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6 Nov 2015
Do real estate agents really play games? Yes, there are a few who do. I first became a real estate agent 40 years ago, and I have seen real estate agents play all kinds of games. As a real estate attorney I saw some bad behavior among some real estate agents. There’s one game a small percentage of listing agents play that you need to watch out for when you make an offer on a property. Let me prequalify what I share in this article by saying that most real estate agents are honest professionals who practice with integrity. As a full time Realtor now, I love working with those kinds of professionals. But I abhor the games some real estate agents play, especially when those games involve lying to buyers or their agents.
A buyer makes an offer on a property that has been on the market for a long time. The buyer’s agent submits the offer to the listing agent, and the listing agent says, “Oh what a coincidence. There’s another offer coming in today, too.”
Of course, that could be true, and we would all assume that it is true. You could have a property no one wants for years, and suddenly on the exact same day two offers hit the listing agent’s desk. What a coincidence, right?
Unless it is not a coincidence. Unless there is no other offer. Why would real estate agents play such a deceitful game? You need to hear the rest of the story.
When the buyer’s agent is told by the listing agent that there’s a second offer, that buyer’s agent is obligated to share that with his own buyer. What if his buyer really wants this property? He may raise his offer to full price before the seller can accept the other (non-existant?) offer.
What is the game real estate agents are playing if they do this? They are getting the buyer (you) to bid against yourself. That is unethical, and it is against the law. It’s called fraud. Apart from all that, it can cost you a lot of money if you get caught up in the games that real estate agents sometimes play. Granted, not all agents play such games. In fact, very few agents would be so dishonest, but does it happen? Yes, unfortunately it does.
And here’s the kicker. You will never be able to prove or disprove there ever was a second offer. The listing agent is not obligated to prove it to you when you make an offer, or even later after you close on the purchase. In other words, a listing agent could lie with no apparent repercussions, getting you to bid against yourself. [If an agent ever got caught, she could lose her license and be sued for fraud in civil court as well as under the criminal code.]
Please don’t get caught in games some real estate agents play. Be discerning. Be wise. And be certain you are represented by a buyer’s agent who wasn’t born yesterday.
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