By Monte Mohr
What NOT to Tell Your Listing Agent
Selling a home is considered to be a daunting process by the vast majority of people. There’s never a convenient time to put your house on the market, nor is it ever easy to live in a home that you are trying to sell. Keeping it clean and tidy for all those showings can get to be quite arduous at times. But for some people, those normal grueling issues get compounded because they make the mistake of offering up too much information to their listing agent.
Please don’t misunderstand, it’s important to be honest with your real estate professional, and it’s absolutely crucial that you have a good rapport with him or her. However, there are certain things that you do not need to advertise to your listing agent. Below are five things that are better left unsaid.
1. I will not lower the price of my house
Here’s the reality; you hired an agent to sell your home, and they are going do that for a fair market value. Many times sellers want to assign an asking price based on their own personal financial needs. But the truth is that your home is only worth what it’s worth, and nothing more. It’s not necessarily realistic to expect your perfect price. If you won’t budge on an unrealistic price, a qualified agent will walk away from the listing because if they accept your price, it will be a waste of everyone’s time. Houses that are priced above market value will stay on the market longer, and the longer your house is on the market, the lower your purchase price will be.
2. I only want to hear serious offers
Your listing agent has a legal obligation to present all offers that are received. But if you tell your agent that you’re not interested in anything below a certain price point, he or she may just tell a buyer that they’re wasting their time. You should ask to see all offers, no matter how big or small. Knowing about all offers, even the low ones, will help you understand what the market is saying about your home.
3. I don’t care how long my home stays on the market
Here’s the truth, the longer your home sits on the market, the lower the final sales price will be. Even if you’re not in a hurry to sell your home, don’t share that information with your listing agent because they may think you’ve given them the go-ahead to put your listing on the back burner to focus their attention on other listings. And if they are not aggressively marketing your home, chances are you’ll miss out on making a faster, higher-priced sale.
4. I’m selling because of a distressed situation
As a seller, it's never beneficial to let someone know that you really need to sell your house. In doing so, you'll attract lower offers because buyers think they can take advantage of the situation. It’s easy to reveal certain things in casual conversation with your listing agent, but it’s better not to mention that you’re selling because you lost your job (or some other financial hardship), or because you’re going through a divorce, or perhaps you’re facing a serious illness. These types of situations tempt some agents to show too much urgency in listings, advertisements or during showings and open houses. They may want to advertise your home as being sold by a "motivated seller" which gives buyers and indication that you’ll accept below-market offers.
5. There’s only a certain sort of buyer that appeals to me
There have been federal laws governing equal housing rights since the 1960s. These laws make it illegal for home sellers to discriminate based on race, sex, religion and the like. Sounds pretty obvious and straightforward, right? Well, it's easier than you think to step across those lines. Suppose you mention that you’d really like a family with children to move into the house. If your agent then tries to discourage anyone from making an offer based on their family makeup, you’ve just violated federal law and you could find yourself involved in a discrimination lawsuit.
Monte Mohr has sold more than 2,500 homes, making him one of America’s top Realtors for the last 25 years. This experience has given him a unique perspective on the Nashville real estate market where he can be found at www.tennesseedreamhomes.com. He is also a regular contributor of real estate information to Nashville’s NBC affiliate station, WSMV Channel 4. To learn more about Monte Mohr’s experience as a real estate agent, to get free advice about your biggest real estate challenges or to request an interview, contact him at Info@TennesseeDreamHomes.com.