Profile picture for RealtorsDreamers

Is it illegal for Sales Agent to tell the truth to buyers? Surveys indicate rampant lying by Agents.

Should it be illegal for a BUYERS agents to tell the truth about listings?  Or should Buyers agents support the listing agents by keeping house prices as high as possible?  Most Buyers agent commissions are based on selling price, so why should they accept less money on a transaction just to help the buyer not over pay in this continuing bubble market?
  • December 31 2011 - Brentwood
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Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.

Answers (72)

Best Answer

In Real Estate, disclose all known facts.
  • January 02 2012
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Profile picture for RealtorsDreamers
The so-called "fine dressed gentleman" is an old photo Charles Ponzi the most well known scamster and con artist of them all.
  • April 14 2012
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Wait a sec... this "bubble" market???????

Listing agents are still telling their clients to LOWER the asking price if they want their home to sell. If this was a bubble market, they'd be raising the prices.

Mr. Lies, your agenda is showing.

oops.. I mean Mr. Dreamer.
  • February 14 2012
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I thought this was started by some guy called "RealtorsLie".  Unless he thought it best to change his name.

Folks, beware of those cash buyer investors.  I met a few of those when I was looking to sell my house many years ago.. this was before I was a Realtor. I got lots of offers... for the value of my mortgage which was well under the going rate in the community. 

Yeah right. These guys prey on people who are desperate. As soon as they realized I was quite able to pay my note, there was no further interest in my property. I would have unloaded it under market value, but they're into scalping, not investing.

By all means sell your home yourself. You don't "need" an agent. It's a service that you can buy. If you want to do the work yourself you can save 6%. Just remember that your buyer wil feel entitled to a lower price because of that. But it IS work. Expect to devote time and money to it.

But watch out for the snake-oil dudes who are out to rip you off with their "cash buys"
  • February 14 2012
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Profile picture for JamesKuang
Absolutely not.  

A confident agent would have no issue mentioning the negative aspects because they know they are capable of highlighting the positive aspects well enough to outshine the negative.  

That's in my opinion at least.
  • February 13 2012
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Wow, and the answers have really been a bit of a justification to this "pot-stirring" question.  I often wonder why there are so many answers that sound like agents are reasoning to a question that needs no explanation for a professional who's actions, professionalism & reputation should speak louder than words.
  • February 13 2012
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Profile picture for Kay Dana
Yes, today I met my "buyers agent" at a property.  The property had been listed for over a year at $200k higher than today.  The agent assured me he was "absolutely familiar" with the property, since he had represented previous offers on it.  I asked about the surrounding property and if he knew of any plans.  He said, this is vacant land!  Please explain why the county records show it is a sewage waste water settlement basin.  I didn't know that.  Yeah  chock that up to professionalism? Or trying to unload this P.O.S. property on the next sucker who buys it.  I know why THEY didn't buy it.  The property wasn't good enough for a real estate agent, but good enough to grab a 3%  commish from another sucker "buyer" using OPM.  Other People's Money.
  • February 11 2012
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@Realtorsdreamers .... I am sure this posting was offered to stir the pot, and it certainly has.       I think in any profession there are those who are completely unethical, and then there are the great majority who are doing what they love with passion for their work, and care for their clients.
  • February 11 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Really well said Rachel! I sure wish the thumbs were working.


  • February 11 2012
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I work to make money. I sell real estate to help and educate people. I'm not in real estate for a "quick sale". (Those times come, and they are nice.) I'm a lifetime agent. I am honest with my clients. If I know about something, I tell them. Wouldn't you want that from a real estate agent too? Honesty is the key to real estate. Do you think that you would make more money from selling someone one over priced house (because you didn't tell them it was over priced) or selling them the same house for less (because you educated them on the market value)? The answer is the second one. If you sell them one fair priced house because you helped and educated them, you will make more money in the long run. Real estate is a long term career based on referrals. You get referrals by doing everything possible to help your clients.  
  • February 11 2012
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Profile picture for Caveat Emptor
Since the discussion moved into the "hypothetical" instead of "reality"

yes, because it is in fact illegal for an agent to tell the truth to anyone, even off duty. clearly we have gone way off track.

Hypothetical thumbs up to Joan though, since in reality, the button is broken
  • February 09 2012
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Since the discussion moved into the "hypothetical" instead of "reality", here is another hypothetical example to consider:

Let's say a house listed for $100k that is substantially run down and needs major work has an offer for $80k presently, but not yet accepted nor rejected, but under consideration by the seller.  I offer $35 million the next day, with no contingencies, and a $500 earnest money cashiers check from a reliable bank, but provide no documentation of my net worth nor ability to pay.

Of course my $35 million offer will be "rejected".  It is self evident that such an offer would never close, and that the seller would never get anything from me beyond the $500, and the $500 would just not be worth the time or effort required nor the time off the market.  The cashier's check would be returned and the offer flat out refused with no counter.  And any future offers from me would also be "rejected" as the experience would establish my reputation as a "game player" and not a serious buyer.
  • February 09 2012
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"opening it to" should read "opening it too".
  • February 09 2012
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"I made the highest offer with NO contingencies, but the accepted offer was the LOWEST offer!  Why? Because it was an offer by a real estate agent-insider who had some "other" transactions off the table, that were more attractive to the seller.  These insider agent based offers should be illegal." -

Why should what a PRIVATE party wants to sell based on their own personal criterion be "illegal"???  What evidence do you have that your offer was better than another when the seller has no obligation of any kind to show anything to you?  What if the most important detail in the offer to them was "close in exactly 33 days"?  Was that in your offer?  What if they wanted "close in exactly 5 days"?  Wonder if they wanted rent back options for up to 60 days while closing on another house and moving out?

What if they wanted to sell 10 houses as a package deal, and someone offered to take them all off their hands?

What if the most important thing for them was that a family that needed the house would be moving in, and that it wouldn't be used as a "rental" nor a "flip"?  Since you posted you would not buy anything at above 50% of market value in the first place, how could you ever have the "highest"  offer?  Obviously your alleged scenario is hypothetical and imaginary.

The U.S. Fair housing Act only prohibits discrimination based on Race, Country of Origin, Gender, Age, Religion (beliefs/practice/affiliation), Family Status/Type, Handicap conditions.  It is completely legal to reject offers based on if someone is rude and obnoxious.  I would have rejected your offer without opening it to.  None of my neighbors want a rude neighbor, nor a house flipping investor.

You will never be able to create any laws that change "private transactions" of privately owned property into commodity type transactions.
  • February 09 2012
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"And I speculate that tens of thousands of sales agents would give up their license to steal within days." -

Well, with about 1.2 million "Realtors" (members of NAR), and many other licensed Real Estate agents that are not members of NAR, 30k agents would be 2.5%, which is really not a significant amount, and may be in the possible range of "bad apples"... but, it won't happen.  Those that intentionally cheat a system and know how to cheat a system will continue to cheat any new system, no matter what changes you make, and no matter how much extra prosecution you add.  Just look at the illegal drug trade industry if you have any doubt.  Regardless, it certainly wouldn't change anything is a few days.

Again, if you are attracting "cheaters" for "representation" or "business transactions", the problem is the "client", not the industry.  You either need to screen your representation better, or you need to get your own license and represent yourself.
  • February 09 2012
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Psst: wanna know a secret? Real estate agents are - don't tell anybody - more honest than their clients.

Wanna bet? 

Let's start with this - we have training. If you're a Realtor®, you're reminded of your ethical responsibilities every four years. If you're a homebuyer or homeseller, and you read stuff like RD posts, you're the ones who come to us and say, "Do we have to tell the seller that," "Do we have to tell the buyer that," and - "Oh. I didn't know I had to tell the (buyer or seller or loan officer or escrow agent) that."

I know many of you think we're overpaid and over-valued, which causes me to lose no amount of sleep in the night. But if you think that, then why on earth would we risk that gold mine over one stupid transaction?

  • February 09 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
"And I speculate that tens of thousands of sales agents would give up their license to steal within days. "

I don't think so. No doubt that there are agents that should lose their license for shenanigans, but I think that number is relatively small.

Most agents that I have dealt with are professional and I think that those good agents would welcome the few bad apples getting thrown from the cart without even a wave goodbye.
  • February 09 2012
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I'm pretty sure this will be a waste of my time but....

 you do realize that any valid points you have get lost amidst the gross generalizations, obvious exaggerations, insults and just plain silliness.

  There are plenty of agents on here who are capable of engaging in intelligent dialogue, who take their profession seriously, who abhor bad agent behavior as much as the next guy, yada, yada, yada.

This Advice Forum won't cure all (actually any)  professional ills or solve any world problems but it does provide a place where people can engage in intelligent dialogue about the real issues that exist and possible solutions to strive for.

This isn't it.

  • February 09 2012
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Profile picture for RealtorsDreamers
Asian Orange.  I once had my car checked for my smog certification.  It was a 2 year old car.  The bill to "fix" the car was over $2,000 from a "sister" smog repair shop.  But for only $1,000 he could manipulate something so the car would pass.  I turned him in, he was fined thousands, he lost his license to run smog checks and he spend three months in jail.  I have never heard of a local real estate agent get arrested for similar crimes.  You statement about being the highest bidder can be true, but it was not in a few offers I made.  I made the highest offer with NO contingencies, but the accepted offer was the LOWEST offer!  Why? Because it was an offer by a real estate agent-insider who had some "other" transactions off the table, that were more attractive to the seller.  These insider agent based offers should be illegal.  I guess if I owned a brothel I could win the lowest offer as well, with free "tuneups" to the seller for 5 years.  There are other important variables in real estate transactions, these include the all important selling price.  In California, property taxes are controlled by this number, a lower sales price reduces the future taxes until the property is resold. This can be  lot of money, so if I side deal is made with the seller ( short or regular sale)  this "other consideration" can sweeten the deal.  I don't own a brothel (legal in Nevada) and am not a Real -Tord so what can level the playing field?  Make it a federal offense---a felony, for insider real estate transactions with licensed sales agents!  That would stop it.  And I speculate that tens of thousands of sales agents would give up their license to steal within days. 
  • February 09 2012
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Bogus listings rarely occur in the MLS' as the agent and broker are likely to lose membership privileges with such tactics.

Stale listings on websites like these, or listings "borrowed" from other brokers tends to be a side affect of syndication, but as already posted, there is a way to address this issue if noticed.

But the multiple offer issue?  Just put your offer to exceed highest offer by a specified amount, with a not to exceed limit, contingent on seeing the other offer.  It is doubtful that someone will fabricate an offer just to satisfy the contingency, and even if they did, they would likely be reported for such actions.

If you think there are games in the real estate industry, you really should look at some other industries more carefully, such as the automotive repair industry.  Sure, there is a bureau of automotive repair to address such issues, but most consumers are not savvy enough to know when there may be potential fraud, and most just don't want to take the time to report it or do anything about it.

Laws and rules are only as good as the consumers that pay attention to the details and report it when there is a real problem, and don't fabricate or exaggerate the details.
  • February 08 2012
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Unless you have proof of your allegations, it's just a pretty book of fiction.

The vast majority of folks who are in the real estate business are ethical and honest . There are always bad apples in any business.
  • February 08 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I agree with your observation that a few agents probably do manipulate unseen offers. More oversight of that part of the offer process would be helpful and maybe the industry needs to consider "spot audits" of transactions similar to those done for Fair Housing law to keep bad practice in check.

Agents who are not honest or professional drive agents that are crazy. Honest agents hate dealing with shady professionals too, but they have few "safe" outlets to report them. If they do, they take professional risk  and often the Boards are not interested in yanking bad agents affiliation because they do not want to play the heavy. More transparency, spot checks and enforcement of existing policies would help honest agents and consumers alike.
  • February 08 2012
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Profile picture for RealtorsDreamers
A lot of this answer is accurate, but what about the COMMON sales tactic of touting "Multiple cash offers at ABOVE asking" when analysis shows that it sells for LESS THAN ASKING.  I think that is called lying in other professions?  A house with a Days On Market of  400 days suddenly gets 6 offers above asking.  All one has to do is ASK THE SELLER after the sale.  GUESS WHAT?  No surprise.. "What other offers?"  Sales agents claim this offer information is all confidential, unless it is manufactured to keep prices high.  Lets try this approach?  Any prospective buyer should have the right to SEE A COPY OF THE OFFER with the offeror's personal information redacted.  The only other requirement is that a REAL EARNEST DEPOSIT BE MADE and if the offer is from a REA agent or the seller themselves that must be disclosed.  This way, it is fair to everyone but cheaters and liars. If the price goes up because of HONEST bidding that's fine!  It would stop the lying about the "multiple cash offers" from dead people or offers that do not exist.  Estate agents and sellers could make offers , but their status MUST BE disclosed to be an arms length transaction.
  • February 08 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
"All of these just happen to belong to that same alleged "ethics" oriented professional group that spends tens of millions lobbying Congress..."

Even if true, it would seem that Congress is the one that should be looked at closer in that scenario. They are the ones selling access. Isn't that illegal? In this country, you go after kingpins.

Besides, if you owned a house, you would be happy that they were keeping your prices higher. It all depends on what side of the transaction you are sitting on, so just make sure you are on the right side.
  • February 08 2012
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Profile picture for RealtorsDreamers
Yes, that's partially true, but speak to the HUNDREDS of criminals who have plead guilty to FRAUD and other white collar crimes!  All of these just happen to belong to that same alleged "ethics" oriented professional group that spends tens of millions lobbying Congress every year to KEEP HOUSE PRICES HIGH and to keep the bar low for mortgages.  No underwriting, lax underwriting and the breath test for qualifications.  Can the buyer fog a mirror?
  • February 08 2012
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Profile picture for Gabilan Properties
Just as I thought, a butterfly dreamer. Next!
  • February 08 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
It was a dark and stormy night. Listening to the wind gust as the brittle branches scraped the panes of the window, I sat in front of my softly flickering screen looking at the local MLS.

Suddenly, I saw a listing that seemed out of place. Certainly twas no ordinary listing by the look of the overcropped photo. In fact, even to my untrained eye it appeared to be BOGUS!

(Cue heavy dramatic music and fade to black through a spinning shot of dark tree branches)
  • February 08 2012
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Profile picture for RealtorsDreamers
I'm forever blowing bubbles,
Pretty bubbles in the air,
They fly so high,
Nearly reach the sky,
Then like my dreams,
They fade and die.
I'm dreaming dreams,
I'm scheming schemes,
I'm building castles high.
They're born anew,
Their days are few,
Just like a sweet butterfly.
And as the daylight is dawning,
They come again in the morning.
  • February 08 2012
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This morning there were three new listings for houses that do NOT EXIST

Making statements without attribution is akin to writing fiction.
  • February 08 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
So disappointing...a cut and paste post from a fine dressed gentleman like you? I expected more like some links to those listings you mentioned :)
  • February 08 2012
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