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How Is Your Sleep?


The Bearer of Bad News

Ok, I know…I know we are suppose to be happy, happy, yippy, skippy. Reality is most of my sellers in Michigan are not happy and I am not happy to be the bearer of bad news. One of the hazards of being a listing agent in a buyers market.

This is such a happy time for buyers

•    Rates are low
•    Home prices are at all time lows

Tell the Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

In a court of law, we swear to tell the true, the whole truth, nothing but the truth so help you God.  As a Realtor I am committed to telling my sellers (and hope to be sellers) the whole truth.

Excuses I hear

•    We added this, that and the other
•    The square footage is wrong on the tax records
•    We put this much in our home, new kitchen, new windows, new H2O.
•    Another Realtor told us our house was worth this much more


Integrity is doing what is right, in the midst of your values and beliefs being challenged. Being truthful, honest, forthright, and reliable. I found this quote many years ago and have it attached to all my  pre-listing presentations.

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Doing what is right, telling the truth is not always fun or makes me emotionally happy but I do sleep good at night.  Sure, we all make mistakes in our recommendations for a selling price, we have to make price adjustments but not intentionally and not at the beginning of the relationship.

I’d rather be the bearer of bad news at the beginning and sleep well at night than not tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

What say you?

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Written By

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.



  1. Louise Scoggins

    May 8, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Under-promise and over-deliver…such is the job of a listing agent to rightfully set the expectations of selling your home in a buyer’s market laced with foreclosures and agressively priced homes. I’d rather tell the truth upfront than have to backtrack later!

  2. Ken Montville - The MD Suburbs of DC

    May 8, 2009 at 9:35 am

    This is especially true in this market. We are doing the seller no favors by massaging their egos about how their house is so wonderful that it will most certainly fetch a higher price than all the comps. Puh..leeze. Sellers are emotional. They love their house. They’ve lived in it, maybe raised a family in it…and maybe fixed it up a bit.

    Aside from the nice integrity quote you had in the blog post I have often heard that the Seller doesn’t set the price, the agent doesn’t set the price…the market sets the price. Mr. Market is merciless and he doesn’t care about the nice ceiling fans, deck or “need” for [x] dollars.

  3. Matt Stigliano

    May 8, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Missy – That quote is a great one. I might have to “borrow” it from you. I sleep like a baby at night. I know I give my clients the answers that I know are true, not the ones they want to hear.

  4. BawldGuy

    May 8, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    My experience has been clients know you’re being honest with them, and over time they come to trust you big time. You started the relationship by looking them in the eye and telling them their idea of value required major surgery. You proved it. You never blinked.

    That’s the kind of agent they want on their side.

  5. Lani Rosales

    May 8, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Consumer Reports may have framed it in a troubling way, it is unfortunately the sentiment felt by many consumers because of individual agents’ behavior. Missy, I think anyone that knows you is aware that you are one of the good ones and would NEVER compromise your integrity for a dollar. It’s unfortunately that the ol’ bait & switch still happens- just tell ’em like it is and if they don’t like it, they’re not looking for reality, they’re looking for a dream.

  6. Elaine Reese

    May 8, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    I hate asking for price reductions, and always “try” to give a price close to where I think the home will sell. But as we know, if the sellers are interviewing several agents, they’re always going to select the one with the inflated price because they think that agent sees “the true value” of their home. The rest of us are “just trying to sell their home cheap”.

  7. Missy Caulk

    May 8, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Louise, I would too, thanks for stopping by.

    Ken, I have that in another piece too, and it is true the market will determine the price. But, we have to tell them something and I am all about the truth up front. Then if the market rejects the price we adjust. To start off higher than what the comps say is not truthful.

    Matt, you can use any of my stuff, any time. Glad to share.

    Bawldguy, I always through in how much my own home had depreciated and that I know how they feel. I know they know I’m not lying but still they are disappointed.

    Lani, thank you and I guess it could of been said differently but hey it’s the media what do we expect. It rings true with them. I like being that second Realtor in and am many times, only a few Realtor here let go of that listing come hell or high water.

    Elaine, most do but many know in their gut and I have had sellers tell me to put it on the low end of the market analysis, those homes sell quickly. The day of ‘testing” is over in MI. Who knows where it will be next month? I did have one guy leap across the table at me. I politely shook his hand and said good luck, I know you will find a wonderful Realtor to list your home. They did and it sold under what I said a year later.

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