Telling a Seller that their house smells like one of their 4 cats had an accident (every day for the past 2 months) or that their intended list price is not recommended (clinically insane) or the family room wall they turned into a 15 x 8 foot scrap book of all their relatives, both living and dead is "really something" (to scare the Gen Y buyers away), is just part of selling real estate.
Most of us grew up being told it was rude to point out something that could hurt another person's feelings. "Niceness" is a wonderful attribute, and especially valued here in the Midwest. But, when clients are selling their most valuable investment, skirting lightly over an important issue or dropping the subject as soon as they present an ill-advised or flawed reason for making a bad decision, isn't really being kind.
My varying roles as a buyer, seller, investor, agent and office staff member have allowed me to identify one of the most important traits of a really good real estate agent; They give their full and professional assessment of a situation to their client, rather it will be easy for them to hear or not.
Obviously, being the bearer of bad news isn't a fun part of anyone's job, but sometimes it is necessary to do a good job. Effective agents have the confidence to deliver all the information that their client needs to know. They won't select only the most expensive comps for their analysis just because the client refinanced to 100% LTV a few months ago. They don't say nothing when the seller points out a broken garage door and says, "Just tell people we will fix it before closing." They don't give false hope that the out-of-date wallpaper and lack of decorating won't hurt their sale price or length of time to sell.
Ultimately, it is the Sellers' choice to accept their agents advice or not. But, if they don't have all the information they need to make a wise decision, their odds of a successful sale revert to chance or luck instead of a solid plan based on professional advice. Fortunately, I know our agents value presenting the full truth along with a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. But, their real expertise is evident because they are sure to administer the full and recommended dose.