My family unit is looking for a new apartment. Out of three “professional” viewings we’ve experienced, all three have involved the agent slyly telling us that the place we inquired about was taken or occupied or otherwise unavailable — but would we be interested in looking at another, slightly more expensive place? We grit our teeth, feeling slightly exploited, but agree anyway — not that we’ve actually taken any of the up-sold apartments.
I have the sense that this is a well known real-estate “trick of the trade” — but why? Are we sure this actually benefits the agents in any way, or are they just doing it out of some now outdated instinct — the posthumous twitch of a dead commercial appendage? Surely the idea is that we’ll be so won over by the nicer apartment that the one we had intended to see will become unacceptable by comparison — but are people really so dumb and gullible that they forget about the price difference? And isn’t it insulting to be told that the home you initially wanted to see is actually a disgusting hellhole, but one that’s only $25 more per month is quite lovely? How could the market be so inefficient? Is the agent planning to rip us off on the nice apartment, or was she planning to rip us off on the cheap apartment? Either way, she’s an asshole.
In general, aren’t these petty machinations out of place in a world where real-estate agents (and used-car salesmen etc.) are ex ante thought to be loathsome and untrustworthy? I’m already suspicious, already prepared to cut things short at the first whiff of bullshit — and surely I’m not the only one! So the bait-and-switch treatment is at least as likely to make me call it quits as to grin and bear it. Not a good risk-reward for the scamster!
Real estate is terrible.