Many consumers, and even some real estate agents, don't understand that any conversation with an agent or with the party on the other side of the transaction can have a potential impact on the outcome of negotiations. So you (and your agent, if you’re using one) need to be on guard at all times so as not to give clues to the other side that may signal a possible weakness in your position which could eventually cost you money. Some of these kinds of statements are obvious. For example, even if it’s true, don’t blurt out to a listing agent, “We’ve looked at nearly 100 homes, and we were just about ready to give up hope, but this is the first one we both like!” But far more subtle and seemingly innocent conversations can give a seller an advantage without you being aware of it. Two simple tips:
One: Don’t tell a seller’s agent you’re relocating from another part of the country or that you have limited time to look at homes. This signals to a savvy agent you might go that last five or ten or twenty thousand dollars during your initial price negotiation, or you might not really hold out for that significant price reduction you asked for after the home inspection revealed the roof is on its last legs.
Two: Never post details about your home search on Facebook or on any other social media site. If a nosy seller or their agent finds out you adore their house and/or you post what a bargain you’re getting, they’re more likely to play hardball throughout the transaction. Even if you’re confident only the people in your circle of friends are getting your updates, you may be making a misstep that costs you thousands of dollars.
I keep in mind the phrase, “Negotiations begin before the other side thinks they do,” whenever I talk with an agent or with the buyer or seller on the opposite side of the transaction from my client. That not only reminds me to be mindful of what I say, it helps me listen for subtle clues that may help my client’s bottom line.
Do you have stories about how information "got around" that hurt a buyer or seller?
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