How Realtors® Claims and Statistics Can Be Deceptive

How Realtors can be deceptiveDo you feel like your Realtors®  claims might be too good to be true? In many cases, Realtors® present you with statistics on their sales to back up all the assurance they give you. There are many laws in both the housing and advertising industries that prevent realtors from lying directly to their clients. However, realtors often find a way around these laws without getting caught. Stats and other ‘facts’ can be tweaked to seem more appealing to property owners and buyers.

In this case of ethics, we cannot always expect others to pick their conscience over making more money.

What do Realtors bend the truth About?

Elizabeth Weintraub, a founding member of Real Estate Certificate Institute (RECI) says that “If you’re lucky, they’ll lie about themselves”. Many agents spend most of their marketing budget on creating an over-exaggerated version of themselves. They put out a lot of web content with their name all over it so they appear in Google searches. They funnel money into Google and Facebook ads to boost their websites to the top if Search Engine Result Pages (SERP). They post too many social media content that seem to be more of broadcast messages than a call for conversations.

Of course, all these efforts are pointless if the prospective buyers are not wowed by what the realtors have to offer, so they “inflate the truth” about their career successes too.

Here are some of the claims you might hear from realtors who choose to build their career by exaggerating their successes.

Claim #1- Top SurreyRealtor® in 2018!

A Realtor® might have the highest number of sales in a year (if they can gather the data), but it doesn’t mean that each sale was as a result of one person’s efforts. Most agents, especially new agents work in teams. This gives them better reach and leverage in the market. These teams usually operate under a team leader, and will often close sales under the leader’s name.

Any agent who is a team leader will clearly have more sales than the rest of the team members. With little to no direct effort, they could be padding their portfolio with new sales every month. If your Realtor® is making claims about being the top salesman of the month or year, you might want to ask them how many of those sales were from personal efforts.

Claim #2- I’ve been doing this for 12 successful years!

Experience usually means expertise, which is why the length of a Realtor’s® experience in the business might encourage you to trust them easily. However, many Realtors® exaggerate in this area to increase their perceived value. Some new Realtors® who were involved in the process of buying and selling a house 9 years ago may claim that they’ve been in the business for 9 years. If they made some side cash by referring buyers to Realtors®, they might also glorify that as a full experience.

Other times, a Realtor® may have gotten their license years ago, but never practiced until recently. To boost their profile, they’ll refer to their year of licensing as “how long they’ve been in the business”. To avoid falling these claims, ask how long the Realtor® has been licensed for. What agency did they work with? How many homes did they sell? The telling signs should be in their (possibly vague) answers.

Claim #3- My listings sell at a xx% higher price than others!

If you’re looking to sell a property, this claim might draw you in. However, this claim could easily be another case of exaggeration. For example, the agent might be comparing the average selling price of properties in their area, to the average price of properties in a cheaper, but close by neighbourhood.  This way, they have stats to show you even if such stats mean nothing. They could also be comparing the stats from sales of luxury properties such as condos to small commercial properties within the same neighbourhood. If you don’t look closely enough, it’s easy to miss because a sale is just a sale on paper.

Claim #4- If I don’t sell your home in 90 days, I’ll buy it!

This tactic has been in play for several years, and it’s not surprising to see that many people still fall for it. Regardless of how much you value your home, there’s always a nagging thought of “what if I can’t find a buyer?”. Homeowners often think this because their house is too old, their asking price feels too high, and a myriad of other concerns. Realtors® often play on this fear by offering to buy the home after a period of time if it doesn’t sell. Here’s what they won’t tell you though: that offer comes with a lot of clauses.

The first, and always present clause, is that they will not buy the property at the current market price. They’ll make you a smaller offer. Sometimes, they might require that you buy your new home from them in an upgrade or downgrade exchange. Either way, they might not give you all the money, or you may have to pay extra for the new house you’re buying. In other cases, your home may not meet the criteria to be bought by the realtor. If you’re eager to take advantage of this type of offer, make sure to ask about all the clauses involved. Every part of that information should come in a written document.

Claim #5- My team makes major sales using digital marketing!

A Realtor® who is successful in both traditional and digital marketing might seem like a dream come true. Surely it must mean that there will be more eyeballs on your property, and there’s a possibility you’ll sell faster. The truth is, their claims are most likely bogus if they can’t produce the metrics. What digital platforms do they publish listings on? Do they just send out a Facebook post to their other Realtor® friends? How many followers do they have on their social media pages? What are the engagement metrics? Do their websites pull in visitors, or are they just static pages?

Even if they provide answers to all these, do your own research. Do people engage with their social media content? By engaging, I mean comment and make enquiries on the listings. How many public comments come from people who successfully sold their properties through the realtor’s online reach? When Realtors® have successes with online marketing, they tend to show it off through public reviews. If your Realtor® is claiming to be a digital marketing guru but their online presence is weak, they are definitely overselling themselves.

Claim #6- I have potential buyers who’ve been asking for a property like yours!

This may be true, but there’s no way to confirm it until you list with the Realtor®. In an attempt to convince a buyer into listing with them, Realtors® often inaccurately state that they have a line of potential buyers ready to grab the property. Many times, this might just mean their mailing list of people who signed up because they were looking for a new home. There’s no guarantee that any of those people will be interested in your property in particular.

If there are real buyers out there who want your home, they will find you regardless of who you choose to list with.

If you’re not lucky, they lie about their properties…

On the other hand, Realtors® might choose to lie about the properties on their listings. If you’re looking to buy a property, there are several false claims that could be thrown at you. These claims are all in a bid to make the buyer pay for a property without following due process. Since due processes are there to expose shady practices, deceptive Realtors® will say everything possible to jump over those stages.

Lying about their career causes nothing close to the damages incurred (by a buyer) from a falsely-sold property. Here are some of the common claims we hear Realtors® use on unsuspecting buyers:

Claim #1- Your budget is too small for what you’re looking for

Realtors® do this for two reasons. The first could be that they do not have anything that matches your budget, and are trying to lower your expectations. This way, when they present you with a lower standard property, you feel compelled to take it. The other reason is that they believe that you can cough up some more cash. If a shady Realtor® thinks they can make more profit off you, they might convince you to increase your budget for a better chance at the property you want.

Claim #2- You should put an offer on this house ASAP

Buyers are often pressured into taking a house with this not-so-subtle claim. Realtors® hint that they have other clients who want the house, and the interested buyer panics and makes an offer. Since buyers can’t ask property agents on the recent activities concerning a property, there’s no real way to tell if the agent is lying. This push forces people to buy properties before they think it over and weigh their options.

Claim #3- This home will only need $5000 of work (trust me, I’ve sold several homes like this)

Real Estate Agents are not constructors, regardless of the number of homes they’ve sold. A statement like this can convince a buyer to take a less than standard property, especially if it looks great at face value. Buyers should only rely on the professional appraisal of a constructor, not a Realtors® guesstimate.

Conclusion

While looking to sell or buy a home, remember that realtors are trained to talk you through the process. Picking out false claims will not be as easy as you think. Ensure that you ask relevant questions at all points, especially when you feel lost. If a Realtor® uses a phrase you don’t understand, don’t pretend that you do. Ask questions because that could be an important clause in the process. Every day, we work with great Realtors® who bring true value to property buyers and sellers. Start your search assured that there’s more than enough credible support out there for you.g

How Realtors can be deceptiveDo you feel like your Realtors®  claims might be too good to be true? In many cases, Realtors® present you with statistics on their sales to back up all the assurance they give you. There are many laws in both the housing and advertising industries that prevent realtors from lying directly to their clients. However, realtors often find a way around these laws without getting caught. Stats and other ‘facts’ can be tweaked to seem more appealing to property owners and buyers.

In this case of ethics, we cannot always expect others to pick their conscience over making more money.

What do Realtors bend the truth About?

Elizabeth Weintraub, a founding member of Real Estate Certificate Institute (RECI) says that “If you’re lucky, they’ll lie about themselves”. Many agents spend most of their marketing budget on creating an over-exaggerated version of themselves. They put out a lot of web content with their name all over it so they appear in Google searches. They funnel money into Google and Facebook ads to boost their websites to the top if Search Engine Result Pages (SERP). They post too many social media content that seem to be more of broadcast messages than a call for conversations.

Of course, all these efforts are pointless if the prospective buyers are not wowed by what the realtors have to offer, so they exaggerate about their career successes too.

Here are some of the claims you might hear from realtors who choose to build their career by exaggerating their successes.

Claim #1- Top SurreyRealtor® in 2018!

A Realtor® might have the highest number of sales in a year (if they can gather the data), but it doesn’t mean that each sale was as a result of one person’s efforts. Most agents, especially new agents work in teams. This gives them better reach and leverage in the market. These teams usually operate under a team leader, and will often close sales under the leader’s name.

Any agent who is a team leader will clearly have more sales than the rest of the team members. With little to no direct effort, they could be padding their portfolio with new sales every month. If your Realtor® is making claims about being the top salesman of the month or year, you might want to ask them how many of those sales were from personal efforts.

Claim #2- I’ve been doing this for 12 successful years!

Experience usually means expertise, which is why the length of a Realtor’s® experience in the business might encourage you to trust them easily. However, many Realtors® exaggerate in this area to increase their perceived value. Some new Realtors® who were involved in the process of buying and selling a house 9 years ago may claim that they’ve been in the business for 9 years. If they made some side cash by referring buyers to Realtors®, they might also glorify that as a full experience.

Other times, a Realtor® may have gotten their license years ago, but never practiced until recently. To boost their profile, they’ll refer to their year of licensing as “how long they’ve been in the business”. To avoid falling these claims, ask how long the Realtor® has been licensed for. What agency did they work with? How many homes did they sell? The telling signs should be in their (possibly vague) answers.

Claim #3- My listings sell at a xx% higher price than others!

If you’re looking to sell a property, this claim might draw you in. However, this claim could easily be another case of exaggeration. For example, the agent might be comparing the average selling price of properties in their area, to the average price of properties in a cheaper, but close by neighbourhood.  This way, they have stats to show you even if such stats mean nothing. They could also be comparing the stats from sales of luxury properties such as condos to small commercial properties within the same neighbourhood. If you don’t look closely enough, it’s easy to miss because a sale is just a sale on paper.

Claim #4- If I don’t sell your home in 90 days, I’ll buy it!

This tactic has been in play for several years, and it’s not surprising to see that many people still fall for it. Regardless of how much you value your home, there’s always a nagging thought of “what if I can’t find a buyer?”. Homeowners often think this because their house is too old, their asking price feels too high, and a myriad of other concerns. Realtors® often play on this fear by offering to buy the home after a period of time if it doesn’t sell. Here’s what they won’t tell you though: that offer comes with a lot of clauses.

The first, and always present clause, is that they will not buy the property at the current market price. They’ll make you a smaller offer. Sometimes, they might require that you buy your new home from them in an upgrade or downgrade exchange. Either way, they might not give you all the money, or you may have to pay extra for the new house you’re buying. In other cases, your home may not meet the criteria to be bought by the realtor. If you’re eager to take advantage of this type of offer, make sure to ask about all the clauses involved. Every part of that information should come in a written document.

Claim #5- My team makes major sales using digital marketing!

A Realtor® who is successful in both traditional and digital marketing might seem like a dream come true. Surely it must mean that there will be more eyeballs on your property, and there’s a possibility you’ll sell faster. The truth is, their claims are most likely bogus if they can’t produce the metrics. What digital platforms do they publish listings on? Do they just send out a Facebook post to their other Realtor® friends? How many followers do they have on their social media pages? What are the engagement metrics? Do their websites pull in visitors, or are they just static pages?

Even if they provide answers to all these, do your own research. Do people engage with their social media content? By engaging, I mean comment and make enquiries on the listings. How many public comments come from people who successfully sold their properties through the realtor’s online reach? When Realtors® have successes with online marketing, they tend to show it off through public reviews. If your Realtor® is claiming to be a digital marketing guru but their online presence is weak, they are definitely overselling themselves.

Claim #6- I have potential buyers who’ve been asking for a property like yours!

This may be true, but there’s no way to confirm it until you list with the Realtor®. In an attempt to convince a buyer into listing with them, Realtors® often lie that they have a line of potential buyers ready to grab the property. Many times, this might just mean their mailing list of people who signed up because they were looking for a new home. There’s no guarantee that any of those people will be interested in your property in particular.

If there are real buyers out there who want your home, they will find you regardless of who you choose to list with.

If you’re not lucky, they lie about their properties…

On the other hand, Realtors® might choose to lie about the properties on their listings. If you’re looking to buy a property, there are several false claims that could be thrown at you. These claims are all in a bid to make the buyer pay for a property without following due process. Since due processes are there to expose shady practices, deceptive Realtors® will say everything possible to jump over those stages.

Lying about their career causes nothing close to the damages incurred (by a buyer) from a falsely-sold property. Here are some of the common claims we hear Realtors® use on unsuspecting buyers:

Claim #1- Your budget is too small for what you’re looking for

Realtors® do this for two reasons. The first could be that they do not have anything that matches your budget, and are trying to lower your expectations. This way, when they present you with a lower standard property, you feel compelled to take it. The other reason is that they believe that you can cough up some more cash. If a shady Realtor® thinks they can make more profit off you, they might convince you to increase your budget for a better chance at the property you want.

Claim #2- You should put an offer on this house ASAP

Buyers are often pressured into taking a house with this not-so-subtle claim. Realtors® hint that they have other clients who want the house, and the interested buyer panics and makes an offer. Since buyers can’t ask property agents on the recent activities concerning a property, there’s no real way to tell if the agent is lying. This push forces people to buy properties before they think it over and weigh their options.

Claim #3- This home will only need $5000 of work (trust me, I’ve sold several homes like this)

Real Estate Agents are not constructors, regardless of the number of homes they’ve sold. A statement like this can convince a buyer to take a less than standard property, especially if it looks great at face value. Buyers should only rely on the professional appraisal of a constructor, not a Realtors® guesstimate.

Conclusion

While looking to sell or buy a home, remember that realtors are trained to talk you through the process. Picking out false claims will not be as easy as you think. Ensure that you ask relevant questions at all points, especially when you feel lost. If a Realtor® uses a phrase you don’t understand, don’t pretend that you do. Ask questions because that could be an important clause in the process. Every day, we work with great Realtors® who bring true value to property buyers and sellers. Start your search assured that there’s more than enough credible support out there for you.

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