5 Unethical Practices Committed By Estate Agents
If you have ever wondered to what depths estate agents would stoop to jack up their income then here is a list of 5 questionable tactics that are alive and well in the industry. I compiled this list from personal observations as well as researching trends in other areas and countries. My conclusion is that, and this is worrisome, the ethical standards of estate agents are very low. This in spite of the Code of Conduct prescribed by the Estate Agents Affairs Board (EAAB).
Here are 5 that I found particularly bothersome:
1. The Listing agent tells buyer that there are other buyers interested or other offers pending on the property when there are not. This tactic is common and perpetrated without flinching.
2. Agent makes vague or unsubstantiated claims about market share (example: “top agent” or “No. 1 agent”). BRAGGING is BIG in this game. The industry Big Brands all use Gold Club, 100 Club etc. awards to put their agents on a pedestal. This in itself is not problematic other than proving that the focus is on them and not the customer.
3. Buyer’s agent does not show homes with lower-than-typical commission share offered by listing agent. The transgression here is committed by both the Listing agent as well as the Buyer’s Agent. The focus should be on looking after the interest of the clients first. The agents should put their needs aside and service the client’s needs. But, dream on.
4. Buyer’s agent does not show clients homes listed by certain agencies based on reputation or past experiences. This is more common in certain areas than in others but it is detrimental to the interest of the seller. So sellers should find out which agencies refuse to share their sole mandates before give such an agency a sole mandate.
5. Listing agent procures listing with unrealistic asking price for the marketing opportunity. This practice is regularly used by “top” agents. This is partly the reason they are at the top. They secure their sole mandates by promising to get the house sold at this unrealistic price. Then after three months or so they go back to the seller and price counsel the client into the realistic market price. This is very detrimental to the client in that the property is on the market too long and by now has lost the excitement factor of a new listing. But it’s unfair to give a seller false hopes.