First, you should understand that there is no licensing or regulation for real estate agents in Georgia. If you want to become a real estate agent, you simply go to LinkedIn and change your job title to “Real Estate Agent.” Congratulations! Now you are an agent.
As you can imagine, certain challenges emerge when anyone with a pulse can become a real estate agent. Also, there is no mechanism for the government to punish agents who are unethical or dishonest. Buyer beware!
Here are a few of the agent tricks that you should know. Some of these are nothing more than annoyances, and others can cause financial harm if you are not careful.
- Posting a property for rent or for sale that is no longer for sale or for rent. Agents do this so you will contact them and they can (hopefully) convince you to buy or rent something else. It is commonly known as a “bait and switch”. The properties they post to do this are usually too good to be true–the price, location and finishings simply do not match what you find in that area. Remedy: Immediately stop working with any agent who says something like, “That property is no longer available, but I have a similar one…”
- Posting a property for rent or for sale that does not exist. This scam is similar to bait and switch. The difference here is the agent is using the “too good to be true” property to convince people to wire money for a deposit in order to hold or reserve the property. Of course, because the property does not exist, that money is gone.
Remedy: Never send money to reserve a property that you have not visited in-person And more than that to someone who does not have a specific workplace and a responsible company. Only work with reputable companies.
- Using a property that is already posted to create a new property listing with a different address. Agents do this to trick consumers into contacting them. It’s a variation of the bait and switch approach, and is common with agents on the property portals.
- Charging a premium price for foreigners from “wealthy” countries. You may be quoted a different price for an apartment if the agent or owner learns that you are from a wealthy country. That is why it is necessary to work with companies that have a cooperation contract with apartment owners at a certain price and have announced the price in a very clear and transparent manner on their official website.
- Asking for the rent to be paid in euros or US dollars instead of lari. First, it is illegal to transact ANY business in Georgia in a currency other than Georgian lari. However, some landlords and owners prefer to be paid in euros or dollars. They may offer a discount if you pay in euros or dollars, but Georgian banks have been known to reject transactions and/or close your bank accounts if they believe you are breaking this law. While the laws are clear about this, in practice, many landlords and tenants arrange a way to have the rent paid in the currency of their choice.
- Presenting another agent’s listing as their own. Some agents in Georgia will “borrow” another agent’s listing without that agent’s permission, add their fee to the price and market it as if it is their own listing. This results in the consumer paying more than market value for the listing because there are several agents who will be earning fees instead of just one agent.
In the end, it is necessary to know that in Georgia, the customer does not pay a commission for buying and renting, and usually the owner pays the commission of 2-3%. So using the consulting services of a reputable company is not only not a problem for you, but can be a sincere and free help for you.
You can feel free to ask your questions in the field of real estate from our experts in Delta Estate Company.