By Jennifer D. Miller and Paul J. DeereThe Real Estate Institute of Florida (REIF) released a study Thursday that shows how real estate agents and brokers can manipulate the numbers on real estate sales and the data used to guide them.
The study, which was produced by the REIF, found that more than half of the real estate transactions the group reviewed were made with false numbers, including those of sales of property and sales of vacant land.
It found that many brokers and salespeople use a false sales value to get their clients to make a purchase.
It also found that brokers who report sales figures that are lower than the actual number, such as a $500,000 sale, are more likely to get a buyer.REIF President Brian Schulte said the report was a false number that inflates real estate prices.
He said the group was trying to change that by requiring real estate brokers to tell their clients about the potential for fraud in their numbers.REIC is a group of real estate professionals who represent and represent buyers and sellers of real property.
Schulti said the groups has a mandate to inform consumers about the risks of realtor fraud and the ways in which it can affect the price of a home or business.
The report is the latest example of how brokers and real estate officials are trying to fight the rising number of home and business sales.
Last year, REIC warned that a large number of salespeople were using phony sales numbers and the use of bogus sales commissions to inflate prices.
Last week, the Real Estate Board of New York, the agency that regulates the industry, released a report that said brokers and other real estate industry professionals were engaged in a wide range of fraud that could cause real estate values to fall.
Schulte called the REIC report a step in the right direction.
He added that REIC was trying “to educate consumers about real estate fraud.”
The REIC study found that the majority of sales in the state of Florida were made by brokers, but there were many more instances of sales agents who used false sales numbers.
The average number of fake sales figures was 4,000.
Of the 1,000 sales made by agents who claimed to be in the business, the report found that only about half were actually conducted by real estate agencies.
The group’s findings were also consistent with other research that has found that agents have been known to manipulate data and misrepresent sales figures to artificially boost their own sales figures.REISP found that sales agents and realtors who were members of a real estate association were more likely than other members to report a fake sales value.
However, sales agents were also more likely if they were in a different state or territory than those in the same association.
The real estate profession is trying to combat fraud and other practices by using the tools of data analysis, scientific studies and public-private partnerships.
Schultse said there was a need to improve the way the industry was trained.