commission. So if an agent tries to push for a higher sale price than what’s normal for the area it’s up to you to call it out. Whenever a real estate agent advises you on a sale price they should have the market research to back it up in the form of prices from comparable properties in the area. If they don’t this can be another warning sign that’s something’s not quite right.
At this point, you can ask the agent to guarantee a sale price range they recommended. If your property sells below the range, you are under no obligation to pay for the agent’s fee or advertising costs. This is why a good real estate agent shouldn’t push you to overprice the property.
In some cases, a real estate agent will advertise a property for less than your desired selling price to attract interest. This tactic is used to attract large numbers of prospective buyers. Especially for auction day. If all goes to plan, there will be a large number of bidders at auction that pushes the sale price well above the advertised price. There may end up being a bidding war for the property.
When the sale price ends up being higher than what was quoted, sellers are usually overjoyed. But again, this could just be a ploy for the agent to get a higher commission. Do your own research into the property market and see how other houses have fared when it comes to quoted sale prices.
If you are interested in buying the property then submit an offer in writing that’s around the original quoted price. If the listing agent responds with a higher number, you have the right to file a complaint to the local real estate authority to report unethical practice.
Another example of real estate agent lies is telling buyers that they have multiple offers on the table. This is a common lie agents tell potential buyers after they have seen a house and shown interest. This can also happen after a potential buyer puts in their first offer. In some cases this claim of other buyers and offers is truthful. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes agents use this lie as bait to push prospective buyers into raising their initial offer.
It can be hard to figure out if the real estate agent is lying or telling the truth about multiple offers. A great way to test this claim is to ask the agent about submitting a higher amount of seeing the receipt of the deposit offered for the house. In this scenario, the best thing to do is figure out your best offer and submit it. Don’t let the agent change your mind and convince you to put in a higher offer. You should never feel pressured to pay more than what you think a house is worth.
“We have someone who wants to buy your home”
In some cases, a real estate agent may approach a homeowner and tell them that people are interested in buying your home. This can happen even if you’ve shown no intention of selling the property in the first place. This strategy is often employed by dodgy real estate agents to fish for new clients. So be wary if an agent gets in touch with you and tells you there are people interested in buying your home. They are just trying to become your listing agent.
So when an agent approaches you with this offer, you can be sure that there really isn’t anyone interested in buying your house. This is a ploy to get you to pay them for advertising your property. If there was genuinely someone interested in buying your property then they wouldn’t need to advertise it in the first place.
“You need to stage your property”
Staging is the process of arranging furniture and decor to make a home more appealing to customers. But is it really necessary? It really depends on what your house has going for it. Staging it with nice furniture might help distract potential buyers from potential flaws of your house. When your house is empty it may lay bare more of the issues it has.
In some cases, a real estate agent is only offering staging to jack up the price of their advertising fees for the house. So while staging can give you an advantage, it’s not really necessary. If you’re worried about how the house looks then it’s probably worth investing the money into fixing the appearance of the house rather than covering it up with staging furniture and home decor pieces.
You can’t sell a secret
If no one knows about a house, how will it sell? If no one knows your house is on the market then it’s a very small chance that any potential buyers will put in an offer. If you have no showing for the house, no one will put in offers. It’s that simple.
Real estate agents will use this saying to convince you to spend more on advertising. You may have already invested a small sum in advertising the property and it may well be enough to attract potential buyers. Regardless of how much traction your house is getting, an agent may still tell you that “you can’t sell a secret.”
Now is a great time to buy
A real estate agent may try to tell you to make offers on a house by talking up how good the market is for buyers. This line is often used by agents when they are trying to win over new clients to encourage sales of properties that they represent. In this case, the agent is most likely acting in their own best interests instead of yours.
There will be scenarios when it actually is the right time to buy. Interests rates may be low along with the average house prices in the area. The truth is that the only great time to buy is when you’re ready. If you are really open you should be prepared to ask the agent questions like “Will the property’s value go up in 12 months?” or “would you advise your children to buy now?”
See if the real estate agent has the evidence to back up their statement. If they’re lying then there’s a good chance they won’t have any evidence to back up their statement that now is a good time to buy.
The commission is not negotiable
When a real estate agent pitches an abnormally high commission for the sale of your property you’re more than welcome to question it. If they tell you the commission rate is not negotiable then you should think twice about hiring them. It could be another one of those real estate agent lies they use to get their way. Why do they do this? It’s because no real estate agent wants to accept a lower commission for their services.
A reliable and honest real estate agent shouldn’t even question you on negotiating a commission rate. They should be open to having a conversation with you instead of telling you it’s not negotiable. The fact of the matter is, everything is negotiable. So never take no as an answer.
You’ll miss out if you don’t put an offer in now
A real estate agent may try to pressure you into making an offer on a property. By instilling this ‘fear of missing out’ they can often get what they want out of potential buyers like yourself. You can expect this pressure to put in an offer especially if you start taking up a considerable amount of time with an agent. Time is money to them. So the longer you spend with them, the more likely it will be that they’ll try to pressure you into an offer.
To test your agent out try handing them a written offer that’s subject to the necessary conditions that you wish to cover. If your offer is the best price and they choose not to proceed with it then it shows they don’t want to deal with your conditions. It proves they are not acting in the owner’s best interests. This grave error could leave your agent open to forfeiting their fees so they won’t end up making a profit on the listing.
Disclosure of a death related to the property
Unfortunately sometimes a real estate agent lies about a property being sold because the owner passed away. There are usually two reasons why an agent chooses to lie about this. Firstly, death is often seen as something that discourages interested buyers. People usually become less interested when they learn a death was involved.
Secondly, the death of a property owner usually means there is an urgent need to sell the property. So disclosing that there was a death involved could also slow down the process of selling the property.
One of the best things to do in this scenario is to simply ask the agent about the circumstances of the sale. Ask them who is the owner, what is their timeline to sell, and why are they selling. If the agent is being sketchy about the details then that may be your first hint about a coverup.
Where not saying that all real estate agents lie. That’s simply not true. But there are certain types of properties or scenarios that may encourage agents to lie to you. When an agent lies, it’s usually because they are trying to sell a property fast or make more commission out of it than the average agent would get.
So be wary of these scenarios where they may lie, and you’ll be prepared to see straight through them. Take your time to research any claims they make about a property before you feel compelled to make an offer. And don’t be afraid to go with your gut instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t rush! Take your time until you’re confident about the decision you’re making on a property. Do your research and avoid real estate agent lies.
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