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Common Lies Real Estate Agents Tell Buyers

By: Ciele Edward 

While it isn't necessary to hire a real estate agent when you begin your home shopping adventure, unless you have extensive experience in contract law and don't mind making appointments with a myriad of listing agents to view properties, its probably a smart move. Unfortunately, your real estate agent's motivation to sell you a new home goes beyond merely making you and your family happy. Watch out for common lies real estate agents tell to avoid purchasing a home that doesn't suit your needs.

1. It's a Good School District

One concern that many individuals share when shopping for a new home is the quality of the local schools. Real estate agents know that the school district a home is zoned into can make or break a home sale. The quicker you choose a home, the more quickly your buyer's agent gets paid. Thus, your agent may be motivated to inform you that a particular house is zoned into a quality school district when, in fact, it is not.

Unless a real estate agent has children of her own enrolled in the same district's schools, she may know very little about the quality of education available in a given area. Your real estate agent is unlikely to admit her ignorance about the area's schools. If you ask, your Agents will almost certainly tell you that the school district is wonderful or even the best in the city. Even more sinister are the buyer's agents who will tell you that a home is zoned into a particular school district when its actually zoned elsewhere. Your real estate agent doesn't see this as lying, she sees it as merely a way to seal the deal.

If the school district you move into is of any concern to you, check the information for yourself. Call the city's board of education to double-check the zoning areas before you buy. If you're aware of the district but have reservations about the quality of education available, numerous school review websites exist that can give you honest assessments from parents and teachers in addition to statistics about each school to assist you in making your decision.

2. Signing a Buying Contract Is Standard Procedure

If your buyer's agent asks you to sign a contract, beware! By signing a contract, you can't simply walk away and find a new real estate agent if the one you initially chose doesn't suit your needs. When you sign a contract, you give the buyer's agent the right to claim the commission for any home you purchase during the specified time frame. If you decide to purchase a home using another real estate agent while the contract is still in effect, whichever agent doesn't recover commission from the sale may have a legal claim against you.

Asking a home buyer to sign a contract is beneficial to a real estate agent since it guarantees commission if the buyer purchases a home while the contract is in effect. It is not, however, standard procedure. A good buyer's agent wants you to have the best representation possible. At times, this may mean selecting a different REALTOR® or striking out on your own--something a contract doesn't allow. If a buyer's agent asks you to sign a contract before you can view homes, consider finding another Agent.

3. There Are Other Bidders

Very little is as refreshing as finding the perfect home at the right price. When you talk to your real estate agent about submitting an offer, however, don't be surprised to hear that there are other bidders on the home.

In some cases, a home lands on the real estate market at an irresistible price. This can result in multiple individuals submitting bids on the home within the same time frame. The seller may then evaluate the bids and choose who to sell the home to. The winner is almost always the individual with the highest bid.

For a real estate agent, a bidding war is a great way to boost commission. By telling you that another buyer is interested in the same home you're interested in, your agent ensures that you'll bid the maximum amount you can afford in order to win the right to purchase the home.

Before you restructure your budget and offer the seller the asking price on the home--or even more--stop to consider how long the property has been available. If a home has been on the market for several months and has yet to sell, its unlikely that a bidding war is imminent. If you're still unsure, have a friend call the listing agent and ask about the home. If the listing agent doesn't mention any bids on the property, your buyer's agent may be telling you a lie.

Don't automatically assume that simply because buyer's agents work on commission that they are all dishonest. Most real estate agents genuinely want to help their clients find a home they'll be happy with. It is wise, however, to always verify the information your REALTOR®gives you before you close a home sale. This protects you in the event that your real estate agent makes a mistake--or attempts to fool you into making one.