Buyer & Seller Considerations – Confidentiality
When representing buyers and sellers in real estate, the issue of confidentiality can’t be overlooked. Generally speaking, people don’t like to have their finances or personal situation become an open book for the world to see. This is why it’s so important that a trusted real estate advisor respect the fact that information shared by buyers and sellers must be held in the strictest confidence.
Most agents appreciate this fact, but very few agents emphasize this critical point in their advertising, marketing, and client presentations. You can be the most trustworthy agent in your area, but if you don’t share this key strength with your prospects, it’s likely to cost you a lot of money and you may never even realize it. Consider the following examples that show how critical it is to let your clients know that you’ll respect their confidentiality:
- A Listing Prospect: You’re making a presentation to a prospective seller and you do not bring up the issue of confidentiality but your competition does. The seller does not want everyone in the neighborhood to know their business. They perceive the agent that just discussed confidentiality as being the more trustworthy agent, and they decide to list with your competition. In reality, private information is much more secure with you, but you don’t get the listing because you never discussed this key point.
- An Existing Listing: Your seller likes you and knows you can get the job done. Your success is proven. But, they’re afraid to share key facts with you because they’re embarrassed or they just don’t want anyone else to know their personal circumstances. Had they shared the information, it would dramatically change the strategy for selling the home. Instead, you don’t have the full picture so your strategy is flawed and you never sell the property.
- Short-Sales and Foreclosures: You offer to represent a prospective seller and are never told that the seller is negotiating with the bank for a short-sale or foreclosure. You find out about the issue after you’ve spent time and money and the bank cuts your commission dramatically. You either lose a lot of money, or worse yet, you’re unable to sell the property because of an issue that should have been discussed at the very beginning of your relationship, but never was because it was so embarrassing to your sellers.
- Neighbors: A prospective seller wants you to represent them because you live in their neighborhood, are an expert on the community, and are more knowledgeable than any other agent about the community. They choose another agent because they don’t want their dirty laundry being shared with other people in the community. The issue of confidentiality should have been brought up.
- Affluent Buyers and Sellers: This group is the most sensitive about protecting their private information. Failure to point out their respected confidentiality is likely to be a fatal flaw.