Asking listing agent what’s wrong with a property?

10 Replies

Hi everyone!

I just had a quick question. So I am have a full time job and am a newer agent that is not experienced and am looking for my first property and wanted to hear the communities opinion on this.

I see online expireds as well as active properties with few gallery pictures of just the outside of the property with high DOM in a fast paced market assuming there is something going on inside. Can I call the listing agent and ask what is a large concern with the property that would turn away most people to find out what is wrong with it and dig further? Or would I have to more or less walk the property and then try to find something off? Or potentially put in an offer and find out from the inspection? I know it's in the listing agents best interest to sell the property, but would he/she disclose the information if I called and asked?

Thank you,

Kyle Curtin

Hi Kyle, 

I think how open agents are about things depends on the tradition of the regional market you're in, plus the individual agent. Here (NW WA) agents are usually pretty open, as long as they can do that and still act in the best interests of their client. Sometimes it serves the client best for the agent to be quite open about an offer situation, but it has to be OK with the client to do that.

If I were looking at a house like that my first question would be, "Is this house obviously overpriced", and would check the MLS for comps in the neighborhood (including homes that just went under contract, seeing as those reflect the most recent market conditions, and if DOM is low you know they went off probably near or at list price).

Also look at the aerial view and Google Street View if you haven't actually driven by to make sure there's not a commercial gravel pit in the back, it's not right next to a noisy mechanic's shop, etc - something that would be a no-brainer answer.

That way you've done your homework before calling the listing agent.

Then, here at least, it would be normal for me to call the agent and ask some questions about the home, including 'is there anything to know about the home that's not obvious from the listing remarks', and whether or not they've gotten any offers, and what kind of flexibility the agent thinks the seller may have on price (if price appears to be the issue). To the extent that it sounds normal, ask open-ended questions (what, how, why, when, etc.), not 'yes' or 'no' answer questions.

If there are only outside photos there may be tenants who make it difficult to access, or there could be other reasons affecting how the home is marketed. Or there may be some underlying problem with the house you'd notice once inside, i.e. cat pee smell, dank basement, etc. Or it could just be overpriced and scaring away buyers because of that.

The more you can find out ahead of time the better, and usually there's no harm in asking as long as you don't offend the agent or make yourself sound like a high maintenance buyer. 

@Kyle Curtin I’m straight up. I ask them what’s up, usually no pics in my experience has always been a portfolio from someone out of state wanting to offload. Each realtor I’ve asked has been straight up and gone and taken pics for me. But I did have to show proof of funds first

Originally posted by @Kyle Curtin :

Hi everyone!

I just had a quick question. So I am have a full time job and am a newer agent that is not experienced and am looking for my first property and wanted to hear the communities opinion on this.

I see online expireds as well as active properties with few gallery pictures of just the outside of the property with high DOM in a fast paced market assuming there is something going on inside. Can I call the listing agent and ask what is a large concern with the property that would turn away most people to find out what is wrong with it and dig further? Or would I have to more or less walk the property and then try to find something off? Or potentially put in an offer and find out from the inspection? I know it’s in the listing agents best interest to sell the property, but would he/she disclose the information if I called and asked?

Thank you,

Kyle Curtin

 You could call sure. Why the agent would be motivated talk to you when you do is beyond me though.

"Can I call the listing agent and ask what is a large concern with the property that would turn away most people to find out what is wrong with it and dig further?"


Go ahead, I would.  I don't know if I'd get an answer I can totally rely on, so I'd still plan on due diligence if you get in contract.

@Kyle Curtin a listing agents job is to sell the property. You should expect them to try to do so. There are laws that include what they have to disclose but you should always heavily weight your own due diligence as opposed to what a listing agent tells you.

Read over the supplemental documents on the property, run comps, and most importantly, do your own walk through.

I consider a walk through the most important aspect of buying a property. Nothing beats seeing the asset, assuming you know what to look for.

@Kyle Curtin

Yes, I make sure to ask all the questions I need answered. You have to do your due diligence! You wouldn’t want to miss something big all because you never asked. Make sure to always get an inspection when you’re looking to purchase something! Cover yourself from every angle.