The summer of 2014 has been good for sellers in the Atlanta area, with sale prices up more than 10 percent from last year, according to Atlanta INtown. Despite the strong sales market, there are still some real estate agents out there who want more, more, more when it comes to their commissions. In some cases, these agents are willing to stoop pretty low to get what they want. If you’re selling your home, keep an eye out for a few more tricks agents like to play.
Seller’s agent and buyer’s agent teaming up
When it comes to buying and selling a home, buyers are told to work with one agent and sellers with another. Working with two separate real estate agents is supposed to give both seller and buyer some promise of neutrality. The buyer shouldn’t feel extra pressure to purchase one home from his or her agent, since the agent has no special interest in that home. But, there are cases when a seller’s agent and a buyer’s agent team up.
Since the communication about a sale or offer goes through the agents, there is a risk that the agents will work together and agree not to deliver certain information to the respective parties or agree to try to get a certain amount of commission.
Revealing too much to the buyer
The things you tell your agent are meant to be for his ears only. But that doesn’t stop some agents from spilling the beans to buyers or to the buyers’ agents. For example, you may need to sell your home quickly because you’ve received a job offer across the country and the job starts almost right away. That can put you in a bind, as you may end up having to accept a lower offer on the home just to get it moving. Buyers shouldn’t know about your situation, as it puts the advantage in their court. If your agent gives them the sense that you are desperate to sell, they may try to make extra demands on you or ask for more than you were hoping to give.
According to the Georgia Real Estate Commission, Georgia law requires any agent you have a contract with to keep your information confidential. If your agent spills the beans to a buyer, you may be able to take legal action.
Hiding an offer (or several)
Here’s another thing an unscrupulous agent might do, but shouldn’t: Hide offers from potential buyers from you. Your agent might be keeping offers from you if he thinks they are too low and won’t give the best commission.
There are a few ways you can make sure you work with a honest agent. Check out flat-fee listings, which get rid of the high agent’s commission. Working with an agent who lets you retain some control of the listing process can also help you guarantee that you see all the offers and that the buyers don’t find out too much about you.
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