Guestpost #61: thenakedlistener – Ten things I’ve learned from property agents

Note: Hong Kong blogger thenakedlistener has written for me before, and has generously offered to write for me again. The following is an exclusive guestpost from The Naked Listener for those who are so moved as to want to own their own homes. I’m not sure if it works like this in Canada, but I’d be willing to bet that even if it isn’t, somebody is running some other kind of scam.

  1. The international anthem of property agents is “Now Is A Great Time To Buy.” Whatever the economic situation, it’s the same sing-song. If the prices are rising, you can’t get it this cheap. If prices are falling, properties will be grabbed up in no time.
  2. Property agents always have a higher IQ than either you or the seller. The fact that they represent the seller and not you, but appear to be otherwise, is proof enough. It’s your funeral.
  3. They are interested only if you are interested in buying. Nothing else matters. If you’re genuinely still thinking things over, they’ll tell you to bugger off in the most polite way possible (usually).
  4. Property agents are conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs to respond only in euphemisms. Think about the words “real estate” and ask yourself if there such a thing as “unreal estate.” Welcome to the world of euphemisms.
  5. If your jurisdiction has a legal fiction called “provisional agreement for sale and purchase,” it is not a think-it-over agreement as the property agents will no doubt euphemistically tell you. It is in fact a funeral contract designed to lock in the agent’s commssion. Sign that provisional agreement and “specific performance” compels you to buy no matter what your predicament. Like I said, it’s your funeral.
  6. Property agents are only legally obligated to tell you the minimum the law requires – and that’s really minimal. Anything more is willful representation – and it’s a cold day in hell if that ever were to happen from anyone with an IQ higher than yours.
  7. Property agents will tell you anything you want to hear about mortgages. Fact is, they are not responsible for arranging your mortgage. Neither is the conveyancer or lawyer. You are supposed to secure that with the bank yourself. And if you don’t know how, they (agent or lawyer) will be happy to recommend you the most expensive mortgage provider, thereby landing them the introducer’s commission. Nice to know you care so much for THEIR economic well-being. Like I said, it’s your funeral.
  8. Property agents are hard-wired to respond that downpayments are (say) 30%. It’s nearly always double that, plus the agent’s commission.
  9. If you need a 15+ year mortgage, the property agent automatically knows you can’t afford the property. So they’ll gun at you to buy like a pack of rabid dogs – the agents know that, sooner or later, the bank will farm back the property after repossession so they can resell it on the secondary (secondhand) market. Dontcha just lurve capitalism.
  10. The property agent’s commission is the highest priority in the known universe. If you don’t settle the agent’s side of the deal first, then the agent, on behalf of the Almighty, will frustrate your mortgage application, your land registration, etc, so that you may understand that even mildly delayed payment is a sin.
  11. Bonus: Believe it or not, the above points also apply to buying a casket. A casket (along with the surrounding land) is technically real estate. Like I said, it’s your funeral.

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