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Tricks of real estate agents and how to detect them

Real estate agents have their place. They can save us a lot of time and help us avoid problems when signing a purchase contract or filing a petition for entry into the Land Registry. On the other hand, there are many real estate agencies that act unfairly and try to catch us in the act in all sorts of ways. Often quite immoral. Which ones exactly? That’s what we’ll look at in this article.

8 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

Tricks on the dealer

Selling a property on your own can be intimidating for many people. Also, many people simply don’t have the time, so they opt for the services of estate agents. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but you need to choose your estate agent carefully and be aware of the tricks they may use on you:

Exclusive contract for the mediation of the purchase of the property

Be wary of signing an exclusive brokerage agreement. This gives the estate agent the exclusive right to market your property. You are then not allowed to entrust the sale to anyone else, including yourself, for the duration of this contract. Exclusivity is fine, but only for a certain period of time. The maximum length of an exclusive agency agreement is set by law at 6 months. Therefore, do not sign contracts that should last longer.

Nor is it a good idea to extend the contract significantly. This is especially true if the estate agent is unable to sell the property despite favourable market conditions or if you are dissatisfied with your estate agent. You would only be prolonging the whole selling process

Tip: Do you want to learn what a brokerage contract for the sale of a property should look like? Then be sure not to rely on the templates you find available for free on the internet. Rather, contact us. We’ll review the contract and guarantee you won’t sign anything that could harm you.

Constant bombardment

Once you have placed an advert for the sale of your property yourself, you can count on your mobile phone being full of missed calls and your email being flooded with messages from estate agents within a few hours. Many real estate agencies use so-called advertising monitoring, which monitors all portals with real estate offers and selects those that are offered by private persons. This means that as soon as you, as a private person, place an advert for the sale of your property, this monitoring sends your advert to the list of estate agents and they do with it as they need to.

Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid this. So the only solution is to refuse calls and emails. Alternatively, you can add to the advert that you do not wish to be contacted by estate agents.

Immediate purchase of your property

You may see some estate agents offering to buy your property outright. This is ideally intended to work by the estate agent buying your property at market price, becoming the owner and then selling it themselves. This way, you are worry-free. Sounds good, doesn’t it? But there’s one big catch. The real estate agency will indeed buy the property from you, but only at a significantly lower price.

If you do want to take advantage of an immediate buyout by a realtor, then at least enlist the help of an unbiased real estate expert who can estimate the price of your property so you know where you stand and whether this option is really worth it.

Are you buying or selling a property?

You can arrange the sale or purchase of a property yourself. However, we recommend that you get help from a lawyer in some steps. Let us arrange a complete contractual and legal service related to the purchase or sale of a property. We can do it within 48 hours, flawlessly and professionally.

Offer without owner

One common trick is for real estate agents to list an advertisement without the knowledge of the owner and the original advertiser. What’s in it for the realtor? If the real estate agent is contacted by people interested in the advertisement, he or she can approach the owner directly and tell him or her that he or she has a buyer for the advertisement and then sign a brokerage contract and receive a commission. However, this is certainly not fair dealing.

You can defend yourself against this by simply rejecting any offers from real estate companies outright. Alternatively, you can act preemptively. Simply put the photos you have in your advert into one of the programs that can find wherever your photos are displayed. TinEye is such a program or even simple Google images can do a good job. If you then find your photos exposed on behalf of real estate agents you’ve never heard of, it’s time to confront them.

Tip: In the first place, it is a good idea to try to reach a simple agreement with the real estate agent. If that doesn’t work, you can send him a pre-suit notice. In addition, if you choose our solicitors, a pre-action notice will carry even more weight.

Leaflets in the mailbox

Another possible variant of an offer without an owner is when you find a flyer in your mailbox with a short advertisement about a nice family looking for an apartment or house in your area. However, after you make an appointment with them, a realtor comes to your home. They take a picture of your property and then try to push their services on you. The more brazen ones will use the photos of your property to create their own advert and only contact you when they have a taker.

You can protect yourself simply by not responding to such flyers. If you have already done so, don’t be tempted and don’t let the potential advert go to waste.

Tip: Are you planning to sell your property on your own? You can certainly handle everything well. However, do not rely on templates downloaded from the internet for the purchase contract and have it drawn up by an experienced lawyer. Our attorneys will prepare your reservation and purchase contract quickly and accurately.

Tricks on the buyer

Apartment, house, building plot or any other property for sale without a realtor. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, today’s real estate market is playing into the hands of real estate agents and it is almost impossible to find a property for sale or rent without a realtor. But a real estate agency has its advantages – the whole process is usually easier and faster. On the other hand, you need to be careful which real estate agency you deal with and learn to recognize their tricks:

Artificial scarcity

Some real estate agents may deliberately create the impression in buyers’ minds that there is a shortage of offers on the real estate market, and therefore they need to hurry. Alternatively, they may claim that there are a number of eager bidders for a property. This then puts pressure on buyers to buy as quickly as possible, otherwise they will look endlessly.

As a result, they may not think the purchase through sufficiently and often regret it or do not study the contracts they sign properly. This can lead to big problems in the form of hidden fees, non-transparent prices or confusion about the scope of the property being bought.

Tip: Make sure you don’t rush to sign the purchase or reservation contract. Think carefully and have a lawyer review all contracts. If you choose an Affordable Solicitor, you are assured of a quick and convenient settlement.

For this reason, it is important to be properly informed about the state of the real estate market before hunting for properties. You can find this out simply by asking a real estate market expert, reading a few articles or keeping an eye on the rate at which deals are disappearing for a longer period of time. For a particular property, it is then a good idea to find out the date the advertisement was placed. If the offer is a few months old, you can be sure that many people are not really waiting for it.

Concealing problems

Some estate agents can be opaque in their efforts to sell a property as quickly as possible. They may therefore fail to mention that the house has leaks, has an insulation problem and the boiler is reaching the end of its life. They may then fail to mention that there is a family living next door who love listening to loud music at night.

You can find out about some of the property’s technical problems yourself with a thorough inspection. But you should always have the house inspected by an inspector as well. He or she can also detect defects that you can’t do yourself. As for problem neighbours, even an inspector is short on that. However, it is worth asking around the neighbourhood or perhaps getting to know the neighbours beforehand. That way you can get at least a partial overview.

Tip: If you discover hidden defects over time, all days are not over. You have the right to withdraw from the purchase contract. Read how to withdraw from a property purchase contract.

Increasing the price

Another trick of real estate companies is artificially setting the price above the real market price. The reason is simple – the desire to sell the property at the highest possible price + the possibility to offer the buyer a discount and thus gain plus points.

The way to defend against this is simply by haggling. However, prepare for haggling carefully by researching the price of similar properties in the area. That way you can argue for fair market value. You can also bluff by deciding between multiple properties and this one is too expensive for you or by having a limited budget that this property exceeds.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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