Is the listing agent lying? Ever caught the listing agent lying?

28 Replies

This is hard game to play. 

The listing agent says there's an offer on the table. Then says it's pretty close to ask. No contingencies. 2 weeks to close. All cash.

I think for some reason her and the owner are lying to me. At first she said it's close to ask. And now she says it's at asking... 

Ever caught the listing agent lying? Any tips to figure it out? 

Originally posted by @Steve Candor :

This is hard game to play. 

The listing agent says there's an offer on the table. Then says it's pretty close to ask. No contingencies. 2 weeks to close. All cash.

I think for some reason her and the owner are lying to me. At first she said it's close to ask. And now she says it's at asking... 

Ever caught the listing agent lying? Any tips to figure it out? 

Why not find out the actual amount of the offer? Its the only way to know how close if at all.



Just make your highest & best offer then see were it goes. They could be lying they could not be lying. 

Had an agent list a property with a pond on it once, come to find out the pond was the neighbors, "but they don't mind if we use it." What a joke... Funny thing is, the neighbors that "didn't mind" had a barbed wire fence put up and no trespassing signs between the two properties. Guess they cared after all. ;-) 

I'm not aware of dealing with anything like what you're describing, although I just assume they are. Agents make their money off of the sale price of the property, it stands to reason they might stretch the truth in order to boost their income. Sellers and buyers lie too... Trust but verify is a good rule of thumb to live by. Shouldn't really matter though, run the numbers, decide what the offer is and leave it at that. Don't get emotional, ultimately its just a piece of dirt and there are a lot more.

Originally posted by @Steve Candor :

This is hard game to play. 

Ever caught the listing agent lying?

Only if his lips were moving!

@Zach Davis  

 haha... that's hilarious. Very similar to a place on stayed at the beach. They had a brochure and in it had tennis courts and an awesome pool. The picture on the front was part of the property and the backyard of the other property. 

So no access just "views" of the pool and tennis court. 

Poker Good news for you though...,.your highest and best should have nothing to do with it

This is one thing that I dislike about investing in Real Estate. Everything seems to be a big secret. I too have had that "other offers" line given to me, but why can't we be told EXACTLY what the other offers are?

Why do we have to give out "highest and best?" (What would be highest and worst, anyway?) Why can't the seller just give us the "lowest and best?"

@Steve Candor  

Yes, a lot of times.

The other day I went and looked at a house that had been on the market for over 90 days and the day I am looking at the property, the listing agent tells us that there is another very strong cash offer on the table and this agent is notorious for pulling these kind of stunts. So I told my agent to give this message to the listing agent:

"My buyer has decided to get out of the way of the other offer and congratulates the seller for getting a fantastic offer and wishes him best for a fast closing"

We get a call couple of hours later that the other offer didn't work out and the property was still available if we were interested.

I agree with Account Closed that make your offer based on your numbers and not because of some false competition.

@Sharad M.  awesome, catch on that.  

Account Closed I don't want to give them my best. I want to be a cheap bastard.  Guess I'll just have to lose a couple to win some great ones. 

Yeah Sharad your response was funny.......... : ) We have to do similar things sometimes in commercial.

Sometimes the seller really has a buyer and sometimes they do not or the offer isn't as great as they say it is.

Sometimes If you found out the seller was lying or misrepresenting they won't own up to it and will just leave the property on the market hoping another buyer comes along and buys the bait.

There are case where they really do have a strong buyer. I grill them usually to see what I can get out of them.

I ask things like.

Is it a partnership?? Is it a syndicate?? Is the other buyer local, out of state, overseas ?? Does the buyer have all cash?? Is the buyer subject to a 1031?? If so do they have the upleg and the downleg to complete or now have the funds to place?? Has the buyer bought this type of property before??

I keep asking questions to see the dynamics of the buyer. If my buyer is local I will play on that. If my buyer isn't a group or a syndicate that has to do a raise I will play on the uncertainty of the deal closing etc. because it is more complex versus my buyer that is a known commodity.

@Joel Owens  I agree that sometimes there could be an actual offer on the property, so I wouldn't try that on a property that just hit the market. It was knowing the listing agent and the property.

Here's another one that I just got under contract. The property was listed for $159k and the bank did a drop of $60k to $99k (Comps are around $180k-$185k.). I offered $100k cash and quick closing fully expecting to be in multiple offers situation. The listing agent came back and said the seller has verbally accepted another offer. I told my agent that to let the listing agent know that it wasn't fair to not get the opportunity for highest and best offer. The listing agent came back and said that the seller will consider our offer and we went to $105k cash and quick close. The seller came back to see if we would do 10% down, which we agreed to and got the deal under contract. 

I wouldn't have done this with a property if it had been on the market for 90+ days and was overpriced, but this was a good deal at the new asking price.

I once had a property listed in a neighborhood for over a year. Then I got two offers on it in the same day. The buyers didn't believe me, and I am not allowed to disclose the terms of the offers to each other by law. It happens. 

I have no idea if this agent is lying or not. If you really want the house, just give them your best offer. It does not have to be any more than your original offer.  @Scott Weaner  highest and best offer means highest price and best terms. Price is only one facet of the offer. You can make it better than other offers by offering a quick close, no contingencies, waiving inspections, etc. 

If you would rather not compete with others, just withdraw your offer. If there really isn't another offer on the table you are likely to get the response @Sharad M.  did. 

I had the listing agent tell me that there were multiple offers and that they were going to give us all a chance to submit our best offers.  So, i got a little over excited since I was tired of looking for a place to live and probably offered more than the property was worth.  I won the "auction" and then the appraisal came in slightly lower that the original listing price, so the seller lowered the price to the appraisal amount.   

What is the purpose of a law that doesn't allow disclosure of the details of another offer? Being new at this, it seems illogical from both the seller's and buyer's perspective.

If you're the current highest offer on a property, do you want the listing agent "shopping it" to the other lower offers, by revealing your number, to get $1000 more?

I've been at many properties where the ads stated one thing and actual was something else.

  • Listing: "4 actual bedrooms"
  • Reality:  3 bedrooms + a very small extra room (it could be a bedroom if you were a cat)
  • Listing: "Needs some TLC"
  • Reality: Needs a complete gut job
  • Listing: "Freshly painted"
  • Reality: Where?
  • Listing: "Newer carpeting"
  • Reality: "Newer" means like 10 years ago?
  • Listing: "Some work needed in the bathroom"
  • Reality: There is no bathroom. There is a room with plumbing hookups where a bathroom used to be at one time.
  • Listing: "awaits your finishing touches"
  • Reality: Upper level is okay, tons of mold in the basement

Agents are the ever optimist when penning a listing and use almost as much cliché & spin as a political speech writer.   There's an agent here who {over} uses the phrase "awaiting your decorating touches", which translates into "the shag carpet may be gone, but the appliances are still harvest gold and nothing else has been touched since 1978".  The ask is usually 20% over reasonable.   We have an in-house saying that you only look at her listings once they are 90-days old.

As for the negotiating tactic of stating they have other offers on the table, my response is invariably: "Now you have one more and I trust the vendor will chose the one which works best for them."

tell them to black out the offer price, name of the buyer but to show you a signed offer that is still open. Although you can't see a price you will see that there is a actual offer still on the table.

@Jeremy Davis  has the right idea. Buyers definitely get played.  If it's acceptable practice in your area you can give them an offer and include an escalation clause (saying you'll beat other offers up to a maximum amount) as long as proof of the other offer amounts is provided (contracts with blacked out identifying info).  Or you can call their bluff, offer what you want to offer and be willing to walk away if you don't get the right price.  Don't offer higher than your spreadsheet says you should because you got caught up in the "gotta win" game. There will be another deal.

"I have another offer and need your highest and best" is probable the most frequently used lie of any agent today.

Someone I know had an offer in on a REO, it was over 25% below the list, they came back wanting 'highest and best' because of 'multiple offers',,he stayed with his original offer,,,,he told me he would never trust another agent saying they had multiple offers again.

Now the funny part, he was a real estate broker that owned a Century 21 office for over 30 years and had recently sold it to spend less time working, if anyone knows agents, he does

It doesn't matter what listing brokers/agents are supposed to disclose etc. I have found talking to them on the phone they will say all kinds of information to try and do a deal.

I just listen and let them spill all the beans.

If it's a better broker/agent then at first they might be tight lipped. Then I try to ask the same thing but in a slightly different way and half the time they give up some info. It's rare but sometimes you just can't get much out of them.

You have to put your best foot forward and then let them make a move if they are bluffing.  

The best is always to deal with the listing agent directly,double comission

Most of the time you get the house

There are also  agents that "show you" fake offers

@Scott Weaner  A realtor has duties either to both parties or one party. If its the listing broker it would be against the law for him to tell you the offer. Think if you have an offer and the agent told me so I trumped it by one dollar. You would be pissed, and would have an ethics complaint if you followed thru. 

Not to say that agents are ethical I once had an agent use my accepted offer, to trump it and personally buy the property, and yes ethics complaints were filed. Find an agent you trust and use him as your buying agent then he is representing your best interest at all times, and you should TRUST him/or her.

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