At a social event over the weekend, I got into a conversation about real estate with another guest (not difficult, since it’s on everybody’s minds!), and the discussion unfortunately turned to dirty tricks played by some agents. Even more unfortunately, both the other guest and myself had seen quite a few such tricks, me from within the industry, and he as an interested observer.
So…I‘ve decided to sponsor a “Shady Agent Tricks” competition! The rules are pretty simple: In the comments to this post, submit your entry for something shady that you’ve seen an agent do. It can be something illegal, unethical, or something that’s technically neither but still smells funny. You may not name any agent or mention the agency for which he/she works, or describe them in a way that could identify the person (e.g. here’s something that is regularly done by the agent who dominates the XYZ neighborhood). The competition ends this Saturday at midnight PST, and the judging panel (that would be me) will select the winner, who will be awarded a $10 Starbucks card. The four runners-up will be honored with the glory of being mentioned on my blog plus a linkback to their own (if they have one.) The competition is open to both Realtors and civilians.
Why, you might ask, would a professional Realtor want to expose some of these tricks on his own blog? Isn’t that just bad publicity? I think of it differently. More publicity about shady agent practices is good for consumers, and by extension is therefore good for all consumer-friendly practicing agents. I certainly expect some objections to airing our industry’s dirty laundry.
Here are my entries for the competition…
1) Difficult to show double-dipping trick — Listing agent makes the property nearly impossible to preview or show: open house lasts only an hour; property never gets shown on broker tour; agent convinces seller not to use a lockbox; property only available to show with 24 hours’ notice. Result: Property languishes on the market for several months and then — whowuddathunkit!! — the listing agent comes in with his own buyer. He convinces the seller to take the deal, and pockets the full commission. The listing agent definitely wins, and the seller is left scratching his head about why so few showings happened on the property.
2) Late-to-the-MLS double-dipping trick — Listing agent takes the listing on Monday and markets the hell out of it in the weekend papers plus Craigslist. Mysteriously, the listing doesn’t make it to the MLS by the deadline that week for it to make the local broker tour (where dozens of local brokers will see it and make recommendations to their clients about it), and in fact the listing is still not on the MLS by the following Monday. Due to the intensive marketing, and a dozen street signs, the first open house weekend is flooded (mostly by unattached buyers, since the ones with agents who for the most part rely on the MLS to tell them about new properties weren’t aware of this one) and — voila!! –
the listing agent presents an offer from one of these unattached buyers to the seller on Monday, who accepts it. Again, the listing agent pockets both sides of the commission.
Image courtesy of creepylawyer.com
Tags: Bad-Realtors, Crooked-realtors, Deceptive-realtors, Dirty agent tricks, Real estate, Realtors who give the business a bad name, Sleazy-realtors
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