How to Avoid Shady Real Estate Agents and Scams

Open house yard sign.

Whether you’re buying, renting, or selling a home, you’re probably considering looking to a real estate agent for help. While there are plenty of great agents out there, there are abundant scams and hucksters too.

How can you protect yourselves from a bad real estate agent? Know their tricks!

Below are just a few of the markers of a real estate agent that you’d be better off without. If you’re looking for an agent now or considering whether you should fire the real estate agent you have, consider these points.

1. Dual Agency

If at any point in the process, your agent says they can serve as a “dual agent,” kick them to the curb right away. This means they would serve as the agent for both the buyer and the seller.

You might be thinking that the aims of these two parties are in direct opposition, and you’re right! How can an agent work towards the best interests of the seller (getting the best possible price for the home) and the buyer (getting the best deal possible on the property)? They can’t, plain and simple.

No matter what the agent tells you about being able to balance these needs, don’t trust them. At worst, they’ll completely let down one side of the equation, and at best they’ll be rendered a neutral middleman, doing nothing for either party.

2. Unnecessary Open Houses

Open houses have their place, but if your prospective agent tells you they can’t sell your home without holding an open house, keep looking for someone else to represent you. Many shady realtors use open houses as a way to prospect for future business, not caring about your needs or about how few sales actually result from open houses.

Any serious buyer will want a private showing of your home, and they’ll ask their realtor to set that up. Open houses attract window shoppers, nosy neighbors, and potentially even criminals interested in casing your home. They should be considered a possibility, but never a necessity, when selling your home.

3. Pricing Inflation

It may be tempting to go with an agent that promises you they can get top dollar for your home. But if they can’t show you proof that the market will support that pricing, be suspicious.

Any good agent will show you comps (comparisons) to other homes in your area similar to your own that have sold in the last few months. They will talk you through why they are suggesting a particular price and will be honest with you about the realities of the market, even if that means you’re pricing your home lower than you had hoped to. Beware of anyone showing you numbers that feel too good to be true.

4. Broken Promises

Any real estate agent with good sense wants to win your business, so when you first speak with them, they’ll make all sorts of promises. They may tout their impressive marketing and social media skills and guarantee you top-notch photos and videos hosted on a beautiful website.

But if you’re a few weeks into the process and not seeing results, don’t just sit by. It can be an uncomfortable thing to fire a real estate agent, but selling your home is a major undertaking. If the person who is supposed to be in your corner isn’t living up to their promises, you need to find someone who will.

If you’re fed up with your bad real estate agent and are just ready to sell, you do have other options. You can always go the For Sale By Owner route, cutting the agent out of the process. This will require more time and energy on your part, as well as a thorough understanding of the home sale process, including all the necessary paperwork and legal documentation.

If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can always sell to a cash homebuyer. They handle all the paperwork and legalities, and you can walk away with cash in hand. You won’t have to make any repairs to your home or endure staging, showing, or open houses.

If you’re ready to sell your house and be done, give us a call today. We can get you a quote in minutes and have you at the closing table in less than 30 days!