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What Not to Say to an Agent When Listing Your Home

what not to say to agentAccording to the National Association of Realtors, 91% of people who sold a home in 2018 used a real estate agent. There's a reason for this -- having a real estate pro on your side can help you sell your home faster. And save you a lot of headaches.

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But if you want your investment in a real estate pro to pay off, there are some things you should never, ever say. Here are some key home selling mistakes you should strive to avoid:

#1: "I don't want to disclose that."

If your home has hazards, structural problems, or defects you're worried will affect the sale or lead to a lower sales price, you may want to "sweep them under the rug." But, not so fast! Many states legally require sellers to disclose problems with their homes they know about, and you could be subject to a lawsuit if you lie -- even by omission.

Never tell listing agents you don't want to disclose the truth about your home. It's a major red flag.

#2: "Can you take a huge cut in your commission?"

While real estate agents recognize that commissions are negotiable, don't ask them to market and sell your home for a pittance. Remember that not only will they share the commission with the buyer's agent, but they owe fees to their real estate brokerage firm, taxes, and more. On top of that, they often spend out-of-pocket to market your property.

Home sellers can and should negotiate if the situation warrants it, but try not to be cheap. After all, you don't work for free. Don't expect others to.

#3: "My home is worth more than other homes in the area"

When listing agents agree to market your home for sale, they don't pull your sale price out of thin air. They spend hours combing through comparable home sales in your area, fully assess your home to see how it stacks up, and then come up with a number they think you can get.

If you tell them you think your home is worth a lot more than what they suggest, they may decide not to work with you. After all, they spend money to market your home -- money they'll never get back if it doesn't sell.

Related: Get a Home Inspection Before Selling Your Home

#4: "I want to be home during showings"

Selling your home may seem like a major infringement on your privacy, but you simply cannot stay home when buyers show up to check out your abode. If you tell your real estate agent you must stay home during showings, he or she knows the job will be harder.

That's because potential buyers don't want to see the person who owns any home. They want to evaluate it with some privacy, and they want to envision themselves living there. By lurking around, you're hurting your chances for a quick sale.

#5: "I'm getting a divorce"

True or not, you should never tell any agents that you're getting a divorce. They may perceive your delicate marital status as proof you're ready to sell fast, which could mean asking you to price your home for less than you might receive.

Keep your personal business to yourself if you hope to fetch top dollar when you sell. The fact you're divorcing isn't your agent's business, so there's no reason to share.

#6: "Somebody died here"

While you are legally required in many states to disclose property defects and major problems, you are not always legally required to disclose if someone died in your home. Truth be told, people have died in most homes that have been around for a while -- and it really has nothing to do with the potential resale value of the property.

If you live in a state like Texas, however, you are required to disclose a death. In California, on the other hand, you only need to disclose deaths that happened within three years.

Make sure to check the law in your state of residence and only disclose a death if required.

Related: Price Your Home to Sell Fast

#7: "I want a certain type of person to buy my home"

If you discriminate against potential buyers based on religion, sex, ethnicity, or other protected class, you'd be dragging your whole team down with you. Federal law prohibits discrimination based on these factors, and some states have even stricter laws that extend to protect people based on their sexual orientation, political party, and more.

If you tell real estate agents that you hope to sell to a "family that goes to church" or someone of your ethnicity, they will probably exit the situation to protect their licenses. They may even have to report you to your state housing authority. In Virginia, for instance, real estate agents must report discrimination.

Be a good team member

Selling your home is a team effort involving you, your real estate agent, and dozens of other players you may never meet. But these people are not your buddies -- don't tell them your personal business. They are not slaves to be bullied, lied to or exploited. Hire an agent you respect and trust, and then let him or her work for a happy and profitable conclusion.

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