If you’re like many people, you pick Realtor number three. This is a real estate agent who is charming and seems willing to listen to your input and work with you. This is an agent that cares about putting the most money in your pocket. This is an agent that is willing to start out at your price and if you need to drop the price later, you can do that easily, right? After all, everyone else does it!
The truth is that you may have just met a real estate agent engaging in a questionable sales practice called “buying a listing.” He “bought” the listing by suggesting you might be able to get a higher sales price than the other agents recommended. Most likely, he is quite doubtful that your home will actually sell at that price. The intention from the beginning is to eventually talk you into lowering the price – he’s had a lot of practice doing this because it’s part of his marketing plan for every home he sells. A couple months after you sign the listing agreement and your home is on the MLS, he may call with the very unpleasant news. He’ll remind you he’s on your side and would love to sell your home for more, but the market is to blame.
Why do agents “buy” listings? There are basically two reasons. A well-meaning and hard working agent can feel pressure from a homeowner who has an inflated perception of his home’s value. On the other hand, there are some real estate agents who engage in this sales practice routinely.
To avoid being “bought,” chose the Realtor that shows you the recent comparable sales to back up his figures. Don’t chose the “yes” man, but the real estate agent who speaks honestly and has a deep knowledge about your neighborhood and the local real estate market. In today’s real estate market, knowledge and integrity will out sell charm and fast talk any day.