Sometimes I feel like the real estate industry has just been a 100-year-long social experiment: We give people a week of training, tell them they have unlimited income potential, and let them just go out there and start saying stuff. Too often what they say makes clients hate them and leaves experienced agents rolling their eyes.

That’s why we worked with some of our industry friends—including NYC Compass power broker Vickey Barron and top agents from Warburg Realty—to put together this list of the most annoying, cringey, counterproductive things real estate agents say, and what we think they should be saying instead.

1. ‘Everything I touch turns to sold!’

First, no it doesn’t. Second, you might want to actually read the story of King Midas before using this one. Spoiler: it didn’t end well for him.

What to Say Instead

Take the time and effort to come up with an original slogan that isn’t a cliche. We even have some slogan advice to help.

[Related article: 27 Best Real Estate Slogans & Taglines: 2021]

2. ‘I love referrals!’

Yeah, they know. Literally every sales professional on Earth does too. Do you also love oxygen and food?

What to Say Instead

Work a pitch for referrals into your closing process. This will give you a chance to make your case for earning a referral, and also make it easy for them to take the next step.

[Related article: 9 Tips to Earn More Reviews & Help Build Referrals & Repeat Clients]

3. ‘I have buyers lined up to buy your house!’

You know you’re lying. They know you’re lying. You know that they know you’re lying. They know that you know that they know you’re lying. So stop lying.

What to Say Instead

Use one of our FSBO scripts to make your case without the whopper.

[Related article: The 5 Best FSBO Scripts of 2022 & Why They Work]

4. ‘That tax lien can be cleared up in a week!’

If you ever wanted to see what the inside of a courtroom looks like from the defendant’s chair, saying things like this is for you.

What to Say Instead

The one phrase every real estate agent should have on their bathroom mirror: “I am not a lawyer or your lawyer, but I can help you find someone to research this.”

Stop Saying That Gif

5. Brand-new agent: ‘I’m the best agent in this city!!!’

One look at your Zillow profile will tell them otherwise. Getting your foot in the door based on a lie will usually come back to haunt you.

What to Say Instead

Don’t say anything. PROVE IT.

6. ‘Call me for pictures!’

Unless you have a stunning, high-end pocket listing, this will almost always set off red flags for buyers. The first question they will ask themselves is: What are they hiding?

What to Say Instead

Nothing. Just take great pictures and post them.

[Related article: 33 Cringe-worthy Bad Real Estate Photos Agents Actually Posted]

7. ‘I will send you a FREE market analysis!’

This one is from Compass New York City power broker Vickey Barron. We have to say we never really thought how silly it is to tell clients your comparative market analysis (CMA) is FREE when all CMAs are and always have been free. Vickey didn’t mince words on this one: “My pet peeve is the tag line ‘free market analysis’! Seriously? When have we ever charged for one?”

What to Say Instead

“Hey, I just wrapped up a thorough market analysis for the house which we can go over in detail when we meet on Wednesday.”

8. ‘It’s up-and-coming!’

You’d be surprised how easy it is for a conversation like this to veer into fair housing violation territory.

What to Say Instead

Give them the data. “Prices for 3-bedrooms in this neighborhood have gone up 20% more than the rest of the city. There’s also a great new coffee shop right around the corner.”

9. ‘That wall isn’t load-bearing!’

Again, unless you want to wind up in court, avoid promising anything when it comes to renovations.

What to Say Instead

“Hmm, I’m not sure if this wall is load-bearing or not, but I will add this to my list of questions. I am going to text the listing agent tonight.”

10. In a cramped, dingy basement: ‘This is usable space! Could be an art studio!’

Honesty is always the best policy. Does that basement really look like it has potential for an art studio? If it doesn’t, then say so.

What to Say Instead

Maybe stop talking for a minute and just look at the damn basement with your buyer?

11. At an obviously tiny listing: ‘It’s quaint!’

Asking people to not believe their own eyes is a surefire way to erode trust and lose buyers.

What to Say Instead

“Not a ton of room here, but the actual square footage lines up with other listings we’ve looked at. Let’s look at another listing with the same square footage but better layout to compare.”

12. At an obviously run-down listing: ‘It’s rustic!’

Nobody likes a liar.

What to Say Instead

“Ugh, sorry about this one, I’m going to give the listing agent an earful about how misleading those pictures are. Let’s grab a coffee on me before heading to the next listing.”

Annoyed Gif

13. ‘I can get you more $$ for your house than other agents!’

You’re just begging to end up with a disappointed seller who stops returning your calls if you make promises like this.

What to Say Instead

“Pricing your home correctly is actually one of the most important steps in marketing. Let’s talk about what that means for your home.”

[Related article: Sean’s 47-Point Ultimate Real Estate Listing Marketing Plan]

14. ‘If your home doesn’t sell, I’ll buy it!’

The first agent who came up with this probably made a ton of money. Today, it’s an old trick that almost everyone sees through right away.

What to Say Instead

“Pricing your home correctly is actually one of the most important steps in marketing. Let’s talk about what that means for your home.”

15. At a Home Depot Special Listing: ‘Check out the luxury finishes!’

Unless you’re working with the Beverly Hillbillies, you should always just be honest about subjective things like the quality of finishes.

What to Say Instead

“The owner just renovated the kitchen. I really like these cabinets—what do you think?”

16. ‘Serious buyers only!’

I mean, are you TRYING to push leads away?

What to Say Instead

Just tell them how great the listing is.

17. ‘Steps away from _______’

OK, this one is personal. It seems like every agent in New York City used this line at least once in a listing. OK. The Upper East Side is also “steps” away from Brooklyn. Thousands and thousands and thousands of steps.

What to Say Instead

Just give them a damn number! “Three blocks to Whole Foods!” How hard is that?

Phrases Agents Use That Annoy Other Agents

Warburg Logo

Here are some more annoying phrases that annoy top agents at Manhattan luxury brokerage Warburg Realty.

Broker Sheila Trichter said:

Sheila Trichter

“Jaw-dropping views”

I always picture the broker’s jaw falling on the floor. Then, I pick it up and try to reconnect it to his face.

“Rare find”

I picture steak tartare. Yum.

“Circle back”

Drives me crazy. I wonder, does the agent walk around in a circle? Doesn’t the agent get dizzy?

“No problem” instead of “you’re welcome”

No problem, in general, is annoying.

Broker Hala Lawrence said:

Headshot Hala Lawrence

“Sun-splashed”

Seems to be everywhere, and it’s irritating. I think “flooded with sunlight” is much better and not so phony-sounding.

Agent Bonnie Lindenbaum said:

Headshot Bonnie Lindenbaum

“Price improvement” as opposed to “reduced”

“River views”

Considering one has to stick their head out of a window and do a complete exorcism right turn to see a sliver of it.

“Cozy bedroom”

Meaning: a glorified closet with a window.

Broker Ellen Sykes said:

Headshot Ellen Sykes

“You don’t want this”

An assumption on the part of the agent even if they think the client won’t like it.

Agent George Case said:

Headshot George Case

“This apartment has great bones”

Translation to a buyer: You’ll have to gut renovate it.

“The market dictates the price”

Translation to the seller: The apartment won’t sell at the price we agreed to, so we’ll have to lower it.

“Well, it has a lot of useable space”

Translation to the buyer: It’s small, but you can squeeze in.

“It’s a jewel box”

Translation to the buyer: over-decorated tiny apartment with a high price.

Agent Gerard Splendore said:

Gerard Splendore

“This won’t last”

The copy looks particularly ridiculous when a listing is over three months old.

“Do we have a deal?”

The buyer should want to make an offer, not have to be prodded to do so.

“Bring your sunglasses”

Implies there is never a cloudy or rainy day at this location.

“Has all the bells and whistles.”

What are you advertising? A circus float or a home?

Bonus Videos: Sh*t Real Estate Agents Say

We couldn’t resist adding these hilarious classic videos of sh*t agents say. If you haven’t already watched them, take a few minutes and watch them now. You won’t regret it. And for even more great video content, visit our recent roundup: 7 Hilarious Real Estate Videos You Need in Your Life Right Now.

Over to You

What phrases drive you crazy when you hear an agent use them? Let us know in the comments!

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