While not all agents are bad, some are very shrewd and will try and use your “inexperience” to work their way into your sale. They can use half-truths, “free” services and the like to get a cut of the action, but if you’re selling your home for the first time, there’s no need to be afraid of agents and their pitches, just be mindful and use common sense, here are some of things you should be aware of when getting unsolicited advice from an agent.
“I’d be happy to help you host an open house, at no cost.”
If you’re offering a commission to buyers’ agents, keep in mind that the agent who is hosting for you will likely have a strong claim on some or all of that commission. This is a common trick, nothing is for free.
“I’ll advertise your home for free!”
Again, the suspicious word “free”. These agents will indeed advertise your home but they’ll list themselves as the point of contact and show interested buyers the house in order to grab the buyers’ commission. Not a good deal.
“I’ll sell your home within 2 months or buy it myself!”
This might be an attractive offer for someone looking to move their property fast, but this guarantee can easily be held, it’s just a question of the price. as time goes by the argument you’ll hear is that you’re priced to high.
“No agent will show their clients your home if it’s FSBO.”
This simply isn’t true. Agents have an incentive to show homes that are competitively priced and a viable option for their clients. If their customers found the property themselves and contact the sellers directly, the agent won’t get his cut. It’s also not unheard of, that agents sell their homes FSBO, why would they do this if they’re blacklisted? It’s an attempt to convince you that your reducing your potential buyer pool but it isn’t the case. As long as you’ve got a sign on the lawn, a full flyer box, an entry in the multiple listing system and some advertising on platforms like Craigslist or Zillow, your place will be found and shown.
“Your price is too low.”
A little reverse psychology – it makes sense, the price is an overall part of marketing, and if you underprice you’re communicating that your home has less value, but generally speaking, an agent will tell you this in order to able to list the home. If this is the case it’ll sit on the market at too high a price and you’ll just end up wasting time.
The mortgage broker: “Let me pre-qualify buyers for you.”
Pre-qualifying helps reduce the number of serious offers, but this is usually not required when someone makes an offer – it’s a lot to ask to have someone disclose all their financial details when just making an offer on the house, they are essentially putting their cards on the table and this might scare away serious buyers. Besides, a lot of mortgage brokers are also qualified as agents, and might be looking for the buyers’ commission.
Don’t be intimidated
In addition to these pitches you might get a lot of industry jargin thrown at you, ask a lot of technical questions – essentially the agent will try and bamboozle you and give you the impression that you’re in way over your head, don’t be intimidated, you know when you need professional help (from a lawyer, mortgage broker) and when you don’t.