When I began reading “Buyers are Liars and Sellers are too!” by longtime real estate broker Richard Courtney, I thought that at last home sellers, buyers and realty agents would discover the full story about the home sales business. Lest you think Courtney doesn’t have the credentials to write this book, he is the president-elect of his local association of Realtors.

Instead, I found a unique book filled with negative comments about home buyers, sellers and even real estate agents. I can’t recall one positive example in the entire book about a home buyer or seller.

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Yet the book is filled with lots of hopefully made-up examples of greedy home sellers and buyers. Worse, Courtney has nothing good to say about “for sale by owner” home sellers whom he calls “For Sale by Ogre.”

Having been a real estate broker for 39 years, I can relate to many of Courtney’s examples, which I hope are hypothetical. Many illustrations are downright humorous. However, the author emphasizes the negative, rather than the positive, aspects of home sales for real estate agents.

Courtney has no use for a home listing agent who also represents the home buyer (called a “dual agent”) in a home sale. He realistically emphasizes there is no way such an agent can fully look out for the best interests of both the seller and buyer in the same transaction.

The book’s worst chapter, called “Foreclosures: Fool’s Gold,” is remarkably inaccurate and incomplete. Courtney implies the only way to buy a foreclosure property is to purchase from the lender who foreclosed. He completely overlooks the buyer opportunities to purchase before the foreclosure action or at the lender’s foreclosure sale.

As a book reviewer, I was looking forward to enjoying this book, which, according to the book’s forward and preface written by qualified individuals, is funny and factual. Perhaps they didn’t read the same book I did.

Instead I found many inaccuracies and misleading statements, especially in the chapter about open houses where Courtney says buyers shouldn’t even ask important key questions such as, “Why are they selling?” “What did they pay for the house?” “How long has it been on the market?” and “How much do they owe?”

Courtney seems to have a chip on his shoulder; especially in the chapter about the buyer’s purchase offer that he subtitles, “The Greedledees Meet the Greedledums.” In an attempt to be funny, he puts down both home buyers and sellers.

Fortunately, from time to time there is a bit of levity to break up the negative comments. For example, in the chapter about mortgages the author says, “Be aware that although the institutions that share their money with you, the borrower, are called lenders, they can be divided into four subgroups: benders, menders, penders, and renders.” Then Courtney explains his views on each type of mortgage lender.

Perhaps I am a bit too harsh on what could have been a positive, upbeat book about the home sales procedure. Instead, the author’s negative comments about home sellers, buyers and even real estate agents overwhelm the reader.

Chapter topics include: “The Realtor: No Place for Barney Fife”; “The Listing: The Greatest Show on Earth”; “Street Appeal: The Grass is Always Greener on the Lawn of the House That Sells”; “Non-Agent Listings: For Sale by Ogre (I Mean, Owner)”; “Open Houses: Where Woodward and Bernstein Lurk, While Ida Dunn Offers Commentary”; “The Parent Trap: Ma and Pa Meddle”; “The Inspection: The Dealslayer”; “The Closing: It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over”; and “The Deal of a Lifetime.”

For experienced real estate sales agents who understand the home sales procedures, this is a “fun read,” although most agents will disagree with many of the author’s statements. But prospective home buyers and sellers should question the author’s often-harsh statements. On my scale of one to 10, this disappointing book rates only a seven.

“Buyers are Liars and Sellers are too!” by Richard Courtney (Simon and Schuster-Fireside, New York) 2006, $14.00; 159 pages; available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries, and www.Amazon.com.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center
).

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