Buyers’ advocate reveals sales tricks

Residential real estate buyers' advocate David Morrell doesn't believe the days of dummy bidding at auctions are over, despite new regulations. He says dummy bidders are just harder to spot now.

In his book “Real Estate Myths Exploded”, Morrell also gives home buyers some tips. In a private sale, he says, the aim should be to level the playing field so that the buyer is controlling negotiations. Don't ring the agent but gauge how interested the agent and vendor are by how quickly they ring you.

Don't be afraid of making one or two low offers but make sure they're in writing as most agents don't pass on offers to vendors despite what they say, Morrell says. He urges buyers to do their homework and finding out what a property is worth is most important. This can be done by talking with local agents, neighbours, checking comparable sales or getting a sworn valuation.