Deceptive Listings in the Phoenix Area


A potential buyer from Canada emailed this evening, requesting more information on a home listed for sale in Queen Creek.

So I dutifully logged into the MLS to begin my investigation.

Here are the particulars:

Location: Queen Creek
Bedrooms: 4
Baths: 3
Square footage: 2,336
Year Built : 2005
Private Pool
List price: $99,000

$99,000 for a 2300 square foot 4/3 with a pool?!?

Sounds too good to be true.

And it is.

From the listing remarks:

Property being sold on a Round-Robin Auction to highest bidder! Property open for showing. Auction dates and times to be announced; may be changed at auctioneers discretion. Qualified bidders must complete bid form, sign disclosures and provide a $500 refundable deposit.


According to the listings agents web site, here is how their “round robin” auction works:

For at least two consecutive weekends the listing agent will hold the property open for the public to visit and inspect the premises (See the published open-house schedule). Interested parties will be asked to sign up to participate in the auction and to place an initial sealed bid. The actual auction is held by phone in the evening on the second Sunday. Starting at the published hour, each bidder will receive a call informing him or her of the current high bid and offering them the opportunity to increase their bid in order to proceed to the next round. Rounds will continue until only one winning bidder remains. Bidders will need to be available by phone Sunday evening to receive multiple phone calls as the auction progresses.

Curiously, the agents site says the auction for this home will conclude on February 24 at 8:00pm. Note that today is March 13. Either the auction didn’t work, or the agent has failed to put the property into pending status over the last 18 days. You decide.

In my humble opinion, this is an incredibly deceptive listing.

The $99,000 list price is ludicrous. Let’s take a look at nearby listings and recent sales.

Searching for listings in this zip code, for homes within 200 square feet and 3 years of age yields these results:

QC Similar Actives

Note our subject property is the lowest priced listing, almost $90,000 lower than the average similar listing.

What’s the benefit to having the lowest priced listing in a search? Why that puts it at the top of the list. Think that position doesn’t matter? Ask anyone that uses Craig’s List, or pays for “enhanced” listings on, Trulia, or any other listing site if top position matters.

This listing, with it’s bogus price trumps all the other listings in this area for positioning. That’s deceptive in my book.

“But Jay, these are listing prices. Maybe they are all overpriced”, you may be saying. There is certainly no shortage of unrealistically priced homes on the market.

So let’s pull up recent sales in the area:

QC Similar Solds

Hmmm. The lowest sale price in the last six months was $140K. Our deceptive listing is priced 30% less than the lowest priced sale, and a whopping 52% below the average sale in the area.

Do you really think the owner is going to sell for 30 – 50% below recent sales? The market isn’t the greatest, but it’s not that bad folks.

This home won’t sell for $99,000, and putting it the MLS for that price is nothing more than a scam designed to attract interest.

I’ve got nothing against auctions. They serve a purpose, if they are done correctly.

I’ve got nothing wrong with maximizing the exposure of a client’s listing — as long as it’s done truthfully, ethically and honestly.

Listing a home at a price less than half of what it’s worth is none of the above.

Just my opinion. Apparently others disagree.

[tags]Deceptive real estate listings, Queen Creek real estate[/tags]



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About the Author
Jay Thompson

I'm a real estate broker in Phoenix, Arizona and the publisher of the Phoenix Real Estate Guy blog. I tend to drive too fast and scream at the University of Texas and Denver Broncos football teams. My two kids are smarter than most adults I know and my wife is simply amazing.

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