What you Should Never Tell a Real Estate Agent when House Hunting
Win the Property Buying ‘Game’
Buying property is much like a game: the seller wants the highest price they can get for the house, and the buyer wants to buy at the right price. Add a real estate agent to the mix and you’ll need to play your cards right to ‘win’ the prize.
Real estate agents are trained to deal with buyers, showcase a property’s strengths and profile potential candidates. While their questions and kindness may seem like a natural part of conversation, you must be weary that the agent is not working for you. Their goal is to sell, and they have incentive to do it well.
You should keep certain information hidden from a real estate agent when inspecting a property.
Whether you’re looking for a home or an investment property, what you tell (and don’t tell) the agent can greatly impact your chances of securing your dream home at a reasonable price.
Particularly in markets where prices are skyrocketing with demand, it’s more important than ever to know these handy tips of what NOT to say to a real estate agent.
Remember that buying a property is a negotiation process, and if you declare your maximum price then you’re revealing your hand too early.
Property agents want to know what you would be willing to spend, as well as if that figure matches their sales goal for the property. If you state your maximum price, an agent could price the house higher than what it’s worth in order to make the most money. Alternatively, if your budget is too low, the agent won’t take you seriously.
Avoid pricing up the property yourself as this can give the agent an indication of what you would be willing to spend. If you are asked for a price, you can always flip the question back on them. Giving away details of your work or income are also ways an agent may try to guess what you can afford.
The best way to approach the topic is to compare the listing to similar properties, while noting their strengths and weaknesses. You want to show you are scoping the market for that property type and that you’re looking to invest in property at the right price.
Once you show you’re emotionally invested in a property, the agent has your hopes and dreams in their hand. Buyers can settle on a higher price when they absolutely must have the property, and agents know this.
You should tell the agent you are looking for an investment property, not a family home. This strips it back to a logical, financial decision rather than an emotional one. Also, it’s not a bad idea to mention you are considering other properties as well.
Other ways you might accidentally show your attachment to a property are by sharing your ideas for decorating, furniture placement and picking out the kids’ bedrooms. While it may be said in passing, it sounds like you’re already sold. Body language and tone are other indicators; so, if possible, try to remain as neutral as possible.
The agent doesn’t need to know that your rental lease expires soon, or you need a larger home for a growing family. Your reason for purchasing and the urgency of the purchase are factors that can be used against you, so it’s best to keep them private.
Always have a plan B in this instance, because buying a house is a significant financial decision. A rushed purchase could force you into a higher price bracket or make you settle for a property that doesn’t tick all the boxes. Keep in mind that if you do manage to find a house quickly, your deadlines have the potential to come around before settlement, too.
While you want to play it cool, you should remain honest about your intentions. If you are genuinely interested in a property, don’t tell the agent you dislike it and expect them to chase you. After all, showing that you’re not interested in a property could mean you miss out on your dream home.
Finding the balance between keeping your feelings private and making your interest known can be a tricky task, but you can still show your interest without giving too much away. One way to do this is by simply walking through the property and calling the agent later with prepared questions. You can also request for the agent to keep you informed on the listing to stay in the loop.
If you aren’t confident in following these tips when you’re dealing with a real estate agent, you can always hire a buyer’s agent. A buyer’s agent or buyer’s advocate can conduct inspections and ask the property agent questions on your behalf. If you’re looking for a buyer’s advocate in Melbourne, Property Mavens has you covered. Call our friendly team to find out more.
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About Miriam Sandkuhler, Property Investment Advisor
With Diplomas in Property and Business Studies – in a non ASIC regulated industry, she’s uniquely qualified to develop and also fulfill successful and sustainable property investment strategies for her diverse range of clients - investors, SMSF trustees and home buyers alike.