I lied today. And I don’t just mean once. I lied six times that I can recall. In fact, I lie all the time. And you know why? Because I’m a real estate agent.Real estate agents are professional liars. It’s the truth (no, really!). We lie because we have to. Because: clients.
It’s no secret that buyers and sellers have high expectations for their transactions. But are our expectations where they should be? Do we expect our clients to live up to their obligations and do so with some common sense and some humanity, or have we lowered the bar for them so much that real estate today resembles a game of advanced limbo?
I don’t know about you, but I have to stifle my exasperated sighs and disappointed groans more than I’d like to. And I’m one of the lucky ones, with clients who are overwhelmingly smart and savvy and understanding. But for those few that have slipped through…boy have I had to tell some whoppers.
- Suuuure, we can offer $100,000 less than asking price. Not a problem. Let me get that written up for you right away.
- No, it’s fine to give buyers a 20-minute window one day a week to tour your home. That’s plenty of time. Won’t piss off buyers or their agents one bit.
- You want to list 20 percent over the most recent comp for your same floorplan in your neighborhood? You betcha. I’ll get right on that. We should have your home sold sometime next never.
- I’d be happy to go back and show you the same house for the ninth time just so you can get some more interior design ideas. I’m sure the sellers won’t mind one bit.
- You left your four massive dogs roaming in the house today while showings are scheduled? I’m sure that’ll be fine. You do have insurance, right?
- Yeah, it’s totally normal to be in the house when people are touring it. In fact, what potential buyers really love is when you shadow them from room to room, interrupt their conversations, and point out things about the house they can clearly see with their own eyes. Yes. Love that. All of it.
- Oh, you don’t want to get pre-qualified or talk to a lender at all before making an offer? Don’t worry about it. Shouldn’t affect your ability to get the house. Not at all.
- Sure, I can cut my commission. Actually, I was wondering if it would be OK with you if I worked for free. I just love that.
- You’ve decided not to buy a home after all? That’s fantastic news! The 87 houses I showed you over the last four months was great practice!
- No, you don’t have to take my recommendations. You go ahead and leave that bedroom painted in circus stripes and don’t touch the stained carpet that looks like a murder scene and, by all means, leave that trash heap in the backyard and the multiple cat boxes in the laundry room. I’m sure buyers will just look right past that stuff.
- You’re refusing to do any repairs? Even though the roof is leaking, the floors are damaged, and the inspection uncovered evidence of an electrical fire in the attic? I’m sure the buyers will volunteer to take care of all of that. Maybe we can even get them to kick in for a vacation for you. You look tired.
You just bought a brand-new Tesla two days before you’re scheduled to close escrow? Yeah, that should be fine.
Obviously, dealing with this type of client is tricky business. Getting someone to understand their role and responsibilities in a transaction and grasp the concept of cause and effect can be challenging. Some of the issues that arise can and will derail a sale. Some can even invite a lawsuit.
As real estate agents, we’re hired to advocate for clients. But it’s not always easy. Especially when we have to run around with our lips zipped and our pants on fire.