Inside Secrets of a Real Estate Agent

"You think the shark tank is brutal - wait till you see this," said realty maven Barbara Corcoran.
6:13 | 03/08/13

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Transcript for Inside Secrets of a Real Estate Agent
Home tweet home continues with confessions of a rell tor. Here is deborah roberts. Reporter: It's official. The real estate market is coming back. And from princely penthouses -- to not so posh potholes. Looks like a murder scene! Reporter: An army of real estate agents is out there trying to make a killing. This is a bare knuckle business and there are no refs on the sidelines. Reporter: As superstar agent ryan serhant portrays on "million dollar listing new york, " able to begin a new season in may, a realtor's life is a daily, darwinian struggle for survival. I'm looking you in the eye. I want to you leave right now. In new york city alone, there are 27,000 real estate agents. Last year, 12,598 contracts. Reporter: So they're out there desperate? And they are trying to think of ways, okay, how am I gonna make money today? Reporter: Are you a shark? You have to be. Reporter: Trouble is, sometimes those sharks are feeding on you. Remember this shark? That is the nature of the business. You bring out the teeth when you are a broker. Deals are made and lost in seconds. Reporter: Brokering deals from the backseat of his chauffered cadillac escalade. Serhant confesses that the hustle starts the moment you press the search button on your computer. I can take a photo from anywhere around the world. Whatever it is and I can create a lits listing page. Or what sometimes people will do, they'll keep up a listing that has been on the market, you know, for year. They sold it two years ago, but they've never take it down. Reporter: After checking out a few websites, I decided to check out things myself. We changed the agents voice. We have a contract out on that one. We have others that are similar. The apartment is no longer available. The guy upstairs might sell. I can sell you another one that is similar. anything. Reporter: Then there's the listings' lingo. Prepare to become fluent. When it says cozy, what does it mean? Cozy means small. Sandra rinomato, veteof hgtv's "property virgins," helps decypher the code. Waiting your touch means, you're going to have to do a lot of work here. Needs tlc, means handyman special. They only, I'm talking in the code, oh, my goodness, I'm guilty. Partial view means, you know, you have a partial view of the water because you're looking at it through a building. Reporter: Serhant showed us a trophy property that actually lives up to the hype. After you. Thank you. Reporter: Three bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, with breath taking views of the city. But even here, a slick agent could pull the wool over your eyes by not mentioning all the things you can't see. The biggest ethical issue that I see in the real estate market is dishonesty. Reporter: If somebody was hurt or killed there, if there were bedbugs there, do they have to tell me that stuff? Yes, now, there are a lot of agents who will say, oh, well, i didn't know. So if you say, you, ryan you never told that, you know the apartment was full of termites, and I could say, oh, well i didn't know. Reporter: If brokers can bamboozle the buyers, they can just as easily sucker the sellers says sandra rinomoto. Start with those open houses. Think they're for your benefit? Think again! The real reason why a realtor does open house is for self promotion. See, we're using the "for sale" sale sign or the ads, the internet presence to get buyers to call us. And then we can convert them. Reporter: And believe it or not, your agent may be taking money out of your pocket a because he doesn't want to split that big fat commission with another agent. It has happened to me that i have registered an offer on someone else's listing and the sellers never knew about it. So he had a buyer in his pocket and didn't want to see my offer. Reporter: So you may never even hear about the highest bid on your place. But for every bad agent, rinomato says, there are just as many bad clients. She refused to stage it. Reporter: Annoying sellers who simply don't want to do what it takes to quickly sell their home. We sent rinamoto to new york city's upper east side for a real estate intervention. How are you jane? Oh, my god! When I'm bringing buyers into a home, you've got ten seconds to impress these people. Wow, I feel like I have vertigo. You can see it there? Yep, a warped floor. And what's that pesky smell? Are you a smoker? I'd like to say I'm a smoker in disguise. Yeah guess what? It's not in disguise. I smelled it as soon as I walked in. How do you walk into someone's house and say it smells? But you have to. And burned out bulbs come on! Do you think you could change two light bulbs? I know they blow out all the time I didn't realize it. You've got three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine pieces of furniture plus a bed. You have to sell the space, you have to sell the size. I want you to take half that stuff out. cluttered it was I was starting to feel claustrophobic myself. Worst of all, like so many sellers, sandra says jane has over-priced her apartment in this case, by $30,000. If nobody's coming to see your home and other homes in the neighborhood are selling, it's time to reduce the price. Reporter: Ahh, price! The million dollar word. Which brings us back to ryan serhants' penthouse. And like the best of the best -- there is nothing else like it. Reporter: He is out to close the deal. Who living inhe building? You, maybe.

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