What Not to Tell Your Realtor When Selling

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|10 min read

Your real estate agent is an essential partner in the home sale process. You will talk with them almost daily from your listing date until you close. You will have difficult conversations at times about pricing, staging, and buyer concessions.

While these conversations should be transparent and honest, you don’t have to reveal everything about the home sale. There is some information you might not want to talk about or facts you will want to present in a strategic light. 

This guide will help you have a professional relationship with your Realtor while maintaining a strategic advantage in the home sale process. The goal isn’t to mislead or hide information but rather to ensure you get the best possible price for your home.

Here’s what not to tell your Realtor when selling if you want to protect your personal privacy and ensure a smooth sale process.

Your Bottom Line Price

Your bottom line price is the minimum amount you are willing to accept for your home. While it is important to have this number in mind when you set a listing price, you never want to share this information. Your real estate agent might talk with the Realtors of prospective buyers and let them know that you are willing to accept less for the home. They also could push you to accept unfavorable offers because they know the bids are still above your floor. 

For example, if you list your house for $500,000 but tell your agent that your bottom line is $450,000, then they might recommend accepting an offer of $470,000. This is still considered a low-ball offer, but you might get a better bid from another buyer. 

If your Realtor knows your bottom line, they also might recommend lowering your price prematurely or making steeper cuts than you are comfortable with. While this cuts into your agent’s commission, it also is meant to speed up the home sale, which means they get paid sooner. 

Know your bottom line, but do not share it. This will help you make strategic decisions while your Realtor works to maximize your sales profits.

Your Urgency to Sell

Avoid telling your listing agent that you are desperate to sell your home and move quickly. This could potentially have the same effect as telling your Realtor your bottom line price. If your real estate agent knows speed is a top priority, they might think you are willing to sacrifice the price of the home to achieve that goal. As a result, they might recommend steeper price drops and highlight lower offers than you feel comfortable with. 

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has a Code of Ethics that requires them to present all offers to their clients promptly and objectively. While it is ultimately your decision to accept, reject, or counter an offer, your agent may present a poorer offer in a positive light to make it seem more appealing.   

Let your listing agent provide a comparative marketing analysis (CMA) for what your home is objectively worth. Fight to get the best price for your home, even if you are eager to move and anxious about the sale internally.

Personal Financial Information

Another topic to avoid with your real estate agent is the state of your finances. This information can give your listing agent clues about your motivation and potential desperation. For example, if you recently lost your job, separated from your partner, or accrued significant medical bills, your agent could suggest a lower price to speed up the home sale. They will understand your motivation for selling and might recommend listing below your fair market rate. 

You deserve to get the best deal on your home sale. While you can allude to personal decisions for selling, try to keep as much information hidden. Even if you have an ethical real estate agent who wants to fight for you, they could let personal information slip to potential buyers, empowering them to make lower offers on your home.

Negative Opinions About the House

The real estate professional you hire is supposed to showcase your home in its best possible light. You want them to focus on the positive aspects of the home so they can showcase those elements to buyers. 

When meeting with listing agents, avoid going over the problem areas of your home. Don’t mention what you hate about the property, like a small bathroom or the aging kitchen appliances. Bringing up the negative aspects could sway your agent and make them think less of the home, causing them to lower the perceived value and target listing price. 

It’s understandable that you are ready to leave your home and dislike certain aspects of the property. However, let your agent discover these problems or leave it to the buyers to decide whether the issues are too significant for them to overcome. 

Future Plans That Could Impact the Sale

While you may be excited about upcoming plans that are inspiring you to move, try to limit how much information you share with your listing agent. This is another way that agents can set pricing strategies while buyers take advantage of your eagerness to move.

One of the most common questions that buyers ask is why the seller is listing the home. If your agent says that you are moving for work, moving in with a partner, or starting a fresh new chapter, the buyer might use that information when making an offer. 

Knowledge is power in real estate. The more you give away, the more your buyers and their real estate agents can use to gain competitive advantages in the deals.

If you are currently working through a legal dispute, you might not be able to disclose the details with your listing agent. Courts have specific rules for what can and cannot be shared. When in doubt, talk to your attorney about what you can disclose to confirm that you aren’t violating any court orders. 

You might also want to talk to your lawyer about whether you are authorized to sell the house if the case is related to the property. They can advise you on the home sale process before moving forward. 

Your listing agent needs to be aware of any complications that could block the sale of the home, including pending cases and legal problems. However, you can limit the details you disclose based on your lawyer’s recommendations.

Past Offers or Interest

You do not need to tell your current Realtor if you have worked with another real estate professional before them and if you received previous offers. You want this agent to approach your home with a clean slate so they can market the property in the best possible light.

If your Realtor thinks that you are desperate to sell – especially if you had previous offers and the buyers walked away – they might try to push you toward lowering your listing price or making concessions. 

However, you should bring up major issues with the home if they caused the previous sale to fall through and if they could prevent future buyers from closing. For example, if you have known foundation issues that scared buyers away, you will need to disclose this before listing.

Any Willingness to Make Concessions

Concessions are incentives offered by sellers or buyers to make the deal more enticing. In a seller’s market, buyers might offer concessions like fast closing windows and waived inspections so their bids get noticed. In a buyer’s market, home sellers might make concessions related to repairs and upgrades on the property. 

Do not let your listing agent know what concessions you are willing to make. They might lead with these concessions during negotiations instead of using them as a second or third option. If you don’t disclose those concessions, you might not have to make them. 

Concessions are tools in the negotiation process, but they can be costly. They can cut into the profits of your home sale or cost you time and energy if you need to make home upgrades. Don’t bring up concessions until you are already deep into the negotiating process.

Personal Opinions About Potential Buyers

Real estate is an intimate field. You are inviting someone into your home to sell your property while working with buyers who are eager to make memories in your space. However, this doesn’t mean you can blur the lines of professionalism.

Avoid sharing your thoughts about potential buyers, especially if they reflect stereotypes or biases – both good and bad. These opinions could be offensive to your real estate agent, who might not feel comfortable speaking up about them. In some cases, your Realtor might fire you as a client if they are hurt by your viewpoints. 

Furthermore, it doesn’t matter who buys your home. Focus on the quality of the offers and whether the buyers want any concessions. Your job is to get top dollar for your property regardless of who purchases it.

How to Talk to Your Realtor

This guide has focused on things you should never say to real estate agents; however, you can also take a more positive approach to agent communication.

Here are a few things to remember as you work with listing agents so you can create a positive sales environment while getting more money for your home.

Be Honest, but Strategic

There are certain things you are required to disclose to your agent when selling your home. You need to review any known issues that would impact the buyer’s decision to purchase the house. However, you can be strategic about when you go over these flaws. 

For example, let your agent fall in love with your home first and learn about the positive aspects of the property. Once you agree to work with them, you can go over any flaws when you sign the disclosure agreement.

Major issues, like the age of the roof, might affect the listing price, or your agent might decide to stick with the estimated value anyway. Most agents will let buyers negotiate a fair price based on the roof’s age, rather than making an immediate concession for it. 

Think carefully when answering questions posed by your Realtor. While your agent should be your ally, you still need to protect your best interests.

Focus on Facts

When in doubt, focus on the facts related to your home sale instead of letting opinions and beliefs cloud your judgment or the plans of any real estate professional you hire. Let your Realtor run a CMA to get the fair market value of your home, rather than relying on personal estimates. When listening to your agent’s advice, consider the logic behind the information rather than your emotional response to the news. 

It’s hard to stay objective in the field of real estate, especially when you are selling your home. However, if you try to focus on facts, you can increase your chances of attracting buyers with confidence.

Set Clear Boundaries

Most real estate agents try to get as much information as possible from sellers. This helps them understand the motivations of their clients and helps them with the decision-making process. As the homeowner, you can decide how much you want to disclose. It’s up to you to set clear boundaries between you and your Realtor.

Use These Guidelines to Hire a Real Estate Agent You Trust

You have complete control over the Realtor you hire and the information you share with them. As you interview agents, follow these best practices so you don’t give too much away. If you are worried about oversharing, ask a family member or trusted friend to have mock interviews with you. This can give you experience in answering pointed questions about the home sale so you can control the narrative. 

To find real estate agents in your area, turn to FastExpert. You can read agent profiles and find Realtors who are experienced, trustworthy, and highly rated. We make you feel more confident in the agent you hire. Try FastExpert today and take the first steps to sell your home.

Amanda Dodge

Amanda Dodge is a real estate writer and expert. She has worked in the field for more than eight years. She spends her time writing and researching trends in real estate, finance, and business. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Communications from Florida State University.

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