Estate agent tricks: Three tactics buyers should watch out for when finding a home

Phil Spencer outlines questions to ask estate agents

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Estate agents work for the seller of a property, ensuring that their client gets the best offer they can. However, like any job role, their aim is to make money. Estate agents do an important job but buyers should be aware of tactics they can implement to sway your decision when it comes to buying a property.

If you’re looking to buy a home, here are some potential estate agent tricks to be aware of when you’re viewing properties.

Getting you to talk

Estate agents have the gift of the gab – they’re brilliant at communicating with people from all walks of life, especially when it comes to selling property.

Estate agents work for the property’s seller – this is where they will make their commission.

This means an agent will put their interests before a buyers’.

When they’re chatting to you, they may try and tease useful information out of you such as how much you’re willing to spend and how desperate you are to move, according to

Even vague information may be enough to give agents clues about your situation.

Always be pleasant and polite when speaking to agents but try and keep personal information to a minimum.

If they know you need to move quickly and what your budget is, they could push you towards paying more than a house is worth.

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Changing the guide price

An agent could post a property at a higher guide price than what the home is worth to see how much interest it garners.

If offers are low, the guide price could be adjusted lower which will attract more bids.

But more bids can push the actual price back up to the original price, or even above it.

This has been common during the pandemic where high demand and a lack of supply have driven up prices.

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In July, it was reported that two in five homes sold for more than the asking price in June 2021.

Around 40 percent of buyers paid over the asking price which was the highest figure on record.

An estate agent could also push the guide price higher if there is lots of interest early on.

There’s nothing wrong with this but it can be difficult if you’re truing to stick to your budget.

Inventing offers

This doesn’t happen often, but estate agents can make up offers to sway you to raise your own.

This can also happen after your offer has been accepted which can be feel disheartening if you’ve spent money on surveys etc.

If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of a bid, you can challenge an agent and ask for proof that it exists.

Some estate agents operate good will charters where the buyers and seller put down refundable deposits when an offer is agreed.

If either party pulls out, the other side gets to keep the deposit.

This can stop buyers being gazumped which is when a seller accepts a higher offer from a third party after accepting your offer.

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