Don’t say it is for sale unless you mean it


One of my clients found the perfect home for sale on Zillow. It is was being sold by the owner, and the owner stated that he would work with real estate agents.   I called, I wrote I never got any response. The interested buyer drove by the home there wasn’t any for sale sign on it or any indication the home is for sale.

Sometimes people just kind of experiment with being for sale and with different prices and there are several websites that allow anyone to publish an advertisement for a home for sale even if it isn’t really for sale. No one is ever asked for proof.

Yesterday a home buyer found a home for sale on Zillow and she asked me if I knew anything about it. I looked it up and saw that the home is listed for sale on Zillow by a real estate agent, but the home isn’t on our MLS even though the real estate agent and the brokerage he works through are members. I called the agent only to find out that they are kind of taking names of interested parties, but the home is not yet on the market.

Why would a real estate agent advertise a home on Zillow that isn’t for sale? For one thing I am not even sure the rules allow us to do that but lets assume that they do. Real estate agents make more money when they represent both the buyer and the seller. Agents who keep a home that is for sale off of our MLS are more likely to be able to represent the buyer and the seller.

I like to market homes in such a way that any real estate agent can find a buyer. The way I figure it when I list a home in the MLS I get thousands of agents competing with each other to find a buyer and I may get multiple offers. I won’t make as much money that way as I would represent both the buyer but the seller may come out ahead which means I am doing my job and representing the seller.

Real estate web sites can be great sources if information but keep in mind their main purpose is “lead” generation and most are funded by real estate agents who advertise on them. Real estate listing draw traffic to websites and are used to advertise all sorts of products and services and sometimes the home itself is even for sale but not always.

When a home is sold it has to be taken off the third party sites and often there is a lag. Why would a real estate agent mark it as sold when we can leave it on the site and use it as bait?

Also see You might be a lead and Sellers Beware

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One Reply to “Don’t say it is for sale unless you mean it”

  1. Your reference to “third party sights” should be “sites.”

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