When it comes to buying and selling houses, there’s no doubt there are certain estate agent tricks which are used to try get a house to sell faster and at as high a price as possible.
Knowing what these tricks of the trade are will help you to see through your estate agent lying about viewings or the wide-angle camera making rooms look bigger, making your buying and selling experience that little bit easier.
To help you find what you’re looking for more quickly, take a look at this handy menu. If you’re not sure exactly what you’re searching for, then why not take it all in:
- Estate agent tricks for buyers
- Estate agent tricks for sellers
- Should you tell estate agent your budget?
- Does an estate agent have to disclose offers?
- How to avoid estate agent tricks
Estate agent tricks for buyers
As a buyer, looking for a house can be confusing. Estate agents have many tricks of the trade to try push a buyer to act fast on a house, whether that be the estate agent lying about viewings or stating there are other offers.
To help you find the house of your dreams as smoothly as possible, we’re going to talk through some estate agent tricks which you should look out for as a buyer:
- Estate agent lying about viewings – One of the common estate agent tricks is an estate agent lying about viewings. They may tell you a property you’re interested in has more viewings than it does, to create the illusion it’s in high demand and if you want to offer, you will have to place a ‘good’ offer and fast. Or they may book two viewings one after the other to also create the idea that there’s lots of interest in the property
- Making their own offers – By this we don’t mean the estate agent offering on the property themselves! We mean when you’re ready to make an offer on a property and you’re trying to gauge with the agent how much you should offer and they happen to mention they’ve had a previous bid at X, trying to influence you to offer close to that. There is a high chance the bid the agent talks about has never actually existed and is just another one of their ‘estate agent tricks’ to try get you to offer as much as possible
- Pushing a mortgage advisor – Another one of the estate agent tricks you may come across is being pushed towards using the estate agent’s in house mortgage advisor or conveyancer. This advisor may be the best option, but you should check elsewhere as the quotes will be limited and you should always consider why the estate agent is pushing you towards this advisor – there’s most likely something in it for them
- Exaggerated photos – This may be one of the estate agent tricks you’re aware of but photos that are taken for listings will often be taken on a wide lens camera, especially ones of the garden or ‘main rooms’, to make them look bigger
Estate agent tricks for sellers
As a seller, trying to sell your house can be a long and painful process, with multiple viewings, time wasters and ‘sold subject to contract’ which ends up falling through.
Just like with buyers, there are certain estate agent tricks which may be used to make you feel the estate agent is still doing the best job they can, even when the offers aren’t coming in…
- Estate agent lying about viewings – One of the common estate agent tricks is an estate agent lying about viewings. By this we mean, estate agents asking their friends to come and view your property to make it look as though they have created a lot of interest in your property. Or, if the viewings come after you put pressure on the estate agent, then the viewers may be people who the estate agent previously put down to be ‘time wasters’ but have now invited them to view your property to make it seem like they’ve created interest for you
- Giving you an overpriced valuation – Another one of the common estate agent tricks to get you onboard is to overvalue your property on their initial valuation. If the estate agents know you have also asked other estate agents to value your property, they may try to ‘out value’ each other, with the thought that you will pick whichever agent gives you the highest valuation. This can hurt you down the line when people are put off by the high price tag and you have to reduce multiple times, which can make you appear desperate to sell
- Offering extra advertising – If you’re struggling to get interest in your property, estate agents are able to use another one of their ‘estate agent tricks’ and offer you increased advertising. This, of course, comes at a price and you will have to pay more for it
- Pushing a mortgage advisor – As we mentioned earlier, another one of the estate agent tricks you may come across is them pushing you towards using a specific ‘in house’ mortgage advisor. We’re not trying to warn you about this because their mortgage advisor is the wrong option, but more to bear in mind why they may be pushing you towards this advisor. Do they have your best interests at heart or is there something in it for them?
Should you tell estate agent your budget?
We would advise not telling the estate agent your exact budget, as the agent will always show you properties above the budget you have told them, with the view that you can put in a ‘cheeky offer’.
To give an estate agent a rough idea of your budget, we would recommend telling them your budget is lower than it actually is. This way the houses that they will be showing you will probably have an asking price of your actual budget.
Also, if you’re in an urgent situation, it’s good to hold off saying that, as the estate agent might inform the seller of this which makes them feel in a stronger position when it comes to negotiation. They will know you’re desperate for their house and will therefore try to push you up to a higher price.
Does an estate agent have to disclose offers?
Estate agents should disclose there are other offers on a property, as you will need to know whether or not there’s competition to try make your offer more appealing.
If there are other offers on a property, legally estate agents can’t tell you how much these offers are for. The estate agent can tell you whether or not the other offers are near the asking price, to help you get an idea of how much you should offer.
How to avoid estate agent tricks
Now you’re aware of the estate agent tricks, you will want to know how you can avoid them and get the best out of your agent.
Well, you’re in luck! We’ve got a little guide ready for you, so you’ll know what to look out for and how to get the best out of your estate agent:
- Don’t give too much away – This is for both buyers and sellers, never give away too much information. By this we mean, as a buyer don’t say your exact budget and as a seller don’t say the lowest offer you would accept. This is because you will likely end up having to settle for this figure, despite the fact the agent may have been able to get you more
- Always do your own research – This again applies to both buyers and sellers and is very important. Make sure to do your own research in all parts of the house buying and selling process, whether that be looking beyond the mortgage advisor the estate agent is trying to push onto you or maybe looking beyond one estate agent when asking for valuations. If you do your own research, you can never have the wool pulled over your eyes
- Ask for more details – For a buyer, it’s important to always ask for more information than you have been given. Whether that’s asking about an apparent ‘other offer’ or asking for a floorplan and room measurements to see whether or not the rooms are as big as the photos are making the photos make them seen. Whatever it is, never be afraid to ask for more information!
- Don’t be afraid to push the agent – Both buyers and sellers should never be afraid to push and question the estate agent. Pushing and questioning the agent is going to help you get the best out of them and will mean they can’t try to make you work to their agenda
- Question the extras – If as a seller, your property isn’t selling, you would start to question your estate agent. When they start to offer you extra advertising at an added cost, you could start questioning why this hasn’t been offered to you before and what happens if the extra advertising doesn’t lead to offers? Do you get your money back? Never just take the extras and shell out more money without knowing HOW and WHY it will help you
Well, now you’re all clued up on the ‘estate agent tricks’, including the estate agent lying about viewings. Do you have some insight to give or another question to ask? Or maybe you want to have a go at writing an article yourself? Whatever it is, don’t hesitate to get in touch!