Things you should never say to a real estate agent

Man talking into can with string

When it comes to buying a home you need to have your wits about you. You need to be well informed, you need to be confident and you need to have done your research. All of these are part of the preparation that is critical to ensure you are in the best position to makes as an objective a decision as you can about buying a home. However when it comes to face-to-face meetings with the selling agent acting on behalf of the vendor there are some valuable reminder of what not to say. Here are a handful that are worth bearing in mind as the agent, just like you, is wanting to be well informed as to prospective buyers and to look for any opportunity to leverage advantage for their client.

“We need to move quickly, or conversely we are in no hurry”

– avoid showing that your position is weak in regard to your need to buy and settle on a property. An agent could see this as an opportunity to leverage pressure if the time available comes down to the wire. Be general in your comments as to your situation.

“We have $450,000 to spend”

– it’s much better to say, “We hope we don’t have to spend more than $425,000”. This approach avoids you disclosing your budget, a thing you don’t want to do. You want to keep this information close to your chest. You want the agent to be confident that you can afford the property but unsure as to how much you are prepared to spend.

“We don’t know much about the area”

– don’t appear naïve, get to know the area yourself and make sure you demonstrate your appreciation of the positives and negatives of the area. Clearly an agent is going to focus on the positives. When checking out the area always visit at different times of the day and on different days of the week so that you get a feel for noise, traffic and general activity during work hours and weekends.

“We haven’t arranged finance, could you help us organize a mortgage”

– your financial situation is your own and something you should separate from the process of buying a home and the agent and real estate company you are dealing with in regard to the chosen house. Be independent and shop around to get quotes for mortgages. Keep a clear Chinese wall between the agent and your finances.

“We don’t know which reports we should examine before we make an offer”

– be well prepared and know what reports your will need to get to ensure you do the necessary due diligence to provide you with the confidence to make an offer to buy your new home. Agents will likely not provide advice; it is for you to make that decision. In any situation it is always wise to take the advice of your lawyer.

“What level of deposit is reasonable”

– don’t ask the agent, as they will say 10% at least. After all they want you to be committed financially, as well as to provide enough funds so they can be paid. The fact is the level of deposit is up to you. Legally a financial consideration needs to be paid at the time the agreement goes unconditional (that is to say some amount of money) beyond that, the decision is up to you, no where in law does it say 10% deposit is required.

“What do you think the house is worth”

– a house is worth what you and the seller agrees on, not what the agent thinks it's worth. Anything the agent says will reflect an indication of what they believe it should sell for, often close to what the agent has told the vendor it will sell for. At the end of the day you will decide what you are prepared to pay and the seller will decide if that is acceptable.