I spent several years in residential real estate. The first important thing I learned after my formal training ended was “buyers are liars”. It’s been several years since I left the industry, but a recent real estate transaction convinced me Buyers have good reason to lie.
The Open House
If you’re like me, you hate that moment when the agent asks you to sign their register. When my husband and I are just out tire-kicking, I feel like I’m intruding under false pretenses. If we are actually in the market, that’s not really something I want to share. Walking into a stranger’s house is odd enough. Telling another stranger about your private affairs is worse, so I just lie.
The Yard Sign and Flyer
Having been on the receiving end of a lot of sign calls, I know that most people who make them are just curious about price, but the vogue seems to be to generate that call and ask those qualifying questions. When my husband wants a price, we toss the phone back and forth like a hot potato. Recently, I succumbed to the illusion that I could access an info line and not have to talk to a person. Moments after I found out the price, someone called me back offering to show me the house. I felt my privacy had been invaded. I not only wanted to lie; I also wanted to cuss.
So, then there’s the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). You can get a lot of information off the MLS, but you have to give them some information first. Then, you are magically matched to some agent with whom you have no connection whatsoever. I live in one city, but was researching houses in a rural bedroom community and got assigned to an agent in an upscale suburb completely unrelated to my address or the houses I was researching. As a newbie real estate agent I was told I would get leads from the MLS, but when I contacted these leads they were baffled by my presumption. Now I know how they felt.
My husband tried to bypass the MLS and use Zillow. The information there proved less than reliable, so after a brief flirtation I returned to the MLS and fielded all the emails from my phantom agent. I could tell they were automatically generated until I clicked the heart on an $800,000 house. Suddenly, I was the agent’s new best friend. Digital fail! I lied again.
Finally a day arrived in our search when we felt like we needed to see a pair of houses listed by an agent who seemed to own the neighborhood we found interesting. That’s when we put on our best act yet. Hubby asked all the questions and I pretended we couldn’t afford the house. I didn’t have to work too hard, because we really couldn’t afford it, but my husband’s questions got the agent all excited.
These Buyers Were Liars, too
So, shortly thereafter we found a lot and bought it. We’re already talking to an architect. With any luck, we’ll sell our house ourselves, but I’ll bet we get told a lot of lies along the way.