If your real estate agent uses these 4 tactics,
it's time to find a new agent
Buying or selling your home should always be a rewarding experience that brings a sigh of relief and contentment once the deal is done.
At Kitty & Miles, we adore what we do – and it shows. We share our passion with every single client that approaches us for help with buying a property, and communicate with honesty and integrity throughout your entire life-changing house buying journey.
While I would suppose that most agents in the industry share our love of real estate, there are unfortunately some who will take advantage of the buyer or seller’s inexperience if they’re not careful.
Agents with poor intentions can be difficult to identify if you’re new to the property market. So here are the 4 main tactics to be aware of so you can avoid being blindsided by an agent during the buying/selling process.
Misleading property photos
Ever rocked up to an open home with high expectations only to have the wind knocked out of you when you see the broken down interior? I know I have.
Agents cannot falsely advertise, but they can get… let’s say, creative, with how they list the property.
Because agents rely on photos to get interested buyers through the door, they will often find ways to present it in its best light… even if that means retouching images to make walls look cleaner, cupboards appear newer, and use a wide-angle lens to make the rooms look more spacious than it is reality.
Attend your viewing with an open mind and low expectations. While I don’t encourage you to get hung up on superficial flaws that can easily be repaired with a coat of paint or a little elbow grease here and there, there is a difference between advertising with good intentions and gaslighting potential buyers on the day.
When an interested buyer is given the impression that a property is hugely popular, there is a high chance they will act impulsively by making an instant and over-the-top offer.
“Whatever gets us the house though Kitty right?” I hear you say.
Wrong. By creating a sense of urgency and high competition, agents with agenda create leverage for themselves to negotiate with potential buyers. Therefore, it is you who loses power and control in one of the most important decisions of your life – and that isn’t right.
One tell-tale sign that you are working with an agent who is manipulating the sale may include a refusal to show a property during the week, claiming it is “inconvenient for the owner” and insisting you attend the weekend open home instead. The more potential buyers you see wandering around your dream home, the better chance the agent has at influencing your first offer.
Upfront expenses (and how to protect your finances)
Motivated vendors are an agent’s dream and a common tactic agents use to motivate the vendor is to encourage the sellers to spend a lot of money upfront. Sellers might feel enticed to advertise the property in print media or engage an expensive marketing manager to promote online.
Other upfront expenses may include home renovations, engaging a stylist, creating video tours and so on.
The best way to get around spending a fortune before you’ve even sold your house is to tell the agent up front that you only agree to pay for the marketing on a settled unconditional sale. This means that if the property does not sell, the agent covers the expenses. Problem solved!
Signing a long agency agreement
Too many times have I read clause to the effect of ‘the agency shall be granted exclusive selling rights for 90 days after the auction date’. Auction agents just love to add this to their exclusive agency term!
Think about it. If your chosen agent does indeed have buyers and thinks your home will do well at auction, why on earth would they need an additional 90 days on top of the 30 day auction campaign?!
Read your agency agreement with great interest prior to engagement, and grant your chosen agent 60 days exclusive agency period. If they are in fact doing a good job at generating interest and having your property seen by the right people, extend this term by 14-21 day intervals after the initial period noted in the exclusive term agreement.
My key message to all buyers and sellers right now is to maintain control of your decision-making at all costs. If you are a seller that cares about their home, you should care about who it is listed with and how they go about managing its sale. And if you’re a buyer looking to get into the property market, engage with an agency that goes extra mile and is dedicated to securing your dream home while saving you time and money.