A dangerous trend has emerged in real estate advertising which potentially has privacy and price implications for the owner of the property.
Too much personal information is being revealed during marketing campaigns. Circumstances such as divorce or illness are often featured in advertisements as agents try to use bad and distressing situations to attract buyers.
The sale of a property should have no connection to the motivations of the seller. The price of a property should reflect its features and benefits in relation to its competition in the marketplace, not the seller’s reason for selling.
Accordingly, the more knowledge the buyer has regarding the seller and their personal circumstances, the more power they have and the stronger their negotiating position becomes.
Agents and sellers constantly give away negotiation power when marketing properties. Look at any real estate advertising with headlines screaming:
- ‘Marriage bust-up’
- ‘Owners bought elsewhere’
- ‘Deceased estate’
- ‘Urgent sale – sharks circling!’
- ‘Bank says sell’
Such headlines attract bargain hunters. Get-rich-quick seminars are notorious for recommending that investors target properties with headlines like these.
A Sydney buyer’s agent recently said, ‘Why is the vendor selling? You need to ask.’ She goes on to say that knowing about a divorce, a deceased estate or a property purchase can save a buyer thousands of dollars.
The danger involved in disclosing vital personal information far outweighs the dubious benefits of such advertising.
A property is a stand-alone entity. It has no emotions or feelings, and therefore should be marketed as such. The features and benefits of a property, and how these relate to the wants and needs of the buyer, are the key marketing and negotiation points in a property sale, not why the property is being sold.
Notwithstanding, sellers and their agent need to have a full and frank discussion regarding the sale. Nothing should be hidden from the agent or from the seller.
Trust is the key to personal relationships. The relationship between agent and seller is personal and private.
A professional real estate agent will never disclose personal information, as it is neither necessary nor appropriate.
Our thanks to Andrew Trim for this article.