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Purchasing residential real estate? Beware the crafty realtor

When an Alberta resident wants to purchase a home, hiring a realtor is an important part of the process. Although most real estate agents are professional and ethical, some rely upon the psychology of sales to influence potential buyers. While this is not illegal, a survey found that potential buyers of residential real estate believe that many realtors withhold critical information.

Such agents may refrain from pointing out negatives, and when a potential buyer notices a problem, it is brushed off as insignificant. An example is a client pointing out the potential noise from train tracks close by, and the realtor suggesting keeping the windows closed to block out the noise. In contrast, another agent who wanted what is best for a client told a potential buyer to walk away from an otherwise ideal property when they both noticed an active marijuana operation next door.

To earn higher commissions, some agents show houses slightly more costly than the budgets of their clients. The impact of the additional $20,000 or $30,000 is then minimized by implying that it will only cost a few hundred dollars extra per month. It is sometimes suggested that buyers need only make a few changes to turn a property into their ideal home, though the additional costs to bring about changes are downplayed. Many agents are said to minimize the cost of proposed renovations. 

While the selection process is a major part of purchasing a home, the formal residential real estate transaction brings about more challenges. For this reason, many realtors and experienced attorneys often work together in the best interests of the client. Most Alberta property buyers rely upon a skilled residential real estate lawyer, most of whom are able to recommend trustworthy estate agents. The attorney will also focus on protecting the rights of the client throughout the process.

Source: moneysense.ca, "Tricks realtors use to sell homes", Romana King, Accessed on Jan. 19, 2017

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