Agents Owe Clients the Truth, Even if Clients Don't Want to Hear It

Real Estate Agent with Lyon Real Estate BRE #00697006

confusionI was reading another agent's blog this morning about dealing with a screwball situation and unreasonable demands. I made the comment that the icky part of the real estate business is when an agent has to choose between being honest and getting more business. Because sometimes when an agent tells a client the truth, that person is unprepared to hear it. Not only that, but because the client doesn't want to hear the truth or refuses to believe the truth, that person will look unfavorably upon the agent. An unfavorable opinion equals no more referrals. No more referrals hurts an agent's business.

So, what does an agent do? Is it wise to compromise?

I say no. I believe in telling the truth. That doesn't mean let it all hang out, but it does mean being honest, knowing full well that the honesty may not be well received. Being honest sometimes means an agent will lose business. A client may not like the agent as a result. But as like-able as one may want to be, the other side of the coin is you can't please everybody 100% of the time. It's impossible. And you can drive yourself crazy if you try.

An out-of-area seller called me yesterday about taking a listing in Land Park. He told me how much he wanted to list his duplex for and asked whether I would do it. Ordinarily, if I think a seller is listing a home too high, I will say so yet take that listing for a couple of months, just to see how it goes. Because it's possible a Bay area buyer will overpay for a home in Land Park. I don't like to be judge and jury. It's not my home. But I do need to be honest.

Based on my experience over the years of selling homes in Land Park, I can pretty much predict at what price a home will sell. I explained to this guy what similar properties had sold for and why. Didn't matter. He demanded I sell his fixer-upper duplex at $450,000; said it was my job to get that for him. He got huffy with me. No, sorry, it's not. Because it's not gonna happen. Not in this real estate market. Maybe in an alternate universe but not in this one. Well, my name is mud to this guy.

Hey, is anybody else watching Fringe? That show has become so darned confusing. I finally figured out that each show is now based in alternating universes. If the opening shots are tinged in red, it's the parallel universe. If the opening is blue sky and clear, whoa, wait a minute.

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Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying expert for, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout the four-county Sacramento area with an emphasis on Elk Grove. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 40 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate. BRE License # 00697006.

The Short Sale Savior, by Elizabeth Weintraub, available with free shipping.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to


Re-Bloggged 6 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Eric Kodner 10/26/2010 11:18 AM
  2. Chris Ann Cleland 10/29/2010 09:48 PM
  3. Jim Hale 10/31/2010 03:50 AM
  4. Karen Kruschka 10/31/2010 05:49 PM
  5. Jackie Connelly-Fornuff 11/01/2010 09:56 AM
  6. Jim Frimmer 11/01/2010 11:50 PM
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Comments 32 New Comment

Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

So true, we need to tell oour clients the way it is....not just what they want to hear. 

Patricia./ Seacoast NH & ME

October 31, 2010 08:32 PM
Lane Bailey
Realtor & Car Guy
Century 21 Results Realty

When I have to break the news to a client or customer, I try to be gentle... but it doesn't help to skirt the truth. 

October 31, 2010 10:49 PM
Rhonda Burgess
Murfreesboro Homes & Nashville HUD Home Specialist
Southern Living Realty Partners

Elizabeth - I had a very similar conversation today with a potential short sale client.  Like you, I do a lot of short sales.  The lady has a first with Wells or Chase or somebody like that but that is not the problem, it's the second with Franklin Credit Management.  I don't know if you've ever dealt with them before and I have and they killed my short sale.  At the time, my client offered cash at closing along with signing a promissory note for the full balance of the loan and they still turned it down.  Even when I looked up recent info from other agents, Franklin is still killing deals as recently as September.  I advised the lady that she is between a rock and hard place having to deal with Franklin and that I will not take the listing.  She then started questioning me like I was on trial. This is a simple business decision.  Just like I will not take on too many BOA short sales at one time.  She was under the impression that I HAD to take the listing.  I politely explained that is not the case and I wished her well.  

November 01, 2010 12:28 AM
K.C. McLaughlin
Realtor, e-PRO, Homes for Sale - Cary, Raleigh NC
RE/MAX United

Been there - done that. I explain to the sellers that they need to be AS motivated as I am to sell their home. That means cleaning, de-cluttering, staging and yes pricing it right. I show them all the comps and recommend a price that the home should be listed for. What is the point of overpricing a listing? The seller will be inconvenienced, get frustrated and blame YOU. You are the professional and your reputation is on the line. Anyone can list a house I tell them - but I am here to sell it.

November 01, 2010 07:07 AM
Kathryn Maguire
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (757) 560-0881

I say tell the truth, back it up with facts and let the chips fall where they may. It saves you so many headaches!

November 01, 2010 07:10 AM

Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents

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Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate, midtown Sacramento office. Selling since 1974. Homebuying expert at Best short sale agent in Sacramento. Elizabeth sells homes from Galt to Lincoln.
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Author Bio: Elizabeth Weintraub is a Sacramento real estate broker, author, home buying expert for, a Land Park resident, who specializes not only in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento but sells extensively from Elk Grove to Lincoln. Weintraub is prominently known as the #1 Sacramento Short Sale agent throughout the Sacramento four-county area. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 40 years of real estate experience to work for you.