The Deception

Today, the competition between agencies and even internally amongst associates is winning the listing of seller’s homes. NO LISTINGS = NO SALES = NO COMMISSION!


The answer to this question catches almost every homeowner looking to sell. It is the lie told about the ‘market value’ of their home affectionately referred to as “THE QUOTE LIE”.

Sellers will usually speak with several agents, asking the same questions, in order to choose the best one. Knowing this, agents may mislead and over quote the home aware that if they tell the truth they are less likely to get the listing. THE BEST DECEPTION WINS!


No matter how hard it is for some agents to tell the truth, over quoting is deceptive and difficult to notice. The truth is that agents feel that if they are honest about the price, they will not be chosen.


Everyone’s home is special to them and ‘feels’ their home is worth more. The seller wants to believe the agent who quotes the highest. They have invested a considerable amount of time, effort, emotion and money into their property. Knowing this, the agent reinforces the seller’s expectation, playing on their emotions, becoming trapped by ‘The Quote Lie’.

On many occasions this can lead to engaging the worst type of agent. It is likely the entire selling experience will be full of lies since the initial decision was based on one.


Having trusted the agent, the seller has now signed the appointment form. Full of excitement and hope they are proud of their negotiating ability, confident in the decision they’ve made.

Work for the deceitful agent though has just begun. Their next trick is one of the cruelest in real estate: convincing sellers to lower their price expectation that initially won them the listing. This process is referred to as “CONDITIONING”.


‘Conditioning’ helps the agent avoid blame for the property selling for less than originally quoted to the owner. It has one purpose: so that their homes can be easily sold, thus ensuring the agent gets paid.

In a rising market, conditioning is not as common as it is in a flat or falling market. Even if the home seller has an inflated opinion of value, the rising market will catch up with the seller’s price expectation. In a falling market, the gap between price expectation and the market reality grows wider.


One of Australia’s Real Estate Institute’s has previously been quoted in a training manual stating that “auction is the fastest and best conditioning method.”

If the agent has done their job well prior to winning the listing, they will have persuaded the seller to invest in an expensive auction campaign convincing them “this is the quickest and best method to establish the market value and achieving the highest price”.

This is usually a month long rollercoaster of emotions filled with ‘open house inspections’, ‘buyer’s feedback’ and ‘negative comments’ about the property. If the auction fails to reach the reserve, the agent works the client before and after the hammer falls to consider dropping their price. What follows can be an expensive, drawn out process with months of advertising, inspections, feedback, negativity and price dropping.


In order to distance themselves from the negativity of conditioning, the agents may frame it in the buyer’s words. Phrases such as “buyers like the house but there’s no shed” or “the buyers keep telling us the kitchen is too small.”

Agents should only report honest and direct feedback from genuine active buyers. Non-buyers feedback is not market intelligence. Who cares what the neighbours think your property is worth?


Some agents praise your home prior to listing and then continually point out the negatives after it’s on the market.

When you hear negatives about your home once or twice, you can brush it off. After 2 or 3 months on the market though, the conditioning begins to have an impact.


If you are selling at the moment, and like the offers that come in, sell your home. If not, withdraw from the market and wait for better selling conditions.

Be vigilant against conditioning – if your agent is conditioning you, fire them.

Protect yourself – ask us how!