Beating those Sneaky Real Estate Agents

From: Rixter ®

I'm sure you will all agree that within any barrel, you will always find a few bad apples. No matter what industry we are talking about. Unfortunately its this small minority group of individuals that usually attracts the publicity and gives an industry a bad name , and it is no different in the Real Estate Profession.

Fortunately for us as investors these individuals are few & far between but because we are out there dealing with them more than the average family owner/occupier home buyer our chances of coming up against them the risk is greatly increased.

So in order to keep ahead of these individual I thought it may be a very good idea if we could tell other investors here of any bad experiences or incidents they have had in dealing with these rogues and gives examples pertaining to their scams for us all to keep a watch out for.

I'll start off with an example of what I mean; one extremely common one that I came across just last week....

....It happened when I was out last time looking for a suitable property . I had just inspected a property and I told the agent I would get back & let him know if I required a further inspection. The agent then tried to turn up the heat by telling me he had a young couple he took through for the 2nd time yesterday and he would be calling them later that evening to arrange a suitable time for them to put their offer in writing. He then went on to say that if I didn't want to miss out I needed to get back to him before he made the call later that day.

But the agent made the mistake of trying to cast this sales tactic on the wrong type of buyer. He should of been using it on an owner/occupier purchaser who usually decides whether or not to buy using 90% emotions & 10% analytical...This agent was hoping to prey on the purchasers no.1 fear- That is the Fear of Missing Out!

But with Investor type buyers, as we all know, the decision to buy or not is usually made in reverse - that is 90% analytical 10% emotion.

Anyway I hope you all get the idea of what I mean & look forward to your own experiences in this area so we can all collectively learn, and keep well ahead by outsmarting these agents at their own game.

Happy Investing,
Rixter :)
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Reply: 1
From: Sim' Hampel

Asy should be able to provide heaps of useful tips for us on this topic ! Go for it asy ;-)

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Reply: 1.1
From: Frank Shead

I would have to believe , we have all had that experience. I think it is in all walks of life and all salespeople do it.
Laugh at them and walk away. You will get ulcers worrying about this petty trait of the unintelligent.

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Reply: 1.2
From: Asy .

Sheesh Sim,

How would I know ?
I am not a sneaky agent, I am a good guy...

Seriously though I have seen lots in my years in the industry, but it would take so long to type, and then where would my seminar tour be, if I told you all???

I am always happy to answer any questions people have, and usually do in chat. I will extend that to here for this thread, if you like.

And I am also available at freestyler meetings around the place, we had fun on this topic at a MEL meeting recently.

Thanks for dobbing me in anyhow, Sim... ;o)


"I can only please one person each day.
Today is not your day.
Tomorrow isn't looking too good, either."
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Reply: 2
From: Alan Hill


Can I extend this to the 'legal profession' too?

In my last IP purchase the RE Agent was actually quite good....the Vendors solicitor was a different story!

Due to a particular window of opportunity that came up, I was happy to make a fair offer on a property without any onerous conditions/changes to the standard sales contract. In short, all standard conditions of the standard Sales Contract. I was Ok with the deal, the RE Agent indicated the Vendor was Ok with the deal......mmmmmm....everything should go through relatively straight forward.

Then I started getting the calls from my Solicitor telling me that the Vendors solicitor wanted to change this, that and the other. Through my solicitor I declined to accept these changes and I saw no reason to vary from the standard Contract.

The Vendors Solicitor wouldn't accept this and decided to come back with even more changes.

With this deal, due to a combination of reasons, I had a limited window of opportunity and therefore I made one or two very minor concessions in the spirit of compromise to get the deal across the line.

Vendors Solicitor came back and they said they wanted all of their changes agreed to or they wouldn't be proceeding.

Ok....that was it. I got on the phone and told the RE Agent that I was looking at this property from an IP point of view and not that of an emotional home owner and unless they could convince the Vendors Solicitor to 'pull their head in', I was quite happy to walk away. I also told my solicitor to convey this same message to the Vendors Solicitor.

The RE Agent came back to me and had apparently been abused by the Vendors Solicitor for 'meddling in legal matters which were of no concern to them'.

My Solicitor came back to me and said the Vendors Solicitor was also quite hostile to them and that they would not make any concessions on the conditions and also they were acting on the Owners Instructions.

By this time, I had steam coming out of my ears!!! I phoned the RE Agent and told them to contact the owner direct and to tell them unless the Standard Contract was accepted by 5pm that afternoon, I was walking...nay running, as far away from this deal as possible.

The RE Agent contacted the owner and guess what? The VEndors Solicitor wasn't acting on the Vendors instructions at all. This was the first the Vendor had heard of any problems and no he was quite happy to proceed with the standard contract of sale conditions.....he always had been. He rang his solicitor and instructed them so.

We hear so much of RE Agents in this whole process, but there are some real doozies of solicitors out there too.

This was a case of one solicitor wanting a bit of ardgy bardgy with can be a bit of a game to see who can get the better conditions. Nothing wrong with this if it is in your interest and with your knowledge but this solicitor didn't really care if the whole deal fell over....and believe me it was about 20 minutes away from that happening!

Beware the solicitor with a bigger ego than your deal ....and remember you can choose your solicitor, but what you come up against on the other side of the court is out of your control.

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Reply: 2.1
From: Jeremy Laws

Actually - good point re solicitors. The restaurant I just bought had fallen through 3 previous sales purely and simply because the contract was super tight. The only reason I bought the property was because I wanted it and didn't really mind about the legalese. Just be aware that when you are selling, extra clauses added in for your protection may be chasing buyers away. At the very least making them deeply suspicious.
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Reply: 2.1.1
From: Jakk Bass - The SLUM LORD

G'Day all,

Being a Real Estate Agent myself, I take particular notice of what other Estate Agents say when I am looking at or negotiating a property for myself.
Although nowadays most of the Estate Agents I deal with know me, occasionally I deal with Estate Agents that do not know me especially when I am looking at properties outside my area.
It never ceases to amaze me that when ever I show real interest in a property, that most times there seems to be this other party that is just minutes away from signing on the dotted line and I am informed that if I am really quick and decide right now to make an offer, I can avert the catastrophe of losing this much sought after property.
My answer to these Agents is that since there is somebody else seriously interested in this property, I will just take myself out of the picture for the time being as I dont want to upset the current negotiations, but should the deal not proceed or eventuate, then I would appreciate a call so that I can start to consider the property again.
My experience has shown me that in 95% of the cases, I get a call before the end of the day, if not within the hour.
....and at that point, I know that the Agent has no one else seriously interested.
**...then the Time is Right to play the game**


"Experience is a good teacher, but she sends in terrific bills" - Minna Antrim
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Reply: 3
From: Gail H

Ok, as a lawyer I feel honour bound to say something in defence of the honourable legal profession. Racking my brains......

The thing is, the client may not care too much at the time, but later on if something goes wrong, they will be on our doorstep so quick complaining. We get sued all the time because we don't anticipate potential problems. Ok, that's the best I can do.

Now, whose file can I charge that 5 mins of time to....???

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Reply: 3.1
From: Alan Hill


LOL.....well, I'll give you that, at least you did give it a go! Please don't charge me though!

My wife had to go to an 'independent solicitor' some time back regarding going guarantor on a loan. My wife spent 10 minutes explaining the situation to the solicitor(he didn't bother looking at any of the paperwork). The solicitor then asked my wife if she loved her husband and then she was out the door. Five days later we got our Bill for $350.

I take your point in your post but had I put in a whole lot of extra conditions or wanted to modify the existing Sales Contract in some way I could expect some questions to be raised. However, in this case there was none of that......just the straight standard contract and they were willing to jeopardize the deal over that! mmmmmmmmmm.

Keep up the admirable defense.......I'm sure it's not required in your case though.

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Reply: 3.1.1
From: Sergey Golovin

Talking how innovative they are, I just have recently seen sign/advertising on the net saying - Trainspotter delight...
I was not sure if the house was next to railway line or was it something to do with drugs. I laughed and laughed, could not help my self, keep coming back to that ad and keep looking at it. Love it. I can picture that tenant on the balcony with legs up, open mouth, counting passing trains with beer in his hands.

One and second, Terry Ryder wrote book called Confession of Real Estate Agent. If you do have chance buy it, about $19.95. It is hilarious to see what Real Estate Agents do when they make kill, also very educational. Very easy to reed as well, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

At the end Terry sais - With introduction of computers and web one would think that it is now more difficult for Agents to tell lies? Think again, it is best thing ever happened to them...

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From: The Wife

Agree with Jakk, if someone else is interested in property, only minutes away from signing, step aside, its a silly game. In fact, one of my prerequisites of viewing a property, is there is no one else interested, they usually get the idea that i dont play those games.

~Before you criticize people, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away. And you have their shoes~
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From: Michele B

What I hate most are those agents willing to conspire with me, the purchaser, to get the vendor's price way down.

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Reply: 4
From: Geoff Whitfield

Not much experience- but the most recent:

"The property extends to..."
Easily verifiable as incorrect on the web.

"Seven years old"
Wrong by seven years. Planning docs showed this.

But still a good property- as long as the cashflows he mentioned are correct. But they're in line with market.

But on the positive side- 2 agents have refused counter offers after the client has accepted my offer (one was asking price, the other 5% below).
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Reply: 4.1
From: Jacque Parker


I have to sympathize here with you. This has happened to me as well, but as Frank so succinctly put it, don't let it stress you. It is a silly game they play, as they are salesmen/women after all.

On a recent trip to source IP's in Brisbane, an agent took me to a house I was very interested in, telling me that she'd show it to me, even though there was a (written, in QLD) offer already on it, very close to the asking price. If I wanted it, she added, I'd really have to act this weekend, as it definitely wouldn't last. After having a tour, I told her that, because someone had an offer in, I wouldn't do so, but if it fell through, feel free to call me. I did point out that I was looking to buy this weekend, but I didn't really want to waste my time chasing properties that had a lot of interest in them. Funnily enough, two hours after finishing with this agent ( I had over 18 properties lined up over the two days with various agents) she gave me a breathless call, sharing the happy news that the purchasers had pulled out, due to finance problems! Would I like to sign a contract with my offer? She would be available anytime to do this! I politely declined, telling her that I really needed time myself to consider all the houses I was looking at, before making a final decision. In the end, I did buy a house that very same weekend, for a price that I was happy to pay, in a location that I was ecstatic about.

Yes, agents do play their silly games- like everyone else says, we've just got to be smarter than that and remember that the bargain of a lifetime comes around once a week!

Serge, I have to agree with you about Ryder's book- it is good for a laugh and very light too.

On the upside, however, I just have to share with you positive news of the agent whom I bought the house from. She was very good from the beginning, and has continued to be so throughout the pre-settlement period, meeting all tradesmen ON TIME (for renovation quotes) returning ALL calls and e-mails PROMPTLY and even taking photos for me and posting them by express post the very next day. So far I have asked her to open up the house/inform the tenants some six or seven times and she has not let me down once. Pity she's not in property management, actually. I think she'd be great! Anyway, if this keeps up, I intend to write her boss a complimentary letter as soon as the house settles. She has been terrific, especially considering it has mainly been handled interstate.

Sorry for the rambling, just wanted to put in a positive story as well as the negative. Happy investing Rixter! Remember, it's the squeakiest wheel that gets the oil! ( I chant this to myself before ringing the builder/property manager/agent so that I avoid grinding my teeth in frustration instead!)

Cheers, Jacque :)
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Reply: 4.1.1
From: Rixter ®

Thanks to everyone who has responded to this topic so far. I'm sure its been terrific for all who have read your posts and maybe learnt something new.

Is there anyone else who has a scam to tell us about that's different to the "Fear Scam"....Maybe how agents secretly plan in what order they'll show you property as to try and induce a sale quicker or some other scam? I am sure eager eyes are waiting and ready to learn!

Happy Investing,
Rixter :)
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From: Jas

I've read a lot of "how to be a real estate agent" books, and a common
tactic in there (but not one I've come across personally) is the agents
give you a tour of properties you can't afford, don't want, close but in
the wrong neighborhood etc... so by the time they show you the place
they want to sell you, you're desperate to offer on the only decent
thing you've seen.

Has this happened to anyone?

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From: Duncan M

This message is in MIME format. Since your mail reader does not understand
this format, some or all of this message may not be legible.

Content-Type: text/plain;

A question I've been asked a few times recently is "Do you have any feedback
I can take back to the vendor on the property or the price"?

I translate this to:

"I gave the Vendor an inflated estimate of the likely sale price to get the
listing, now I need some help to condition them down to a lower price, so
gimme some dirt that I can throw at them to kill their expectations and help
me get them to agree to a lower price"..


Content-Type: text/html;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable


<TITLE>RE: Beating those Sneaky Real Estate Agents</TITLE>

A question I've been asked a few times recently is ="Do you have any feedback I can take back to the vendor on the =property or the price"?

I translate this to:

"I gave the Vendor an inflated estimate of the =likely sale price to get the listing, now I need some help to condition =them down to a lower price, so gimme some dirt that I can throw at them =to kill their expectations and help me get them to agree to a lower =price"..


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From: Phillip Monk

I'm a bit late into this thread, but I've got a different angle on the "fear" scam...

When I bought my first IP last year the agent was very keen for me to sign something to waive my right to cool off.

After weeks and weeks of stuffing around getting finance, registering for an ABN (it was a comm. property), doing due diligence etc etc the only thing holding the deal up was the waiver.

I was almost at the end of my tether after all the to'ing and fro'ing that had been going on, so I said to the agent "Look, you can see from the work we've done that we're very serious about buying, so just don't worry about the waiver".

Guess what he said? "Oh, no, I can't do that, the owner's sick and in hospital, and if I present your offer to him without the waiver he may have a heart attack". Seriously! That was the last straw.

I said "Well, it's your job as an agent to present it in such a way he doesn't have a heart attack, or the deal's off!"

The first time I've heard of an agent alleging that an offer may result in the death of the vendor!

We got the deal, no problems. I believe the vendor survived, too!

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