Agent Red is holding an open house, and in comes Ms. Buyer who says to the agent, “I’ve been so anxious to see this house. My parents live just down the street from here. I’ve been working with Agent Yellow. Yep, I’m renting my lease is up in May so I have to find something soon. I’ve been watching online for something in this neighborhood a few months now. My lender said I’m qualified for $150,000 but I don’t want to spend that much.” Before the realtor has a chance to say anything, she has found herself in an all too familiar situation. Of course she wants this buyer to feel comfortable and excited about the home. But the buyer has not signed a contract with Red. So when she says, “That is great, the seller will be excited to hear that”. The buyer looks up at her with, “What? You are not going to tell them I said that, are you?”
Red is every agent in that company, not just the listing agent. When the shopper is out doing open houses visiting with all the approachable friendly Real Estate Agents, they often forget (or are not aware) that what they say to that agent will be relayed to the seller, possibly harming their negotiating position.
Another thing buyers are often unaware of (and some agents as well) is that the seller may be privy to your entire conversation without your knowledge. Perhaps a neighbor overheard the conversation, or the seller had a baby monitor or webcam (not very uncommon). so even if the agent does not disclose what you said, it does not mean it wasn’t overheard. One day I talked about this with a buyer and because they were looking for it, they noticed a monitoring device in two of the five homes we looked at.
Tips: Know who-if anyone-is representing you, and be careful who you say what to and where. Inside a property isn’t the best place to discuss terms and personal motivation. Perhaps, rather than going to open houses, make sure you’re under contract with a REALTOR and let that agent accompany you on the showing.