Pulse is a recurring column where we ask for readers’ takes on varying topics in a weekly survey and report back with our findings.

Low inventory and sky-high demand over the last couple of years have led to some wild so-called strategies to give buyers a leg-up. Whether they come from the buyers themselves or their agents, some are silly, some are smart, and some are downright shady.

Last week, we asked our readers: What’s the shadiest thing you’ve seen someone do in your market to boost the chances of a buyer? Did it work or blow up in their face? Are agents running amok, or is it the buyers who are driving bad behavior? Here are your responses:

  • End of the last millennium. I got a vacant land listing. Seller had been on the verge of selling it for pennies on the dollar to a local in our little town. I raised the price by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Every time that I had a sign put up, it was stolen within 24 hours. This happened 15 times. The 16th time, I wrote in permanent marker on the signpost, addressing the frustrated previous attempted purchaser by name. “If you touch my sign again, I will have the police on you so fast that it will make your head spin.” That sign stayed up until listing was sold.
  • Vacant house. One key hidden on premises for showing. Sellers live in another state a thousand miles away. Hot listing. Agent’s customers love the house. Agent absconds with the only key so that nobody else can show until this agent’s buyers can get the house into contract.
  • Agent hopping or just calling every listing agent and saying “I’ll buy with you if I can get the house.”
  • An agent added to their contract: Buyer to pay $5,000 over the highest offer. They were cash so there was not an appraisal contingency; they won out of 14 offers.
  • I had an agent tell a seller, who was home during the showing, that they should fire me as their listing agent and take their buyer’s offer because they’d make more off of not paying me a commission. I got them $40,000 OVER that buyer’s highest and best offer, so it definitely blew up in their face.

What shady behavior did we miss? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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