Secrets Sellers Should Keep: What Not To Tell Your Realtor When Selling

Home seller tips

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Updated: Mar 07, 2024 by

photo closeup executive directorWhen you’re selling your home, it’s essential to be open with your realtor - but there are some things you should keep to yourself. Knowing what not to tell your realtor when selling can really make a difference. Some details are best kept private, from your reasons for selling to how flexible you are on price. Being honest is great, but sometimes it’s wise to be a bit strategic. By understanding what to keep under wraps, you can protect yourself and improve your chances of a successful sale. This article explores the secrets sellers should keep, giving you the inside scoop on navigating the real estate world without giving away too much. 


Things you should not tell your realtor when selling:


When selling a house, many advise you on what to tell your realtor, but few on what not to tell your realtor. Transparency is not always the best policy. That is why we compiled a list of things you should not tell your realtor when selling, which we hope you’ll find helpful. 


1. Pricing

You know how realtors always want to know what you think your home is worth, right? They’ll bring it up before you even get to sit down with them or during your first chat. And man, it’s tempting just to blurt out your two cents, isn’t it? But stand still because there’s a good reason to keep that info to yourself. 


See, realtors are savvy. They know that if they match their suggested price to your thinking, you’ll likely pick them as your agent. But here’s the kicker: spilling the beans on your estimate could mess things up big time. They might end up overpricing or underpricing your place, and that’s not good for anyone.


Underpricing means you’re leaving money on the table - no thanks! And overpricing? Well, that just means your home could be stuck on the market for ages, gathering dust while buyers pass it by. So, what’s the play here?


It’s all about playing it cool. Instead of laying out your price tag dreams, admit you’re not totally sure and let them take the lead. Trust me; they’re the experts for a reason. By keeping mum about your estimate, you’re more likely to get a solid, unbiased recommendation from them. And that’s what you want, right? A fair shake in this crazy housing market. 


tougthfull doubtful businessman tension2. Your urgency to sell

Honesty is critical in the relationship between you and your realtor. But when it comes to selling your house fast, it’s best to be cautious. Maybe you’re struggling with the cost of living or want to move on quickly, but it’s unnecessary to spill these details to your real estate agent. 


Why? Because they might see it as desperation, which could affect how they sell your house and the price you get. Instead of saying you need to sell fast, you could hint at it. For example, say you’re excited to see how quickly you can get a good offer. 


Remember, selling your house is a business deal. You don’t have to share every personal detail. So, keep your financial situation and desire to sell quickly private. The most important thing is to have a professional relationship focused on selling your house quickly and reasonably. 


When considering what not to tell your realtor when selling, your urgency to sell should remain a secret. Try to conceal your emotions and prioritize keeping a professional relationship with your realtor. 


3. Plans for renovations before selling

Thinking about making some upgrades to your home before putting it on the market? It’s definitely a smart move, but when it comes to chatting with your real estate agent about your plans, there’s a bit more to consider. Here’s the scoop: While it might seem like a good idea to share your renovation ideas to show your commitment to boosting the property's appeal and selling it faster, not all upgrades are equally beneficial. Some could cost you more money and time than they're worth, and your realtor might not always have your best interests in mind. They might go along with your plans, even if not your best option.


 So, ask for their advice instead of laying out all your renovation dreams during your first meeting with your realtor. An experienced agent who knows the local market well can guide you on which improvements will give you the best return on investment (ROI) when it's time to sell. This way, you'll get unbiased suggestions aimed at maximizing your profit. Just remember, when selling, it's essential to know what not to spill to your realtor.


4. The lowest price you are willing to go for

negotation business womanWhen selling your house, you should keep an essential piece of information close to the chest: your minimum acceptable selling price. Let me explain why. If you spill the beans on this figure to your realtor immediately, it could seriously dent your ability to negotiate effectively. Imagine this scenario: a potential buyer makes an offer close to your bottom line. Armed with this knowledge, your realtor may advise you to accept it, thinking it meets your requirements. But here's the thing: your realtor's job isn't just about hitting your rock-bottom number; it's about securing the best possible deal for you. 


That means they should be pulling out all the stops, using savvy negotiating tactics to fetch top dollar and favorable terms. But if you've already laid your cards on the table, there must be more room for them to work their magic. So, instead of yelling out your minimum price upfront, hold onto that info until you have an offer.


What if your realtor insists on knowing your price range early on? Well, you can play it cool. Keep it vague, and suggest they "aim high" in negotiations. You won’t believe the crazy things agents will do to secure the best deal. Assure them that you trust their expertise to wrangle the best deal possible. Remember, what not to tell your realtor when selling is just as important as what you do tell them.


5. Excitement over an initial offer

When it comes to what not to tell your realtor during the selling process, another crucial thing is to avoid expressing your excitement over receiving the initial offer for your house. Of course, it's an exhilarating moment, feeling like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. But here's the thing: letting your realtor know how thrilled you are could inadvertently signal them that you're satisfied with the buyer's initial offer. And that's not necessarily the case.


A buyer's first offer is typically just the starting point of negotiation, not their best or final offer. You may unintentionally deter your realtor from advising you to counteroffer for a better price or more favorable terms by showing too much excitement. It's essential to remember that emotions can sometimes cloud judgment, especially in such a significant transaction.


Instead, it's best to maintain a poker face and remain neutral when discussing the offer with your realtor, regardless of whether it's a higher price than you anticipated. Seek their advice on whether they think it's worth counteroffering, and then collaborate on devising the best approach. By keeping your emotions in check, you ensure that the negotiating channels remain open, ultimately increasing the likelihood of securing a better deal for yourself.


6. Your interest in a particular type of buyer

social descrimination concept manyBack in 1968, the United States implemented federal laws in response to the Civil Rights Movement, aiming to ensure fair treatment in housing. These laws, including the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act, explicitly prohibit discrimination based on various factors such as race, gender, religion, and more. While it might seem common sense to treat everyone equally nowadays, it's surprisingly easy to inadvertently stumble into discriminatory practices, especially when selling or renting out property. Home-buying behavior has changed with each generation, and nowadays, people are more focused on not practicing discrimination. Still, we could fall into this type of predicament without even knowing it.  


For example, let's say you casually mention to your real estate agent that you prefer a family who attends church regularly or a family with kids to move into your home. Seems harmless, right? Wrong. Both religion and family status (whether a buyer has children) are protected classes under federal law. So, if your agent acts on your preferences and discourages certain groups from making an offer, you could face a severe discrimination lawsuit.


But it doesn't stop there. Federal protections extend to other categories like national origin and disabilities. Plus, some states have even stricter laws that cover additional grounds such as political affiliation and sexual orientation. It's essential to be aware of these regulations and avoid any actions that could be interpreted as discriminatory, even if they seem innocent at first glance. After all, nobody wants to find themselves caught up in a legal mess over unintentional bias.


7. Restrain yourself from giving valuable information before signing an agreement

When you're starting to search for real estate agents, it's like dipping your toes into a pool of possibilities. You’ll probably wonder what makes a good agent and which one is right for you. Then, you'll want to talk with different agents to gauge who aligns best with your needs and your property's unique charm. These discussions will delve into various aspects, from dissecting the local market dynamics during open houses to requesting a comparative market analysis tailored to your home's features. It's common to seek advice from trusted sources like friends or family members with real estate licenses.


But here's the crux: proceeding with caution is crucial amidst all these discussions. While engaging in these conversations, only make verbal commitments with a secure formal listing agreement. This document acts as a safety net for both parties, clearly delineating the terms of engagement. It ensures the agent represents you exclusively, safeguarding your interests throughout the transaction.


Without this agreement, divulging too much information about yourself, your property, or your financial standing to a prospective agent could backfire. It's like showing your cards in a high-stakes poker game before the deal is sealed. If, for any reason, you opt not to sign with a particular agent, there's a risk they may disseminate sensitive information to other agents or even prospective buyers. This scenario could weaken your negotiating position, leaving you at a disadvantage.


Therefore, it's imperative to be mindful of what not to disclose to your realtor when selling your home. By exercising caution and ensuring that the formalities are in place, you'll be better positioned to navigate the intricacies of the real estate market with confidence and clarity.


Author’s conclusion

As we wrap things up, let's talk real talk about selling your home. It's a journey filled with ups and downs, and knowing when to share and when to hold back can make all the difference. When it comes to your realtor, it's like finding that perfect dance partner - you want to be open, but you also need to keep a few steps to yourself. So, as you start this adventure, remember to trust your gut. Also, knowing what not to tell your realtor when selling is just as important as what you do spill. It's your story, after all, and you're the one holding the pen.

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