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Seller beware: Real estate agent tricks

Look out for common real estate agent tricks when you're trying to sell your home. These tricks can impact the amount you get for your home.

A real estate agent’s job is to help you sell your home. But there are some cases when an agent isn’t necessarily looking out for number one (that’s you) but is instead looking out for himself. Real estate agent tricks are an unfortunate part of the process for some people. The more you know about the possible tricks an agent might play, the better able you’ll be to avoid them and to get an offer on your home that works for you.

Missing information

According to Nolo, when you’re selling a home in DeKalb or another part of Georgia, you are required to let potential buyers know about any defects in the home, as long as those defects aren’t immediately obvious. One of the more common real estate agent tricks is to carefully omit certain pieces of information from the listing of the house. For example, your home might languish on the market because the real estate agent didn’t include clear pictures in the listing or because the agent didn’t provide enough information to entice buyers to the home.

Another way your agent might try to trick buyers into checking out your home is to phrase the listing in a way that makes the property sound more appealing than it is. Creative words, such as using “cozy” to describe a tiny bedroom or “efficient” to describe a small living area might draw more people in to look at your home. But if they aren’t people who are interested in a smaller house, they won’t be likely to buy it.

Make sure your listing has all the information needed by asking the agent what words he is using to describe it. Ask to see the photos yourself before they go up or provide the agent with photos to use that clearly capture each part of the home.

Pricing games

Many agents work on commission, which means getting your house sold at any price, not necessarily the best price, is important to them. A common trick is to let you list your house for more than it’s worth just to get you to sign a contract with them. When the house doesn’t sell after some time, the agent will suggest you reduce the price, and do so often.

One way to set the right price for your home the first time is to do some research first. That might mean looking at the price of similar recently sold homes in the neighborhood. Ask your agent what you can do in the home to make it worth more to a potential buyer without draining your savings account.

You can also ask your agent what his track record is when it comes to selling homes. It might be in your best interest to steer clear of agents with a history of selling homes at steeply discounted prices. Talk to other sellers who have worked with the agent to find out the average length of the listing and the price they got.

Image source: Flickr

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