How to Spot Estate Agent Tricks of the Trade

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How to Spot Estate Agent Tricks of the Trade
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Selling your house can be a complicated and stressful process – and it’s only made worse if you have to deal with a tricky estate agent. We’re here to help you figure out how to avoid the shady figures in the industry and avoid unnecessary issues.

While estate agents should abide by regulations and a Code of Practice, they can and do use tricks for their own gains.

We take you through the signs you should look out for to avoid dealing with a dodgy estate agent.

Overvaluing your house

If an estate agent is overvaluing your house, this may be a sign that they’re untrustworthy. If a valuation of your house seems too good to be true, this is a potential red flag.

If this happens, it’s a good idea to get multiple valuations. It may just be that your house is worth much more than you thought, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check and be certain.

If this valuation seems too high, you can ask them to give you recent comparable sales of similar houses in your area to justify their valuation.

The agent should be able to provide you with complete transparency about how they came to this valuation, their marketing strategies, and how they plan to sell your property.

Overvaluing your house is a common tactic agents use as a way to make it seem like you could sell your house for way more than you probably originally thought. This is done so that you’re more likely to choose them. Of course, if you do choose them, the likelihood of them being able to sell your property at this inflated price is unlikely, so you’ll significantly slow down the selling process.

Claiming to have lots of buyers on their books

A tactic some estate agents may use to pressure you is claiming they have lots of buyers on their books. They may say this to give you the idea that your property will sell quickly and at a higher price than what it’s worth.

By creating a sense of urgency, you may feel pressured into deciding before you’ve had the time to consider all the options available to you. Most buyers start their property search on online portals like Zoopla, so if someone is looking for a property similar to yours, they will come across it no matter which agent you choose.

Don’t let yourself be pressured based on the idea that an agent has tons of suitable buyers for you. You can protect yourself from these pressure tactics by asking them to prove the amount of buyers they have. They should provide you with details such as contact information, budget, and what the buyers are looking for.

You can also ask to speak to the agent’s recent clients to see what their experience was like. Check with them to see how quickly their property sold and at what price.

If the agent is reluctant to give you these details, this is a major red flag and you should consider taking your business elsewhere.

Stalling the selling process

A red flag you should look out for is an estate agent stalling the selling process to increase their commission.

Here are some warning signs the agent is doing this for their gain:

  • Failure to market the property

Make sure you have a marketing strategy in place which you can then monitor to see if they’re marketing your property as agreed. The agent should be able to clearly lay out their marketing plan for your property. If they’re vague about this, this is a sign that they might not be the right agent for your property.

If there are no scheduled showings, this is a sign they may not be marketing your house properly. If you don’t feel like they’re marketing it as expected, you can seek out another agent.

  • Fake bids

Another tactic that may be used is false bids. Although estate agents shouldn’t lie, it doesn’t mean they don’t. Through the use of phantom bids, they might attempt to stall the process.

If you feel like a bid may be fake, ask the agent to provide you proof that this offer is authentic.

Overall, if your property has been on the ‘market’ for a while and there has been no real traction, this is a sign the agent may not be super motivated to sell your property quickly.

Giving false reassurance about surveys

Providing false reassurance is a common tactic used by agents to close a deal quickly. It’s a good idea to take what they say with a pinch of salt, at the end of the day they’re often motivated by commission.

To avoid being duped by an agent in this area, carry out your own professional surveys to ensure that a sale doesn’t fall through once the potential buyers carry out their own surveys.

Carry out your own research to see what types of surveys may be conducted and why. You can then seek your own independent advice to check that the survey reports won’t affect the selling process.

Forcing you to use their own mortgage broker

If an estate agent pressures you into using their mortgage broker, this is a big red flag. The agent may say that you’ll get treated better or that they won’t work with you if you don’t go with their broker.

It’s illegal for the agent to place pressure on you like this, so if this happens, it’s a sign to go with another agent. You should also look at your estate agent contract to confirm your rights.

If the agent is forcing you to go with their broker, they may be doing this not because their broker will be the best person for you, but because the broker and agent will work together to get the most amount of money out of you.

You can get a quote from their broker but remember that you should never be forced into making these kinds of decisions. Look around and get quotes from several brokers to find the best option for you.

If you want to avoid the difficulties that often comes with using a high street estate agent, We Buy Any Home can help. Contact us today for a no-obligation discussion about selling your flat fast or selling your house fast.

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