Do Real Estate Agents Lie?

Are real estate agents hon­est, do they bend the truth or are they just try­ing to do the job without being sued?

Some­times I won­der why real estate agents have con­sist­ently had a bad repu­ta­tion over many years.

real estate client

In my exper­i­ence of work­ing for dif­fer­ent real estate agen­cies I have come across the good the bad and the ugly.

But I just want to put one thing out there.

We are not just money hungry vul­tures look­ing for our next vic­tim to sink our claws into, this is what the media would like to per­ceive us as.

I am not against the media as they are just look­ing for that one story that gen­er­ates the public’s interest.

For the most of us we are reg­u­lar people work­ing a job, doing our best to be the best, in a very com­pet­it­ive industry.

It is nor­mally that one rogue real estate agent that quickly gets caught out by the ATO, or fair-trading because of the impossible to cover-up paper trail.

I will admit most of us don’t have degrees and haven’t always been suc­cess­ful.

We have failed at many things but what we do know is real estate and people.

Some of the best real estate agents were never the best at school but found an avenue by which they could suc­ceed

This was done by pure hard work and determination.

The para­noia of the real estate industry “please don’t sue us, we were only try­ing to help.”

To be quite hon­est a lot of us are just try­ing to do our job, to the best of our abil­ity without being sued.

Today because of these rogue real estate agents, our industry is heav­ily reg­u­lated and we can be audited without a moment’s notice.


In fact because of the new types of law­yers out there will­ing to work on a “no win no fee” basis, real estate agents are even more para­noid about say­ing and doing the wrong thing by anyone.

Real estate agents accord­ing to the law are in a pos­i­tion of a “high degree of trust” (this is funny because we have been voted one of the most trus­ted pro­fes­sions).

This is why when a real estate agent that commits a crim­inal offence we are judged more harshly than the aver­age per­son, this is called a “breach of trust”.

The more breach of this trust the more of an impris­on­ment for us real estate agents.

Ignor­ance is not a defence for us and even if we have had no pre­vi­ous crim­inal offences we will still be sen­tenced harshly.

The truth about real estate agents lying

When we attend our train­ing to become a real estate agent we are told about all the laws we can be pun­ished by and believe me there are a lot of them!

So if a real estate agent delib­er­ately or reck­lessly lies for fin­an­cial gain they are play­ing a deadly game of cat and mouse with the author­it­ies that will even­tu­ally catch up with them.

Most agents just want to do the best job pos­sible for buy­ers, sellers, land­lords, and ten­ants. They don’t want to be sued just as much as the next sane per­son.

There­fore with our extra trust the law has put on us, no real estate agent in their right mind ever wants to lie for fin­an­cial gain, this is the cold hard truth about our industry.

Are agents allowed to lie about mul­tiple offers?

This is a com­mon issue for buy­ers and I came across it myself when I bought my prop­erty.

I can under­stand that angry and wor­ry­ing thoughts, try­ing to find out if the real estate agent is lying about this.

On top of that, I do know of the heated dis­cus­sions that hap­pen back at home, on whether you should make a higher offer for that dream property.

I do know of dodgy real estate agents that when des­per­ate to sell a prop­erty that they will lie about hav­ing other offers on the prop­erty.

Smarter agents would say “we have mul­tiple inter­ested buy­ers” which is not illegal to say.

We are bound by a strict code of eth­ics and law that is taken very ser­i­ously by Fair Trading.

If you feel as though you are being straight out lied to about other offers, I recom­mend you make a com­plaint dir­ectly to the busi­ness owner (this may not be the dir­ector, you may find them under prin­cipal).

No prin­ciple of a real estate agency wants to lose their real estate licence, and this will quickly spur them into action because it is a ser­i­ous alleg­a­tion to them.

If the dis­pute is not resolved after three attempts take your prob­lem fur­ther up the food chain.

How to call their bluff about another offer

Some people say to hold firm, don’t look inter­ested, don’t raise your offer and see what the agent does.

Wait for a counter offer.

business man hand exchange dollar sign and house iconWell what if that counter offer never comes and there really is a buyer?

This is how many people are gazumped.

The other buyer offered more, you lose the home and get frus­trated at the agent.

What is really hap­pen­ing here, is the buyer has a lack of nego­ti­ation skills.

Some people jus­tify this by say­ing that there are other prop­er­ties out there.

Well this may be true but it may take you another six months to find that dream home.

A quick way to resolve this issue dur­ing nego­ti­ation is to purely say “are you sure there are mul­tiple offers on this prop­erty as it is illegal for you to lie to me about this” this helps them either to cor­rect them­selves and offers them a way out (this is a great way to test the agent’s nego­ti­ation skills), or they will hold their ground and feel a bit offen­ded.

This is exactly what happened to me and I found out there were mul­tiple offers and it assisted me in secur­ing the prop­erty against higher offers.

Nego­ti­at­ing with the seller dir­ectly good or bad? Does it cut out the lies?

I have heard stor­ies about buy­ers that have made an offer and have been frus­trated over a mul­tiple offers situ­ation.

They have gone and door knocked the vendor/seller try­ing get some straight answers.

This usu­ally ends in more anger and stress for the buyer and seller. “Why” you ask?

Think about the situ­ation you could be walk­ing into;

  •     The sellers are annoyed that you haven’t gone through the agent and don’t con­sider your offer.
  •     They know about your offer but are insul­ted that it was too low for the home they love so much.
  •     It could be a divor­cing couple and you could talk to the part­ner that doesn’t want to leave (espe­cially for your low­ball offer) and they can get more emo­tional about keep­ing the property
  •     The seller may annoy you, or one of your eas­ily annoyed fam­ily mem­bers, with their nego­ti­ation style and you may decide not to buy because of a per­son­al­ity conflict.

Keep in mind there is a reason why they have hired a real estate agent.

It is usu­ally because they don’t want to nego­ti­ate with a buyer dir­ectly or they would be selling it themselves.

What drives us real estate agents to sell prop­er­ties for more?

Agents do not bene­fit much by get­ting you to raise your offer.

Let me explain, if the agents get you to raise your offer by $2000 on a $400,000 prop­erty they will only get roughly a $100 based on the aver­age com­mis­sion in the west­ern sub­urbs of Sydney.for sale sign sold

Not to men­tion the office they work in gets a por­tion of this hun­dred dol­lars.

The agent doesn’t really end up with much espe­cially after their spouse has got a hold of the money, jokes.

Do you ser­i­ously think a real estate agent that has spent thou­sands of dol­lars on office over­heads and attain­ing their licence over $100?

So you might be ask­ing your­self, “What encour­ages the agent to make the seller more money?”.

Well that is pretty simple, as our industry is very old school in its ways and repu­ta­tion can make or break an agent’s busi­ness.

I can’t tell you how many people have decided to sell with Eld­ers Toongab­bie, just because they have heard from friends and fam­ily that we get the best prices for prop­er­ties in our area.

It is simple as that, old-fashioned word of mouth goes a long way in a community.

Agents have a fidu­ciary require­ment to work in the best interest of the seller, there is no hid­ing that.

I just wanted the set the record straight and say:

We are acutely aware that the buy­ers we are selling to now, will start to become our sellers over the next 12 months and bey­ond.

It makes no sense for us  as an agent to com­prom­ise our integ­rity and lie to buy­ers, as in 12 months time those buy­ers would not want to sell with us.

  •     We are human beings that do make mis­takes and do our best to make things right.
  •     We are not all like those rogue real estate agents you read about in the news.
  •     We have noth­ing to gain by being dis­hon­est and it ruins our reputation/business.
  •     We know how emo­tional such a large trans­ac­tion can be for fam­il­ies, and we do our best to help people through it emotionally.

There is noth­ing more sat­is­fy­ing than get­ting a phone call, from a buyer or a seller after the dust settles, and hear­ing that we have played a spe­cial part in mak­ing their life just that little bit bet­ter.

Not to men­tion all the chocol­ates and flowers our cli­ents give us.

Yes, some of us make good money while we are doing it to, but people that do this job just for the money, usu­ally don’t last that long.

Want more of this type of information?

Jhai Mitchell


Jhai is the Internet Marketing Business Development Manager for Elders Toongabbie and Kings Langley. He has been consistently quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald and Real Estate Business online. Visit his blog at

'Do Real Estate Agents Lie?' have 7 comments

  1. April 15, 2014 @ 8:39 pm Jacobs

    Of course real estate agents – and their property managers – lie! It’s all about profit, profit, profit and to hell with the truth – as long as you can get away with it.

    It should also be noted that property managers, too, are amongst the worst offenders when it comes to dishonesty. I wonder how many owners are aware of the way their tenants are treated, while wondering why they can’t keep their properties tenanted for any length of time. Investigate the property managers and you’ll discover why.

    One ‘prominent’ real estate agency in the southern suburbs of SA has a particularly nasty piece of work posing as a property manager…she blatantly lies to tenants and is cunning in her dealings between them and owners – BUT – because she’s the only one who’s been working for this particular large company longer than the rest, it indicates that this particular agency approves of her behaviour. (I will never, ever buy a property from them, and I certainly wouldn’t allow them to manage any of my properties if they were the last company on earth.)

    This one particular woman – who has a bad reputation in the southern suburbs for her property management ‘techniques’ – brags to tenants (amongst other things) “I can make owners do whatever I want”. Tell me THAT’S professionalism talking!

    There needs to be public exposure of companies like these and their venomous employees; they make tenants lives a misery and it’s time they were publicly named and shamed. Owners aren’t the only ones with rights; I’ve watched decent tenants be treated in ways you wouldn’t treat a dog.


    • October 25, 2015 @ 2:24 am S

      OMG Jacobs, I know exactly who you’re talking about! There have been so many complaints about her and the company she works for but it’s all to no avail.

      I just have one question: Where is the law in these matters?


  2. June 29, 2015 @ 4:27 am Victor Drummond

    Of course some real estate agents lie… if they think they can get away with it…
    I had an agent lie to me about the true ramifications of signing an O & A document…
    At the time I’d never signed such a document before and was duped into signing it in certain way…
    Now eight years later, than one little mistake is about to send me bankrupt and I don’t deserve that…
    I’m an honest and as hard a working possible working class guy you’d ever meet…
    My life is now completely fucked and I’m about to go down the tubes.


  3. February 28, 2016 @ 7:03 pm stan

    Estate agents are a business, they are supposed to make money(profit), just like any other business,,,,but not to beat the drum till it falls off,,, about real estate(land&house) prices etc,,, this is one of the main factors that drives up the prices on real estate etc…..They should all pull their heads in, and take stock about earning justified profits and not blowing prices out of proportion.


  4. June 25, 2016 @ 10:21 pm Kris

    Is it ethical for an agent to give you a contract of sale and still be showing others the same property?


    • June 25, 2016 @ 10:27 pm Michael Yardney

      Yes it is Krys
      Lot’s of potential buyers ask for a contract and never make an offer – others make offers that are not accepted
      So it’s the agent’s responsibility to keeping showing the property to potential buyers until it is “sold”


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