Getting Comfortable with the Truth

Education & Training with The Lones Group, Inc.

The Lones Group, Inc.

Getting Comfortable with the Truth

Real estate is a people business and can therefore be very unpredictable at times. Clients don't always do what you think they will do and often they change their minds at a moment's notice. Real estate requires strong communication skills and the ability to deliver the truth in a factual and practical manner.

Most agents have experienced a moment in which they know the truth, but their lips couldn't express it. But when you can get comfortable allowing the truth to come out, you will be amazed at not only how much time and energy you save, it will increase your confidence and your clients' confidence in you.

Sure, clients don't always like the truth, but that doesn't mean they won't like you. In fact, there is something very appealing with someone who can tell the truth. The real art of telling the truth without getting a negative response is all in the way it is delivered. Delivering it in a strong, calm, and factual manner can lead to honest discussions in which the client is more comfortable having because they can tell by your delivery that you are sincere and the option that they originally had in their mind is simply not available.

For example, imagine a doctor has just learned that his or her patient (a professional hockey player who the doctor admires) has a broken leg. The doctor has looked at the x-rays. The prognosis is not pretty and it will serious affect the future career of this athlete. The doctor has some truth to share and the athlete probably won't be very accepting of the information.

But in order for the athlete to make the strongest recovery, the doctor has to tell the truth and provide the athlete with a plan for surgery and physical therapy. If the doctor says, "Oh, just wear the cast for six weeks and we will determine the next steps then," but knows the cast by itself won't do the job, this is a detriment to the athlete. If the doctor instead shares the gut-wrenching truth about what lies ahead for the player and offers the truth about what surgery and physical therapy can do for his recovery, this is in the athlete's long-term best interest. The doctor can choose to deal with the truth of this situation now which is harder, or he can sugar coat, allow the hockey player to build up false hope only to set him up for further disappointment in the future.

Every overpriced listing I see on the MLS represents nothing more than an agent who was unable to have an honest pricing conversation up front. Agreeing to a seller's inflated price and giving them hope that it might sell is exactly the same as a doctor who isn't able to tell the hockey player the truth.

Learning to get comfortable telling the absolute truth is the best way to manage your time, client expectations and stress. I would much rather walk away from a seller who has just told me there is no way they could sell their home at the current market price versus listing the home, have it not sell, and then have to deal with the seller. That is only setting everyone up for disappointment.

Get comfortable with the truth!


By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.

The Lones Group, Inc.

Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Mott Marvin Kornicki 11/11/2019 05:04 PM
Real Estate Best Practices
real estate coaching
working with sellers
client communication
real estate
denise lones
the lones group
zebra report
difficult conversations

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Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good afternoon Denise. I agree with your thinking. truth is more important than anything in real estare. Well done. Would you use a bigger font next time....hard to read.

Nov 08, 2019 12:06 PM #1
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

But ZILLOW says . . . it is the battlecry of the Seller who wants to overprice. Few listings that I don't have to have a serious come to Jesus meeting with them on the truth of what their house is worth. Good post!

Nov 08, 2019 04:15 PM #2
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Sometimes the truth hurts ... but if we care about the buyer or seller or family member ... it's all about how we present that truth.  I like to say "let me say this with love and consideration" and that has almost always opened the conversation to accept what I need to say.

Nov 08, 2019 05:39 PM #3
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Hi Denise Lones Great blog and loved the analogy.  Yes...the truth is always best.  I am surprised how many times when I think a client is not going to like what I am about to tell them...they shrug and say ok and we figure out a plan of attack.  Thanks for sharing!!

Nov 08, 2019 07:51 PM #4
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Getting comfortable with who we are is when real transformation happens. I love it.

Nov 08, 2019 09:47 PM #5
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker I’ve seen it work out. A lot of people find the honesty refreshing, in my experience.

Nov 08, 2019 09:50 PM #6
Robert Hicks
United Country River City Realty - Savannah, TN

It’s the truth or nothing for me.. Sometimes it just takes a little more explaining... 👍🇺🇸

Nov 09, 2019 04:15 AM #7
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

The truth is always the best path.  Sometimes one can speak the truth in the most emotionally intelligent way, provide the comparatives and still have a clieent who believe he or she have the "Taj Mahal" or want a return for all of his or her "sweat equity." Good post.

Nov 09, 2019 04:17 AM #8
Kris Maroney

Great article, Denise. Here's my two cents...

In order to get to the correct "list price" from the start,  I ask the Seller-prospect to give me a tour of their property. I explain to them as we go, that I will be taking plenty of notes and asking lots of questions. I tell them that this will enable me to write a detailed listing description of their property in my marketing. The initial tour allows me to pause when I notice a material defect; then ask the seller for more information. It may seem overly dramatic as I write this, but the "dance" begins during the tour. I often pause and take dubious notes when something jumps out at me as being either a good selling point of the property-or a detriment. By the time we get to the kitchen table to review the market comparables, the seller has already begun to determine if their property is better than the competition, less than, or about the same. The market data I present (I've studied for hours in advance, and know intimately) so, when I present what I like to call the "evidence" when we're done reviewing the comps, the seller is usually ready for the hard truth. It's been a while since I've met a seller that doesn't agree with me on the proper price to list their home. Transparency is key to setting the relationship on the proper course. Sharing the truth from the start builds confidence and trust and leads to repeat business and referrals.  #truthwins


Nov 09, 2019 04:38 AM #9
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

You will never be alone with the Lones group courtesy of Denise Lones 

Nov 09, 2019 06:30 AM #10
Ron Aguilar
Continental Mortgage - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

Denise, excellent post. Thanks for your time.

Nov 09, 2019 06:35 AM #11
Sharon Miller
RE/MAX Platinum - Crane Hill, AL


A very "matter of fact" post.....thanks for reminding us that maintaining a professional attitude when dealing with customers/clients, works out for the best in the long run. In the mix, we must continually deal with that client or customer, who preceives himself to know more than his realtor as it relates to a variety of factors associated with the sale or purchase of a property.

Building a rapport with clients and customers as we begin the process, reduces the level of drama when the "cold hard facts" come to the surface.

The internet is a wonderful technical advance which provides us with the ability to share information with wide segments of our population, unfortunately there is a downside, many people now perceive themselves to be "experts" after spending fifteen minutes reading a few articles/posts on a website! 

The most successful of our profession.......have learned that elevating the level of achievement, includes an ability to "think outside the box"!


Nov 09, 2019 06:55 AM #12
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

HI Denise... there is nothing to be gained by not telling our clients the truth. It's a topic I cover in my listing presentations. The issue is not whether or not to deliver a truthful message... it's how we do it.

Nov 09, 2019 06:56 AM #13
Sandra Paulow
Aspen Properties, Inc. - Pinetop Lakeside, AZ
REALTOR, Associate Broker, GRI, SFR

In a tight market where the seller knows there is a demand for homes, it is very tempting for them to overprice based on the old idea that someone will fall in love with their property and pay their price.  In many cases, at least in my market it happens. There are so few homes available and we are once again in the bidding war situation, sellers often do get their price or more because of the competition.  I am honest with my sellers and often they don't like the honesty and the listing is lost to someone else who is willing to overprice just to get the sign in the yard.  Ironically, some of them sell at those inflated prices so where is the line between honesty and getting the listing? 

Nov 09, 2019 08:12 AM #14
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

First, I agree with your premise: telling the truth - compassionately, but not sugar coated.    But, I also agree with #14 Sandra Paulow - my market is similar.    

Case in point, I did a CMA for a referral.   1 bedroom house with an unpermitted enclosed porch that became a "2nd bedroom."     Due to their great rehab job and large lot, I gave a value of $599,000.    Sellers wanted $650k - I could not see it happen due to the fact that legally it was just a 1 bedroom home so there were no comparable sales for appraisers.    At $599k, I explained there was a really good chance of it selling for a bit over asking price, because at that price, in our market, they could easily end up with multiple offers to choose from.

When finished with the rehab, they listed with someone else - from another city where prices are much higher than here - who listed it at $639,000.    After two weeks on the market, they went into escrow- closing price: $607,000.

Was I truthfull?   YES.    Was my market value accurate?   YES - within 1%.    Did I lose the sale, the client, buyer leads, and the commission?   YES.

Nov 09, 2019 09:15 AM #15
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

If you want a gazillion dollars for your home...and it's worth half a have called us...and have the wrong agents.

Nov 09, 2019 05:24 PM #16
Ron Tissier
Chapman Hall Premier Realtors (404) 580-9069 - Atlanta, GA
Defining Homes. Defining Lifestyles.

Seeing a lot of price reductions at all levels in our market from LBs that were not "comfortable with the truth" and not having an honest conversation with their Sellers about the correct list price coming out of the gate.  Now those LBs and their Sellers continue reducing and chasing the market... in the non-selling season.  Good luck with that.


Nov 10, 2019 09:03 AM #17
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I agree with you.  However many sellers are in denial about the high priced house.  They want to 'try' an agressive price at first, then when no offer, they feel they have 'lost money' when in fact they have not.  So explaining all this up front is very important.  I often use the term "the market is telling us"  rather than "I think you should lower the price"

Nov 10, 2019 09:37 AM #18
Mott Marvin Kornicki
Waterway Realtors® • South East Florida • Real Estate Brokers - Miami Beach, FL
Waterway Realtors, Notary Public 786-229-7999

Same goes for buyer too - they expect a seller to bend more than they "should" or would. Buyers are really in contril - The Buyer, Not Seller establishes the purchase price - with a few exceptions to this rule of thumb.

Nov 11, 2019 05:07 PM #19
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Denise, the biggest problem I have is clients that fit Jack Nicholson's line in a A Few Good Men "you can't handle the truth"

Nov 11, 2019 08:52 PM #20
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