Realtor “White Lies”


I was at a restaurant years ago and asked if they Coke.  The waitress said yes and came back with RC. I didn’t used to hate it, I just disliked the taste. Now I hate it because restaurants try to pawn it off as Pepsi or Coke and I have to ask more specifically to make sure they are giving me what I am really asking for.  If the waitress lied to me I have to guess that it gets by people often enough that it doesn’t matter.  But shouldn’t it matter when someone lies to you?

Realtors crack me up.  About 10 years ago our local MLS had a new rule that you couldn’t manipulate photos, like removing power lines, adding grass. I saw one image that looked like they took neon green in a basic photo editor and try to fill patches in the lawn. It looked worse than anything they were trying to cover.

At the meeting where our principal broker told us about the “honest photo” rule, one agent raised his hand and asked, “Does that include 50 year-old agents who still have their college photo on their business.”  Everyone cracked up because so many agents have photos on their card from before they went bald.

Everyone seems to know that “charming” and “cozy” are code for small.  But what about the house that is actually charming?  If you see “Light & Bright”, the agent likely ran out of descriptive words for this small house.  And the photos that we can take.  Realtors can find the best angles to make the worst rooms look good.  I always warn my clients about this because inevitably we walk in to a house and just wonder exactly where the Realtor was standing to get that one shot.  Some of these Realtors should get a Pulitzer or something.

Realtors around here used to put town homes in the single family category.  They thought they were clever but people actually looking for town homes couldn’t find them and the people that didn’t a towh house kept seeing them.  They think if they trick you to see a house that doesn’t fit your criteria that you will just fall in love with it.

“Well Betty, I know we said wanted a single level home, with RV parking, and a yard big enough to have the family reunion but my goodness, this three level town house with a postage stamp as a backyard is looking good.   I’m so glad that agent lied in the listing.”

That has never happened. 

I did a white lie myself in the second paragraph of this post. It doesn’t crack me up.  It makes me mad and does an injustice to the public and our profession.  No one believes a charming house is really charming.  You have people like this in every profession but when it doesn’t get called out and dealt with, more people think it’s just the way things are done. Then the slide becomes an avalanche.

So I plead with all Realtors who do these kinds of things, please stop.  Misleading or lying about your home just to get it in front of people is stupid. You’re not convincing Betty to get a three level town house,  Actually focusing on some of the perceived flaws may help sell the home.  The sellers loved it at one point, someone else will too. I wrote a blog post about that concept here.