Some agents will say just about anything to get a seller to ink a listing agreement, whether it’s true or not.
Having encountered just about every lie that a competing listing agent could tell, it’s easy enough to spot the falsehoods, it can be tricky explaining them to a seller.
Here are the top five lies listing agents tell and a few strategies for effectively responding to their falsehoods.
1. I can get you a higher price than anyone else for your listing
This tactic is called “buying the listing,” and it has been around since pictures of animals began showing up on the walls of caves. Trained agents can head this off before it can happen by addressing it right out of the gate.
“We know that some agents might be tempted to give you an artificially high price to get you to sign with them — it’s called ‘buying a listing,’ and we believe it is a deceptive practice. Integrity is one of our core values, and we will not do anything to undermine our relationship by over-inflating a list price to get your hopes up or to get you to sign with us.
“We have run a comprehensive market analysis. We believe a fair market price for your home — should you chose to go on the market today — falls between $_____ and $_____. Because we know most sellers are not ready to hit the market immediately, we will come back the day before you are ready to go on the market and provide an updated market analysis to make sure you launch your home onto the market at the best possible price at that time.
“The truth is, buyers are the ones who actually determine prices, not sellers or their agents. When ready to go to the market, we will strategize together to set a price that provides the best opportunity for you to get the highest price and best terms. Is that OK with you?”
2. I have buyers for your home
I have lost count of the number of times I have countered this argument. It sounds so good on the surface, but underneath it represents a disregard for the sellers’ best interests. When we hear this argument, we respond as follows:
“I’m so glad you mentioned that. One of our goals is to get you the highest possible price and terms AND protect your best interests. First of all, you need to know that this is a common tactic agents use to get you to sign a listing, and it’s NOT in your best interest.
“Although they may or may not actually have a buyer (the odds are very low they have a buyer for your exact home), you will usually get the best offers by going live on the market and letting everyone out there compete for your home, not just one buyer whom the listing agent controls.
“Additionally, if your listing agent brings you a buyer, that is dual agency and is actually outlawed in some states across the country. Your best representation happens when your agent represents you and another agent represents the buyer.”
3. I’m the top agent in this area
This brings up several questions right out of the gate:
Is this specific agent No. 1 in their office?
No. 1 at the water cooler?
Is it their entire office that is No. 1?
No. 1 in what? Homes sold on the block in the past year or the entire county?