Posted by Bill (OH) on April 22, 2000 at 06:30:10:
I’m afraid there are no easy answers. One answer is that whatever the seller tells the agent has to stay confidential UNLESS the seller agrees to disclose. The reason is that some of this information can tilt the bargaining process in the buyers favor. For example, lets say that the seller has contracted to build a new home and needs to sell his present home first—and the property has been on the market for six months. Wouldn’t that make most buyers figure the seller would be desperate for an offer—any offer? That’s why a lot of realtors aren’t forthcoming with these details—the seller dosen’t want the realtor to do so.
Another reason is that there are so many realtors out there chasing the listings. With the way many brokerages are operating, they don’t care why the buyer is selling, or if the buyer can afford to move–the name of the game is listings. Listings are like groceries on a supermarket shelf—if the shelf is bare, you are out of business. So, fill up the shelves anyway you can.
You also have to realize that many realtors don’t have a hands on followup any more. Once they get an offer in, they turn it over to someone who specializes in the financing of the deal, or to someone who specilizes in closing the deal. These types of realtors only see a small part of the big picture, and it cripples their ability to ask the questions that need to be asked of their sellers.
Bottom line is this—keep asking around, making offers and meeting realtors. Pretty soon you’ll figure out who has their act together and just deal with those folks.