Common Tricks to Avoid in Real Estate

I work hard to be both helpful and ethical in my practice of real estate.

Time and again I see badness and trickery in my industry. It hurts all of us to allow these practices to continue. With many realtors to choose from, we hope to stand out by living our motto that “Service is Our Specialty”.

Today I want to make you aware of some common dishonesty in this industry.

I want to be clear and state that I am not suggesting that all brokers pull these tricks! In my experience, many are honest, forthright and desirous of helping their customers. But, like in any profession, there are some who play by a different set of rules.

Here are common realtor “tricks” I recommend steering clear of.


Real Estate is typically the largest investment a person ever makes. The commission and compensation are normal and negotiable by law. In our area, the ‘norm’ for a city home is generally 6% split equally. Factors such as price range, country vs. city, and type of home are commission factors.

Items to Watch Out For:

  1. Outrageous commissions such as one home recently quoted at 11%!
  2. Additional commission charges, such as those charged to the BUYER on top of seller charges.
  3. Paperwork or Transaction Charges. These I have seen be an extra $500-$1000!

*Do not be swayed that with the additional cost comes additional benefits. A full listing with after sale care is a negotiable price. Be fair to your realtor and make sure your realtor is fair with you.

Unethical Personalities

  • Face Facts: Our market has felons and frauds operating businesses. You should ask what illegal background your realtor and their brokerage keep. Seriously.
  • Schemers: People who regularly lie and cheat don’t check it at the door and they will use it against their own clients.

Protect yourself but googling your realtor and their firm to see what climate is tolerated. ASK about any criminal charges or lawsuits.


Hidden Defects

NEVER go without home inspections. Talk over the options before you hire your inspector and be sure to ATTEND inspections.

Inspectors are a wealth of information, ask them typical ‘covering issues’ that they have heard about. Lots of times a home looks good initially, but after you move in there are issues that come to light: inspectors know common areas to closely examine that can shed light on potential problems the realtor/seller may have tried to hide.

Things that Cost You Money in the Long Run and Put You at Risk!

Agents “Buying the Listing.”
This is where one price is quoted to get the listing is not actually used to sell the home. The idea is to list it at a price higher than the home’s fair market value and then ask for a price reduction later. Usually this wastes time on the market and turns off an entire round of other realtors and buyers.

Agents Referring to Special Lenders, Inspectors and Home Warranties
Most realtors have favorite lenders and warranty providers. The grey area is in the flip side. Ask them why and if they receive anything back at all. Most importantly, ask the lender or inspector’s how they protect YOUR best interest vs. the transaction closing and compare local charges.

Anything Less than Full Disclosure

  • I’ve seen a ton of marketing claims that are either not true or grossly inflated. One example being that they will advertise a heavy online presence, when in truth they only utilize one or two websites for your home listing. Ask for active and recently sold properties as examples to research and read testimonials online.
  • Some realtors take advantage of less business savvy or experienced buyers and sellers. They over charge or push paperwork too fast. Some even carry a cancellation fee! You should hesitate before signing anything that comes with a penalty for cancelling a contract with your agent.
  • There is a BIG difference between unknown and not said. Many great home “deals” are due to serious problems that are being purposely hidden i.e. flooded basements or meth houses. Be sure you know exactly WHY a home is such a good deal before you dive in.
  • Things like murder/suicide, drug busts or pedofiles are taboo. Your realtor should know the websites by heart where YOU can investigate this information for yourself at any time.
  • Area Issues. Just because a home doesn’t have cracks doesn’t mean the area doesn’t have an alkali problem. Be sure to ask if you are not offered common area or builder issues and common reasons for resale.

Thank you for reading!

Rita Parker

No Place Like Home Real Estate