Would a real estate agent lie to you?

A friend of mine shopping for house in New Canaan says that his agent there claims all is rosy, there are 80 houses under contract and prices are higher than last year. Well … gee.

I don’t have immediate access to New Canaan contract statistics but this William Raveis link has some pretty up-to-date numbers and they make me think that my friend’s agent is either uninformed, a complete liar or more likely, both. According to Raveis, 15 single family homes in New Canaan sold in July, compared to 16 for the entire month of June,  leaving 320 in inventory. If 80 of those remaining homes are under contract, I’ll eat their front doors. The sales to (last) listing price average has been dropping for the past two years and inventory is trending up. The disappointing thing about this is that the lady in question purports to be representing my friend. I do wonder what she considers she’s doing to earn her fee?


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12 responses to “Would a real estate agent lie to you?

  1. anonymous

    Doesn’t your pal read your blog? Does he imagine NC is some “special”, dramatically more recession-resistant place than relatively working-class Greenwich?

    Am more astounded by prospective buyers who fail to correctly judge quality of advice (and character of advisor), let alone widely-publicized market/economic conditions

    • christopherfountain

      The trouble is, Anon, some of these people are charming rogues – think Walter Noel, only younger, in a dress and without that eyebrow thing going on. People want to trust others – or I do, anyway, because it’s just a drag going through life thinking I’m being lied to and cheated from, and bad guys of both sexes take advantage of that. They always have. See Noel, Walter, eg.

  2. anonymous

    Guess one becomes fairly jaded early in life (if not born that way) working in one of world’s most cynical industries, finance, where one assumes everyone (in any industry) is a moron and/or liar until proven otherwise

    But I appreciate your point, CF; finance tends to have far more young curmudgeons (though clearly not enough of ’em at some IBs no longer with us) than many other industries, and we often forget that rest of world is rather trusting of others (and never bothers verifying)

  3. PoeticJustic

    Have the New Cannan realtors started photoshoping in scenes of LI waterfront and large yachts like the “O-I-Lied-A” manero’s condo did? Maybe Tamar can give lessons in creative advertising to them??

  4. Walt

    Dude –
    Thanks for calling me charming. Monica certainly digs me!! The Filly’s too!!
    And I had no idea you had friends. A bit surprised, yes, but I am happy for you. Are they deaf, dumb and blind?
    And I didn’t know you wore a dress. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Is that a sales gimic?
    Anyway, I know you aspire yourself a writer. Thats ok. I always wanted to be Mickey Mantle. But using “real estate agent” and “lie” in the same sentence is redundant and unnecessary. It’s a given, and presumed by the reader. It’s like writing “The Pope, who is Catholic…” Got it? Check with Fake Walt/Hiram/copy boy. Even he will agree with me on this one.
    So thanks for the kind words!!!
    Your Pal,

  5. kidding really?

    A friend is moving to Greenwich and a few months ago his first broker after he bid on a house 20% below the ask (actually a fair price and not a crazy low ball offer) had the balls to say to him “There is another bid higher than you and you should raise your bid” He held his bid for a week and bought another house with a different broker. That first house is still on the market and the first broker…. well he lost a commission and client.

    Most brokers I speak with still think Greenwich real estate is “a buyers market and a great time to buy”.
    Same old bullshit.

  6. Anonymous

    I trust no one. That’s my trouble. I go through life, speaking to people everyday. Every word they utter is a lie until I analyse their motives and evaluate the possibility of them actually telling the truth.

    My father is, and was always, the biggest liar in all aspects of his life. It’s hard to trust, when the person who should be your greatest influence in life, teaches disbelief.

    I can’t say that I have ever been conned in a major way. If I have, it would have been because I was happy to take the risk and the consequences were not going to be great, on balance.

    When my husband and I were 18 years we nearly bought a car in two parts, a ringer. When the money was physically in our hands, in cash, realisation set in, that all might not be well. A police check elucidated the facts.
    That experience was probably one of the greatest learning episodes.

    If you are about to pay one million dollars for anything, the best way to ensure that it is a great decision, is to hold that money in your hands.
    No one will then, be able to tell you that it is a buyers market, when in fact, it’s the sellers scarpering for their lives. Definition : to cut and run.

    It is a drag going through life, with such a dismal outlook, but I believe that I am able to teach my children these realities, without them having to experience them in the way that my father taught me.
    Being sceptical is a life skill. I don’t think maturity is reached before you learn to determine honesty.

    • christopherfountain

      I don’t know, anon, that sounds like a dreary, oppressive way to live. I agree with you that with maturity comes, we hope, the ability to weed out the obvious posers, but to trust no one wouldn’t work for me. I tend to trust almost everyone initially, listening perhaps for false tones, but giving them the benefit of the doubt. If they lie to me, just once, they’re gone (well, I had to make exceptions for my children when they were small but we certainy had loving discussions on the importanceof honesty).
      So I’d had a few bad experiences with fellow lawyers, my own accountant, and others, but in my wanderings through life I’d bet 95% of the people I’ve encounterd are pretty honest. I’d rather be fooled by the bad 5% than distrust them all.
      But that’s just a difference in temperment and philosophy – can’t disagree with your caution but I wouldn’t want to practice it personally.,

  7. concerned

    what do you get to live in NC?

    my point exactly…NEXT!

  8. Wally

    Wow – that’s quite a world view. I cannot imagine that living like that can make anyone happy. I think that negativity attracts more negativity, and that a positive attitude attracts success. I know that there are charlatans our there, so it is helpful to remember the words of one of our great presidents – trust but verify.

  9. Im so sorry all of you have had such poor experience with Realtors.I have no doubt that the one your friend ran into was either brand new or completely uninformed about the marketplace. No one,realtor or otherwise, who has read a newspaper in the past year would suggest that there are markets that are unaffected by all that has gone on. New Canaan and Darien have been slow to the party but Lehman Brothers took care of that. Since then the market slowed to nearly a stop. In recent months however there has been an uptick in sales mostly in the $700K-$1.5K range but still at levels 40% below last year which was 50% lower than the year before! We’re pricing at 2004 levels and in some cases even lower. However, this all does make it a great time to buy!
    And thats the REAL story.

  10. Desperate times…… people need to stop taking advantage of others in need!

    I know some agents DO lie to their clients about possible “higher offers” it raises their comissions so why wouldn’t they? Horrible way to be, but it happens in every comission based business!

    Honestly, where are the ethics????

    I recently worked with a client who’s house was on the market for 13 months (ouch!) with no possibilities of an offer.

    Their agent told them to do nothing to sell their house and it would “sell itself” hmmmmm if that’s not a lie then I don’t know! Houses do not sell themselves, if they did, owners wouldn’t need an agent!

    The owners stopped listening to their agent and did finally do something and sold their house in less than 21 days….

    Agents often do tell lies as do alot of other people in business who want to make some bucks off the backs of hardworking individuals who aren’t experts in those fields and rely on the knowledge of the people they hire to guide them.

    Sad really but it happens. Not a good way to keep yourself in business, bad word of mouth spreads very quickly especially when it comes to the cons out there trying to take your money 😦