2010 Nov 16th

How Much Information Do You Want, Hoboken Condo Buyers?

To Tell All or Not To Tell All

I heard an interesting point of view expressed the other day by a realtor.   We were talking about real estate search websites, you know like realtor.com, trulia.com and the various individual brokerage and agent sites all of which let you search for a home.  Some of them give you every bit of information about a property – the address, the price, the maintenance fees, the taxes, a description, price per square foot, price history, the whole 9 yards.  Others don’t.

The theory for withholding critical information, like the actual property address, is that it will cause you – the potential buyer – to pick up the phone and call the number on the screen of search results.  Presumably this is the listing agent’s number or at least the brokerage of the listing agent.  There are realtors who believe that this is how to develop a relationship between and agent and a potential customer.  In fairness, before the internet (yes, even I can remember a time before the internet) a customer had to rely on an agent to get information on what was for sale in a given neighborhood.  Of course, that has all changed.

I know what I think about this theory but I will keep my opinion to myself for right now.  So what I am really curious about is what you all think about it.  I tried to make a little “vote” section but can’t figure it out (if anyone knows how to use the Cforms plug-in for WordPress please help).  So please just comment below as to your preference or feelings about this.  Do you want all the info right on the search result page?  Would you actually call the agent to get the rest of the details?  Or would you just go to a different search site that gives you all the info?

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  1. Andy

    Want all info. The more upfront you are the more I will trust your agency. Plus in this day and age if a Realtor hides anything but the exact address I get the feeling they are hiding something about the property. Doesn’t start off the client relationship on the right foot in my opinion.

  2. homeboken

    Ditto what Andy said. I want every last bit of information. Exact address is very useful as well, allows you to search records of the home on county websites. You can get recorded square footage, tax expense, assessment amount, and prior recorded price paid by current owners.

    All of these are helpful in setting an offer price. For example, if a property is listed at a price you think is way too high for todays market, but you go on the tax records site and see that it is listed for the previous paid price, plus exaclty 5% or 10% more, than you can deduct that this property isn’t “really” for sale. Instead, the current owner is hoping someone bails them out of their bad investment. This is very common for homes bought from 2006-2009.

    Bottom line, if any party withholds information, I view them as an opposing party trying to gain negotiating leverage. I would not want to view my realtor in such a way.

  3. Don

    100% agree with above posters. I want all the info, and if critical info is missing I usually take the listing less seriously.

  4. Randy

    No buyer would want info withheld. From a buyer’s perspective if something isn’t listed I would assume its because of negative reasons.

    If I see a property that says 2 bed, but doesn’t list the square footage I assume its a small space. If there is no specific address I assume its in a bad area. If sq ft and address is not listed I don’t even think about the property.

    More detailed info, such as taxes and maintenance fees should be listed…but if they aren’t, and i’m interested in the address/price I will call the broker to get that information. So I can understand the broker’s reason for withholding that info and start contact with the potential buyer. But its still a crummy move by the broker. And all buyers would prefer if that information was also listed from the start.

  5. Lori

    As you’ve probably guessed, I happen to agree 100% with all of you – the information should be provided openly, completely and up front. Trying to “trick” the potential buyer into calling you to find out the missing pieces does not bode well to me. That does not establish the relationship of trust and confidence I hope to attain. I am convinced that with the highly competitive nature of real estate search sites, if my site doesn’t give the buyer what they want they will simply go elsewhere.

  6. Craig

    Honestly, I don’t understand where there’s any room for debate here. Who’s going to choose the “please provide less info, I prefer to remain in the dark” option? I’m not calling a listing agent. That’s my agent’s job. Before I consider a property I need to know the address, the price, the maintenance fees, the taxes, in addition to seeing some pictures – and I don’t have time to call anyone to find out this stuff if I’m looking at dozens of homes. Provide full disclosure about a property and if I’m interested, I’ll let my agent know that I want to see it. That’s when the listing agent gets a call from my agent. If I don’t get all the info I want at first glance on one site, I’ll go to another.

  7. Tiger

    Craig, sometimes less is more, no?

    :-)

  8. Lori

    There is room for debate only because there are agents and brokers who honestly believe that they can get you to call them by not giving you all the info. “If we give them everything they won’t have any reason to call us”, is what I’ve heard. I don’t agree. Clearly you all don’t either.

  9. Andy

    Lori, 100% agree, you have only to look left and right on Washington St to see people do it all the time.

  10. homeboken

    “If we give them everything they won’t have any reason to call us”, is what I’ve heard. I don’t agree. Clearly you all don’t either.

    Any agent that mutters that line is clearly concerned that they provide no value to the transaction other than providing information. These types of realtors will disappear as the herd thins. That is good news for realtors that know how to really provide a service to their clients.

  11. Craig

    “If we give them everything they won’t have any reason to call us”

    That makes no sense whatsoever. If you want to see a place, you have to call the listing agent sooner or later because you need the key. You also have to call them to register an offer. Further, the listing agent gets their share of the commission whether anyone ever calls them or not, so who cares? The only reason a listing agent wants buyers to call is because they want to cut out buyers agents and get both sides of the commission in a dual agency situation – which really ought to be illegal in all 50 states for obvious reasons.

  12. Lori Turoff

    As a lawyer, I find it conceptually difficult to understand how an agent can perform one’s fiduciary duties (obedience, loyalty, full disclosure, confidentiality, accountability, and reasonable care)when on both sides of the deal. Yet it is legal here in NJ and happens more often then you would imagine.

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