The truth about “lies” real estate agents supposedly tell

Practically every profession nowadays has its detractors. It’s not hard to find articles from current or former “experts” in a particular field who profess to expose the inner workings of a line of work, all so the reader will feel more informed and empowered.

An article titled “Top Lies Real Estate Agents Tell Home Sellers to Get a Listing”  was written by a veteran New England Realtor and lists 11 statements that he believes disreputable Realtors use to win clients. The article prompted me to contrast the statements this Realtor cites with my own practice.

  1. Telling you a price you want to hear: “It is extremely common for homeowners to assume that their house is worth more than it is. … A significant percentage of the time the [Zillow estimate] is off by tens of thousands of dollars…. [A] deceptive agent may tell you your home is worth more than it is to get your business. After it takes an extended period of time for your home to sell, they will then turn around and tell you to lower the price. They still get their commission, while you miss out on selling your home for the right price from the beginning.”

My response: This is certainly something I won’t do. I spend a lot of time looking at sales data (which should be evident by all of the stats I run and blog about) for a specific property to make an evaluation and develop a proposed value range and listing strategy. Truth be told, I’ve lost listings because I didn’t tell the seller what they wanted to hear (i.e., a higher/unrealistic price). Consequently, those homes ultimately didn’t sell that high, and sometimes they’ve circled back to me to list it for them.

  1. Telling you they have sold more homes than they have: “Isn’t it funny how there are multiple agents who claim they are No. 1 in town? … You can uncover the lie really quickly, though, by making a simple phone call to their broker.”

My response: Well, the figures don’t lie but liars figure. Any time I will quote an actual sales volume, whether it’s units or dollar volume, it will be a defensible, accurate and calculated number. Simple as that.

  1. Tells you that they have potential buyers standing by: “First, it typically takes some marketing and legwork to attract the right kind of buyer to a sale. Second, even if an agent has ‘potential buyers,’ it does not mean that they are the right agent for your needs. The buyers could fall through, and you would be left with an agent that may or may not be to your liking.”

My response: Only if it were truly the case would I say that, and even then I would hesitate to say anything, because while these ethereal buyers may have an interest in a home I’m listing, until they see it and consider its merits there’s really no point to stating you have buyers standing by.

  1. Claiming that they specialize in an area that they really don’t: “Some agents may claim to have experience in an area of interest to you even if they don’t actually have that experience.”

My response: I’m not going to do this, either. It just sets everyone up for failure and opens me up to additional liability.

  1. Claims that open houses are the way to sell a home: “Some figures put the amount of homes sold at open houses at less than 2 percent. That is not a promising number. Most of the benefit of open houses come to the agent — who gets to offer services to every party that walks through the door. Theft is very common at open houses.”

My response: I actually claim the opposite and don’t normally host open houses. They are a great way to allow your neighbors who you’ve never invited over for dinner to see the inside of your home. And it’s a way for the Realtor to try to build their buyer business, although those are really challenging client conversions.

  1. Uses gimmicks like a guaranteed sale: “You’ll see the advertisements that will say something like ‘sold in 60 days or we’ll buy your house.’ What these con artists don’t tell you is that the price they will buy your home for is tens of thousands of dollars below market value.”

My response: That’s just tacky and deceitful. No gimmicks here.

  1. Pretends to have social media skills in real estate: “[Some agents] some may claim to be real estate social media gurus even if they are not.”

My response: No pretending here, and that’s why the Skjersaa Group has a professional company managing all of our website SEO and social media presence.

  1. Claims that they are the only agent to have a website that gets a lot of traffic, when it really doesn’t:  “[There] are agents out there who do not have a website, and those agents may claim to have one anyway. Using the company’s website is NOT the same thing as having your own custom website designed to capture business.”

My response: Nope, no point in lying to people here, either.

  1. Make claims about using the internet to sell homes that are not true: “Agents are keen to tell sellers that they use the internet to sell homes, but they can be deceptive in what they claim.”

My response: We’re certainly utilizing the internet, but we don’t rely on it solely, and it’s complemented by investing in someone to manage our social media and others to manage our SEO and websites, and also pay for additional listings online.

  1. Pretend to have more experience than they actually have: “An agent with little experience will not necessarily be a bad agent. … What is wrong is when an agent claims to have experience when they don’t.”

My response: There is no point in stating I have more experience that I do. I started with no experience and was very fortunate to be successful, but I never lied to anyone about my experience (or lack thereof), and at this point I can rely on the experience I really do have.

  1. Tells you brokerage fees are going to be lower than they actually are: “Agents that try to tell you things like brokerage fees are fixed, or that they have the lowest commission in town, are not the kind of agents you probably want to work with.”

My response: I can’t believe people would even do this. Commissions are negotiable, and following a discussion, what we agree on is what it will be. As simple as that.

Transparency and relationship-building are two integral components of my professional ethics. I want a real estate experience that benefits you and leaves you satisfied with the outcome. The “lies” cited by the Realtor in this article might be told by some in the industry, but not by me. My “sales pitch” to clients consists of my experience and knowledge of the Bend, Oregon, real estate market, and my commitment to do my utmost on their behalf. Whether you’re looking for a home to purchase or considering selling your home, contact me at (541) 383-1426 or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website so we can determine how I can be of help.

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