You need to be careful here – is your agent trying to condition you or are they recommending a different price to meet the market?
What is conditioning in real estate?
It’s the process used by some real estate agents to get sellers to reduce the price of their home.
There are a few questions you can ask yourself about how your agent initially got your business (before you signed the listing agreement):
- Did the agent tell you that it would be easy to get the price you had in mind?
- Was this the price put on the listing agreement as the estimated price?
- Were they able to show you recent comparables that made sense at this price level?
Still not sure if your agent ‘bought’ your listing?
Well now that you’ve signed the listing agreement, is your agent…
- Starting to tell you that whilst the advertising (your money!) is working, the buyers are saying your home is worth substantially less?
- Getting low offers from mystery buyers, but NOT in writing?
- Critising your home and passing off these negative comments as feedback from buyers?
Then yes, you are being conditioned.
There are two stages in conditioning – activity and crunch.
Activity is when the agent creates a lot of interest in your home – this ‘interest’ may just be from neighbours and curious onlookers who actually have no intention of buying or making an offer. The agent can then frame negative feedback as coming from these ‘buyers’. Crunch is when the agent uses these criticisms to pressure you to reduce your price.
At the moment, you’re probably just trying to keep your cool, but constant negative comments can really wear down on a person. This is why conditioning is effective and pretty much works on everybody.
Eventually, your agent will ask you to lower your price, but this comes at a cost. Your property might have been on the market for sometime and consequently has become ‘stale.’ Buyers will know the property has been around for a while without selling and will wonder what’s wrong with it. If you want to sell, you may need to accept a price lower than the house’s true value all because the agent lied to you to get the listing in the first place.
Remember, conditioning is all about the agent’s commission – you see, where you might miss out on $60,000 by lowering your price, the agent will only lose a few hundred dollars from their commission, so in their eyes, any sale is better than none. Ultimately, they prefer to sell at a lower price and move on to the next property than to invest the time in trying to achieve a higher price for you.
Can you believe this is actually taught in many real estate courses around the country?
Don’t be a victim – make sure you educate yourself with the process and the market before coming head to head with a trained agent.