Listing Agent Lies...Pants of Many to Catch Fire Soon

Written by Posted On Monday, 23 September 2013 13:40

Now that the real estate slump has been declared over by Washington, it’s a good time to refresh ourselves with “agent speak”. Are some listing agents lying, stretching or just dumb? If even a fraction of listings existed as represented, buyer nirvana would be found. Puffery and exaggeration are the norm of course, fortunately most buyers understand that. But the problem of real estate agents exaggerating or blatantly misrepresenting a home has and continues to cause problems.

Here’s a quick tip sheet (by no means complete - please feel free to add) to help cut through the nonsense:

Convenient to airport / train / highway – the house is adjacent to them or under the flight path; you’ll get used to the windows rattling; think of the noise as white noise; many buyers love planes, trains and automobiles

Walk to shopping / restaurants / entertainment
– hop your fence into their parking lots; you can charge good money for over flow parking; no DUI concerns for the owner of this home

Occasional views of mountains / water / city - like when the leaves are off; trees are removed; twice a month when the smog blows out; with a telescope; from the roof

Unobstructed water views – until they build next door; since the water is now in your yard; until the next storm when the view will be from the water; as long as you don’t mind the flood insurance premium

Private natural back yard – because it’s a ravine; borders a detention pond; backs to a highway; is a garbage dump

Updated – painted…a room…10 years ago; with scratch and dent items; by the husband that took the 2 hour tile class at Home Depot; with outdated material; define updated?

Updated/renovated/remodeled kitchen and baths – see “updated”; new cabinet pulls; replaced a broken appliance; new faucet or shower head

New, like new – not new, usually a few years old

Brand new / just installed – usually less than a year or two old atlanta real estate agent

Pristine, immaculate, to die for - used

Cute, cozy, quaint, comfortable – small and cramped

Eclectic, edgy, rustic – think from bar décor to college dorm

Excellent - OK

Average – poor

Fair – not operational

Poor - vacant lot

Needs TLC - tons of liquid cash

Waiting for your touch – if you’re a contractor with lots of time and money, or maybe an arsonist

Handyman Special – money pit, don’t even think about it unless you have money, time and skills

Cash only – should be obvious

And this list merely scratches the surface…this video is pretty funny and does a fantastic job of illustrating this issue Misleading information in listings serves no one well, yet many agents are notoriously consistent with misrepresenting the facts. In many cases, a reader would have to conclude that some of this is purposeful; there are things that are simply not subjective. Omissions are just as bad; if issues exist why not make that known if for no other reason out of respect for other agents and their time? Not to mention your seller? Buyers will see the power lines, rotted wood, worn carpet and chronic leak in the laundry – and if they don’t their inspector will….and coincidentally, so will the appraiser.

Puffery, exaggerations and misleading information are completely counterproductive but won’t likely stop anytime soon. A case can be made that this kind on nonsense violates several Realtor and agent conduct mandates. Agents should take a second to consider the consequences of this; not only to their seller, other agents but to their reputation in their market. It’s fine to shine an apple with worm holes or bruises but keep in mind that in the end, accurately portraying a home often results in buyers with the most realistic expectations…and that usually results in a better experience for the seller.

Hank Miller
Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser
Atlanta Communities


Rate this item
(0 votes)
Hank Miller, SRA

Hank Miller is an Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser in the north metro Atlanta area. Since 1989, real estate has been his full time profession. Hank´s clients benefit from his appraisal and sales experience; they act upon data, not baseless opinions. He is an outspoken critic of the lax standards in the agent community.

Hank remains an active certified appraiser and completes specialty work for FNMA, lenders and attorneys. He is a well-known blogger and continues to guest write for multiple industry publications as well as national outlets like the WSJ, NYT, RE Magazine, USA Today and others. He is a regular on public Q&A sites on Zillow, Trulia and many others.

Hank consistently ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the metro Atlanta area. He runs the Hank Miller Team and is known as much for his ability as he is for his opinions. He is especially outspoken about the lack of professional standards and expectations in the real estate industry.

Agent Resource

Limited time offer - 50% off - click here

Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.