Real estate is serious business, and it can be easy to forget when we’re involved in a complicated and emotional financial transaction that the person we’re working with is just that…a person. An agent might not always show you when he’s feeling disrespected or offended, but you may pay for it—literally. Establishing a good relationship early on and maintaining it through honesty, open communication and mutual respect is key to a successful transaction. You can help ensure that happens by watching what you say.
1. That price is ridiculous.
If you’re dealing with a professional agent, especially one who has a good track record in the business, it’s fair to assume she’s done her homework on comparables and is recommending an offer price based on the local market and your financial situation. Most agents are going to expect some conversation to take place around pricing, but insisting on a price simply because it’s what you want to pay doesn’t typically play out well.
2. But Zillow said my house is worth $40,000 more than what you’re telling me.
Zillow has become an industry juggernaut. While their home pricing estimates, known as “Zestimates,” aim to inform buyers and sellers, they’ve been proven to be off by a whopping amount—somewhere between the 8% Zillow claims and upwards of 20%, 40%, even 61% depending on the house and the location, according to a recent L.A. Times report, said Housingwire.
3. I know what my home is worth.
Not really. Your estimation of your home’s worth may be based on neighborhood comps, but it’s probably also colored by your emotions or by what you need to make from the sale. It’s hard to separate out your personal connection. That’s why it’s important to let your Realtor be an impartial professional.
4. I have a perfect credit score.
“Unless you’re part of the 0.5% of consumers who reach the 850 mark, it’s time to be real about your credit score and your financial ability to buy a home,” said Agent Ace.
Overvaluing your credit, your down payment, or any other aspect of your buying ability, is pointless. Everything is going to come out during the buying process anyway.
5. I’m not going to bother getting pre-approved.
To an agent, this can indicate that you’re not a serious buyer. Or that you don’t understand the process.
In tight markets, you’re at a disadvantage if you aren’t ready to pull the trigger right away when you find a house. You could very well lose out because another buyer was ready with their pre-approval and you were just getting in touch with your lender.
And, as Lighter Side of Real Estate points out, “An agent worth his or her salt won’t agree to invest countless hours showing homes to someone who isn’t approved for a loan.”
6. I have between $200,000 and $2,000,000 to spend with any number of bedrooms in any location.
Open-ended budgets and limitless expectations are great, but giving your agent a little more guidance can help him zero in on viable options. When you have no idea where or what you want to buy, most agents won’t embrace the idea of spending countless hours trying to narrow it down.
7. I’m not doing any repairs.
Sellers want to think their house is perfect, but inspections may show otherwise. Drawing a line before you even know what problems may exist can be frustrating for an agent. It’s her job to get you the best possible price, but unreasonable expectations make that more difficult.
8. You can cut your commission. I mean, you make a ton of money.
While commissions are often negotiable, assuming an agent will cut it—especially when they’ve been approached in a callous or sarcastic manner, isn’t the way to go about getting what you want.
9. I’m not ready to buy…I just wanted to see a few homes.
People looooove having their time wasted. Especially busy agents who could be out dealing with serious buyers instead of showing homes to someone who isn’t sure they’re even in the market.
“The best real estate agents are busy individuals for a reason. Their services are highly in demand and thus their time is valuable,” said Agent Ace. “It’s ok if you’re just looking around and aren’t sure whether or not you’re ready to take the leap; but if that’s the case, be upfront at the start not after several showings.”
10. Can you give me some advice about my house? I don’t want to hire an agent.
Most people wouldn’t approach a CPA to do their taxes without hiring him or expect a lawyer to write up a divorce agreement without paying, but real estate agents often yield questions from people looking for free advice. Most will answer a question or two, but there is a limit.