Dirty Estate Agent Tricks
Not all Estate Agents are evil n’er do wells so why have many Estate Agents got this “shark” like image attached to them. Why do many people think they are underhanded and untrustworthy?
Well one of the biggest cons in Estate Agency is the low valuation strategy. It makes your property more appealing and thus easier to sell and it makes the Estate Agents results look good and it also lines their pockets with commissions they have not had to work to earn.
Please be assured that while this does happen, it is not something used by all Estate Agents by any means, one bad apple as we all know can taint a barrel. That is why unbiased review sites like Agent Right exist, to help and protect home buyers and sellers as well tenants and landlords from the crooks within the industry.
How an estate agent can find out TOO much
Some estate agents have mastered the art of asking seemingly ‘innocent’ questions to determine how desperate you are to sell. If they know you are in a chain and chasing the house of your dreams and have a limited time frame, they know it will be easier to undervalue with less chance of awkward questions.
In the current market downturn, some people argue that Dodgy Estate Agents are a thing of the past, this is sadly not true, there are even more incentives to make every sale count. As well as the under valuation to sell quickly, some estate agents opt to OVER value. This then will tie the seller into a long contract and more money can be made from that route.
Backhanders and under table deals
If someone has money and a desire then it is only a matter of asking the right questions to the estate agent to factor in a less than honest deal. Backhanders do happen within property sales, if a property is intentionally undervalued and the estate agent has an active buyer, it has not been unheard of to split the difference. This can be several thousands of pounds that can be taken off the sale and slyly added to the estate agents pockets. This is one of the reasons getting multiple valuations is so important.
How to avoid being taken for a ride
Check online, the internet is an amazing resource. You can see property in your local area and recent sales and you can even check by postcode to get an idea of property prices. That way you will not walk into any valuation blind or wearing rose coloured spectacles.
Next visit at least 3 estate agents and get them to offer you a valuation and then compare those. Remember to check the estate agents online and see what reviews they have had as well as asking friends and family about their recommendations as well.
Once you have your 3 valuations, ask how the value was reached. Valuing property is not an exact science, the estate agents how they arrived at the final figure. They should be able to explain this in detail and don’t be afraid to ask for details of similar properties sold in recent weeks.
If you have ANY doubt then the best route is to seek independent professional advice from a chartered surveyor. They have no obligation to anyone other than you and there is not personal gain or incentives to make them value your property inaccurately.