Tricks that Give Agents and Brokers Bad Names…REDUX

From the TrueGotham archives:

I’m furiously committed to the idea that expert, ethical, and talented brokers and agents are tremendously valuable to clients. But there’s no point in pretending that every broker and agent is. In fact, so many people out there have had bad experiences with (alleged) real estate professionals, that making the case they are all good, in my mind, only serves to undermine the credibility of the speaker.

What are the things shoddy agents do to hurt the reputation of the industry? Just for fun, we brainstormed some lists.

Some ways agents burn bridges with buyers:

  • Steer buyers away or towards property based on what’s best for the broker’s bottom line, whether it’s commission, price, broker’s own listing, a building the broker is involved with, a coop board that will be easy for the broker to deal with, etc.
  • Railroading buyers to close against their best interests,  for instance, by not disclosing other apartments in the same building that are for sale.
  • Not disclosing financial information that is important but not yet made known to the general public.
  • Not disclosing dual agency, typically by showing a buyer their own listing and not telling them they are representing the seller.
  • Falsely stating number of rooms and square footage. One common version of this: calling an alcove studio a "one bedroom" just because someone added a wall.
  • Steering clients here or there based on sexuality, race, social status.
  • Discounting valid buyer concerns that can cause more work, and potentially lost commissions, for the agent.

And sellers:

  • Providing a false or inaccurate comparative market analysis, typically to make the seller feel false hope (and warm fuzzies toward that friendly agent) about their property.
  • Overpricing as a way to win exclusive listings.
  • Not presenting all offers–even though it’s against the law, I know of cases in which agents have withheld offers that would earn reduced commissions for the agent.
  • Inflating the number of showings, the feedback, and the marketing of the property to make the agent look busier than he or she really is.
  • Steering the seller towards one offer over another for no valid reason except for the agent’s personal gain.
  • A broker who is not knowledgeable about the listing.
  • Taking on a seller’s (usually overpriced) listing merely to lure buyers who can be redirected to other properties.
  • Withholding information that might be valuable to the seller, but could delay or prevent a signed contract.
  • Neglecting possible purchasers at open houses for whatever reason.
  • Being negative about the property.
  • Discounting valid seller concerns that can cause more work, and potentially lost commissions, for the agent.

What else? Any other suggestions?

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