For most people, real estate agents are a necessary part of buying or selling a house. They know the industry inside and out and make the task a lot easier for you. But as with any special service or skill you pay for, what you don’t know can cost you. Some real estate agents are terrific. But others can be a bit sneaky. In this article, we will uncover seven tricks that real estate agents may use and how you can protect yourself from falling into their traps.
1. They Use Creative Wording
Real estate agents are experts at crafting advertisements that cover up flaws and entice you to view a house. Beware of cleverly disguised terms like “charming” which may actually mean “old,” or “cozy” which translates to “small.” It’s important to read between the lines and not solely rely on the agent’s description. Take the time to search online for photos and gather more information about the property.
2. They Promise More Than You Can Get
Overly eager agents may stretch the truth to convince you to sign a contract. They might exaggerate the potential selling price of your house, only to blame the market when it doesn’t meet your expectations. Before you commit, do your own research and compare recently sold and for-sale homes in your neighborhood. If an agent promises significantly higher returns, ask for a detailed explanation of how they arrived at that figure.
3. They Make Referrals That May Not Be the Best
Real estate agents often provide referrals for services like mortgage brokers or home inspectors. However, these recommendations may not always be in your best interest. Agents might refer you to someone they have a relationship with, even if there are better options available. Consider the referrals provided by your agent but take the initiative to research and find professionals on your own to ensure you receive the best service and price.
4. They Don’t Disclose Commission Details
Real estate commissions are negotiable, and not all agents will openly discuss the details with you. Take the initiative to bring up the topic during your discussions. Remember, everything in your contract is negotiable, including the commission. Be willing to haggle to secure the best terms and ensure transparency throughout the process.
5. They Aren’t Always Working for You
It’s essential to remember that real estate agents work for whomever they represent. If you strike up a conversation with an agent at an open house, keep in mind that they are working for the seller, not you. Avoid sharing sensitive information that you wouldn’t directly disclose to the seller, such as your budget, timeline, or willingness to overlook repairs. Maintain a level of caution and confidentiality in your interactions.
6. They Stretch Marketing Truths
Some agents may exaggerate their marketing efforts to make it seem like your house will receive extensive exposure. However, once you list your property with them, you might find that the promised marketing falls short. Before signing any agreements, ask the agent to provide a detailed marketing plan, including the specific websites they will use and the amount of time they plan to dedicate to promoting your property. If you feel that your house is not being marketed effectively, don’t hesitate to voice your concerns.
7. They Don’t Always Offer Full Disclosure
Seller’s disclosure requirements vary by state, and agents may not always provide all the necessary information. It’s crucial to conduct your own research and investigate the area where the property is located. Check for any previous natural disasters that may have affected the house and ask a home inspector to pay special attention to potential warning signs. Additionally, visit the location at different times of the day to gain a comprehensive understanding of any other potential issues.
In conclusion, real estate agents can be instrumental in navigating the buying or selling process. However, it’s important to be aware of the tricks some agents may employ. By understanding these common tactics, you can protect yourself and make informed decisions. Always remain vigilant, do your own research, and don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek additional professional advice. With these precautions in place, you can confidently navigate the real estate market and secure the best possible outcomes.