It’s probably fair to say that estate agents don’t often make the list of top five ‘most trusted’ professions.
In fact, the latest Mori poll on the subject shows them joint-third from bottom, alongside that other most nefarious of professions – journalism.
Only politicians and government ministers were seen as less trustworthy in the public’s eye. Ouch!
This is probably down to some estate agents describing their clients’ properties with rose-tinted spectacles. Hence, a shoebox at the end of a garden becomes a “bijou mews” – or a ramshackle ruin is a “handyman’s dream”.
These days most Irish estate agents have dispensed with such flowery language. Yet the “untrustworthy” image lingers on – hurtful though it may be (sniff! sniff!).
In fairness, such ‘white lies’ were mistakenly seen as acting in the best interest of clients. It was merely old-fashioned salesmanship, of the type used to sell all kinds of products - until savvy consumers began to see through it.
Sellers should always check if an estate agent is trying to pull the wool over their eyes.
There are white lies that some unscrupulous agents – though certainly not Lisney! - will tell to their unsuspecting clients.
Here are a few to watch out for:
1. I just lurrrve your home!!!
The same sales patter used on buyers may also be used on vendors – i.e. your home is a period classic/bijou jewel/starter’s dream etc. And that Formica 1970s kitchen is so retro!
The oldest trick in the book is to butter up prospective clients by flattering their homes – and the likely price they will get.But a too-high valuation can be a negative. It could lead to few prospective buyers showing up for viewings, making the property seem unwanted.
A realistic asking price on the other hand should excite interest that could lead to a bidding contest. As a client, it’s your call, but a good agent will explain the rationale for the asking price they are proposing.
Just remember if the price you are being quoted seems too good to be true, it probably is. More than likely they are quoting that price just to get your business and will reduce the price after a few weeks.
(If you are in doubt you can always check to see how much houses in your general area are achieving on the Property Price Register.)
2. You’re going to be inundated with offersI bet they say this to all their prospective clients!
But there’s no way as many buyers are anxiously waiting with fistfuls of cash as some estate agents suggest to would-be customers.
However, there are certain agents specialising in particular areas – so do your research. If you drive around you will see the For Sale, Sale Agreed and Sold signs as evidence. The likelihood is that these agents will have a list of under-bidders for a similar property.
Long established agents, like Lisney, have deep-rooted expertise in local areas so have an advantage in really knowing the market and how to get the best deal for sellers.
3. We’ll sell this in no time!Good agents who set realistic prices and don’t inflate vendors’ expectations may sell property quicker than others.
But they’re not usually the ones who also make rash promises about speedy sales!
The ones that do promise to sell in a jiffy often make all sorts of other claims that will serve to only delay the sale.
4. I’m the #1 agent in the areaIt’s amazing how many agents claim to be numero uno in so many localities.
Check if the agent is really focused on your target area – and if so ask “for how long”?
Also beware of claimed level of experience (which may be suspect unless the number of years is also clearly stated).
And you can easily check claims of agents who say they specialise in certain types of homes by looking at their website. How many do they actually have for sale, or have they recently sold? If these figures aren’t on their website make sure to ask them as there can be huge differences in type and price of properties that are mere roads away from each other.
5. Everyone loved it so muchIf so, why didn’t they make any bids? Vendors are understandably sensitive about their homes, especially if they put a lot of work into them. But sometimes the decor may be quirky, or just not to everyone’s taste.
It’s a brave estate agent who relays back all the comments they get, but one with integrity should give clients some sense of why a child’s messy bedroom or a floral carpet/wallpaper combo in the living room is putting off potential buyers!
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