Things Not To Tell Your Real Estate Agent When Selling Your Home

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall
Credit: Shutterstock / arfa adam

Selling your home is no small feat and full of stress, uncertainties, and plenty of paperwork. It pays to have a reputable, experienced professional by your side throughout the whole process to ensure things go smoothly. But working with an agent doesn’t mean you hand over the reins entirely.

It’s important to stay in the loop when selling your house and make choices in your best interest. But it’s equally vital to maintain a balance between open communication and keeping certain details close to home, no pun intended. Therefore, there are a few things you shouldn’t tell your real estate agent.

Let your agent speak first about your home’s list price, necessary renovations, and what you must disclose. Don’t overshare information that isn’t necessary. It could lead to a lower offer or spending more than necessary on renovations. Avoid agents with a high dual agency rate, and don’t jump at your first offer.

Before interviewing agents, review this list of what is best left unsaid. Even after you choose to hire someone, it’s wise to remember that your agent doesn’t need to know everything.

7 Things Your Real Estate Agent Doesn’t Need To Know

Before entering into a listing agreement with an agent, know what to share and what to keep to yourself. Not sure? Review these 7 things you shouldn’t tell your real estate agent when you want to sell your house.

1. What You Think Your Home’s Listing Price Should Be

When you interview an agent, they’ll likely ask you what you want to list your home for. But resist telling them. If you divulge what you think your home is worth, the agent may match your figure, so you’ll hire them. It could also inadvertently make the agent under or overprice your home.

Instead, let the agent speak first. Ask them what they think your home is worth based on the current market and how they would list it. Doing things this way will get you a more objective price point. Plus, you avoid the risk of short-changing yourself by choosing a number below your home’s value.

2. The Upgrades You’re Willing To Make

Typically, your home may require a few updates or repairs before you sell it. You may have grand plans for your home, but don’t mention them to your agent. Otherwise, they might encourage you to proceed, knowing that your updates could garner a speedier sale.

However, not all renovations are created equal when it comes to your return on investment (ROI). Therefore, you could be pouring more money into your home than is necessary, reducing the amount that goes into your pocket. Ask your agent what renovations they recommend to improve your chances of selling and give you the best ROI.

3. Every Detail And Problem with Your Home

By law, you’re obligated to reveal many different factors about your home when you list it. It’s always best to stay honest when selling and don’t purposely try to cover up or hide known problems with the house.

However, you don’t have to tell buyers every single detail about the property and your experiences in it. Before you start rattling off your home’s long history to your real estate agent, consult with them first.

They will have a disclosure statement that guides you through what things you need to reveal about the home. Your agent will also know what you’re obliged to reveal based on the laws in your state. If you don’t need to discuss a certain situation, don’t. The more information you give, the more buyers can jump to conclusions or fear the worst.

4. You’re Okay With Dual Agency

If an agent has dual agency, it means they can represent the buyer and the seller in a real estate deal. Although this might seem like an easier way to conduct negotiations and communication, it doesn’t always work out that way.

The agent is supposed to get the buyer a great deal, but they also need to get the seller top dollar. See how this can cause some issues? While there are agents who will act responsibly and ethically, many will start to focus more on getting their commission as high as possible.

The result is they no longer are focusing on your best interest (at least it isn’t their top priority). When interviewing agents, they will be quick to tell you how many homes they’ve sold. Ask them what their dual agency selling history is.

If they tell you that over 15% of their sales were from dual agency deals, this should make you pause. Don’t tell them it makes no difference to you. It should. Don’t hesitate to let them know you prefer an agent with a lower dual agency rating or one that doesn’t operate as a dual agent at all.

5. Your Satisfaction With The First Offer

After going through the process of prepping your home for sale, multiple showings, and anxiously waiting for an offer, your agent calls you with the good news. There is an offer on your home. When you hear the amount, maintain a poker face.

Don’t start jumping for joy because the number is higher than you thought or you’re happy with it. Your agent might think that there’s no need to negotiate since you’re pleased with the offer.

But part of a real estate agent’s job is to advocate for you and get the best price. Therefore, listen to the offer, then ask your agent what they think about it. Keep your emotions out of the equation and lean on your agent’s expertise. Ask them if they think you should counter or what they advise the next move to be.

6. The Lowest Price You’re Willing To Take

You want your real estate agent to go to bat for you when it comes to negotiating your home’s price. The goal is for them to strive for a fair and competitive price for your home. Don’t give them any indication regarding what your minimum price point is. Otherwise, if an offer comes in at, near, or above that figure, they’ll think all’s well and you could potentially lose out on more money.

It’s always best to let your agent do what they do best and negotiate for the best possible price. If your agent presses you to give them a number, you don’t have to give them one. Instead, tell them you know they can get you top dollar, and trust them to negotiate the highest possible price for your home.

7. You Need To Sell Your House Quickly

Open communication is a good thing between a seller and their agent, but it doesn’t mean you have to tell them all your secrets. If you need to sell fast because of a new job, family matters, or any other reason, your agent doesn’t need to know all the details.

Ask them how long they think it will take to get a high offer. Mention that you’d love to see some great offers quickly. But don’t tell them anything that they can interpret as desperation to sell. Otherwise, it can influence how they approach the selling strategy. If they think that speed is the top priority, they might convince you to settle for a good price instead of a great one.

Let Your Real Estate Agent Speak First

When in doubt about what to tell your agent, a good rule of thumb is to let them be the first to speak. Your agent should be the first to mention a list price and what renovations will get you the best ROI. You should also let your agent be the one who takes the lead on what you need to disclose about your property.

Stay silent about how low you’re willing to go, how fast you need to sell, and your reaction to your first offer. It's about keeping your emotions in check so your agent focuses on doing their best to get you top dollar.

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Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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