We can sugar coat just about anything and make it look scrumptious.
The problem surfaces with the first bite.
If you’ve sugar coated something grotesque, you will have destroyed your credibility in the eyes of the consumer of said “delectable treat after that first bite.”
When selling Houses, real estate sales professionals face many moments of truth. Perspective Buyers of homes justifiably ask LOTS of questions.
- Where are the property lines?
- Will that huge field behind the house be developed?
- Is that a Railroad track behind that line of trees?
- We are close to the airport. Is this house under a flight path?
- Will those Power Line Towers in the back yard affect us . . . or our ability to sell the house in the future?
- That’s a beautiful creek running through the yard. Has it ever flooded?
- Why did “they” knock down all of the houses between here and the interstate? Are they building an interchange?
- Is that line on the wall in the basement a water line from a prior flood?
- The neighbor told us this house burned a few years ago, what happened?
- Are there any neighborhood rules against against renting?
- Are the neighbors nice?
- Are the public schools good?
I’ve experienced some VERY interesting responses to all of the above questions ranging from brutal, unadulterated truth to unabashed, scandalous fibbery.
At the end of this post are short blips @ answers I’ve heard to the above buyer questions.
In my view, the only appropriate responses are:
- The WHOLE truth and nothing but the truth
- “I don’t know!”
You either know, or you don’t!
Don’t dance or guess or lie or sugar coat!
The stakes are too high, and you may trick them in the short term, but you’re going to destroy your reputation when they learn the truth . . . and they WILL ultimately learn the truth.
- Speculate – “I looked at that house behind with the awesome yard, and it looks like a nice house. I doubt they will ever tear it down.” I subsequently researched the property and learned that it was under an option contract for a developer to fill the lot with . . . HOUSES!
- Lie – If you know what happened, and it is/was a “Material Fact” there is ZERO benefit to pulling the wool over the Buyer’s eyes. While you may cinch a sale on the short term which converts to a domino of lawsuits in the long run.
- Tell the truth
- Plead Ignorance if you are, in fact, unknowing.
Advise the Buyer to do whatever diligence necessary to satisfy him/herself concerning any lingering concerns.
Answers – then truth
- “The right property line is just beyond those steps” – the truth was that “those steps” encroach the adjoining lot by @ 8 feet and significantly affected the Buyer’s intent to build a fence.
- “I looked at that house behind with the awesome yard, and it looks like a nice house. I doubt they will ever tear it down.” I subsequently researched the property and learned that it was under an option contract for a developer to fill the lot with . . . HOUSES!
- “No! the railroad track is further back, and no trains use it.” On the morning of closing during our walk-through, a train passed through @ 40 MPH with a tremendous ROAR! We did not close (thank God!)
- “No! we rarely see planes here. I think the flight path is over there.” The flight paths for BNA had been changed 12 months earlier, and ALL of the owners knew it because the airport authority had offered everyone in the path a special deal on soundproofed windows.
- “Oh no! Those Power Lines are an ASSET because you will always have that filed behind your house.” But what about the truth that most buyers will NOT buy a house underneath power lines without a DEEP discount. also health concerns for EMF
- “the creek NEVER floods!” – that creek flooded EVERY Spring and always filled the crawl space with water – thus the reason the HVAC was less than a year old. The next door neighbor told the buyer about it as he was pulling soaked duct out fo the crawl space – $35,000 lawsuit.
- “I think they knocked down all of those houses next to the interstate to build a strip mall.” Truth was that a HUGE interchange was to be built with an off-ramp literally in the back yard of the house.
- “That water line in the basement was from a flood many years ago. The Owner fixed it and has had no problems since.” Just prior to closing, the insurance company discovered a $45,000 claim for a flooded basement 12 months prior.
- “the house had an electrical fire. All of the damage has been fixed” the truth was that a teenager locked his Father in the basement and set the house on fire.
- “Oh! I’m sure you can rent the house out” – Truth was that many neighborhood associations (including this one) had restricted renting during the economic down-turn @ 2008
- “the neighbors are friendly and AWESOME!” – When we went for a 2nd look, we heard yelling next door, and the back door flung open with the lady beating her husband with a frying pan resulting in them having a knock down drag out fist fight in the back yard.
- “The schools around here are GREAT!” Oh my! a quick google search followed by a visit to the school revealed atrocities you cannot even fathom in an elementary school.
All of the above are true stories . . . I can’t make these things up.
So . . . If you’re a Home Buyer . . . Ask the question AND do the diligence to be sure you have the REAL truth for all matters of importance to you.
We REALTORS at Pareto Realty go the extra mile to help home buyers ask the right questions and do the diligence needed.