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06 June 2016
Beware of Real Estate Agents.
Beware of Real Estate Agents.

Beware of Real Estate Agents.

Your estate agent may seem trustworthy and honest and may appear to be trying their utmost to get you the best deal possible, but sadly, this isn’t always the case. While there are reputable and honest estate agents out there, there are also a lot of estate agents who are willing to lie and deceive so that they can get a bigger commission cheque after the sale is complete.

There are a number of different traps and tricks that estate agents use on their clients and it is good to familiarise yourself with them to avoid falling into one of these pitfalls.

To secure clients, estate agents will often overvalue their client’s property, knowing that there is no way they can sell the house for that price, furthermore they have been known to make fake documentation that appears to show other houses in the same area being sold for very high prices, even sometimes erecting sold/for sale signs on properties that have nothing to do with them. Estate agents sometimes help their client to secure a mortgage by providing fake documentation.

Sometimes real estate agents are too lazy to take photographs of the property for sale and will instead use photographs of properties that are very similar, for example a house that is on the same road with the same number of bedrooms. Or they may hire professionals to photoshop their photos, getting rid of trees or power lines and making the property look more desirable. This won’t be too much of a problem for you if you are viewing the house before putting in an offer as you’ll see for yourself if the photograph is a true representation, but if you cannot get to view your new home, for example if you are relocating abroad, you may sign the contracts and move into the house to find it is smaller or the layout or structure is different to what you expected. Try getting the floor plans to the house so you can see the dimensions for yourself, video call the estate agent and ask them to walk you around the property (using a laptop would be better as you would see more detail).

In order to try to push for a higher price or rush you into making a rash decision, estate agents will try a variety of pressurising and scare mongering tactics. One of the most used is getting a friend or relative to call them whilst they are showing a home and then they pretend that this is another couple making an offer on the house, they may even arrange two viewings at the same time to make both interested parties believe there is lots of interest in the house. Estate agents don’t always tell sellers of decent offers that have been made on the house, as they often prefer to wait for a better price therefore a bigger commission cheque, and are concerned the seller will take the lower offer, furthermore they sometimes won’t reduce their commission fee if the house ends up selling for a cheaper price.

Agents will sometimes sell a property, but continue to show other clients around the property in the hopes of getting a higher sale price. This is commonly termed gazumping. Other unethical things these estate agents will sometimes do is value the house lower than it should be valued so that they can then sell it to a relative or friend and give them a great deal.

Never take for granted that your estate agent is working in your best interests and get everything you can in writing.