June 30, 2007

Let's list some of our favorite realtor swindles, tricks, frauds and cons

1) Pulling a listing off of the MLS and putting it right back on, to make it look like it's a fresh listing with zero days on market

2) Pulling a listing that sells below asking price and relisting it on day of close at selling price, to make it look like the market isn't crashing

3) Steering a sheeple to a certain mortgage broker because the realtor is getting an illegal under-the-table cash kickback (or hookers or cocaine) (hello IRS?)

4) Contracting work with an appraiser who "makes the numbers work" in return for the appraiser "making the numbers work"

5) Recommending the sheeple take out a toxic loan with a low payment so that the sheeple buys a higher priced home so the realtor makes a bigger commission

6) Working on against-the-law cash-back-at-close deals

7) Lying on mortgage applications and not reporting taxes due on their own investment properties

8) Being realtors in the first place

9) Accepting bribes (in the form of undisclosed commission bonuses) from builders or home sellers without declaring the bribe to the sheeple

10) Use photoshop to make a listing look nicer than it really is (who needs those pesky power lines?)

11) Using a straw buyer, inflate the price of a sale, get a bogus commission, then extract the cash difference between real price and sale price and take your dirty share

12) Intentionally make the property tough to show to other real estate clerks, so that the listing agent can find his own buyer (at an uncompetitive price) thus taking the full 6% and screwing the sheeple

What did I miss? And what kind of profession is it when it's so easy to list so many swindles?


EconE said...

Pocket Listings.

You forgot those.

Plenty of those I'm sure that are helping to make NAR reported inventory only "historically high" rather than "apocalyptically high".

I'd be willing to bet that there have never been as many of those that there are now.

Anonymous said...


The biggest fraud of them all which underwrote all this realtwhore fraud is coming undone!! YEAH!! And its going to make realtwhore fraud look like chump change!!

Anonymous said...

realtor.com now states that it searches over 3 million listings, when will they be correcting that tidbit and say they are searching over 4 million?

Anonymous said...

Hell this realtwhore agency states the use of "pocket listings" as one of their strong points? Do you think they might have one for the Orange dude from Countrywide? HAAAAAAAA!!!


What is a Pocket Listing?

"Pocket Listing"- this is real estate term used when an agent knows of a property that is not formally listed for sale.

Ever wonder how properties sell in one day or two days without ever seeing a for sale sign in the front yard?

This is how a pocket listing works; A realtor meets a potential seller by way of referral, through open houses, seminars or community meetings. these sellers could be on the fence whether to list their home formally or not. Successful realtors have quite a few people that just don't want to bother formally listing their property. Some are high-income clients, many Celebrities and professional athletes perfer not to list their homes. These clients look for realtors that have extensive experience in this area.

We at CalabasasRealEstate.com have the distinct advantage over other realtors when it comes to "pocket listings". we have "pocket listings" available for those who are serious about buying in the calabasas area.

to find out about several dream home opportunities that are not yet listed on the market. Call 818-884-1584 or Email us today at sold@calabasasrealestate.com

Anonymous said...


HeyManItsMe said...

#12 I hate the most!
oh man they mostly all do it!!!
F U Used Home Salesmen™!!!

Anonymous said...

To all those people who say Metro DC (or any other area) is different I give you this from the Washington Post:



Anonymous said...

I have a coworker who is having a problem. His wife works at WAMU. He says the refi's are up keepin em busy. Well, all the employees, (peons)were told that they were being investigated for mortgage fraud. I don't know who is commiting the fraud the company or the employees probably both. And second hand gossip always leaves out the most important word. But, someone in the company was going into personel files getting information on the employees that worked there and were buying houses with their credit, false loan apps, inflated incomes. As I write this my coworker is getting no sleep trying to figure out what to with the property he found out that his wife owned (that she knew nothing about, perhaps)that has gone into foreclosure. House bought 2005. First knowledge of existance 2007. Scanning the ole credit report once a year "0". What's up with the 90 days and your out so someone was making payments. Probably the renters who got a sheriff notice on the front door.
And I thought I had enemies on the job.
So now he has to hire an attorney to get himself out of this mess. A short sale or a forgiveness means you owe the IRS. Its the ole 1099 you find out about after you think you unloaded your property to a dummy and then you find out who real dummy is.
If they find out she had anything to do with it what so ever, she may get probation, a fine and roadside clean up.
Time off to work on her resume for a new job.
If they can wiggle out of it, of course by the hair of their chinny chin chin, just the money to the lawyer will be like a down payment on the house they didn't own. Should WAMU pay, hell it was one of thier finest that did this to their own employee.
If there is a way to screw your fellow man I'd say this is it. If I had know how much I could get for legally ripping people off and then slink like a black slime back to the hole from which I oozed I would have quit my good goverment job and became a loan agent. White collar crime seems to be more profitable that dealing with the underworld selling little baggies of marijauna on a street corner.
This whole thing is just a mess. I enjoy looking at it from the sideline hoping it doesn't affect me but I have checked my credit report just in case. I also bought my rice, flour, beans, coffee, sugar and water just in case just in case.

Polly Anna said...

Come on Keith – that is all crazy talk.

If realtors manipulated the databases, had undisclosed conflicts of interest, embellished the paperwork, or failed to do their very best on behalf of their clients, everyone would lose respect for them. And I don’t see how anyone could fault a Realtor for giving financial advice that did not work out -- they are not Financial Planers after all.

You missed steering prospective buyers to their pet home inspector so that nothing is uncovered to kill the deal.

Anonymous said...

How about cheerleading the market and giving bad advice even though they know it is crashing

Anonymous said...

NEW YORK, June 21 (Reuters) - NovaStar Financial Inc. (NFI.N: Quote, Profile , Research), a subprime mortgage lender seeking a buyer, said on Thursday its residential lending unit agreed to pay $5.1 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit accusing it of charging higher rates because of hidden fees it pays brokers.

The settlement removes a potential obstacle to a sale of NovaStar, an option the Kansas City, Missouri-based company said it was considering when it announced on April 11 that it would explore strategic alternatives.

In the settlement, NovaStar Mortgage Inc. agreed to includes $3.3 million to be paid to the roughly 1,600 class members, or just over $2,000 per person, plus $1.8 million for legal fees.

BJ and the bear said...

Telling home buyers that prices never go down.

Anonymous said...

I did a small housing tract a couple of years ago and only offered a 2% coop to brokers. I sold the properties myself without a realtor on my side and did fine.

They (realtors)would come by every week or so and try to get me to list with their firms. I said thanks but no thanks.

One day I asked a particularly persistent (but honest) guy " What is the opinion of my project and I with the local realtors out there".
He said most would steer their clients away from the project because of the low commission and my failure to participate in the system. Probably the only buyers you are/will get are ones that asked about the project and insisted the realtor take them by for a look.

I sold 85% of my properties with no realtors on either side of the transaction. I gave each of these buyers the 2% that would have gone to the broker so they were pretty happy with me. The other 15% I sold thru their realtor got nothing, plus they probably had to pay their realtor a finders fee.

Bottom line is you rarely if ever really need a realtor. A good real estate attorney (although I'm not fond of that crowd either)can do the legal work. All you need to do is a little homework. In the end you will save thousands on the purchase.

Anonymous said...

Laura Vella said: It's definitely not the worst, but number 10 has always bothered me. I have also seen a lot of greenry where there wasnt any - specifically large trees and green lawn to make the house look better. Very deceitful.

Payback is coming, and realtors will not like it.

Anonymous said...

Laura Vella said: To the People and sheeple reading this blog:

The (NAR) National Association of Realtors made-up slogans as marketing techniques to sell more homes.

Phrases Like:
Starter home
Getting on the property ladder
Dream House

These are buzz words were created to get people excited about housing-nothing more, nothing less.

Anyone falling for NAR lies will be very sorry, and probably already regret buying in this market.

clerks are jerks said...

Read the Wash Post article posted above. Pretty sad:

Bolivian immigrants Marcelo Ortega, a dump truck driver, and his wife, Jenny, who cleans houses, bought a brick-front Colonial in Herndon for $549,000 in February 2006. The payments are $4,200 a month, which grew unbearable as residential construction work slowed and Ortega's income dropped.

The couple tried to sell the house, but the value has fallen to $499,000, and they can't refinance without paying a steep prepayment penalty, something Ortega says they did not know or understand.

Their home is being advertised by the lender as a pending foreclosure.

"My wife loves this house," he said. "But we can't pay for this house. We need to find something less."

A$$holes like this helped to "price me out of the market forever" and "create a new paradigm".
30% down from from peak prices will be a good start.

Balanced View said...

I was looking at a property that I really liked this week. The realtor was supposed to be "mine" (e.g., not the seller's), kept encouraging me to raise my offer. She also kept asking me for my occupation and that of my wife's. I refused to provide because I knew they could raise the price if they knew my salary.

So the seller accepts my offer, and "my" agent then admits to Googling me an dmy wife to try to find out our occupations. Then, against my wishes, she sends a memo to the sellers that includes our occupations!

Exactly 24 hours later, my Realtor calls to tell me that, even though the sellers had accepted my offer, they have now changed their minds and gone with a different bidder. She also says that I might be able to get back in their good graces by....wait for it....raising my offer!!

F@ck them all......

Anonymous said...

Recommending buyers bid over the asking price to compete against other phantom bidders.

SeattleMoose said...

I love the relisting one...this is rampant up here in Seattle....they used to call it "carpet bagging".

Akin to not being able to sell a turd so you keep trying different shiny wrappers and crossing your fingers.

The RE "professionals" are being exposed for the shysters that they are. Yes, there are good ones but the whole infrastructure of the industry is "dirty". And whether you are a good person or not, if you play in dirt you get dirty....

wiserenter said...

A realt-whore who poses as a private seller. For example" You might see a "for sale" sign that appears to have been put there by the owner. Some may even say "by owner." Then when you call and/or meet, you come to find out it's a f***in' realt-whore.

This tactic is also commonly used by used car dealers. Scum!

Paul E. Math said...

My friends told me they are using a buyers agent because the agent can get them early access to special listings before they appear on the mls.

They are looking in the boston area in the under 500k range - so right around where most homes are listed.

Why in the world would a seller sell before the home even appeared on the mls? If they found a buyer that fast, wouldn't it occur to the seller that maybe they priced it too low and should wait and see the reaction to their listing on mls?

Early access to 'special listings' sounds like the kind of thing a realtor would say to justify charging someone for something they could easily do for themselves: a scam.

Dirt Bag Realtor said...

Steer deal toward a title/escrow company partially owned by our firm because we get money for that as well....

Sell home warranties that are worthless because we get money for that as well....

Fail to change status in MLS to pending one house goes into contract attempting to get a back up offer...

Change commission structure in MLS if we do not like the buyers agent...ex: they make a bad offer but we know buyer is already married to the house. Reject offer. Drop commission to 2% from 2.7% and wait for them to come back. I have done it hundreds of times. You should hear the buyers agent's screams.

We call that one the "cheeseburger grab"...was that your cheeseburger?
you did not need that .7% on $500,000 did you?

Use recording equipment in the house to hear their thoughts while viewing. This is a great one on high end deals when a lot of money is on the table..many times they will tell their agent what they would pay while inside the house.

My favorite is to hire an assistant who is new at the business. Since they only get paid on what closes, let them get a bunch of big listings from a developer and then can them prior to any closings...

Well, I have to go for a walk, but I will think of some more...

Anonymous said...

Balanced View said...

I was looking at a property that I really liked this week. The realtor was supposed to be "mine" (e.g., not the seller's), kept encouraging me to raise my offer. She also kept asking me for my occupation and that of my wife's. I refused to provide because I knew they could raise the price if they knew my salary.

So the seller accepts my offer, and "my" agent then admits to Googling me an dmy wife to try to find out our occupations. Then, against my wishes, she sends a memo to the sellers that includes our occupations!

Exactly 24 hours later, my Realtor calls to tell me that, even though the sellers had accepted my offer, they have now changed their minds and gone with a different bidder. She also says that I might be able to get back in their good graces by....wait for it....raising my offer!!

F@ck them all......

June 30, 2007 2:28 PM
Sue the bitch for breach of her fiduciary duty to you and file a complain with the state's RE board to get her license revoked. When she has to earn a living on her back like all the other whores. She had sweet commission for doing nothing, and she was greedy and wanted more so now she has to pay!!

Anonymous said...

How about this trick to get back at the Zillows and Case Shillers of the
world? A house near me sold with an empty buildable lot next door owned by the same seller. The lot should have sold for about $200K. What did it sell for?

$100 !!!

They added $200k to the price of other property. Now it looks like prices are going up in my town! The
house looks like it sold for 40% more than it should have.

Anonymous said...

You can no longer list a home in mls to misrepresent the days on the market. We have a field called "CDOM" Which means cumulative days on the market. A buyer can always tell how many days the home was on the market no matter how many times listed or by whom.


Anonymous said...

Hey, get real - Half of those items on the list relate to lenders, not real estate agents...

Some real estate agents use some of those tactics. For the most part, from my experience the majority of agents that have been in the business over 5 years avoid nrearly all of those tactics. It's the "real estate agents" who got in the biz the last couple of years looking to make a fast buck that have given the biz a bad name.

Important notes to your bullets:

0. never use a realtor/lendor. Realtors should be just working on the house, not the loan. Combining both creates conflicts of interest on the agent. This is a MAJOR red flag.

1. Have your agent do a property history search in their local MLS - that will tell you if the house has been "relisted" to make it look new. Actually if you have a good Realtor he/she should have already done that for you!

2. "real estate agents" don't do that to make the market look like it is not crashing - they do it to make themselves look good. If you see one doing that turn them in to tyour states DRE or areas board of realtors.

2. I reccomend 2 - 3 loan brokers to my clients and let them choose, or use their own. It is illegal to get any sort of a kickback or "gift" from a lender (see Real Estate Settlements and Procedures Act or RESPA). If a real estate agent does so they will not only lose their license but most likely go to jail and incur thousands in fees. I am not a fan of internet loan brokers because they have proven to be flaky. I have about 30-40 real estate transactions cross my desk every month and at least 40% of the problems with a deal not closing or not closing on time is an internet loan broker offering a great rate, but upping the loan fee, or just not caring about a close date. In the meantime buyers and sellers have moving trucks with engines running waiting outside their houses...

4. Again highly illegal. Bust em!

5. See point #2 above. Separate the loan from the Realtor and you avoid alot of this problem. I actually have a conversation with all of my clients after THEY get their own loan Set-up (not me) about what they can afford today, vs. what they want to afford. Many of my clients have bought less house that they could afford after our conversation because they don't want to be house poor or on the street.

6. This is LEGAL if the cash back is less than 5-6% of the purchase price, AND the cash back is to cover closing costs, none given back to the buyers. The downside - too much of this does artifically inflate housing prices by a few % on average. If the cash back is anything else, then it is loan fraud and the agent, the lender the buyer and the seller can be facing jail time and large financial penalties.

7. See number 6 above

8. That's like saying all HPers are A**holes because they read HP....

9. Again, highly Illegal. Don't bend over baby...

10. That is called misrepresentation. The buyer can sue for damages, the real estate agent will have their license revoked etc. if a complaint is filed.

11. Does not make sense. How does a real estate agent cash out the difference? Anyway if a real estate agent artifically inflated the price of a home that way it is called Felony Fraud. Come on Keith...

12. This can happen, but very rarely, and was most prevelent in the "boom" market. These days an agent is an idiot to try to use this unethical tactic. Anyway, our average commission in Ca is 5.6%, not 6%.

To answer your last question- these are things that do not happen, or do happen very rarely. I've worked with over 400 real estate agents in the last few years, and only one was caught doing one thing on the list. We fired him the instant it was discovered and turned him into the DRE ourselves. That's one quarter of one percent of the agents I work with getting close to this list. Even if there are 4 times that many violators out there, only 1% on the Realtors I work with may be bad apples. I bet that every profession has at least 1% bad.


Osman said...

This list is great. It's good to have knowledge of conflicts of interest and potential areas where ethics/law may come into question. Just be careful that you draw a line between knowledge and expectation.

One of the toughest, and lesser known aspects of this business is how reputable, honest, hardworking agents have to fight expectations that they, as a real estate agent, will try to pull something dodgy. The perception, so well described in HP, is that these things are part of the everyday activities of most real estate agents. It couldn't be more off.

There may be a minority of agents who engage in shady practices. You could argue it even justifies the reputation. But speaking for my own real estate practice and for most of the agents we have worked with on the other side, it couldn't be further from the truth.

Sadly, the reputation cuts both ways. After a several less than pleasant experiences with those convinced we were out to take advantage of them (from the beginning), we've learned to be more selective of who we choose to work with.

Maybe you'll find this hard to believe, but when you walk into a deal convinced that the other side is out to take advantage of you, it's a poisoned relationship from the start. Despite best efforts, it will likely be a miserable experience for everyone involved. The opportunity cost as well as the cost to your mental/emotional state for working with those who are negative, defensive, and withhold critical information far outweighs the usual commission. Better to determine there isn't a good client/agent fit early on and wish them luck with their endeavors.