How selling agents can influence you and make you pay more than you should

Wednesday, 5th Mar 2014


Part of the role of a selling agent is to handle enquiries and manage buyers on behalf of the seller.

The problem is that sometimes buyers forget that selling agents aren’t on their side because they are being so helpful. This misplaced trust can lead the buyer into paying more than they should. I’ve heard of cases where buyers have paid $30,000 more than was necessary to secure a property.  Great for the seller but not so good for the buyer.

It might sound obvious to some, but selling agents represent sellers. They are legally obliged to act in the best interest of their client, the one paying for the service.  Of course, when you are selling you expect the selling agent to represent your interests.

Many agents are highly trained and know how to influence buyers with subtle tactics of the trade. Here are some of the strategies used by selling agents to steer buyers in a direction that favours the seller.

Act now!

Selling agents are masters when it comes to creating a sense of urgency. They know that people will make faster decisions when a deadline is looming and that the less time you have to make a decision the less opportunity you have to think about it.

A classic ‘deadline scenario’ used by selling agents involves encouraging early-bird buyers (probably from their database) to make an offer or increase an existing offer before the property hits the market or before the first home open. Fearing they will lose out to another buyer, these buyers often oblige.  In some cases, it may make sense to get in early, but make sure you aren’t being influenced against your better judgement.

Lots of potential competition

Smart selling agents know that to secure the highest possible price for a property they need multiple buyers to compete for the same property. Sometimes, a property naturally attracts a number of genuine buyers who are prepared to compete.

How does a selling agent generate competition? It may simply involve organising multiple viewings at the same time to show potential buyers how ‘sought-after’ the property is. When you notice other buyers hovering around a property, you’re more inclined to move quickly to snap it up.

Luring you in

Selling agents know that potential buyers are more likely to fall in love with a property when they see it in person. This is why they will go to great lengths to get buyers to a property.

Ever visited a property and were surprised when rooms were far smaller than they seemed in the photos? Put this down to ‘clever’ photographic techniques.

Remember, the best ally a buyer can have is a buyer’s agent, who has experience working with selling agents and is focused on protecting the interests of the buyer.