Estate Agent tactics

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  • Estate Agent tactics
  • I’m currently in the stressful position of buying a house and am wondering what sort of tactics others here may have come across from estate agents. It’s hard to gauge but i get the impression that one estate agent is notifying us of a fake offer on a property we have offered on in order to get us to up our bid. I could well just be paranoid, given my so far unpleasant experience of searching for a property and dealing with EA’s but this particular Agent is more than slimey and I question his tactics.

    Not sure how to play it really in this instance. I want the house but the idea that i am just being played for a fool (not difficult) is bothering me. I’ve increased my offer and the EA immediately came back and said the other potential buyer has also increased theirs to about the same as us and the vendor will have a think about it. Im expecting a call saying this offer has also been declined and on and on it goes…

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Pay what you’re prepared to pay and no more. I think in that situation I’d walk away, there’s plenty of houses out there. It’ll be interesting to see if this ‘other offer’ mysteriously disappears if you tell them to shove it.

    johndoh
    Member

    Ring them back and withdraw the higher offer – say you are only prepared to pay the original offer.

    You might not get the house but as said already – there are plenty more out there.

    gears_suck
    Member

    +1 for johndoh

    My initial thoughts are the same as yours, to either withdraw the higher offer or just hold and let it play out.

    Is it actually illegal for estate agents to fake offers to coerce buyers into increasing their offer or is it just a code of practice that some Agents adhere to?

    toys19
    Member

    Yup I agree with the others, withdraw the offer. Estate agents are liars, their tactics are lie, cheat and bullshit.

    I think it is illegal, but very difficult to prove.

    Rich_s
    Member

    Just get in touch with the vendor direct.

    Junkyard
    Member

    Stick top your price as there are more houses than buyers

    Check with vendors if you smell a rat tbh but they are as likely to lie to them as you

    I got into a bidding war with a this must be your final offer only to be told I had been outbid. However as they were close we could bid again

    I did and bid less than the last offer and was somehow now the winning bidder!

    I informed the vendor of this and walked away.

    gears_suck
    Member

    I think it is illegal, but very difficult to prove.

    You’re right, it is and you’re right, it is.

    Just get in touch with the vendor direct.

    Good idea, but why would any vendor care if the agent was trying to get more money for their property orhow they went about doing it?

    It’s not a sellers market by any stretch of the imagination. Offer 5k less than your original and walk away, there will always be another better house.. Having said that the estate agent will be making very little extra money off your higher offer, they get a very low percentage of the offer price so for them the incentive is to close the deal not maximise the offer. In my limited experience they push the buyer in the best position to close for example someone with no chain.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    It IS a sellers market here at the moment for many houses – we have looked at three house, all sold first weekend on market. The new developers houses, despite saying they are available, have sold and have a ‘waiting’ list…
    Typical, as we are buying, not selling 🙁

    daveh
    Member

    We had a similar ‘bidding war’ scenario on a few houses we were interesting in buying back in 2005. It was very interesting to compare the prices properties sold for versus the offer price. As stated above I’d withdraw the higher offer but if you’ve got the stomach/morals for it just bid whatever number is required then reduce it immediately presale. I don’t agree with that as a course of action but if everyone did it perhaps the estate agents would be less keen to entertain/invent a bidding war.

    thecaptain
    Member

    Walk away, tell the vendor – they will certainly care if they are losing a genuine buyer due to the agent lying.

    To be honest, I don’t see why the agent would lie in these circumstances – it won’t increase their commission (perhaps negligibly). But even if the agent is not lying, you probably don’t want to get into a bidding war.

    how long till secondhand car dealers to get into the whole “offers over” method of sales? 😉

    brooess
    Member

    I find it interesting that every house I see or ask to see has already “had an offer made”

    I can’t believe in the age of the internet where we can disintermediate estate agents that we still use them. Whether buying or selling, no-one seems to like them, so why do we still do it? Buyers end up overpaying, sellers have to pay them a commission for something they could do themselves…

    mrmo
    Member

    Yup I agree with the others, withdraw the offer. Estate agents are liars, their tactics are lie, cheat and bullshit.

    definitely illegal to lie to the potential buyer, problem is proving they are lying.

    Estate Agents opening mouth is probably not enough in a court of law.

    _tom_
    Member

    My estate agents lied to me to try and hurry up my sale. They said my seller was looking to put his house back on the market as it was taking so long. Went round and spoke to him about it and he said he had no intentions of doing it as we’re so close to completing now. Haven’t had any contact with the agents since but when I go in to collect the keys I’ll have to let them know I really don’t appreciate being lied to so blatantly.

    Olly
    Member

    When we bought our house we discussed this option coming up. I could just see the problem arising so we agreed in advance that the offer was the offer and that was that.
    Actually to the extent that we offered a price on the condition of the survey coming back. we were on our upper limit and if any work needed doing we would have to take the costs off the offer.
    They agreed, but neglected to take into account the rotten floorboards, massively overdue pointing etc. They were too far in when we turned around and knocked 10k off the price. (if they had looked after the house (it was a rental) it wouldnt have been an issue for them). They were so pissed off they went around and cut all the “meh” light fittings off and taking them with them. Stupidly they literally just CUT them off, and left bare wires in all the ceiling roses. We had them pay for an electrician to come and sort them all. I could have done it all myself in an afternoon, but if they want to play stupid games then we can play stupid games!

    Get it set in your head and dont let them stress you out. The seller is probably as nervous about selling as you are about buying.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    Good idea, but why would any vendor care if the agent was trying to get more money for their property orhow they went about doing it?

    They would care if that BS meant you walked away.

    I am amazed that Estate Agents still exist. They don’t actually add anything to the selling process. They take photos of you house, print schedules, put it on internet then sit their and wait for buyers to find the house on the internet. I could do all of those things except getting it on Rightmove. They would add value if they actually tried to sell the house but in my experience they do not.

    I went into an agents a few years ago and said I wanted to buy a 3 bed house, in this town, up to certain value and I would therefore like to hear from them when anything like that comes to market. They didn’t even take my details, just told me to look at the website!

    Premier Icon bearnecessities
    Subscriber

    I only seem to be talking about bloody houses now, but having been through the mill buying my first money-bucket, I agree with most of the above. The weird tactics at the lower end of the market are particularly shitty.

    However..

    With the house I bought, I ended up buying the 3 lasses at the EA (that I’d never met) £80 of flowers and wine I was that grateful for their genuine help, professionalism and patience. I was a total pain in the arse, making sure to drive the purchase through with constant nagging and requesting updates, and not once did they not call back when I asked them them. Even when the lady dealing with my purchase couldn’t give an update, she rang me back on time, just to say sorry and she was on it. Plus she cried when I gave her the flowers; possibly with relief it was over!

    I thought EAs were all c****, but they’re not.

    trail_rat
    Member

    Anyone who thinks its a buyers market at the moment is deluded.

    johndoh
    Member

    Btw – try going in to the EA and speak to them face to face. I found them easier to deal with and got more from them (taking the friendly, honest approach).

    Of course they see buyers as we see them – as liars – we say we can afford X when really we can afford Y…

    Premier Icon totalshell
    Subscriber

    how negotiate in house buying..

    offer a price that secures your exclusive purchase no matter that you havent that money.. then get full survey done ( best 500 quid you ll spend) get a gas man to do a gas appliance survey.. boiler radiators fires cookers etc

    get a roofer in to quote for repairs and a window man to do the same.. egt the picture.. you ll find out exactly whats wrong with the gaff and you ll have enough ammo to say sorry my offer is now x minus abc this ll be a month down the line and they WONT walk away as they ll have found somewhere wonderful by then..

    next on contracts day say sorry im 10k short love the house etc but what can you do suggest vendor stumps it up or gets the folks down the chain to share the 10k to stop thier sales falling through..

    mudshark
    Member

    Highly unlikely the agent is messing you about but I suppose some play games like this. I would never get into a bidding war, always negotiated on the price and when agreed include that the house must be taken off the market. If vendor goes back on that I’d walk away.

    Totalshell – gazundering is a dangerous game, I’ve heard of vendors calling the buyer’s bluff, only worth risking if you’re in a strong buyers’ market; gotta be a ****t of course.

    antigee
    Member

    think it was in “freakonomics”? why would an estate agent bother to try to get a higher price? – their fee is either fixed or more often a percentage so a quick guaranteed sale is better than messing around for an extra £50 in fees – my guess would be may have some other interest but maybe other party is in a complex chain? If you aren’t I’d just point out that you aren’t and withdraw the higher offer

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    Totalshell’s method relies on only him (and not the person buying his house) being enough of a cold git to do it. And also on him not caring if he loses his ‘somewhere wonderful’ after spunking hundreds on surveys.

    Might work in the depths of a recession, but will probably start backfiring now the housing market is picking up.

    I’d probably tell him to do one.

    think it was in “freakonomics”? why would an estate agent bother to try to get a higher price? – their fee is either fixed or more often a percentage so a quick guaranteed sale is better than messing around for an extra £50 in fees – my guess would be may have some other interest but maybe other party is in a complex chain? If you aren’t I’d just point out that you aren’t and withdraw the higher offer

    Thats the other thing. Agent advised that on each occasion we made an offer the other interested party made an offer of the same or at least similar amount and are miraculously in almost exactly the same position as us – house sold, decent deposit, good to go. Could all be completely true of course but we’d unfortunately disclosed more information to this particular agent on a previous occasion when we saw another property we liked advertised with them so he knows more or less how much we have to spend, exactly what we are looking for etc. He’s a young chap who is clearly very keen to climb the corporate ladder as well and i think he’s got his sights on an ‘over the asking price’ sort of deal. He hasn’t endeared himself to me.

    toys19
    Member

    Yup was invloved in helping a pal broker a deal that included the estate agent getting 25% of anything over an agreed value. Agent went at it like a wolf eating chips.

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    I have told someone with totalshell’s ethics to do one and very satisfying it was too! What he didn’t know is id left an MP3 player recording (as I thought he was a slimy git and already had trust issues)when they came back to have a look around after agreeing the original price. His wife was desperate to buy and he talked about his “plan” to knock it down a bit ( never fails he said). When he came back with his reduced amount (after stumping up for the survey) I increased the amount I was prepared to accept by the amount he wanted to knock off. Two weeks later he came back and said he was now open to talk about the new asking price. Never range him back.

    It meant waiting for another month to find a buyer I wanted to do business with but not a drama in the big scheme of things.

    antigee
    Member

    ring him to just check its definitely no go because you’re looking at booking an appointment to look at another house but are a bit busy at work (pick one out at random from a different estate agents listing that’s similar but cheaper/rundown/not so nice an area) if he starts asking questions just explain that the lower price/different area attracts because you’ve been thinking about missing out on good holidays if you max your budget – if he doesn’t ask questions and just says fine and doesn’t ring you back in 10mins he probably has got another buyer lined up

    beefheart
    Member

    I viewed a house 6 months ago, and was told there was lots of interest, and if I wanted it, I needed to put in a quick over asking price offer.
    Over the next couple of weeks I had a number of emails telling me that as the vendor hadn’t had a suitable offer they would be withdrawing it from sale- unless I made him an offer.
    It is still for sale now, at 20k less than it was then.

    konabunny
    Member

    next on contracts day say sorry im 10k short love the house etc but what can you do suggest vendor stumps it up or gets the folks down the chain to share the 10k to stop thier sales falling through..

    Hello, litigation!

    toys19
    Member

    Hello, litigation!

    Only after exchange. We had to pull out of a house on exchange day as the finance fell thru. You normally cannot exchange unless the finance is in place anyway, so without exchange, no contract, no litigation.

    (BTW if we had been using the tootlshell method we would have got the house dead cheap as they dropped their asking three times to get us to buy, them not understanding that we did not have the money..)

    globalti
    Member

    When I sold my cottage the estate agent undervalued it for a quick sale. I disagreed (having looked at other identical sales in recent months) and upped it by £10,000. I ended up selling at £12,000 over his recommended price. Idiot.

    konabunny
    Member

    “without exchange, no contract, no litigation.”

    Really? I take it back then.

    sharkbait
    Member

    Had two EA round to my mums house last week to do probate valuations after her death before xmas. First one said £450k (more than we thought), second on one said £275k…… Just £175k difference.
    Had a third EA round and he said £375, which is pretty much what we thought.
    Third EA is my BIL – not able to give probate val, which is why he wasn’t called in initially.
    The other two EA are OK and well known locally – but this goes to show that not all EA are equal.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    Totalshell’s method relies on only him (and not the person buying his house) being enough of a cold git to do it. And also on him not caring if he loses his ‘somewhere wonderful’ after spunking hundreds on surveys.

    Also relies on him not being in Scotland.

    Premier Icon tonyg2003
    Subscriber

    I’m with AntiGee here. The main motivation for EA is to get a sale and hence their commission since they can be on crazy salary vs commission bonus splits (30:70?). Hence upping the price over estimate, if it doesn’t help to make or speed up the sale, isn’t in their interests.

    I’m sure that EA do some dodgy things but talking to an EA friend of mine over the years many of the things that piss of people in house sales/purchases are come from vendor / sellers not the EA. It’s a case of shooting the messenger.

    Premier Icon thetallpaul
    Subscriber

    Aaaahh! Takes me back..
    In 2001 we were in the process of buying our first house and I get a call, at work, from our conveyancer (a family friend) saying that the EA had phoned her and conversation had bordered on abusive and had left her very upset.
    I rang the EA immediately and very calmly asked to speak to the EA concerned. I stated very clearly that I would be ringing my conveyancer in 10 minutes and I was expecting to be told that they had apologised or I was pulling out of the sale. 10 minutes later our friend was informing me that the EA had apologised profusely and was sending her flowers.
    Felt good after that one, until…

    about 2 weeks later the EA phones me directly, at work again, informing me that unless we get a move on with the sale then the vendor would be pulling out. It was so nice to inform her that we were actually waiting for the vendors solicitor to supply documents to us. Short pause before I very directly told her to start apologising.
    Didn’t hear anything else from them afterwards.

    Got an applause in the office for the second phone conversation.

    I detest estate agents.

    toys19
    Member

    “without exchange, no contract, no litigation.”

    Really? I take it back then.

    well I am not lawyer, but have always been told that exchange of contract is the point of no return, prior to that unless some other kind of agreement is in place then either side can pull out willy nilly..

    xiphon
    Member

    I’ve been close to buying a house (could not follow through, for various reasons at the time), and had no issue in ‘reducing’ the offer shortly before the exchange. I dropped it £15,000.

    The seller phoned me up, initially raging with anger (as expected) – I asked him to phone me back when he’s calm enough for a civil conversation. An hour later he phoned back (with a very different tone) pleading, saying his wife had fallen in love with a beautiful house she wanted to renovate, and could we raise our offer back to the original one. Unfortunately for him, I had since received a phone call which put all our house-buying plans on hold. Had I been in a position to continue with the purchase, I would possibly offered him a tiny bit more (as a gesture of goodwill).

    Just like with a car salesman, he made the mistake of getting emotions involved, and I jumped onto it. Did his wife (and kids) love the new property enough to settle for £15,000 less?

    I was not in a chain, therefore I had plenty of flexibility.

    Up until that point, I am free to raise/lower my offer as I see fit, and I have no issue in being stone cold. (I might care a bit about the sellers feelings – as a human being – but not £15,000 worth)

    trail_rat
    Member

    and that last post is why im glad im in scotland.

    xiphon
    Member

    It’s a business transaction – I want to buy it for the lowest you’re prepared to sell it for. If that means you will make less of a profit (and can’t put a new kitchen in your new house, or buy a new showroom car) then tough.

    If you can’t afford to sell it for that low, then I’ll move on – I am in no rush right now.

    And yes, I’m well aware the same thing *might* happen to me too.

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    If you can’t afford to sell it for that low, then I’ll move on – I am in no rush right now.

    If your truly prepared to walk away then great for you, I told my buyer who tried that with me to get ****.

    they came crawling back an hour later with the original full price offer.

    trail_rat
    Member

    sorry but to offer and agree on a price

    then to minutes before signing – change your mind.

    regardless of the type of transaction …. thats just shitty

    offering low to begin with no issue – changing at the 11th hour – id do as jambo did and tell them to GTF

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