Some of the most common complaints about real estate brokers include misrepresentation, false or misleading advertising, environmental issues and violation of antitrust laws, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Real estate agents are also known to use underhanded practices in a bid to shore up their income by telling the buyers that there are other buyers interested in the property when there are none, claiming to be the top agent and showing listed properties from brokers who offer less than the usual compensation.
In 1998, more than 50 percent of cases filed against realtors were for misrepresentation along with 12 percent for failure to disclose, notes the NAR. Some of the facts misrepresented in these cases related to the structural features of the property, property boundaries and termite problems. Realtors were also charged with not disclosing other issues such as problems with the title, renovating without a permit and certain environmental problems.
In a survey conducted by Inman News, real estate professionals were interviewed about the acceptability of common "behind the curtain" practices in the real estate industry. The survey showed that some realtors do find questionable practices to be acceptable. These include not showing buyers properties from brokers who are offering a low commission and agents showing their own company's listings in a preferential manner to buyers.