March 21, 2006

The anti-realtor backlash hits the mainstream: Big BBC undercover report tonight

Some network (20/20? Dateline?) just HAS to get on something like what the BBC is airing in London tonight. You just know the crap going on in the US is sooooo much worse than here in the UK. I've seen it myself with false appraisals.

'Unscrupulous' estate agent probe

Unscrupulous practices by estate agents, including misleading surveyors about property prices and faking signatures, have been uncovered.

Agents put forward false offers to vendors and took backhanders, reporters for BBC One's Whistleblower found.

For four months they worked undercover in agencies in the London area. The firms involved are investigating the claims and have suspended staff.

It comes as the Office of Fair Trading launches a code of practice for agents.

In the programme, some estate agents are shown to:

* Deliberately mislead surveyors by lying about the value of other properties that have sold - this could result in buyers paying over the odds for a property
* Fail to draw would-be tenants' attention to high fees and to lie to them about whether landlords would agree to break clauses in their contracts, resulting in them being tied into tenancy agreements for longer than they might otherwise have been
* Fake signatures on documents
* Sign up clients by tempting them with a high asking price for their property then, once "on their books", putting in false low offers to the vendors in order to encourage them to lower their price to a more realistic level
* Put up "for sale" signs at properties not on their books - this is known as flyboarding and is illegal
* Undervalue a property in order to sell it at a cheap price to a property developer in return for a cash backhander of £10,000


Anonymous said...

We need to "level the playing field" with internet do it yourself realty listings.

People can protect themselves from unscrupulous Realtors the same way they protected themselves from dishonest antique dealers with eBay!

Anonymous said...

Realtors need cometition to keep them honest!

Anonymous said...

Good post Keith. Kinda like looking in a crystal ball -- we'll see these kinds of shows here in the US after the general home-selling populace gets a big lump of coal in its stocking after the disastrous spring selling season.

Anonymous said...

"60 Minutes" is about the only major news program we've got left that can deal with the truth. Both Nightline and PBS' NOW could have dealt with it last year but are now so watered down they are worthless. Both have cxhanged in every concievable way except for their names.

It was distressing to watch those last 2 go under this past year.

So, "60 Minutes", this is your job.

Anonymous said...

yeah, 60 Minutes did such an awesome job with the Bush/National Guard story they cooked up a couple of years ago that Dan Rather "retired" due to the backlash...I don't trust or watch any mainstream media outlet....what a bunch of preening ex-realtors.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but feel amused at people trying to find someone to blame for higher prices. Quite frankly, the demand for housing that was experienced during the height of the boom clearly shows prices , as usual, responding to demand. The buyer is now protrayed as an innocent victim, a poor schnook who apparently has no way to tell whether he's being fleeced.
The problem here is that the real estate market is, without doubt, the most efficient market in our country. The reason is because both the buyer and seller are represented by pros. Where else does the buyer have a professional working for him
as he makes a buying decision? Answer : nowhere that I know of.
Those who portray appraisers as all powerfull just don't understand the real estate market. Appraisers are not setting prices, they are trying to determine what those prices are.
Why does one think they depend so much on comps and recent closings to make their appraisals? Market prices (where monopolies are not present, in other words a free market) reflect two things : supply
and demand. They have for the last two thousand years and will for the next two thousand years. You can question whether the demand should or should not have been there (housing speculators) but you cannot intelligently reject it as the cause of the prices.

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