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What not to say to a real estate agent

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It’s important to be open and honest with your real estate agent, no matter whether you’re buying or selling a property. But to ensure you have the best possible relationship while still keeping a few cards up your sleeve for the best possible result, here are some things to avoid bringing up or doing when working with an agent.

I don’t want to commit to one agent

Buying and selling homes is a two-way street. If you want an agent to be loyal to you and work hard to get you the best possible result, you’ll need to be loyal to them. A real estate agent spends a considerable amount of time, energy, money and resources to sell your home and/or negotiate on a purchase for you, so it’s just as important for you to be dedicated to them. If after a certain period of time you’re not happy with their services and you wish to explore alternative options, make sure you notify them of your decision and tell them why.

I won’t settle on price

Buying and selling property is all about negotiating. While it’s important to have a set budget, at the end of the day the market determines what you’ll buy and sell for. If you start to put limits on price, there may be some consequences. The agent may refuse the job; it can create tension in the process especially if it seems like the agent is wasting his or her time; your home may stay listed for longer due to unrealistic expectations; you may miss out on your dream home because you refuse to budge on price. On top of this, if you’re the vendor and your agent does stick with your asking price, buyers may be scared away because it’s just too unaffordable.

I’m selling or buying because…

It’s never a good idea to explain to people why you’re selling your home. This just gives potential buyers a negotiating tool to hold against you. Whether it’s a divorce, illness or financial issues, these situations are better left unsaid. When buyers perceive a homeowner as desperate to sell, they potentially may take advantage of your situation and make offers below the expected price. And if you’re in a rush to sell, you may have no choice but to accept the lower offer. While agents won’t disclose these facts on purpose, the potential to accidentally slip it into conversation is there. Agents, after all, are just people, and in the excitement of having lots of people to talk to at once, information may slip out. The same goes for if you’re buying a house. If you’re in a rush to buy because you’ve already sold or your lease is running out, you may be tempted to buy out of your price range. Make sure you show that you are enthusiastic to purchase a property, but never for a particular one. Also, make sure an agent has one number and speaks to one person all the time, rather than floating between you and your partner (if buying with him or her). It’s best to retain consistency. I’ll get finance when we find the home It’s always advised to find out how much you can afford before you start looking for a home. It’s important to understand your financial position and ability to purchase. What will happen if you fall in love with a home and then find out you can’t get a loan for that amount? Always talk to a financial advisor before you start looking for a new home, otherwise you’ll probably end up wasting everyone’s time, including your own.

I have $X to spend

Revealing your hand too early in any negotiation will always work against you, and purchasing a property is no different. You have no obligation to reveal how much you want to spend, or what you are capable of spending. When you walk into an open house, if an agent asks you what you think a property is worth it’s probably because they’re trying to ascertain what you think you can pay. It’s best to give an agent a very rough guide of your range as that will help you find the right home in that bracket, but try not to be too specific.

Only show me serious offers

An agent has an obligation to disclose all offers, no matter how unrealistic. It’s part of their job. If there is a price that you are unwilling to consider then that’s your prerogative, but the agent must legally reveal all offers that you receive for your property. It’s up to you to decide what you would like to do with it. If you believe you can negotiate on one or more of the offers, then take it from there. If you choose not to accept them, it’s up to the agent to go back and tell the potential purchasers. I’m planning to sell privately, can you just tell me what to do?

Real estate agents are knowledgeable. You’re not just being charged for their services; you’re also paying good money to get their advice and guidance. Selling a home is a tricky business and, if you don’t use the right people, you may be the one who loses out in the long run.

If your wondering what questions you should ask your agent, read our article Real Estate Agent Interviews: 10 Questions to Ask