No agent wants to challenge their client and basically tell them they are a liar. That said, there are times when you have to offer tough love to protect them and yourself. Here are seven ways to potentially work with a client who wants to hide something.
Help them understand the risk
Start by letting them know where you’re from and why you’re disputing their concealment request. This is to protect them from some very bad possible outcomes down the road. Explain the legal definition of a material fact described here and the legal and ethical ramifications that may follow if it is not disclosed.
The clear and simple message is that if you lie about it, someone can come and get your money later, and they have a good chance of getting it. Also appeal to their sense of decency. Try to get them to put themselves in the buyer’s shoes. Ask them how they would feel if they were considering buying a home and the seller intentionally withheld something from them. If they’re not really the type to care about that sort of thing, go back to the idea that someone can take their money. Everyone can understand the importance of this.
Complete a seller’s declaration
To protect yourself and your customer, have them complete a Seller Disclosure Statement. This allows them to tell what items are in working order in the house, if there have been signs of water in the house, if there are any known electrical issues and much more. This serves two purposes: it allows them to tell the truth about the home before they put it on the market, and it creates a signed legal document where your client has hopefully stated honestly what condition it is in. the House. Later, if he tries to hide something, you can designate this document as “ammunition” available to the potential buyer in the event of a legal battle.
Remind them they’ll probably be found out anyway
If they lie on the seller’s declaration, it will eventually come out. Most buyers have a thorough inspection done before closing the sale; they’re not just going to take your word for it when it comes to the condition of the property. It’s always better to be upfront and honest.
Solve the problem
If the seller can afford it, it’s best to fix a problem before listing it for sale. This will increase the pool of potential buyers, as some may have been put off by the default. Many buyers want a turnkey property they can move into immediately without a long list of necessary repairs. Use this information to encourage your client to put the place in perfect condition before selling it.
tell it like it is
Sometimes homes will be marketed “as is” if there are numerous cosmetic or material defects. Buyers should beware in this scenario. Beyond that, the seller must always describe all material defects, at the very least. People want to know what they’re buying, no matter the product, so tell them the truth.
Simply put, when it comes to problems with the home, the best-case scenario is to fix it, and the second best-case scenario is to be honest about it.
Appeal to their own vanity
People generally want to do the right thing, if only to be perceived as a good person. While they may forget it when they ask you to cover something up, a gentle reminder that their reputation is on the line can help.
Jeff Lichtenstein, owner and founder of Echo Fine Properties in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, finds that one spouse will usually step in and reason with the other at the time. “People don’t like to be embarrassed either, and it’s such a small world that fear of having a bad reputation in the community usually sets in,” he says.
Cancel the announcement if you must
As realtors, we don’t want to lose a sale. However, sometimes it cannot be avoided and simply has to be done. “‘I can’t do a good deal with a bad guy,’ my business grandfather used to say,” says Lichtenstein, who says he just won’t do business with a client who isn’t honest. And at this point, he adds, “Villains give bad credentials, and it never works out in the end. I have followed this motto for my entire career and have had no issues on the disclosure side because of it.