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Buyers Beware: 10 Ways To Deal With Real Estate Agent Tricks


Whether buying a home or selling one, you need to beware of real estate agents’ tricks that may catch you out.

Homebuyers need to remember the real estate agent is working for the people selling the home. The home seller or vendor wants the highest sales price, and that’s also what the real estate wants if their fee is commission based, i.e., a percentage of the sales price.

Homeowners selling need to beware of the sales pitch tactics real estate agents use to get the listing agreement. Plus, there are other tricks too homeowners need to avoid. In this property talk blog post, we look at some common tricks you can steer clear of when dealing with unscrupulous real estate agents. We believe 99.9% of real estate agents are trustworthy; just that 0.1% tarnishes agents’ reputations generally.

1. Real Estate Agent Tricks to Bully You Into Buying Fast

It’s the real estate agent’s or the auctioneer’s job to create excitement around a property, and they’re very good at it. Some tactics they use to make you feel pressured into making an offer quickly include:

  • Showing you the house when other prospective buyers are in attendance
  • Introducing “sealed bids” which means you don’t know what other buyers have offered for the property

Don’t fall for this. Let your budget guide your decisions, not your competitive streak. Finding your dream home may take a little longer than you expect so prepare to do the time to get the home that meets your requirements.

Property investors have a good saying that all homebuyers should remember. There is another deal just around the corner.

2. Pushing You to the Limits

Real estate agents need to sell homes to earn an income. The more houses they sell and the higher the prices, the more income they make.

Remember this information when you’re asked about your minimum price requirement if you sell your home and the maximum budget if you’re a homebuyer.

Sellers should get their property valued by at least three independent appraisers before they settle on a sales price.

Avoid relying on real estate agent’s advice on what your home is worth and what they can sell it for in the current market. If it’s a quiet sales market, an agent keen to get paid may attempt to get you to list your home for less than its market value.

Similarly, if you’re in the market to buy a property, agents may only show properties at the top end of your budget or more if they know your maximum price.

3. Making Stuff Up

When you start looking to buy or sell a house, take steps to ensure you are dealing with a reputable agent. Before you start your search, take time to learn more about avoiding unscrupulous real estate agents.

Either way, these tricksters will lie to get you to commit to a sale. They may invent phantom offers to make you offer more for a property or reduce your price if you’re selling. If you’re buying, this often happens after you’ve submitted an offer, forcing you to increase it to secure a house you now have your heart set on.


As soon as you agree to this made-up offer, the phantom buyer disappears, and you’re left with the consequences of your decision. Stick to your guns regarding how much you are willing to pay for a house or the sale price of your home.

You can always find another agent.

4. Insisting You Use Their Mortgage Brokers

You have the right to shop around for a mortgage broker that suits you. It is illegal for an agent to insist you use the broker of their choice.

By all means, take their suggestion and get a quote from the estate agent’s mortgage advisor, then get two more from other brokers of our choice.

Some estate agent brokers will share a client’s financial information with the estate agent. Armed with this information, the agent can try to get as much money as possible from the client.

5. Posting Fake Listings

This trick is way more common than you think, especially with online advertising. Some agents post highly desirable properties on the internet to get you to call them.

You ask to see the property no sooner than it’s “recently sold,” or the posting was a computer error. Meanwhile, they’ve got you on the phone and naturally have a list of other suitable — and more expensive — properties for you to view.

Don’t let curiosity get the better; say thank you and hang up.

6. Bait-and-Switch

This is another common tactic whereby property listings have vague details. At face value, these may seem like the deal of the century – until you find out the rest of the information.

One example is listing a property as having a sea view. You can only see a tiny portion of the ocean from one window in the house if you use binoculars.

Of course, the agent has many more expensive properties that live up to the original description.

7. Demanding Advance Fees

This ploy is usually aimed at house sellers. The usual procedure is for the agent to receive their commission for selling your property.


However, some may claim thousands of dollars in advance fees before listing your house. These are often called advertising or promotional fees.

Instead, shop around for an agent that isn’t going to make you pay them to do their job. Most estate agencies advertise your property free of charge as part of their service, and that’s how it should be.

8. Selective Disclosure

By law, estate agents have to disclose any defects associated with a property. However, they can get around some aspects by pleading ignorance.

In one example, a couple bought a house only to find out later that it had been the scene of multiple murders and was haunted. Naturally, once they were stuck with the home, they couldn’t find anyone else to buy it.

9. False Value for Their Home

Lying about the value of your home is one of the most underhanded tricks real estate agents play.

One way they do this is by telling you they can get an unrealistically high price for your home. Once they’ve secured your business, they’ll think of some excuse to lower the cost.

On the other end of the scale, they may tell you that your house is only worth “land value.”

They do this because they already have a buyer lined up who’s prepared to pay the minimum for your property and demolish it to build something new. Naturally, the agent involved will get the listing for this new, more expensive home.

10. Double Dealings

This trick is as old as the estate agent profession itself. Estate agents act on behalf of both buyers and sellers. In this way, they can get a double commission if they pull off a deal between two of their clients.

Because of this, some agents will neglect to show you any properties that aren’t listed with them personally. Keep your options open by consulting with several agents while looking for a property.

Agents with this plan may restrict making information about your house for sale available to other agents. There is no restriction on how many agents you can list your home with, so don’t limit yourself this way.

Buyer and Seller Beware

The bottom line is to stay informed about the realities of the property market in your area. Not all agents are bad apples, but the best way to avoid real estate agent tricks is to know what you’re talking about in your dealings with them.


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