Back when I was an agent there were several in our market who had a habit of “buying” listings. It was pretty easy in the pre-Internet days. Homeowners and property owners didn’t know the value of their homes or land.
Unscrupulous agents would promise a high price to get the listing signed, then when the property wasn’t sold after a few months, they’d tell the sellers that the market had changed.
I actually overheard one agent telling a buyer “They’ve listed it at X, but I know I can get them to sell it to you for Y.” He did manage to smooth-talk a lot of people before he finally moved away for good.
Of course, buyers – especially those coming in from other parts of the country – didn’t know market values either. So unless they talked with a few agents and saw several properties, they were likely to over-pay. Some of his listing clients got lucky.
Today you’d think "buying listings" would be a thing of the past, but it’s not.
There are still agents pulling that scam – or trying to.
What happened in Florida not too long ago is a prime example. In this case, the unscrupulous agent will take a hit to his reputation.
I know about this one because an agent I write for got caught in the middle.
An agent I’ll call Tom (not his name) was competing for a condo listing. It had previously been listed at $1.75 million but had not sold. Tom tried to buy the listing by telling the woman that he could get it sold for $1.8 M.
But instead she listed with my client at 1.75 – with the understanding that if it hadn’t sold within 30 days, she’d drop to $1.69 million.
That happened. Some other year this might have sold quickly. It IS a nice condo. But COVID has put a bit of a damper on Million-dollar + sales in that community.
Then along comes agent Tom with an offer – for $1.5 million. As you might guess, the seller was upset and the offer went nowhere. The last I heard, Tom had contacted my client to say that he was sure he could get his buyers up to 1.6 if she could just talk the seller down.
Meanwhile, when my client mentioned Tom’s name to this seller, she got a hiss and a snarl.
Gee, what do you suppose that lady is saying about Tom to anyone who’ll listen?
Image courtesy of africa at FreeDigitalPhotos.net