Real Estate Terms: Buying a listing

Ryan Coffey
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It’s so common that we have a word for it. Catching someone on it and proving that it was done is hard to do because the nature of pricing is that it is very interpretive.

A Realtor is in a state of constant competition for clients. In order to attract clients there are many kinds of strategies that one can employ. Some methods work better than others, some require more effort than others and some are more ethical than others. As in so many kinds of approaches to business, politics and just generally getting people to like you, a common strategy is to tell people things that make them feel good. A little flattery, and a dash of hope go a long way.

Clients do not know the ins and outs of real estate like Realtors do and that is after all the larger part of why they are hiring our services.  What clients do know is that they have put a lot of time, money and love into their homes. To them, it’s much more than a big expensive box in which they sleep and keep their stuff. After all, the word ‘home’ is full of warm, happy, cozy nuance that I would imagine people from all corners of the world share. And in the context of life’s major financial transactions, homes are the ultimate big ticket item.

So, a Realtor with the standard package of real estate knowledge meeting a Seller with the standard package of hopes and dreams can, and fairly often does, tell them exactly what they want to hear. They can use it again and again with many different people. Not all will bite, but many will.  Said Realtor can say that they can sell the home for more than the other guys or at least at a price that is pure flattery. It’s easy to convince people that something is true when they want it to be true.

There is a saying that some Realtors adhere to: “You can’t sell the listing you don’t have.” I’ve also heard “You can’t reduce the listing you don’t have.” The point being that from the (ethically grey) Realtor’s perspective, it is more profitable to have a listing that can be put up now and reduce to a sellable price later on than it is to have no listing at all. If they can hold on to that listing long enough for it to be reduced to a sellable price, then they will make money directly off the selling of the listing. If it never sells, then they still get the benefit of the various kinds of advertising that come from having a listing, not the least of which is the potential for Buyers who ask about the listing and then buy something else that is more reasonably priced.  By then, the value of the property has been reduced, a pattern which I’ve written about extensively on this blog because it saddens me. Whether the Seller realizes it or not, they have been taken advantage of.

I’ve long hoped that I would gain a loyal following by being the Realtor who speaks plainly and honestly enough so that people understand there is integrity in my business style. Some people recognize that, but then again some people use me for a bit and then use some other Realtor who puts more effort into selling themselves than the home itself.

In short, never choose a Realtor based on price.

Ryan Coffey