A disclosure real estate agents should make...

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

When showing homes to buyers, do you tell them that you don't have any more information about a specific house than what was provided in the MLS listing?

If you have not yet seen one or more of the houses you're showing, I think you make full disclosureshould disclose that fact to the potential buyers.

Here's why...

You've probably been hearing all the talk about artificial intelligence in general and Chat GPT in particular. Some copywriters are worried that it will take over our jobs. Others are pretending it doesn't exist. I decided to learn more.

Over the past few days I've listened to a couple of panel discussions with top copywriters discussing the subject. What I learned is that while it can write passable copy (what they called C-grade) it lacks soul.

BUT - they all agreed that Chat GPT is an excellent research tool. What it might take a human hours (or days) to ferret out on a search engine, it can spit out within a minute or two.

So this morning I asked it to give me the top 10 complaints consumers have about real estate agents. Number one was as I expected - lack of communication and responsiveness.  Several others were pretty predicable as well.

One complaint that stood out was "Misrepresentation of property information."

Further questions added "Failing to disclose relevant information" and "Inadequate preparation for showings."

Just to round out my research, I also checked with Google, and found a Forbes article that took it a bit farther. That article indicated that consumers felt the showing agent might be employing bait and switch tactics when showing homes that looked good in photos but were a disaster in person.

They also shared that potential buyers felt that the showing agent should have all of the information about every house - including floor plans.

In a busy real estate practice, that's a bit unrealistic.

So - I think you should prepare your buyer clients ahead of time by disclosing that you haven't seen the property and don't have all the information they might want. However, if they like what they see, you'll get that information.

Of course if you have seen it and you feel that it was misrepresented, you should disclose that as well.

That blame is misplaced, but...

Blaming a showing agent for a listing agent's shortcomings is right or fair - but it happens. Just like blaming the waitress for poorly cooked food in a restaurant or blaming the grocery store checker for soaring prices.

Head the blame off at the pass by making that disclosure!


Just a bit more research took me to a 2017 article in Realty Times.  

I'd say this blogger doesn't like real estate agents one little bit. Perhaps she had a bad experience with a poor agent so is painting the entire industry with a negative brush.

Reading what she has to say might make you cross, but it's good to know what some people think, just so you can counteract it.

Comments (19)

Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Marte- we can't expect consumers to know exactly how agents work...what they can and cannot do or know. People are already skeptical so your advice is a good one. I just heard about Chat gpt yesterday. Interesting. 

Feb 04, 2023 01:27 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

One cannot tell a buyer what we don't now and unless we're the listing agent we wouldn't know anything more than the disclosures offer. At the very least we should now the neighborhood and services nearby

Feb 04, 2023 01:51 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kathy Streib That's right. Consumers don't know how agents work, and they don't know that when a buyers agent shows them homes, those aren't necessarily their listings.

Chat GPT is interesting - can't say I like it, but I feel obligated to know about it just in case a customer asks.

Ed Silva I agree - agents should know the neighborhoods in which they work. If they're going outside their own territory, they should make an effort to learn about them - if there's time, of course.

Feb 04, 2023 02:06 PM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Hello Marte Cliff you are right, this is very important disclosure real estate agents should make.

Feb 04, 2023 02:20 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening,

Good advice to give to buyers. Chat GPT is interesting but I'm not sure I like it either. I heard about it last week and then you are posting about it today. Good to know what it is and what it does.

Feb 04, 2023 03:52 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Feb 04, 2023 06:49 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

John Pusa I think so. There's no way an agent can know all there is to know about every other agent's listings.

Dorie Dillard Austin TX This version of Chat GPT (#3, I believe) came on the scene in November, and it has a lot of people excited. Some think it's wonderful, some think it's awful. And some copywriters think it will destroy our business. I don't think so - it still can't add a human touch.

Kathy Streib Thank you!

Feb 04, 2023 07:41 PM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Hmm, I have heard this AI stuff mentioned but I don't really know much about it.  I know it is coming though and I don't think we are quite prepared for it.

Feb 05, 2023 04:47 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I did read the "update" link - the writer has not had a good experience with the real estate industry, that's for sure.

I agree that communication is key - and I also agree we need to be upfront as to whether or not we have seen a specific property (whether it's land or a home). And we should always get the answers to questions we don't already know the answers to. To me that all just makes sense.

Feb 05, 2023 05:14 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Marte... it's rare that I preview a home for a client, especially a local client. I do so when I have an out-of-town client who wants my opinion on whether or not to quickly fly in to see a home for themselves.

Feb 05, 2023 06:17 AM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

Disclosure or lack thereof was the most serious and common complaint tabulated by NAR in 2022.  There are some things not on the AAR disclosure form such as neighbors who fire their guns late at night or early in the morning.

Feb 05, 2023 08:35 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Brian England Yes, it's coming. It's actually been here for 2 or 3 years, but not in the limelight. It was the release of Chat GPT that got people's attention. Some people are sure it will do away with the need for copywriters, but I don't think so.

What bothers me is that students are using it to write term papers, etc. I think they need to be doing that work themselves if they plan to learn anything.

Kat Palmiotti I think she must have had a terrible experience. Too bad she thinks all agents are like that.

Nina Hollander, Broker There aren't enough hours in the day for agents to preview every house they might show. But apparently some buyers still think they should know everything there is to know about every house.

Leanne Smith I passed on a listing once because I knew too much about how the neighbors behaved. Not firing guns, but spying - as in with telescopes, keeping track of visitors, etc. The homeowner couldn't wait to get away from them. I could not in good conscience have encouraged anyone to buy that house.


Feb 05, 2023 12:26 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker

Marte Cliff Hi Marte... your comment to Brian England reminds me of how people kept saying the internet would "kill off" real estate agents. Well, we are still here.

Feb 05, 2023 01:12 PM
Ray Henson

I recently used  an automated chat feature provided by a website for a local service department at a car dealership.  Even though they gave the automation a fake name, I could tell it was not a person.  The service was horrible.  It ended sessions with me three times without answering my question after I answers an endless number of its questions.  The chat feature was worse than having nothing at all and I told the dealership that they almost lost a customer.  Automation is getting better, but it has a long way to go for anything other than the very simplest of tasks. (IMHO)  I am reminded of this ever time I use my Alexa.

Feb 06, 2023 09:31 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is good advice to share.

Have a great day and an outstanding week.

Feb 06, 2023 05:33 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

I do let my clients know that we are seeing the home together for the first time and that it is new to me too.  I also warn them that professional photographers can make a fair house look outstanding.

It seems to me that the Realty Times author used preconceived ideas of Realtors in her article.  I find Realtors are much better than their reputations. 

Feb 06, 2023 09:16 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Nina Hollander, Broker Computers can do a lot, but they can't replace the knowledge each human has in his or her head. And, as I mentioned, they (so far) can't access empathy, understanding, etc.

Ray Henson - I now refuse to use chat. It is always a machine that has no idea how to answer whatever question you've asked. Of course, sometimes the humans on the phone have the same problem. 😀

Feb 06, 2023 11:26 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Roy Kelley - I wish the same to you.

Ray Henson - Yes, that writer must have had a terrible experience with an incompetent, unethical agent. I've known a few of those, and they're the ones who give real estate a bad name.

Why is it that the rotten people stand out, but few notice the people who quietly go about their business, getting the job done?

Feb 06, 2023 11:29 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


I completely agree about making that disclosure, and I do make it. I often get asked if I have seen a particular home or not, and what my thoughts are.


Feb 07, 2023 11:35 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Interesting post, especially with the Chat AI app. Not sure if I like that thought. But, back to your post; as agents, we must do our best due diligence at all times in every situation.

Feb 09, 2023 02:29 PM
Adam Feinberg
Elegran - Manhattan, NY
NYC Condo, Co-op, and Townhouse Advisor

We don't have an MLS in NYC, and a lot of agents chose to let the buildings managing agent take the hit of disclosing relevant info. Personally, I hate that approach. While there are going to be some questions that are best left to the managing agent and attorney- I prefer to disclose what I know before an offer is going to be submitted by a buyers agent- making any offers sticky and by disclosing what I know, not killing a deal far down the line. I would rather kill a deal that's not going to stick up front than to get all of these parties involved - chiefly managing agents, attorney's and brokers. 

Feb 09, 2023 08:28 PM