In a perfect world, every real estate agent would have their client's best interest at heart. However, this world is far from perfect and real estate agents fleece their clients all the time. Keep reading for a few tips on how to spot a lying agent and what to do about it.
How trustworthy is your real estate agent?
While we would like to believe that every agent has their client's best interest at heart, the sad truth is that many of them don't. Many realtors get into the business for one reason only. They think that it's a fast track to earning lots of money.
The good news is that most unscrupulous real estate agents will fall by the wayside rather quickly. It's a business that depends on networking and building solid relationships with clients and other real estate professionals. However, they may take advantage of a few people before their career crashes and burns and you don't want to be one of the unlucky ones.
Let's take a look at a few common lies real estate agents might tell to help you spot an untrustworthy agent as soon as possible.
I'm an Amazing Real Estate Agent!
It's not uncommon for agents to misrepresent or embellish their experience on the internet.
To see how an agent is representing themselves, spend a few minutes on their website. Experienced agents will proudly display how many years of experience they have. Newer agents may put other numbers on their site, such as years living in the community, to distract you from the fact that they have little experience.
Excellent agents will have several listings up at any given point. If you can't find any listings, something's fishy. Even worse, some agents will display the listings of other agents from their brokerage, but they don't make it obvious that the listing aren't theirs.
What can you do if you suspect that something may be off about their claims? Do a Google search to see if you can find any authentic sounding reviews. You can also look up their license with the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials for info about years of licensure.
Also ask for their production record to find out how many homes they sell per year, at what price, and their location. For reference, a good real estate agent sells a minimum of 12 homes per year.
This Market Is About to Explode
A house is literally worth whatever a buyer will pay for it. Since real estate agents typically earn a percentage of the sale as their commission, it's in their best interest to bump the price up.
Some agents will say anything to make a sale. All they have to do is get you to believe that the property is worth the price they're asking.
To that end, many agents will take you to see a home that is right on the top edge of your budget range. Then they'll tell you how the market is about to explode and the home will be worth double in only a few years.
That might be true. Agents are supposed to keep their eye on what's going on and may be offering solid advice.
But it also might be a lie. Check around to see how other home sales are faring in the area. Are homes sitting on the market for months on end, or are they flying off the market as you would expect in an area that's about to take off?
A Clever Partner Agent will always keep your best interests in mind.
Don't Put in a Low Offer
Real estate agents are supposed to represent their client's best interest. Seller's agents do a great job of this because the seller's interest of getting the highest price is also in their best interest.
Unfortunately, for buyers it's the opposite. The higher the price, the more money the buyer's agent will make. Unscrupulous agents will try to talk you into putting in a higher offer than you're comfortable with because they'll make more off the sale.
Question your agent about the price that they advise you to offer. If they can show you data to back up their number, that's a good thing. If they offer vague statements or cite not wanting to offend the seller with a low offer, they may be trying to artificially raise the price.
This is also a good place to note that everything in a real estate transaction is negotiable — including the realtor commission. While each agent traditionally receives 3% of the purchase price, this is not set in stone though an untrustworthy agent may try to tell you that.
Finding a Trustworthy Agent
How do you find an agent that you can trust? We'll give you a hint: picking a random name out of a list of realtors is not a good way to do it.
Instead, try connecting with an agent in your area through Clever. We only work with agents who are offering the best to their clients.
Clever Partner Agents know that when their clients succeed, they do as well. Making a few extra bucks off an unscrupulous sale won't get them anywhere in this business but providing full real estate agent services — at a discounted price — most certainly will.
If you're worried your realtor has been lying to you, switch to a Clever Partner Agent. They can help you buy a home, and you may qualify for Clever Cash Back, depending on the state you're in and the value of your home. That's money in your pocket after your sale is final.