You Won't Always Like What I Say...Truthful Real Estate Conversations

Real Estate Broker/Owner with MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC NC# 218097

Above all honest. All 50 states have some form of consumer protection brochure. In NC it is called Working With Real Estate Agents and serves as the basis for an open and honest relationship between licensed real estate agent and the real estate consumer. Two of the several key components are the topic of today's writing and centers on honest dialog.

  • Promote the best interest of your client.
  • Provide your client with all material facts that could influence their decisions.

Surprisingly, it isn't always as easy as it sounds. Particularly if you were brought up to be kind to people and not hurt their feelings. In the Please Be Honestdozen years that I've been in real estate, I've learned that the kindest thing you can do with real estate clients and customers is plunge headlong into honest conversation with them but warn them ahead of time that they will not always like what you have to say but you say it with the best of intentions.


Often it is easier with buyers than with sellers.  For buyers, the conversations aren't related to them on as personal a level. You aren't advising them about curb appeal or how they smell or how clean they seem to be. Here is me keeping my fingers crossed that I NEVER have a buyer that this topic has to come up! For buyers, the truthful conversation is more about advising to get pre-qualified or the likely reception to a lowball offer, possibly a sellers probable perception of an unreasonable repair request. Nothing really personal about the buyers themselves.


The sellers on the other hand, no matter how diplomatically you present the issue(s) there will be a higher chance that their feelings get bruised. Just a few examples of what I'm talking as plain language as possible.

  • Sellers...buyers will judge a book by the cover and your curb appeal isn't there. Fill in the blank...could be exterior damage, overgrown lawn, trash in the yard, dog holes, kids toys, cheesey statuary and other yard art...I've seen some ridiculous things.
  • Sellers...buyers must not be distracted by the personal property contents. Again, there's hardly anything agents haven't seen. Get rid of or conceal the liquor collection, the pharmeceuticals, the massive collection of whatever...creepy glass eyed dolls, animal trophy heads, 1500 stuffed toys, photographs of your entire lineage covering all of your walls, Playboy style magazines, guns, frog statues, fairy statues, panda statues, black bear-moose-manatee-dolphin-eagle-whatever collections and for sure anything that detracts from being able to represent the style and size of your home. You'll have to pack it when you move - why wait?

If truth freaks you out, don't worry because there will be plenty of listing agents who will whisper sweet nothings into your ear and promise you anything to list your house.  Here's what I will promise you on behalf of MoonDancer Realty you will NOT always like what I have to say but I will always be honest with you. There is absolutely no benefit to you or me to do otherwise.  We have the same ultimate goal to achieve!

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Jeff Dowler, CRS 05/05/2017 07:57 AM
Real Estate Best Practices
Women And Their Business Hear The Roar
Diary of a Realtor
Be The Best In Your Field
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Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Last year there was a house for sale that took a long time to sell.  The owner made dolls - she had a workshop in the house.  She displayed her dolls in every nook and cranny of the house - and they were somewhat weird dolls. That's why it took a long time to sell . . . 

I don't think her agent ever explained the problem to her.

May 04, 2017 04:42 PM #14
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Mona Gersky Welcome back with a nice featured post. 

  "......warn them ahead of time that they will not always like what you have to say but you say it with the best of intentions.'

May 04, 2017 05:46 PM #15
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

Dealing with people's personal possessions and their effect on the perception of a home is sometimes perceived as a judgement on the way they live.  Two separate issues that have to be separated and not muddy the water of making their home appealing.

May 04, 2017 06:50 PM #16
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

An agent's credibility and reputation is built upon the truth. Some buyers and sellers have a difficult time when confronted with reality.  Reminds me of the old movie A Few Good Men... "you can't handle the truth!"

May 05, 2017 05:44 AM #17
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Honesty is not just a word but a living principal that when practiced teaches 

May 05, 2017 06:40 AM #18
Brigita McKelvie, Associate Broker
Cindy Stys Equestrian and Country Properties, Ltd. - Lehigh Valley, PA
The Broker with horse sense and no horsing around

Good morning, Mona!

Honesty is the best policy.  Yes, honesty can sometimes hurt, but it is reality.  Some can come to grips with it, while others are unable to accept it.  


May 05, 2017 07:19 AM #19
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

I often ask on a listing presentation if they will allow me to be honest and tell them the truth when they might not want to hear it. Always they say yes. I can then go back and say, you remember when I asked you....that moment has arrived. Good post.

May 05, 2017 07:39 AM #20
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


I love this post as it elaborates on such an important issue in our business - telling the truth, no matter what. I always ask sellers if I have their permission to be truthful with them. No one ever says no but the reality is that the truth sometimes hurts. Price is a big one, as are all the condition issues you mention!

Congratulations on a well deserved featured.

Have a wonderful weekend!


May 05, 2017 07:50 AM #21
Wayne L. Brown
Franklin Advantage Inc. - Alpine, CA


Very well written.  Your post could easily be rewritten to address what we Lenders also have to address with our clients.

While I also try to walk "Softly", somewhere in my initial discussion with them I tell them something very similar to what you do.

As always. "Honesty is the Best Policy"

Congratulations on the Featured post.

May 05, 2017 09:20 AM #22
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I think the most difficult conversations I had as an agent dealt with having to tell people that the house was dirty - or that it smelled bad.

May 05, 2017 09:36 AM #23
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Congratulations on your feature Mona!  I can't be anything but truthful and honest. The hard part is doing it in such a way that I don't hurt or embarrass the one I am talking with. Telling the truth with compassion is one of the HEART principles. I work hard at that concept. 

May 05, 2017 10:30 AM #24
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Truth and Honesty should never be compromised. The number one reason a consumer hires a real estate agent is based on Trust. It is a critical part of our lives.

Thanks for sharing a great post.

May 05, 2017 02:37 PM #25
Joshua Frederick
Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC - Defiance, OH
Home Inspector in Defiance & all of Northwest Ohio

It's refreshing to know there are some intergrity-minded professionals out there. As a home inspector, being integrity-minded and frank, has been a poor business decision, but nonetheless, a contented one.  After 10 yrs. in the real estate world, I am still blown away at the lack of morals and "money-over-all" mentalities.

Great post & thanks for sharing.

May 06, 2017 02:00 AM #26
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

From the school of you can't please all the people all the time...and be's very true.

May 06, 2017 04:19 AM #27
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

This is true - honesty is definitely needed, even when sellers won't want to hear it.

I showed a house to buyer clients a few weeks ago and the sellers had a few  marijuana plants growing in a closet. I'm thinking their agent should have told them to wait until they moved to their new place.

May 06, 2017 04:21 AM #28
Keith Lawrence
Christie's International - Mahwah, NJ
ABR, CDPE, SFR, 203K Specialist

Well put.  Honesty will never get you in trouble.

May 06, 2017 07:04 AM #29
Sharon Miller
RE/MAX Platinum - Crane Hill, AL


This is an excellent post.......should be required reading for all who recently entered the business. I have always been straight-forward in my dealings with clients and else can one successfully operate over the long term?

On a reocurring basis, I receive communication from lake property owner's who want me to "talk" to them about listing their property. They share with me...."their previous realtor had the property on the market in excess of one year, no showings and they never heard from their realtor after the property was listed."

In most cases, the property was "NOT" listed at a competitive price. Promising "the moon" in order to secure the listing is a strategy employed by many agents. At no time were there discussions regarding curb appeal, needed repairs, or other factors which might hinder an expedited sale. How do I know this, I get a "deer in the headlights look" from these prospective clients when I explain, in detail, what a typical buyer will be looking for?

As can be expected, I don't secure the listing on every appointment where I have presented my capabilities, experience and knowledge. I would rather be up front with prospective clients and customers, telling them the truth, advising them, even if what I have to say may not be what they want to hear. All realtors become known by the reputation they keep. I have seen a great many people enter and leave this profession over the years, because their less then forthright behavior, hovered around them like a shadow.

It's a good feeling to look yourself in the mirror.......and be proud of the manner in which you assist others!

May 06, 2017 07:53 AM #30
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Well said Mona! If they get mad at me so be it. My time and money are to valuable to market a listing that will not sell.

May 06, 2017 09:48 AM #31
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Very well said, Mona. I prefer to work with buyers for this very reason. It keeps the stress levels down a bit too (not always).

May 07, 2017 10:06 AM #33
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

I'd rather lose a client for my honesty than keep a client for three years because I can't sell their house!

May 08, 2017 05:54 AM #34
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Mona Gersky

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