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6 Misleading Claims Property Agents Often Make That Savvy Buyers Are Aware Of

Posted by Jayson Ang on March 15, 2024
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Alright, let’s talk real estate agents. The majority are straight shooters because they’ve got a lot riding on their license. But then there are some who might feed you dodgy info, whether that’s due to lack of knowledge or just plain untruth.

It’s important to remember that not all agents are cut from the same cloth, and with such a tight-knit community, false info can spread like wildfire.

Once in a blue moon, you might even run into an agent who’s more than happy to bend the truth a bit too far. So, whenever you hear the following things, give them a good grilling:

1. There Are Other Interested Buyers

The ‘we’ve got other buyers interested’ line is a tried-and-true technique in the property game. It’s like a nudge to get people to make up their minds faster or cough up more cash. Yes, it’s a bit sneaky, but it’s just preying on that fear of missing out we all have.

Now, agents who work for the guys selling or renting out properties might say they’ve got buyers or renters ready and waiting. It’s a cool way to make the place seem popular, and it also makes the agent look good. Sometimes it’s legit, but often it’s just a way to convince the owner that the agent’s doing a top job and earn their paycheck. Some savvy owners will ask for proof, but even that can be faked and it’s tricky to know if it’s the real deal.

So how do you avoid getting played?

Well, one trick is to check out the agent’s other listings. Don’t just go by the number though, because sometimes they might just be listing anything and everything (even if it costs them more). Instead, look at each individual listing. If they’re the only one advertising it, it could mean they have a knack for working with sellers or landlords.

2. The Agents Of Super-Undervalue Listings Don’t Want To Disclose Too Much Information

On occasion, you might come across a property price that’s unusually low, maybe even 20 to 30 per cent less than the local average. When you try to dig into it, though, you find out it’s no longer on the market. If you push for details from the agent, like who bought it or why it was such a steal, you often get the runaround with excuses about the sellers being “very private” and not wanting to share extra info.

(By the way, if you’re curious, this doesn’t just happen to regular folks, even us realtors get jerked around when trying to follow up on these too-good-to-be-true deals.)

In cases like these, the listing is probably a hoax. It’s likely the realtor put it up just to reel in potential buyers (who they then direct to other properties), or to gauge how the market reacts to different price ranges. This kind of switcheroo isn’t kosher on property sites, but these platforms aren’t doing much to stomp out these phony listings. There was talk of assigning each property a unique serial number before it could be listed online to combat this issue, but so far that’s all it’s been – talk.

If a realtor is okay with this level of dishonesty, you might want to think twice about whether you really want to do business with them.

3. This Is The Cheapest Property In The Vicinity

We’ve noticed this scene play out multiple times – sales reps insisting their real estate deal is the most budget-friendly.

But here’s the kicker about price per square foot (psf) – it’s a tricky beast. The larger the space, the more it drops. Take, for instance, Midtown Bay condos. A two-bedroom unit might be priced around $3,300 psf, while a single bedroom unit could go for $3,590 psf. And remember, those are just asking prices, not the final deal.

So, comparing psf can get a little skewed when you’re looking at spaces of different sizes. It only really makes sense when you’re comparing apples to apples – like units of the same size, a floor apart in the same building.

Sometimes, it’s helpful as a ballpark figure to get an idea of the overall cost of a whole project or neighborhood. But be cautious if you’re comparing two specific units – the one with the lower psf may end up costing you more in the long run.

For example, a 470 sq. ft. unit at $3,000 psf would set you back about $1.4 million, but a 1,400 sq. ft. unit at $2,000 psf would ring in at $2.8 million.

So, when someone tells you low psf means “value,” take it with a grain of salt, especially if the units you’re comparing are like apples and oranges.

4. We Have Already Gathered A Large Number Of Cheques

At new condo launches, it’s not uncommon to hear about the rush to secure units, creating a seeming sense of urgency. You might observe folks dropping down deposits, lending an air of authenticity to the agent’s claims. However, don’t be deceived. The collection of checks doesn’t equate to sold units. Remember, there’s always a chance for buyers to pull out, resulting in returned units.

Moreover, there can be a play on numbers to project an illusion of scarcity. For example, you might be informed that merely 10% of the units remain. But this could refer to 10% of the units that were available at the launch, not 10% of the entire unsold stock. Developers might not release every unit during the initial launch phase. They might just make 300 out of the first 800+ units available.

Such strategies also help developers cut a fine figure in media reports, enabling them to boast higher percentages of sold units during the launch weekend.

Most importantly, don’t let yourself be pushed into making a deposit before addressing other crucial matters, like securing the most affordable bank loan.

5. I Have Expertise In This Specific Type Of Property

We get it, every real estate broker has to begin their journey somewhere. But let’s be honest, there’s a world of difference between wanting to specialize in a specific market segment and actually having a track record in it.

Several brokers, even rookies, set their sights on high-end real estate like posh houses and luxury apartments. They may justify their supposed ‘expertise’ by attending numerous real estate-specific training sessions – and we have to give it to some who’ve really done their research thoroughly.

However, until the broker has completed multiple deals in that particular property type, claiming expertise might be pushing it a bit. Certain aspects can’t be mastered merely through academic knowledge, like perfectly matching a buyer to a specific neighborhood’s vibe, or having a solid network of contacts.

Fortunately, these days, the Council for Estate Agencies has made it easy to verify such claims. It’s possible to look up a broker’s previous deals online to see if they’ve got the relevant experience.

Just a side note – neighborhoods can have distinct lifestyle and community characteristics. For instance, living in the Opera estate isn’t the same as living in Cairnhill or the Changi enclaves.

6. This Market Moves Swiftly, Please Take Prompt Action

The quote ‘Hey, the market’s moving at lightning speed, so you better make a move fast!’ is a well-worn line used by some real estate agents. It’s their way of nudging potential buyers to decide on the fly, often with the veiled threat that they might miss out on a sweet deal if they drag their feet. Sure, some markets or times do see properties selling like hotcakes, but this isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation.

Take for example, there have been instances in recent years where houses were selling like candy at a kid’s party, but not every property joined this speedy sell-off. The real estate scene is complex and swings wildly based on a bunch of things like where it is, what kind of property it is, and how the market’s doing. Just look at the latest property launches – while some spots like J’den were snapped up in no time thanks to high demand or cool features, others like TMW Maxwell or The Myst didn’t get the same quick-fire response.

This difference can be seen in the swanky property market too. Some high-end pads like Perfect Ten have sold pretty fast, maybe because they’ve got something special about them or the market’s looking good. But then, places like Klimt Cairnhill have seen a slower pace of sales, showing that the ‘market’s moving fast’ story isn’t a blanket rule.

Should You Buy, Sell or Wait?

If you’re reading this, you must be trying to figure out the best course of action right now: is it the right time to buy or sell?

It’s difficult to give an exact answer since everyone’s situation is unique and what works for one person may not necessarily work for you.

I can bring you a wealth of on-the-ground experience and a data-driven approach to provide clarity and direction. From beginners to experienced investors, our top-down, objective approach will help you on your real estate journey.

I can help you by:

  1. Offering Strategic Real Estate Advice – I can help create a comprehensive plan to guide you through your property journey.
  2. Connecting Your Home with the Perfect Buyers – Through stunning visuals, an effective communication strategy, and an in-depth knowledge of the market, we’ll ensure your home is presented in the best possible way to fulfill your goals.

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