bluffingWith the shine off the frenzy, listing agents will be more inclined to bluff about the number of competing offers in order to build urgency – and to procure a higher-priced sale.

How do you know when you’re getting bluffed?

First let’s point out that most agents don’t have a clue about bluffing.  If they get a listing, they will employ the typical 3P marketing plan (Put a sign in the yard, Put the lockbox on, and Pray) and wait to process your order.  These agents will be out of the business shortly.

The second group are the Shut-Down listing agents.  They won’t answer their phone, won’t tell how many offers, no price coaching, etc. – they just expect you to fly blind. I saw one agent remark in his listing that they were “overwhlemed with calls, send emails only.”  It is such a turnoff that many buyers will give up in this post-frenzy era, rather than offer into a black hole.

The minority of agents who will tell you about other offers are the professional salespeople.  They understand that it is in their seller’s best interest to bring transparency to the process for buyers:

1.  Transparency makes buyers feel more comfortable.

2.  Comfortable buyers will pay more money, and close easier.

3.  The listing agent’s job is to procure higher prices, and easier closings.

If you come across a house listed by an agent who will tell you how many offers are in, and some guidance about price – it’s natural to wonder whether or not it is legit.

You will probably never know for sure if a listing agent is bluffing – and I’ve never caught anyone red-handed.

But let’s make some assumptions about who isn’t bluffing:

1.  Inexperienced agents – hard to pull off under questioning.

2.  Old tired agents – they don’t have the time or energy.

3.  Desperate agents – they won’t jeapordize a potential sale.

If you conduct a simple check of an agent’s sales history and time in the business, you can pinpoint whether they fall into one of these categories.

The other thing to do is to insist on getting them on the phone, or seeing them in person.  The theories vary on what body language signals a bluff, so trust your gut – it’s probably all you got to go on!

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