What Not to Say to a Real Estate Agent

May 30, 2021
couple with real estate agent talking

Buying a property can be an exciting, stressful and nerve-wracking time.

Unless you’ve had a lot of experience in the area, it can be hard to know how to approach the sale and what information you should reveal to the sales agent.

While real estate agents aren’t monsters out to get you, it is their job to make a successful sale at the highest possible price for the vendor.

As such, there are certain things you shouldn’t say to real estate agent, to ensure you don’t come out at the worse end of the deal.

Here are nine things you should never say to a real estate agent.

“The most I can pay is $600,000”

real estate agent showing couple through house

“I think the property is worth X dollars”

The number one thing you should never tell a real estate agent is your budget, or the highest you’ll go.

If a property is advertised as $660,000 but you have a $700,000 budget and make this information known to the agent, they’ll know you have an extra $40,000 to work with.

It’s best to firmly keep your cards close to your chest on this one and only give away an approximate range for properties you’re looking at.

Otherwise it’s perfectly fine to tell them that you’d prefer not to say.

Don’t be fooled by an agent who asks you what you think the property is worth –  this is a telling question.

This is usually a round-about way for the agent to gauge how much you’re willing to pay for a property.

In such a situation, it’s best to put the question back on to the agent and ask them what they think it’s worth or say that you need to do your research and compare it to other similar properties in the area (which you should be doing anyway).

“My current property settles in one month and I need a new a new place before then”

It’s best not to reveal to an agent the time frame you are working with.

Perhaps you’ve just sold your current home and you want a new place before settlement date, or the lease is about the expire for your rental and you want to be in your own home straight after that.

By telling the agent your time frame for purchasing a home, they can use this information to influence you towards a sale which will benefit themselves.

For instance, if they know you need to be in a new place in two months as your current place is about to settle, they may drag negotiations out so your time frame shortens, you feel more pressure and are more willing to buy out of desperation, even if it means for a higher price.

So don’t give away this information and in such a case, you’d be better off renting for a period or extending your current lease so you’re not under so much pressure.

“I’m so nervous/ stressed/ upset”

Perhaps you’ve just lost out on the dream property you made an offer for and are feeling a bit vulnerable, or you’re incredibly nervous as it’s your fist time buying property.

That’s completely fine but it’s not information you need to share with the agent.

By knowing that you’re in a vulnerable state, the agent may use this emotion when in negotiations. If you’re not careful, this could see you paying more than you’d like, or perhaps even buying a property you don’t really want.

Keep calm, keep professional, stay level-headed and don’t let your weaknesses show.

“This is the property of my dreams and I need it!”

home for sale on soho

Just like in the world of dating, when buying a property, you never want to come across as desperate (even if you are).

If the agent knows you have your heart set on this particular property, they will also know they can probably push you to pay a bit more for it.

Instead, you’re best to play it cool, say you’re interested and negotiate wisely.

“I don’t know the local area and market very well”

As a buyer it’s a good idea to know a bit about the market you want to buy in.

That is, you should know what the general value of properties in the area is and the potential for growth.

This will give you a good understanding of the true value of the properties you’re looking at, meaning you’re less likely to overpay and the agent won’t catch you off-guard in negotiations.

“I have no idea what I’m doing”

If you’re buying for the first time, it can be a confusing and stressful process.

But the sales agent isn’t there to guide you through your purchase – they’re there to get the best sale for the vendor.

Admitting you have no idea what you’re doing or what you need to do is not a good idea for a few reasons.

The agent may see this as a chance to put forward a higher sale price and use different tactics with you in negotiations, or they may not take you seriously and dismiss you as a potential buyer.

The old saying ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ very much applies here.

“I’m not interested in this property” (if you actually are interested)

Playing hard to get doesn’t really work in the world of real estate.

While it’s good to play it cool and not be too eager, if you tell an agent you’re not interested in the property at all (when you actually are), don’t expect him or her to come running after you with a lower price.

Real Estate agents are busy people so they’re not likely to waste their time on someone who has said they’re not interested in the property anymore. Instead, if you are interested but don’t want to pay beyond a certain amount, you’re better off saying you’re open to negotiations

Too much personal information

While it’s always good to build some kind of rapport with an agent, you don’t need to give away personal information about yourself. Information such as where your kids go to school or your future plans don’t need to be disclosed.

The agent can use this information in their negotiations and use it to play on your emotions and circumstances. For instance, they may tell you you’re not likely to find another property as good as this one so close to your kids’ school. In a stressful negotiation, it’s easy to let this information get to you, so you’re best off not sharing too much information in the first place.

What you should do

In a nutshell, when buying property, it’s a good idea to keep your cards close to your chest and don’t give away information and opinions which can be disadvantageous in negotiations.

It’s important to do your research so you go in with a level head, know what’s a good deal and what to walk away from. Remember that although the agent is there to sell the property for the vendor, they are not the enemy.

They are there to facilitate a business transaction and if you are able to think along the same lines this can help. Don’t block all information sharing from the agent, as you’ll come across disinterested but be smart about what you decide to share with them.

If you haven’t found your dream home yet, we can also help you out in that department. Browse our search page to check out some amazing listings available right now. But don’t just stop there, download our app to get the full Soho experience. Just remember to shortlist or swipe left on our listings so we can send you others that better match what you’re looking for.

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