I was recently asked by another agent: “Is that the seller’s price?”

What the agent is really saying is: “Hey, that price is so outrageous, you either don’t know what you are doing or the seller has chosen the price himself.” Of course, no agent wants to hear that question coming from one of their peers.

So let’s assume that you have taken a listing and the owner insisted you list it $100K over fair-market value. You took the listing because it’s in the neighbourhood that you want to farm and the seller has agreed to revisit the list price after a few weeks of “testing” it out. Perhaps you were confident that you could keep hammering away at the owner for price reductions.

Eventually, an agent asks you if it is the seller’s price. What would you say? “Yes” would make you seem unprofessional and possibly reveal that the seller is in the driver’s seat, but “no” might suggest that you “bought” the listing. Is this a dilemma? Not really. Your best answer is: “I would encourage you to bring an offer that you and your buyer find fair.” Since you agreed to take the listing, as an agent, it’s your job to go out and stand behind that price.

You know how they say the walls have ears? Saying something negative about the seller or the list price will come back to bite you. Recently, I heard a story of how an agent lost a listing because during a showing, she made negative comments about the state of the kitchen. The owner – and proud kitchen designer – was hiding in the pantry listening. It’s not surprising since we live in a time where nanny cams in homes are as common as dishwashers.

Treat your client fairly and don’t reveal your true feelings about their price. Hopefully, you have a plan and timeframe to revisit the pricing strategy. I suppose the alternative is that you let someone else take the overpriced listing and let them spend money trying to market it, and that’s a personal decision only you can make.

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