Thursday, December 25, 2008

51 Comments on The Cheapest Trick in the Book!

Our last posting produced many comments from our associates across the country, here is a sampling of their response.

51 Comments on The Cheapest Trick in the Book!

It is so embarrassing to read that agents still use these old, old tricks to get a listing. Of course, I wonder why any owner would fall for that line, "I have a buyer, but. . . ", but, they still do.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. I've heard of that old trick since I've been in this business.

I remember when I had a house listed for sale in MD in 2005, I was approached by just about every sleezy opportunist agent in the county. The listing for my house disclosed that the owner was an agent/broker. Apparently they didn't read that part. I just referred them to my listing agent.

Thanks for writing about his subject. Perhaps it will make a few agents think twice about using such disgusting tactics. TOTOH, it could give some ideas.
Oh well.

12/18/2008 05:05 AM
Lenn Harley MD & VA Real Estate

Thanks for sharing with us - great advice ----
12/18/2008 05:29 AM
Norma J Elkins Realtor Elkins Home Selling Team ( Exit Triple "E" Realty)

They should lose their license for such actions. Why regulate a profession if you don't intend on weeding out the bad ones.
12/18/2008 05:41 AM
Greg Bell (Bell Inspection Service)

This is a great topic to write a post on. I recently went on a listing appointment where the 1st agent said the home would sell for 760,000 and I thought it needed to be priced at 650,000. Imagine the look on the seller's face. The sellers got an appraisal and called me back & said it appraised at 650,000. I did get the listing.

It doesn't pay to be dishonest in this business & we should work to get our seller's homes sold not list a home to improve our inventory in the market!
12/18/2008 05:50 AM
Laura Karambelas-Chicagoland Real Estate (Baird & Warner)

"Sharks don't feed on Sharks", that's what an attorney told us long long ago. Most of the time it's more trouble and more work than it's worth to report these slugs. Add to that , its a lot of negativity and who needs that in this business climate?

12/18/2008 05:53 AM
Jim Valentine (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates)

Whne I worked at a franchise office I watched an agent making those calls from the office. His line was "we just sold the home at so and so address and we have still some ready buyers looking in that neighborhood".
What a crock
12/18/2008 05:53 AM
Fred Pickard Innovations Realty Inc

We have that kind of situation. We are adjacent to an "Upscale" Resort community just 15 Miles west and up the hill, "Lake Tahoe"- you might have heard of t. Some of the Agents up there like to tell sellers in the valley below that they are a better choice as a listing agent because they are accustom to deal with the high end buyers.
Funny ... the MLS statistics show that most of the upper end sales in our market are NOT orginated from those Brokers.

12/18/2008 06:01 AM
Jim Valentine (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates)

Jim, I had one here recently called the seller and you know the rest. I explain to my seller what should happen next time if the agent call's. Well you know the agent called again. I then called her and told of the problem I had with these types of actions. You know she called again to the seller. Now we are handling it between brokers. If she does it again it will time to call the Board. If you have a offer bring it so we can all make money and sell property.
12/18/2008 06:19 AM
Frank Rubi -Louisiana Real Estate- (7824 Real Estate of Louisiana, LLC.)

It is agents like this that bring a bad name to other ethical agents. Good post.
12/18/2008 06:51 AM

Jim, the list of scams pulled by some Realtors is a long one and unfortunately it only adds to the bad image of the good Realtors. I think every Ethical Realtor unfortunately faces these scam things all to often in their career, not only have I received the calls you mentioned in your post but I've actually been out on appointments and been told these things by Sellers. The problem for me has been that since they don't know me yet, they tend to believe the b*ll sh*t from the other Realtor(s) and many times they list with them.

Do I get the deal after the Listing Expires, usually not since the Seller is either embarrassed to contact me when they expire and they list with someone else or their house eventually went under agreement during the first Agents time.

12/18/2008 06:52 AM
Christopher Bonta,Realtor/ Integrity and Honesty (Better Homes &Garden/Masiello Group)

Posting this is a good thing.
Shining the light on unethical practices helps all of us.
Educating the client and setting expectations helps a lot.
12/18/2008 07:11 AM
Erby Crofutt, the Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY (B4UClose Home Inspections & Radon Testing (

Jim - Some agents will do anything to get a listing; including the unethical. The consumer needs to be aware of these deceptive ploys and be wary of agents that use them. Unethical agents give everyone a bad name.
12/18/2008 08:28 AM
Jon Wnoroski, Summit County Realtor (Geneva Chervenic Realty, Inc.)

It's very interesting that this is such a common problem and that its experienced by agents all over the country. We should all be working to clean up our industry. We'll admit,we have been lax in following through with this in the past. Maybe if we all took a firmer stand we could make a difference.
12/18/2008 09:37 AM
Jim Valentine (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates)

I would rather have 0 listings than a listing that was owned by a client who felt like I cheated, lied, and basically hated me!

I may satisfy your transaction and years down the road you forget my name, but remember "He was good". But a disgruntled client will remember you always. Somebody will ask them for the name of an agent and they will reply "I do not know of a good agent, BUT I can tell you NOT to call (insert name here).

12/18/2008 10:00 AM
Chad Baird (Re/Max Spirit)

We see this around here. Sometimes agents use the one party listing to segway into an exclusive right to see. Other agents may suddenly develop a run of buyers to show a specific home to a week before the listing expires, just to leave cards on the counter a couple of times just before expiration to get a food in the door for a listing.
12/18/2008 10:34 AM
Brenda Carus (Re/Max Towne Square Realty)

Chad - we agree with you! Our reputation and good name is much more valuable than a 6 month listing contract.

Brenda - How about this one! The agent that writes a note on the back of their card to the Seller while on MLS tour saying, "Call me when your listing expires." Ever had that happen? We have.
12/18/2008 11:13 AM

by Jim Valentine (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates)

Yes it is an old trick, unfortunately in this market sellers are desperate sometimes. It like preying on seniors. It seems that those the most in need get the worst treatment. Usually, that type of agent only gets business in a dishonorable manner.
12/18/2008 12:59 PM
Richard Stabile Bergen County New Homes Builder Realtor (REMAX real estate associates)

The sleaziest one happened to my mother. About a week after my Dad died a Realtor called my Mom and said she had heard that her husband had recently passed away and wanted to know if she was ready to put her home on the market because it was to big for her to take care of on her own.
12/18/2008 01:07 PM
Denise Gray (Coldwell Banker Stucky)

Thats some of the lowest BS I have ever heard.......I would have to bring this up to the board...
12/18/2008 01:15 PM
Scott Stulich (Home Selling Assistance Platinum)

Could be an ethics violation... Realtors MUST be honest and ethical with all parites... does not sound like they were to me???
12/18/2008 01:31 PM
Mark Ryan, Broker, CRS, ABR (Mark Ryan Group / Re/Max Victory)

Where do these agents learn these techniques? From brokers with less than stellar standards...
12/18/2008 03:10 PM
Gary Waters -Real estate agent Viera Suntree Melbourne and Rockledge FL (Century 21 Baytree Realty

I don't understand that logic. If you really have a buyer... I (as the seller) am happy to sign a contract that gives you a co-operative fee, if you sell it... in fact I'll sign a "one time showing" before you show it.

If you "need the listing" in order to sell it to your buyer (in order to double side it)... I say... Sayonara, Heigh-dee-hoo, There's the door, See ya later, and all sort of other ways to say "hit the road".
12/18/2008 03:13 PM
Alan May Coldwell Banker, Evanston, Realtor® (Evanston, IL)

Yep, it's used a lot around here also. We don't do a lot of buyer agency in these parts, but if I have a buyer for a FSBO, or expired listing, we have a conditional listing agreement for the buyer only that we can use.
12/18/2008 03:24 PM
Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Premier Realty Group)

Thanks for pointing that out. If there is one thing I teach my agent clients, students and practice myself with prospects is to NOT use that old hand-me down BS. Gone are the days of slick car salesman tactics.This was really a great post to read.....confirmed my thinking exactly.Good work!TD
12/18/2008 03:30 PM
Tamara "The Real Estate Therapist" Dorris (Top Producing Techniques)

There are a few agents in our town that try that trick. It always comes back to haunt them, but I think it makes us all look bad. It is so much better and easier to be honest!
12/18/2008 03:55 PM
Jean Groesbeck - Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. REALTOR, Assoc. Broker, e-PRO, ABR, ASP (Coldwell Banker Deception Pass Realty)

No matter how much we hate it, there will always be a few agents out there using deceptive practices and making the rest of us look bad. Listing a home higher than others would have, "buying a listing', happens all the time but hopefully sellers will be smart and choose the best agent not the one who would price it the highest.
12/18/2008 03:56 PM
Dan and Amy Schuman,e-Pro,ASP (Keller Williams Realty Greater Cleveland)

Dear Jim,

Great article!

12/18/2008 04:34 PM
Barbara Delaney (Park Place REALTORS, Inc.)

Not only what you said, but it never amazes me how some agents that work "Expired" listings also have a buyer.

If I have a listing that's about to expire, and the seller chooses not to re-list with me - I prep them for the "Expired" calls.

I suggest that they ask the calling agent where their buyer was yesterday.
12/18/2008 04:59 PM
by Larry Bergstrom

Hi Jim - For as long as I have been in the business (22 years) this has been going on. It is kind of incredible though that sellers still fall for it.
12/18/2008 05:04 PM
Bill Gassett Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty)

We had a seller contact us in a similar situation where they felt they were being pressure to see to the buyer way under market. The seller were right and we listed the property at market value and the buyers vanished.
12/18/2008 05:19 PM
Richardson TX Realtor Mindy&Jay Robbins Richardson Texas Real Estate Specialist (Robbins Real Estate Group

Complaints should filed to your local board about agents like this, especially the one going to the seller when the property is still listed. After a few agents are put in front of an ethics committee things like this would stop in a hurry.

I know we can't be bothered to file an ethics complaint, then expect this kind of behaviour to continue. If you aren't willing to do something about it maybe you are part of the problem.
Think about it

12/18/2008 05:34 PM
Alan Brown (Coldwell Banker Montrose Colorado)

This was a great post, I've enjoyed reading the other comments and their experiences too. It's just amazing what some agents will do for business. I live in a relatively small community and you'd think that some of this behavior would come back to haunt them. Sorry to say that some of the "big guns" here practice some of those techniques.
12/18/2008 05:39 PM
Erika Rogers (St. George GMAC St. George Utah)

Before I was a realtor, at the hight of the market, I use to get "the call" that went something like this.

Hi, this is so and so from XYZ Realtors. Is this ______________.
"Yes, how may i help you?"
"Well Mrs. _________, the purpose of my call is to find out if you were thinking about selling your home now or in the near future. You see, I'm working with this nice, young couple and I promised them I would call the neighborhood because well, we look at a lot of houses and they haven't found one that they like to buy. Have you thought about selling now or in the near future?"

I mean in this business, you have to really mean it to make this call. But its dialogue that the gurus teach. I've heard it on tapes and it gives people false hope.
I mean when I got the call, I was excited. It meant to me that my neigborhood was desirable. For a sec, I thought about selling. Then, I reminded myself, I wasn't looking to move.
We are amazed that people still fall for it. but why won't they? If they didn't fall for it, they wouldn't trust us, which means we are burning a bridge when we list and don't bring in any buyers. We burn bridges when we fail to do the promises we made in general.
Good Post. It makes me think some of the gurus need to change the dialogues/scripts they teach.

12/18/2008 05:41 PM
Audeliz Perez (Weichert, Realtors)

Early on in my career I lost a listing to an agent who did this....I now know that it is the oldest trick in the book...back then...I had no idea how to combat that.
12/18/2008 05:49 PM
Konnie MAC Northern Virginia Real Estate (Konnie McKee )

We are in a small town market as well and you would think the word would get around, but we too have expierenced a "big gun" who has used these improper techniques for years.
12/18/2008 06:31 PM
Ron Spanton (RE/MAX Real Estate Associates)

Jim- Well some people just never learn that this is so tacky and do not understand that sales is about relationships. They never get ahead for long. We had one agent tell our seller, your agent has not sold your house in over 560 days! Well, she was so dumb she did not even know how to read the mls on this 2 million dollar expired listing, BTW- he relisted with us today, he could not believe their dumbness. He told her, apparently you have not studied my property before you called me, my agent had it for a 180 days and in this market, it will take a while to sell a property like this. Katerina
12/18/2008 06:39 PM
Nestor & Katerina Gasset Realtors® Wellington Florida Luxury Homes (International Properties and Investments, Inc.)

I closed on a home today after another agent pulled the same stactics. After having it listed a few months, I took her the offer and had to convince her it was not a bogus contract! These type of listing agents will not be forgotten. Honesty is always the winner!
12/18/2008 06:46 PM
Kay Van Kampen, Broker, Springfield Missouri Real Estate (RE/MAX Solutions)

It amazes me when I hear stories like this. How do these characters get their license in the first place? Maybe we should have some sort of background check.
12/18/2008 08:33 PM
Darla Jensen (Edina Realty)

These really are the oldest tricks in the agent's books. Good blog.
12/18/2008 08:56 PM
Barbara S. Duncan ABR, CRS, GRI, e-PRO Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage)

Alan in Colorado - Yep! You are right ... we deserve what we get if we don't police our own industry! We say that and we don't always do that! Sometimes it's easier to let the bad penny slip away. That doesn't mean it's right ... that just means it easier.
We have notoriously obnoxious Agent in our market that every shudders when he enters the room ...we look the other way but don't step forward and deal with him because no one wants to get his slime on them. Right ... NO! Easier ... Yes!
Who makes that call? It happens alll the time!
12/18/2008 09:02 PM
Jim Valentine (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates)

I have had a buyer who wanted to view a home that was off the market or newly expired, rather than take the buyer to see the home, I asked the seller to sign a ONE day listing with me before I took the buyer into the home. because I have been taken advantage before from the seller trying to negotiate me out of the deal when I brought them the buyer. NOT COOL.
12/18/2008 09:32 PM
by sonny kwan

Maybe Ethics should be taught more often! I can't believe some of these tricks. I was listening to an older set of guru tapes and they were doing some techniques that I thought were fairly close to being unethical and just chose to overlook it.

I think we should all report brokers who pull these dirty tricks, especially when the house is under contract. When realtors violate ethics, we need to hold them accountable because it makes our whole industry look bad!

A background check is required in Oregon, but that doesn't stop people from being unethical, but it is a good idea- some states don't require it?

12/18/2008 09:40 PM
Kim Hamblin (Bella Casa Real Estate Group)

With the prospect of loosing your license over this I cant see anyone taking that risk doing something so unethical. I might be naive but I cant see anyone doing this, These agents have guts.
12/18/2008 10:19 PM
Wayne Warshawsky (RE/MAX Four Corners)

Actually even with the possibility of losing the license this does not surprise me at all... One, most likely wont get caught... Two, desperation makes people do strange things... sad but all to true
12/18/2008 10:45 PM
Mark Ryan, Broker, CRS, ABR (Mark Ryan Group / Re/Max Victory)

I hate sleazy tactics. It gives us all a bad name.
12/18/2008 11:14 PM
Overland Park Homes & Real Estate:: Michael Russell (Overland Park KS Realty Executives )

Jim: I have heard this over and over for the past 10 years in this business.. I HATE it when I hear someone mis-leading a home owner in hopes of getting the listing..
12/18/2008 11:40 PM
Roland Woodworth "Clarksville-Fort Campbell Area Realtor" (Exit Realty Clarksville)

Some agents are the products of the brokers who teach them. We have seen this over and over. These agents "grow uo" in the business (so to speak) learning these shifty habits and really don't know any better because that is the business model they think is normal.

12/19/2008 01:27 AM
Jim Valentine (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates)

Oldest and cheapest.....and one that was taught by the first brokerage we were "parked" with....THEN they will list with you....and THEN can you sleep at night ?
12/19/2008 06:21 AM
Sally & David Hanson Realtors WI Residential-Commercial-Short Sale (First Weber Group)

Oldest, cheapest and still used on a regular basis...sometimes by really successful agents. I can look out my window and see a house whose listing was obtained by that method 6 months ago, no buyer and still overpriced! Lisa
12/19/2008 05:53 PM
Lisa VonBargen GRI, CRS, e-Pro, NAPP (The Yellow Mailbox Real Estate Services)

We had one like that, the seller's elected to list with the agent who told them what they wanted to hear, not the truth. Now, one year later, they are still in the house, it's worth even less that it was a year ago. They weren't able to go on with their moving plans and have tlost the opportunity they had to buy a great property in the community they wanted to move to ... where's the sense in all that?
12/19/2008 06:04 PM

We have thought about this situation several times. What to do? Contact the sellers who rejected us before and try and revive the business relationship once their "BAD" listing expires? The sellers need us now more than ever. Will we look silly or will they just reject us again because they made a poor choice the first time and now they want to validate their last decision? What is the right thing to do?

One seller called us and said, "OK ... you were right! Will you list my property again?" That doesn't happen very often.

12/21/2008 06:37 AM
Jim Valentine (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates)

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