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Jay Solo

Phantom offers on house by estate agents

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Rang an estate agent about a house to arrange a viewing on a £150k house. Got told on the phone there had been an offer of £140k on the house that has been rejected. Viewed the house and got told there was a bid of £148k on it and because owners want to sell quick to make an offer within two days otherwise it'll be gone. Got someone else to ring after two days and ask had there been any offers on the house and got told no offers yet but there's been interest from viewers and an offer is likely to come in soon.

This should not suprise me that estate agents make up phantom offers but it is annoying. I have seen this before. Until they are audited this will continue to happen. 

 

Anyone else had similar issues?

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I've had similar experiences. I wouldn't trust estate agents as far as I could through them. I remember viewing a house that I thought was overpriced at £290k, I felt 250-260 was fair. I asked the EA if the seller would consider less than the asking price and was told they already had a bid of £285k from a professional returning from London to resettle in Belfast. The odd thing was the house had just come on the market, so apparently they had a bid of near the asking price by a buyer who had only looked at the house on the website. Anyway I walked away and looked at other houses and noticed some better ones. I have always kept an eye on the £290K house and was not surprised to see the asking price fall to 260k with no sign of the obvious phantom 285k bid panning out. Could have been a legit bid that pulled out, but I think much more likely that this 285k was invented to set a floor on the bidding.

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I am a former estate agent, I’m not sure of the current procedures, but in my day before computers could do everything we had an offer book, every single offer that came in on any house had the offer recorded, any member of the public ( mainly other bidders Etc) could request to see all offers on a house, we simply covered the bidders names, we also ran a mailing list, it was quite normal for a house to be sale agreed before the sign went up, especially for desirable houses and streets, also a shocking amount of people agreed houses without viewing them, again I could never understand this, sometimes as well a vendor liked a particular purchaser and simply agreed the house to them regardless of whatever other interest there was in the property, also in busier times the first offer could of been thousands over the asking price. The strangest I remember is a parent paying £60000 over the market value to secure the neighbours house for their daughter, the house wasn’t on the market but they had asked us to negotiate with the people either side for them. The housing market is something that no one will ever be able to fully understand. Common sense doesn’t always apply

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15 hours ago, Si1 said:

is this legal?

I think there is currently no law against it and if there even was you would need concrete proof before accusing them.

13 hours ago, jwrag said:

I've had similar experiences. I wouldn't trust estate agents as far as I could through them. I remember viewing a house that I thought was overpriced at £290k, I felt 250-260 was fair. I asked the EA if the seller would consider less than the asking price and was told they already had a bid of £285k from a professional returning from London to resettle in Belfast. The odd thing was the house had just come on the market, so apparently they had a bid of near the asking price by a buyer who had only looked at the house on the website. Anyway I walked away and looked at other houses and noticed some better ones. I have always kept an eye on the £290K house and was not surprised to see the asking price fall to 260k with no sign of the obvious phantom 285k bid panning out. Could have been a legit bid that pulled out, but I think much more likely that this 285k was invented to set a floor on the bidding.

Makes putting in a lower bid more challenging and you just have to be prepared to walk away and not feel pressured to put a higher bid in. Offer up to only what you think it is worth. One estate agent on another house questioned me why I was putting a slightly lower bid on a house that already had a higher bid on by someone that was stuck in a chain with no buyer for their house. Offer went in 2 months previous and nothing was moving. They found it bizarre that I should offer lower even though I could move fast, no chain, good to go. How dare I.

If I could deal with the seller directly would be much easier to strike a deal.

 

@stingray192 wasn't aware of the offer book, not sure how the estate agent would feel about me asking to see what offers were placed 🤔 could be worth a try....

 

 

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Have had similar experience.  As a tactic it must work more often than not as it risks putting genuine buyers off, but if they get away with it they get a quick sale at an inflated price. It’s a grubby business. 

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This was 20 years ago!! Assume it’s all done by computers, but years ago we certainly showed the offer book on a regular basis, with any house sale offer no more than your comfortable offering, if it feels to much it’s not the right house for you 

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As a buyer of land I have the same fears when told there is an offer. when do you believe them? I rank them as slightly below second car dealers.

That said we use them to sell our houses but they are at a fixed price so the issue never arises. 

How much if this is the agent or instructions from the houe owner?

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Never ask about current bids... view & if you like it put in a written offer, via email, 20% below asking price with the caveat of "subject to survey"..... if you're really interested & don't get a reply follow it up a week or two later.... always create a paper trail...we can all play games..... buying a house is no different than any other transaction imo.

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I've dealt with loads of fantom offers. Not only did I walk away but I didn't use the estate agent again. I sought legal advice and was told to walk into the agency and ask to see the offers book, they have to keep it by law, that was 5 years ago when buying around Ormeau area. 

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It's easy to read "don't trust Estate Agents", and you think, "aye, grand". It's only when you experience something odd, your attitude to Estate Agents will really change immediately afterwards.

I have plenty of tales. However one that springs to my mind, is a property in South Belfast which needed a decent amount of work. I put in an offer, and it was put on the table... fair enough so far. Days, weeks would go past, I always needed to prompt the Estate Agent asking what was going on. She never gave a straight answer, even the basics like who owned the property (someone let slip it was bank owned), but apparently it was "some relative" according to her. I couldn't ask about the property if she wasn't in the office. She would go on holiday, but viewings would still go on. Anyway, cutting it short. After about 4-5 weeks, she said it was "provisionally accepted on the basis of two more viewings this week". I thought right, finally. Didn't think much of it, because there would have been about a lot of viewings previously. The very last viewing had a builder (likely didn't even exist), who stalled the ball completely, because we were waiting over a week for him to give a quote to the people viewing. In the meantime more viewers, different type of viewers... developers. They created a bidding war, the offer price increased £20k in an afternoon, with me not even notified about the bidding war, I had to phone them to find out. Needless to say, I didn't entertain the bidding war. 

Fast forward a year. The same property up for sale. Completely renovated. Now an mere £110k more than the price advertised a year before. Who was selling it? The same company, Templeton Robinson, and the exact same Estate Agent. I got played. I understand this isn't illegal, just immoral.

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1 hour ago, whome_yesyou said:

Fast forward a year. The same property up for sale. Completely renovated. Now an mere £110k more than the price advertised a year before. Who was selling it? The same company, Templeton Robinson, and the exact same Estate Agent. I got played. I understand this isn't illegal, just immoral.

If I was cynical I'd suggest someone's getting a nice wee bung at the EA for making that deal happen.

Good job I'm not cynical ;)

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57 minutes ago, JoeDavola said:

If I was cynical I'd suggest someone's getting a nice wee bung at the EA for making that deal happen.

Good job I'm not cynical ;)

No doubt about it. I knew it at the time when a bidding war came out of the blue, after 6 weeks without a squeak of interest. So it came to no surprise seeing a photo of her mug selling the property when it came back up.

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On 23/02/2019 at 17:52, Jay Solo said:

Rang an estate agent about a house to arrange a viewing on a £150k house. Got told on the phone there had been an offer of £140k on the house that has been rejected. Viewed the house and got told there was a bid of £148k on it and because owners want to sell quick to make an offer within two days otherwise it'll be gone. Got someone else to ring after two days and ask had there been any offers on the house and got told no offers yet but there's been interest from viewers and an offer is likely to come in soon.

This should not suprise me that estate agents make up phantom offers but it is annoying. I have seen this before. Until they are audited this will continue to happen. 

 

Anyone else had similar issues?

Two can play at that game ;)

Ill give you a clue ....  a mate of yours just happens to be interested in the same property as you, but he/she thinks it's on being advertised way over value and puts in a below market value bid.

Sets the tone.  Let the games commence ;)

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On 09/03/2019 at 19:20, whome_yesyou said:

It's easy to read "don't trust Estate Agents", and you think, "aye, grand". It's only when you experience something odd, your attitude to Estate Agents will really change immediately afterwards.

I have plenty of tales. However one that springs to my mind, is a property in South Belfast which needed a decent amount of work. I put in an offer, and it was put on the table... fair enough so far. Days, weeks would go past, I always needed to prompt the Estate Agent asking what was going on. She never gave a straight answer, even the basics like who owned the property (someone let slip it was bank owned), but apparently it was "some relative" according to her. I couldn't ask about the property if she wasn't in the office. She would go on holiday, but viewings would still go on. Anyway, cutting it short. After about 4-5 weeks, she said it was "provisionally accepted on the basis of two more viewings this week". I thought right, finally. Didn't think much of it, because there would have been about a lot of viewings previously. The very last viewing had a builder (likely didn't even exist), who stalled the ball completely, because we were waiting over a week for him to give a quote to the people viewing. In the meantime more viewers, different type of viewers... developers. They created a bidding war, the offer price increased £20k in an afternoon, with me not even notified about the bidding war, I had to phone them to find out. Needless to say, I didn't entertain the bidding war. 

Fast forward a year. The same property up for sale. Completely renovated. Now an mere £110k more than the price advertised a year before. Who was selling it? The same company, Templeton Robinson, and the exact same Estate Agent. I got played. I understand this isn't illegal, just immoral.

LA?

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1 hour ago, djw said:

LA?

No. I went onto their website and her profile no longer exists. So, she must have left quite recently - not that it matters anymore!

Edited by whome_yesyou

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Not so much ''phantom offers'' but I'm convinced that EA's have friends/associates/investors who might be interested in a particular property, but they hold back from offering on it, wait for an offer to come in from someone else, then the EA tips them off to it so they can offer slightly more and the EA then encourages the vendor to go with their ''preferred  buyer'' (cue the exchange of a plain brown envelope)

 

In the last 18 months I've offered on 4 houses, in each case they've been sat on the market for weeks or months with no offers, yet as soon as I submit my offer another offer from elsewhere suddenly materialises... and in each case the EA hasn't attempted to draw me into a bidding a war or increase my offer, they've just informed me that ''unfortunately a higher offer has come in and the vendor is going with that one''

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4 hours ago, nome said:

Not so much ''phantom offers'' but I'm convinced that EA's have friends/associates/investors who might be interested in a particular property, but they hold back from offering on it, wait for an offer to come in from someone else, then the EA tips them off to it so they can offer slightly more and the EA then encourages the vendor to go with their ''preferred  buyer'' (cue the exchange of a plain brown envelope)

 

In the last 18 months I've offered on 4 houses, in each case they've been sat on the market for weeks or months with no offers, yet as soon as I submit my offer another offer from elsewhere suddenly materialises... and in each case the EA hasn't attempted to draw me into a bidding a war or increase my offer, they've just informed me that ''unfortunately a higher offer has come in and the vendor is going with that one''

Used house salesmen are scum. They're involved in some of the largest transactions you'll commit to in your lifetime and they can do the job without a GCSE in maths. I can only hope automation makes their 'services' redundant in the not too distant future. 

It makes me laugh when I hear someone frantically asking for recommendations for a conveyancing solicitor to save 50 quid, yet the same people will gladly pay a used house salesman 1% plus VAT to put their house on the internet and not even handle evening viewings. 

They put more research into saving pennies from someone who spent 3 years at university, 2 at the legal institute and 2 years as an apprentice, than they do with Gerry and his grade D media studies BTEC and his Mercedes CLK. How much does it cost a month, on a 35 year term for this 800sq foot slave box new build? Why yes Gerry I'll have a chat with your mortgage advisor, obviously there's no conflict of interest here and you're ensuring I get the best deal possible. Those prices seem quite expensive Gerry!! Oh you're right I dont intend to have any children or save for a pension. 

 

 

Edited by 2buyornot2buy

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2 hours ago, 2buyornot2buy said:

Used house salesmen are scum. They're involved in some of the largest transactions you'll commit to in your lifetime and they can do the job without a GCSE in maths. I can only hope automation makes their 'services' redundant in the not too distant future. 

It makes me laugh when I hear someone frantically asking for recommendations for a conveyancing solicitor to save 50 quid, yet the same people will gladly pay a used house salesman 1% plus VAT to put their house on the internet and not even handle evening viewings. 

They put more research into saving pennies from someone who spent 3 years at university, 2 at the legal institute and 2 years as an apprentice, than they do with Gerry and his grade D media studies BTEC and his Mercedes CLK. How much does it cost a month, on a 35 year term for this 800sq foot slave box new build? Why yes Gerry I'll have a chat with your mortgage advisor, obviously there's no conflict of interest here and you're ensuring I get the best deal possible. Those prices seem quite expensive Gerry!! Oh you're right I dont intend to have any children or save for a pension. 

 

 

It’s always baffled my why the likes of estate agents and car sales people don’t open late into the evenings and longer on weekends and bank holidays. I’d have thought that’s the time that suits most people to come in and make enquiries, leading to a purchase? 

Ive mentioned before about freakonomics, where EAs are only incentivised up to a point. As the agents cut is only 10% of the agency’s fee of 1%, It quickly gets to a point where it’s not worth thier time to chase every offer.

£100k house means agency gets £1k, with the agent getting £100. If he has to spend 2 more hours doing viewings and chasing people to get the bid up to £105k, the extra money in his pocket is only £5- so not worth his time. They’d  be better spending those two hours on another house to get an offer somewhere near the asking and move on.

It stinks, but that is sales I suppose! Until the system changes, expect more of the same.

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I got "we've just had an offer accepted on it this morning". Right... And the phone call a few days later "they've withdrawn the offer, are you still interested?" Right...

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I'm quite sure I've been 'played' in the past with phantom offers, and once had definite proof of blatant lies (very odd  reasons for turning down my offer.)  Found out later via nethouseprices that it had sold for way below my offer. 

Which brings me to this: a few years ago I briefly met someone who openly boasted of his 'arrangements', I.e. brown envelopes, with EAs in a certain area.  He would get the properties cheaply, do them up equally cheaply, and flog them off to BTLers.

Presumably that could only usually happen after other potential buyers had been fobbed off/lied to. 

As for whoever said 'They can do the job without GCSE maths',  er, GCSE English, too, judging by so many of the blurbs.  

Apologies to any literate/numerate/honest EAs who may be reading.  I know you do exist - there just aren't enough  of you.  

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20 hours ago, Mrs Bear said:

Which brings me to this: a few years ago I briefly met someone who openly boasted of his 'arrangements', I.e. brown envelopes, with EAs in a certain area.  He would get the properties cheaply, do them up equally cheaply, and flog them off to BTLers.

Scum.

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