What Not to Tell Realtor When Buying – The 12 Point Checklist!

Written By Sarah Ford

Realtors are the superheroes you need when buying a house. Tackling the paperwork, doing all the paperwork and , jargon, and the nitty-gritty so you don’t have to. On average, 87% of buyers and sellers hire realtors to handle all the paperwork and legalities. But not all realtors wear capes, there are some…let’s just say not-so-super ones that might make this process way difficult for you.

That’s why you shouldn’t tell every realtor everything. While they should know your house preferences, giving too much away might just put you on the back foot in negotiations.

So, before you grab a coffee with your realtor and chat away your secrets. Here are the few things you should definitely keep in mind.

Read More: Realtor Fee Newyork: How Much Money do Real Estate Agents Make in New York?

1. Your Top Budget!

Keeping your top budget a secret can be a game changer in your house hunt. If you disclose your absolute maximum budget to your realtor, you might find yourself steered toward houses at the upper end of your budget range.

This can result in little to no wiggle room for other expenses such as home improvements, moving costs, furniture, and contingencies for unexpected repairs or maintenance.

For instance, if your maximum budget is $500,000 and you reveal this to your realtor, they might primarily show you properties priced around $475,000 to $500,000. This could limit your options, as you might not see other properties priced at $400,000 that, with a bit of renovation or decoration, could potentially be your dream home.

Besides, spending the full budget on the house purchase alone might not leave you with enough funds for other incidental costs associated with moving into a new home, like moving services, new furniture, or initial maintenance work.

So only share a target budget that gives you some financial flexibility. This can broaden your options and strengthen your negotiating position when it comes time to make an offer on a property.

Also, this approach can help ensure you have funds set aside for additional costs that invariably crop up when moving into a new home.

Read More: Mastering The Maze: Can a Buyer’s Realtor Represent 2 Buyers on the Same Property?

2. personally sensitive information

You may feel not to put a filter on when talking to your realtor. But trust me, I have seen this backfire so many times!

What are your hobbies, how you spend your free time, how often you travel and where, difficulties you are facing in your current home—the agent does not need to know any of this.

Here are the reasons why:

Potential Bias

Knowing too much about your personal life, such as your profession or personal challenges, might unintentionally influence a realtor’s recommendations.

Suppose you tell your realtor that you went through a financial crunch in the past; they might perceive that you won’t be eligible for a mortgage. As a result, they might not take you seriously, or they could start showing you homes at the lower end of your budget or in neighborhoods they perceive as “more affordable.”

Security

Sharing too much could expose you to potential risks, especially if the information is accidentally leaked or intentionally misused. For instance, if you mention that you have recently inherited money or disclose your salary, they might be less motivated to negotiate, perceiving you as someone with deeper pockets.

Potential for Discrimination

It’s sad but true; sometimes prejudices come into play. Revealing too much about personal matters, including your background, religion, or other personal details, could lead to conscious or unconscious bias.

Overextension

If you reveal that you’ve been pre-approved for a high mortgage amount, a realtor might steer you towards more expensive properties, even if you’ve mentioned wanting to spend less.

Emotional Decisions

Buying a home is as much an emotional decision as it is a financial one. If an agent is aware of personal pressures you’re under (e.g., a recent family event requiring a move), they might press you to make a decision faster than you’re comfortable with.

Read More: Navigating Realtor Fees in Georgia: A seller’s Guide to Saving Big on Commissions

3. personal Financial details

Give only the required financial information to the realtor. They do not need to know your total income or how you spend your money.

Similarly, your investments and the properties you already own are none of their business.

However, if you have been pre-approved for a loan, that’s relevant information for the realtor. Sharing this can help them gauge your seriousness as a buyer and assure a seller of your genuineness.

Even when divulging this information, exercise caution. An email containing such sensitive details or a photograph of a government ID can be leaked, whether intentionally or accidentally.

There have been numerous data breaches, notable cases being those at First American Financial Corp, a leading title insurance company, and Ascension, a financial data firm. While the former involved about 885 million mortgage-related files, the latter exposed the financial data of 54,000 mortgage borrowers.

If major corporations can fall victim, smaller real estate agencies or individual realtors present easier targets for hackers and fraudsters.

Always inquire about the safety measures your agent employs. Ensure they encrypt data before transmitting it. Ideally, refrain from sending sensitive details via email. Instead, hand over such information in person or use secure online portals.

2.1 Information you can share with the realtor

To guide you, here’s a list of details your realtor might require:

  • Your name and address, coupled with an email ID and telephone number.
  • A copy of the pre-approval letter.
  • If paying in cash, a letter from your bank stating your capability to cover the amount.
  • If opting for a mortgage, the type of loan and down payment percentage (there’s no need to divulge the interest rate or loan duration). This data assists in drafting the purchase contract.
  • Descriptions of the desired house, floor area, general location.
  • Your provisional budget (always quote a figure lower than your actual budget).

2.2 Information you need not share with the realtor

Here’s a list of details to keep private:

  • Your salary slips.
  • Your credit score.
  • Your tax returns.
  • Your total income.
  • Your income sources.
  • Your financial statements.
  • Your net worth.
  • Your family’s income.
  • Details of your existing properties and their valuation.
  • Your investments.

4. Spending Habits

Choosing not to disclose to your realtor how you spend your money can definitely work in your favor, here are the reasons why:

4.1 Unwanted Push For Pricier Properties

If a realtor knows that you splurge on fancy dinners or luxury items, they might assume you’re okay with pricier homes. As a result, they willy start showing you properties outside of your intended budget. You may even stretch beyond what you’re comfortable spending.

4.2 Wrong House Suggestions

If they know you spend on an activity or thing more than others. They might show you properties around that element. For example if they know you are a gym freak, they might only show houses near gyms, even if that’s not what you’re looking for.

Additionally if they think you spend a lot on family stuff, they might only show you homes in “family areas,” missing out on other great deals.

So avoid telling them:

How much you spend on vacations or your other expenses; realtors are smart enough to gauge your net worth by your lifestyle

That you always take a business class seat on flights when you travel and never travel by economy 

That you plan to buy another house soon

That you are selling off one of your houses to fund the current buy

That you buy the most expensive clothes and accessories 

Avoid making any show of how much money you have. E.g., Avoid driving to a realtor’s office in a Mercedes or a BMW. That’s asking for trouble


5. You’ve Found Your Dream Home

Consider a situation where you’re selling a product, and you find the demand for it has suddenly increased. Would you keep the price the same or increase it to take advantage of the situation? Obviously, you’d raise the price if the demand were higher.

In a similar fashion, it’s never a good idea to mention to the seller or the agent that you’ve taken a liking to the house and have made up your mind to purchase it. This places you in a weaker position when trying to negotiate the price, as they already know you’re interested in the house. Keep them guessing. Even if you’ve settled on the house internally, inform the realtor that you’d like to see more options. Indicate that this house is just one of the options you’re considering. As long as the seller and the realtor believe you’re keeping your options open, you maintain a stronger negotiating stance.

For instance, avoid expressing the following in front of your realtor:

That you’ve deeply fallen for the house and are determined to have it

That a particular house is the only one on your list

That your spouse adores the garden they’ve just seen

That your children are adamant about a certain house due to the nearby playground

Any remarks you or your family make while viewing a house should be restrained and professional.

Avoid revealing too much.

Don’t immediately extend an offer on a house even if you’ve decided on it.

Keep the realtor on their toes. Return with an offer after a few days.

Refrain from showing any form of desperation.

Stay calm and collected during viewings, and abstain from making comments; however, posing questions about the house is acceptable since you need comprehensive information to make a decision.


6. Your Timeline For Buying the Home

If you tell your agent about tight timelines or personal pressures, they might not work in your favor. Your agent can use this information in a negative ways and you might end up paying more just to speed things up.

Here are things you might not want to share:

Don’t say you need to buy quickly because you’re selling another house. Your agent might think you’ll take any house since you’re in a hurry.

If your rental agreement is ending soon, consider extending it. That way, you won’t feel rushed to buy a new home right away.

If you’re going through a divorce and need a place fast, find a temporary solution. This will give you more time to search for the right home without pressure.

If the seller finds out about your rush, they might refuse to negotiate. If they know you’re in a hurry and might try to take advantage of that. So, it’s best to keep some things to yourself.

Read More: Can a Real Estate Agent Represent Themselves as a Buyer

7. Your Lack of Knowledge of the Real Estate Processes and Jargons

Never and I mean never show your agent that you are unaware about the homebuying process.

If you find yourself in a position where you’re unsure, it’s often better to note down your questions and research them online later.

Alternatively, consider seeking advice from another realtor at a different time. With a bit of effort, there’s hardly any aspect of the home-buying that’s too hard to learn. For example, suppose if you want to decide your budget, familiarize yourself with property prices in your selected neighborhood and compare costs of similar homes to ensure you don’t overpay.

You can do these little things yourself to make informed decisions. And while I am not saying that agents might misguide you, there are a few that might use it against you.

Read this article to familarize yourself with how homebuying works

Remember, while realtors can provide valuable insights, you should actively participate in the process to avoid regrets later.

Avoid telling your realtor the following:

“You are the expert, tell me what should we do.”

“I’m not sure about home values in this area.”

“I haven’t done much research.”

“Is that a fair price? I can’t really tell.”

While you shouldn’t come across as naive when dealing with a realtor don’t overstate your knowledge. It seems pushy. Sometimes, staying silent is better than expressing half-baked information.


8. Your Future Plans for the Home or Property

Never share your future intentions for the house or property to the realtor.

For example, you found a space within the home that can be remodeled into an additional bedroom. If you tell your realtor about it, there is a good chance they might rake up its prices.

Or imagine you found a home that costs you around $200,000 because of its condition. You have plans to flip it or maybe turn it into a bread and breakfast. If the realtor gets a hint of your profitable strategy, they might share this gem of an idea with other interested buyers. Worse, they might hike up the property’s price, knowing the commercial opportunities it brings. And if this info gets to the seller? They could raise the price immediately.

Here are some things you might want to avoid saying:

“I can see this place turning a profit if we do X.”

“With some adjustments, this can be a great P.

“The position is ideal for Y.”

“We’re hunting for a spot we can morph into Z.”

Speaking too freely can jeopardize your deal, or worse, escalate the cost. So, try to keep your cards closed till the very end.


9. you are an outsider and don’t know much about the area

Learn everything about where you are planning to buy the house. Meet different realtors, and understand the good places to buy a house. Note the good and the bad localities. This will prepare you if a realtor tries to sell you a property in an area where property prices may not grow. 

If you plan to invest in a property and not stay here, there is still no reason to reveal this to the realtor. They might change their pitch and tell you this is a fantastic investment property, even if it is not. An investor always expects to profit from the property, so the agent may feel that you don’t mind paying a little more for such an investment. This will be hard on your budget. You can tell them that you plan to move here someday if things go right.

Also, if you inform them that you are an outsider, they will assume you don’t know much about the area. So do your research and contradict the agent if they make an inappropriate comment. This way, they will see that they cannot take you for a ride.

Similarly, do research even if the agent surprises you by showing you a house in an area you are unfamiliar with. After seeing the house, walk around, and talk to the people living there. They are the experts in their locality. Talk to other realtors to get a balanced view of the area. Always cross-check the information provided by the seller and the agent; don’t take it as the bible truth. 

Read More: Decoding Realtor Fees in New Jersey: An Essential Guide For Home Sellers

10. You Are Not Very Interested In the Property

Sending an email or making a call is just as effective as a face-to-face conversation. But if you are unsure about a property, meet the agent and communicate this clearly.

You might have to work with this agent in the future, so its better to remain cordial with them. Leaving things unresolved can ruin you reputation, especially since agents network with their peers and word travels.

If a property doesn’t appeal to you, tell your agent you’d prefer exploring other options. If you are having second thoughts because of the pricing, be upfront about your willingness to negotiate. Agents value their time, and clarity helps them prioritize genuine clients.

Note that if you’ve merely viewed the property without making an offer, there’s less at stake. But, if you’ve promised the agent to buy and put in an offer, review your agreement, then there are bigger problems that you will have to deal with. You might have to compensate the agent or lose your deposit.

Always check your contract, consult the fine print or seek expert guidance in such situations.

Things you shouldn’t say:

“I can pay any price for the right place.”

“I’m desperate to find a property quickly.”

“I don’t understand the agreement, but it’s probably fine.”

“We don’t have any other options in mind.”

“I didn’t really check the contract details.”


By avoiding these phrases and being transparent, you maintain professionalism in all dealings.


11. Your Negative Comments Opinions about the Property

Expressing negative opinions about the properties your realtor shows you require a balance of honesty and diplomacy. While it’s crucial to convey your preferences and dislikes so your realtor can refine their search, overly harsh criticism might strain your professional relationship.

For instance, suppose you visit a property that doesn’t meet your expectations. You might feel inclined to express your disappointment or critique the property extensively. While constructive feedback is helpful, excessive negativity or harsh comments can be off-putting. Realtors put significant effort into curating potential homes based on your requirements, and consistent harsh criticism can feel discouraging and diminish their motivation to assist you.

Instead of openly criticizing, consider framing your feedback more constructively. If you dislike a property due to its outdated kitchen, rather than making negative comments about it, you can say something like, “I prefer homes with more modern kitchen designs.” This approach offers your realtor valuable insight into your preferences without causing unnecessary strain.

Maintaining a positive and respectful relationship with your realtor can facilitate better cooperation, ultimately aiding them in finding the perfect property that aligns with your preferences and budget.

Read More: Buying a Non-Conforming Property : The Complete Guide

12. Desperation To Buy

Conveying a sense of desperation or urgency to buy a home can set a difficult tone for your home-buying journey. While it’s understandable that you may be operating under time constraints or keen to settle into a new property, indicating a rush to your realtor can lead to complications.

Firstly, a hurried approach might lead your realtor to expedite the process, potentially skipping over crucial details in the rush to secure a home. These overlooked aspects could range from minor issues like incomplete paperwork to significant ones like not conducting a thorough property inspection, which could reveal structural issues or the need for costly repairs.

Secondly, sellers and their agents are often savvy enough to sense when buyers are operating under pressure. This knowledge could weaken your negotiation position significantly. For example, if a seller is aware that you’re in a hurry to close the deal, they might be less willing to negotiate on price or accommodate other requests, knowing that you’re unlikely to walk away.

Therefore, while it’s essential to communicate your timelines to your realtor, avoid creating a sense of desperation. Instead, express your eagerness to move forward while also emphasizing your focus on thoroughness and due diligence. Remember, buying a home is a significant investment, and the key to a successful purchase lies in balancing urgency with careful consideration.


While your dealings and conversations with a realtor need to be measured and controlled, you must remember that your agent is your partner.

They are committed to getting you the best deal, and for this, they need your cooperation. If you are gruff and don’t build a rapport with them, they might lose interest in working with you. Working together on the buying process as a team will get you the best results. 

Keep it professional and divulge information on a need-to-know basis. There are several advantages to building a good client-broker relationship and many disadvantages to going overboard and being over-friendly. Keep your personal details and paperwork safe; ideally, don’t share it by email if you can help.

Be polite and build trust with one or two agents. Working with too many will only create confusion. Be open about working with more than one agent if you want to do so. Give the realtor the option of refusing your business. There is a lot of information you need not disclose to the agent, but make sure not to come across as too guarded. Nobody prefers or likes to work with someone who doesn’t trust them. Keeping things professional is the best policy. As they say, better safe than sorry.

Written By:

  • An experienced marketing consultant with a decade of hands-on experience in real estate. You might catch her at a local jazz bar on a Friday night or at home experimenting with vertical kitchen gardens.

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