Without question a new game is emerging in Australia as real estate agents try to cling on for their lives. The gap has widened between successful agents and those that are struggling to survive. This is fueling the need for some agents to call vendors and claim they have a buyer for their home – the truth is they don’t, never did and are unlikely to ever have given their desperation.
So the “fake buyer” has emerged as the new weapon of choice for real estate agents who are trying to get a listing off another agent or at least “get in the door” to see a potential vendor. Does it sound at all familiar to you? I have no doubt that many people reading this article have experienced this at some point and the reality is that it will get worse before it gets better.
Christine Watson and I sold a wonderful home in Sunshine Beach, Noosa in Queensland this week and it was a great sale and just 10 days after auction. Given that the luxury market has been quiet we were thrilled with the result and so was the vendor but the story wouldn’t be complete without a “fake buyer”.
A local, suburban agent In Sunshine Beach called the vendor claiming to have a buyer for the home. He wanted access to the property and wanted to by-pass our agency. He was told to contact our agency and pass the buyer onto us for a fee. When he spoke with Christine Watson from our office he told her that his buyers could only see the property the very next day and then they were returning home – outside the State.
Do you think that they purchased the home? The answer is no. They didn’t even come to the home and it was a cheap attempt to “get in the door” to take the listing from our agency. Within a day of his call the home was sold to a buyer who we had been talking with throughout the sale and his “fake buyer” had disappeared – never making any contact with our agency.
Agents really need to get real when claiming that they have a buyer for a home that will only deal with them. When I have bought property I have looked for the home that best suited me. I haven’t cared who the agent was that sold me the home because I was buying the home not the agent. If I wanted to purchase a property I would search the internet and make a short list of homes to view and even if I didn’t like the agent selling the home I would have a look.
The whole concept of the “fake buyer” is as old as the hills. The amount that some agents are resorting to the practice is what is new and it is alarming to hear the same story again and again. I now tell vendors to expect calls from these charlatans and pre-warn them. The practice is being used extensively by agents to hold onto listings who are telling their vendors that buyers are there, maybe from overseas and the story of the “fake buyer” goes on.
If any of this sounds familiar then you really need to decide if you are being represented by the very best person or agency. Making the decision to appoint another agent might be the best thing you have done and if it were me I would do it immediately. If you haven’t encountered this problem as yet keep an eye out and beware of the “fake buyer”.