There’s an old saying in the real estate industry: “Buyers are liars”. While I wouldn’t go so far as to generalize that all buyers are liars, sometimes, buyers do lie to their real-estate agents. Here are the most common lies Buyers tell agents:
“No, I’m not working with an Agent.” This can be a dangerous thing to say if in fact you already ARE working with agent. Either you’ve signed a Buyer’s Representation Agreement or you haven’t. There are countless lawsuits out there against Buyers and agents where the Buyer is under contract to work with an agent, and in the hopes of ‘getting a deal’ from the listing agent, they say they aren’t working with someone. The Buyer’s Representation Agreement is in place to protect both Buyers and the Agents who work for them.
“Yes, I’m already working with an Agent.” This lie is most commonly heard at open houses. Who can blame the prospective Buyer for not wanting to get calls and e-mails from random real estate agents? Of course most agents won’t harass you. The BREL policy is to only follow up with our open house guests if they ask us to.
“I was pre-approved for $X.” Buyers often lie about how much they’ve been pre-approved for. I’m guessing it’s because they’re afraid their real estate agent will strategically show them homes in progressively higher price ranges and they’ll end up spending more than they want. If you’re working with an agent who is doing this, well, you’re working with the wrong agent. It’s important for your agent to know how much you were pre-approved for AND your budget. They’re usually different. You should never spend more than your comfortable with. And you shouldn’t have to lie to do that.
“The maximum I want to bid for this house is $X.” I get it. Bidding wars are stressful times and you don’t want to lay your cards on the table. But remember: your REALTOR is on your side! Their job is to get you the house you want for the best price and conditions. If you’ve done your homework and picked a great REALTOR, they’ll be able to guide you through the process of selecting your asking price. The final asking price is ALWAYS your decision. But you could end up losing the house you want if you lie to your REALTOR. We once lost a bidding war over $500 – and our client told us later that she would have offered $5,000 more.
“I have a great credit rating.” People use this line in the early stages of a relationship with an agent because they’re afraid we won’t talk to them if they’re honest with us. Getting pre-approved is an important part of the home buying process and if you have a bad credit rating, just tell us! We’ll be able to guide you to lenders who are used to dealing with people who’ve missed a few credit card payments. (or alternatively, we can help you find a rental property!)
“I’m looking for a new job.” I know, it doesn’t sound like it should matter to your real estate agent. But your lender has pre-approved you based on your current financial situation and that can change instantly if you get a new job. Banks don’t like giving mortgages to people during their probationary period – so if you buy a house today and get a new job in a month, you may find you aren’t able to get a mortgage when it’s time to actually take possession of that house.
All this to say – if you can’t trust your REALTOR, you’re working with the wrong person.