Some People Don't Want the Truth

Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

I like to tell the truth.

Sometimes I don't like the truth I have to tell, but it's part of my role as a California licensed real estate agent. It has to be done or I am doing my clients a disservice. And ethically I am bound to be truthful. 

Some people don't want to hear the truth.

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

I get that, because the truth can hurt, or be a disappointment. It shatters the illusions or dreams we have owning a particular kind of house. Or how much we can sell our homes for. Or even if we can buy a home. 

Some buyers don't want to hear that the home they want does not exist in their price range.

Or that a particular community or neighborhood is beyond their budget, and that their price range will be mostly distress sales needing work.

They don't want the truth: 

  • about the difficulties in buying short sales
  • or having to deal with multiple offers on REOs
  • or that a 75% offer on a property will not work
  • or that the home will not appraise for what they are willing to spend
  • or that their budget will not translate into an offer on a more expensive home that the seller will accept

Other buyers don't want the truth their credit will not allow them to qualify for a loan right now, or that the loan they qualify for is far less than what they need for that dream home. Or even that they need to get pre-approved, since "there won't be any issues."

The truth about a home's value can be toughThere are many sellers, especially in markets shifting downward, who do not want to hear the truth

  • About the likely value of their home
  • That the condition, location or deferred maintenance will significantly impact the value in a negative way
  • And that the market will determine that value despite what they feel it's worth or what they need to get out of it to buy their next property

Understandably folks don't like hearing they cannot sell their home for what they paid for it, or that the likely sales price will not give them enough money to move up.  Who really wants that bit of truth? 

Telling the truth is important, and ethically the right thing to do. To not do so means not fulfilling our fiduciary responsibilities, and our clients are NOT better off by not knowing the truth. 

But it's not easy sometimes because the truth hurts, and disappoints, and shatters dreams. And who likes to do that intentionally? 

Our parents told us to always tell the truth. It's a good principle to live by. And I believe that many folks really DO want to know the truth at some level, even though it may be painful. But it sure is tough, and unpleasant, sometimes. Particularly when folks don't want to hear it, and just need to find out for themselves.

They still deserve the truth.


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Anna Banana Kruchten - Phoenix Homes Sales 08/19/2009 02:10 AM
  2. Tammy Woodin 08/19/2009 02:26 AM
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William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

Absolutely, Jeff. I wouldn't have it any other way. The surprising thing is, those who value the truth will remember you long after you have spoken to them, and they will be the ones who call and say "Do you remember me? I want you to sell my house/I want you to help me to buy a house."

Aug 19, 2009 03:31 AM #38
Chad Baird
Re/Max Spirit - Dayton, OH

I told truth delivered with diplomacy lessens the sting.  An unwanted truth stated bluntly and as "law" stings. 

When I have to deliver reality I schedule for the buyer/seller to yell, cuss, blame whatever.  Cuss me I won't get offended.  Then we get back to reality, here is the truth here are the options.  What you want to do. 

Aug 19, 2009 03:34 AM #39
Nicholas Goraczkowski
Aurora, CO
Your Mortgage Resource - (720) 83-RATES

Sometimes people have built up such an idea in their head that is so fae from reality that they need a truth check. They might not like it, but at least we all know where we stand. Then we can move forward.

Aug 19, 2009 04:01 AM #40
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

I am always straight with people and tell the truth to them.  It is soemthing I share with them in our first meeting and if they are the kind of people that cannot handle a straighforward approach, they usually decide not to work with me.

Aug 19, 2009 04:03 AM #41
Jeani Codrey
The Learning Jeani - New Braunfels, TX
If you're not learning, you're not living!

Amen!  I have been a fan of the truth forever...and I have lost clients because of it.  I know that many times I have lost listings at the appointment because so many times the consumer didn't want the truth.  But sometimes they sit and don't sell with another agent and end up back with me.  The truth will always prevail.

Jeani Thomas Richie, REALTOR

Aug 19, 2009 04:09 AM #42
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Jeff - So accurate!  I recently wrote a post that included these words, "I strongly value the truth."  I have always tried to conduct my business around this fact.  As you indicated, it's not always easy or pretty or tied up in a neat little package, but the truth is far less damaging in the long-term than misleading our clients.

Aug 19, 2009 04:13 AM #43
David M. Childress
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Akron, OH
I would love to be your Realtor® in Akron Ohio!

Great lesson Jeff. If we indulge in a clients "fantasy" we do much harm. I walk away for a listing or a buyer that does not understand their situations after the "truth" is revealed on paper. This is done diplomatically, of course, who wants to hurt someone? But I fear they will be hurt by another down the road due to their stubbornness.

Aug 19, 2009 05:05 AM #44
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Michael - sounds like an effective way to begin the discussion.

Coleen - good point to keep in mind...we cannot control what they do with the info only what we tell them

Liz - yep, don't shoot the messenger comes to mind


Aug 19, 2009 05:14 AM #45
Cassi @ Knightyme Video Tours
Knightyme Video Tours - Lawrenceville, GA

Part of the reason we are haveing the crisis we have is that people were not honest. They were buying homes they could not afford, but I understand it is a challenge. Who wants to be the bearer of bad news.

Aug 19, 2009 06:55 AM #46
Connie Winstead
Nancy Puder & Associates - Arroyo Grande, CA
San Luis Obispo County CA Real Estate Agent

The truth will set you free ..... I try not to take overpriced listings because it is a waste of time, expensive and the seller ends up losing more in the long run than they would have if they had priced it correctly in the first place. 

Do you ever feel like you are beating your head against a wall? 


The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
--Albert Einstein



Aug 19, 2009 07:49 AM #47
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Irene - I do the same. Seems to be the right approach.

Lynn - it DID generate some useful comments.

Michelle - yes and it can come back to haunt you. PLus you gain nothing by not beting truthful in the long run

Evelyn - so true, it's not just in our RE biz.

Denise - and I know I sometimes angst over the truth I have to deliver.

Joe - good point. But it seems that no matter how you explain this to some sellers, they just cannot hear the truth...or really don't want to.

Sharon - hmmm. And am I guessing correctly that it did not go well?

SarahGray - things would proabbly be much better if everyone in our business took that approach and followed it consistently. Part of the bad rap we get IS becuase folks are not being told the truth.

Rebecca - well that takes some of us back a few years.


Aug 19, 2009 08:38 AM #48
Scott Rhinehart
Altus Realty Solutions - Mission Viejo, CA

Jeff, thanks for the enlightening blog.  I would only offer that many times it is us, the Agents, who have difficulty hearing the truth...from our clients. 

Aug 19, 2009 09:52 AM #49
Jayne Vaughan
Re/Max Home Team - Clarks Summit, PA


When I am speaking to a seller explaining how I work, I generally say, I may tell you things that you are not going to like to hear, but I have to say them.  I tell them that I am a cards on the table person and I can't mislead them.

Most are appreciative but there are the few that don't hear you.

Great post.

Aug 19, 2009 10:24 AM #50
Lisa Glowacki
Lisa Glowacki - Rhode Island & Massachusetts - Tiverton, RI
Real Estate Broker - RI & MA

Jeff, You have said a mouthful here. My week has been the proof in the pudding to what you said. It takes about 3-6 months before people hear what you are saying. Then they start listening but along with sharing the good news our job is to also tell the bad. Better days ahead.

Aug 19, 2009 11:31 AM #51
Alma Fernandez
DRE 01236358 Keller Williams - Northridge, CA

Great post.  The truth always creeps out.  So might as well be truthful from the start.  It's not that clients don't want to hear the truth.  When buying or selling a home, people have to face the reality of where they stand financially.  It can be a harsh reality.  When after many years of working and saving, you are only able to purchase a fixer-upper it can be upsetting.

Aug 19, 2009 11:39 AM #52
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

I love it when I consult with buyers on the down-low of shorts, and they tell me "Oh, we didn't want to deal with shorts anyway!"  WHEW!!

Aug 19, 2009 12:50 PM #53
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

The truth will set you free my folks always said.  I like to sleep at night so I tell it like it is.

Patricia Aulson/portsmouth nh real estate

Aug 19, 2009 12:51 PM #54
Brad Snyder
Sierra Vista Realty - Sierra Vista, AZ

Great Post and great words of wisdom for agents too afraid to tell the truth out of fear of losing a client. Two thumbs up!!

Aug 19, 2009 12:52 PM #55
Carol Pease
JP & Associates Realtors - Bastrop, TX
CRS, Broker-Associate 512-721-6320

Always tell the truth!!! Except about a woman's weight.  We don't want to hear it. 

Jeff:  Great post and congratulations on another feature!!! 

Aug 19, 2009 02:56 PM #56
April Solomon
Keller Williams Professionals - Swannanoa, NC

As the old saying goes "When we practice to Deceive, What a tangled web we Weave".  This is such a true statement.  Example look where we are today from the Deceptions of Lenders.  I always tell the truth to my customers even if it may not be something they want to hear.  I try to find a diplomatic way of telling the truth where it does not seem to be blatenly blunt.  I find my customers appreciate it in the long run and send other customers to me as a result.  It's always better to be honest no matter what.  It pays in the long run.

Aug 19, 2009 11:34 PM #57
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Jeff Dowler, CRS

The Southern California Relocation Dude
What's my Carlsbad CA Area Home Worth??
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