Couple Home Buyer Renting Morgage First Time Milestones 4PM production Shutterstock
· ·

Things Real Estate Agents Aren’t Straightforward About

Real estate agents often hold back certain truths that could significantly influence decisions. Understanding these undisclosed factors can empower you to make more informed choices. Here, we reveal the things your real estate agent might not want you to know.

Commission Negotiability

Real-estate male
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

While most real estate agents might imply their commission rates are fixed, in reality, these fees are often negotiable. Agents are likely to be more flexible if they’re representing both the buyer and the seller or if they’re in a competitive market. Understanding this can save you a significant amount of money during the sale or purchase of a home.

House Flaws

handyman repairing roof LightField Studios Shutterstock
image credit: LightField Studios/Shutterstock

Real estate agents may downplay issues with a property to make a sale more likely. They might steer conversations away from potential deal-breakers like foundational problems or a leaky roof. It’s crucial for buyers to insist on a thorough independent inspection to uncover these issues.

True Market Value

family neighborhood suburbs new home family house
image credit: 4-pm-production/shutterstock

Agents might not always provide a fully accurate valuation of a property, sometimes inflating the price to attract listings from sellers. A higher listing price can make the agent seem optimistic and appealing, but it can lead to a longer time on the market. Buyers and sellers should research recent comparable sales to verify pricing suggestions.

Slow Market Times

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Knowing when market activity typically dips, such as during winter in many areas, can be crucial for timing your listing for maximum exposure. Sellers might benefit from waiting for a more active market period to list their property.

Interest Conflicts

people looking at new home real estate realtor
image credit: wavebreakmedia/shutterstock

Real estate agents may have preferred mortgage brokers or home inspectors, not always because these providers are the best choice, but because they have mutual business relationships, which can sometimes lead to conflicts of interest. Always seek second opinions and quotes from other service providers.

Overpricing Strategy

Male POC Real estate business finance deal city planning SofikoS Shutterstock
image credit: SofikoS/Shutterstock

Some agents encourage sellers to list their homes at an unreasonably high price as a strategy to make subsequent price reductions seem more dramatic and attract buyers who are looking for a ‘bargain.’ This tactic can backfire by deterring initial interest and prolonging the sale. A realistic, market-aligned asking price is generally the best strategy.

Open House Benefits

male looking out window home real estate worried pensive
image credit: fizkes/shutterstock

Open houses are more beneficial for agents as they help them connect with potential new clients rather than selling their homes. Understanding this can help you decide if having an open house is worth it.

Expiration of Listings

POC Couple Realtor Home Buying Renting Andrey_Popov Shutterstock
image credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Agents rarely discuss what happens if your listing agreement expires; they may be less motivated as the deadline approaches. If your property doesn’t sell within the agreed time, the agent might lose interest in actively marketing it.

Hidden Costs

building a fence together
image credit: robert-kneschke/shutterstock

There are often hidden costs involved in selling a property that agents may not disclose upfront, such as closing costs, home staging fees, and potential home improvement expenses. These can all affect your net proceeds from the sale. It’s important to ask for a detailed list of all potential costs early in the process.

Buyer Qualifications

Couple Finance Budgeting Accounting Money Management Gorodenkoff Shutterstock
image credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

Agents sometimes show homes to buyers who haven’t been pre-approved for a mortgage to keep their options open. This can lead to unnecessary complications if the buyer decides to make an offer but then fails to secure financing. Sellers should insist that only pre-approved buyers are shown their homes.

Quick Sales

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

An agent might push for a quick sale to secure their commission faster, even if waiting might result in a higher selling price. While a quick sale can be beneficial in some circumstances, it’s not always in the seller’s best interest.

Dual Agency

Handsome finance male business smiling looking up suit work
image credit: minerva-studio/shutterstock

A dual agency, where an agent represents both the buyer and the seller, can create a significant conflict of interest, yet agents might not fully disclose the downsides of this arrangement. While legal in some states, dual agency can prevent the agent from advocating effectively for either party. Always ask your agent to clarify their role and consider getting separate representation.

Full Disclosure

businessmen shaking hands work suits office
image credit: friends-stock/shutterstock

Agents are legally required to disclose certain information about a property, but they may not volunteer potentially unflattering details unless asked directly. This can include previous repairs, issues with neighbors, or anything that might make the property less desirable.

Market Competition

Investors finance hand shake business meeting deal woman male office fizkes Shutterstock
image credit: fizkes/Shutterstock

Your agent might not tell you about all the competition in the area, especially if it could sway you to lower your price. Knowledge of other available properties with similar features and pricing can be crucial for setting a competitive price.

Sales Strategy

Minimalist home decor vase Prostock studio Shutterstock
image credit: Prostock studio/Shutterstock

Understanding the strategy and reasoning behind your listing’s marketing plan can provide insight into how effectively your property will be sold. Don’t hesitate to ask your agent to detail their planned approach and rationale.

Legal Minutiae

male lawyer reading paperwork writing will
image credit: minerva-studio/shutterstock

Real estate transactions involve complex legal documents that many agents gloss over. Important details about contingencies, closing timelines, and buyer obligations might not be fully explained. It’s advisable to have a lawyer review all documents.

Upfront Costs

couple painting their home together
image credit: Monkey Business Images/shutterstock

Agents might avoid discussing all upfront costs involved in listing a property, such as photography, listing fees, and marketing materials. These can add up and affect your budget. Ask for a detailed breakdown of expenses before signing a listing agreement.

Agent’s Track Record

mature business male working on a laptop in an office
image credit:

An agent might not volunteer information about their sales success rate or client satisfaction unless prompted. Researching an agent’s track record, reading reviews, and asking for references can provide a clearer picture of their effectiveness and reliability.

Emotional Decision Making

Happy Young Couple Home Buyer First Time Morgage Renting Moving in together Prostock-studio Shutterstock
image credit: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

Agents know that buying a house is as much an emotional decision as it is a financial one and might play on emotions to close a deal. They might emphasize a home’s aesthetic or unique features over practical considerations like upkeep costs or practical layout. Buyers should be aware of when emotions are being used as a selling point.

The Real Timeline

couple home house moving boxes packing
image credit: vadym-pastukh/shutterstock

Agents may underplay the time it can take to close on a house, setting unrealistic expectations for a quick process. In reality, issues like loan delays, appraisal problems, and unexpected repairs can extend the timeline significantly. Understanding the full potential timeline can help manage your expectations and planning.

Future Market Predictions

father investor older wealthy business boss jobs
image credit: icsnaps/shutterstock

Real estate agents might avoid making predictions about the future market to avoid accountability. While it’s impossible to predict the market with certainty, an agent should be able to provide data-driven insights and trends to help you make informed decisions. Ask for market analysis reports and future trend predictions during your discussions.

Zoning Changes

Business documents report investigate contract nampix Shutterstock
image credit: nampix/Shutterstock

Real estate agents may not discuss potential zoning changes or developments in the area that could affect property values. Upcoming zoning changes can drastically alter the desirability and usability of a property, affecting everything from traffic to business activity in the area. It’s vital to check local government plans or pending applications that could impact the neighborhood.

Non-Disclosure of Better Offers

Woman Phone Computer Receptionist Assistant Bigone Shutterstock
image credit: Bigone/Shutterstock


Agents sometimes fail to disclose the existence of better financing offers or terms they’ve negotiated on similar properties, which could provide leverage or savings for clients. Knowing that another buyer secured more favorable terms could provide critical negotiation power.

Josh Dudick

Josh is a financial expert with over 15 years of experience on Wall Street as a senior market strategist and trader. His career has spanned from working on the New York Stock Exchange floor to investment management and portfolio trading at Citibank, Chicago Trading Company, and Flow Traders.

Josh graduated from Cornell University with a degree from the Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management at the SC Johnson College of Business. He has held multiple professional licenses during his career, including FINRA Series 3, 7, 24, 55, Nasdaq OMX, Xetra & Eurex (German), and SIX (Swiss) trading licenses. Josh served as a senior trader and strategist, business partner, and head of futures in his former roles on Wall Street.

Josh's work and authoritative advice have appeared in major publications like Nasdaq, Forbes, The Sun, Yahoo! Finance, CBS News, Fortune, The Street, MSN Money, and Go Banking Rates. Josh currently holds areas of expertise in investing, wealth management, capital markets, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and personal finance.

Josh currently runs a wealth management business and investment firm. Additionally, he is the founder and CEO of Top Dollar, where he teaches others how to build 6-figure passive income with smart money strategies that he uses professionally.