Real Estate Pros Won’t Sugarcoat Listings

A couple tours a home's empty, brightly lit living room focused in the background, while a real estate pro looks toward them.

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With more buyers purchasing homes “sight unseen,” real estate professionals say they realize they must be buyers’ senses of sight, sound, smell, and touch when showing properties remotely. Agents have embraced brutal honesty about properties to help their buyers make informed decisions about a property without being present, hoping it will prevent buyer’s remorse.

This has sparked a new genre of videos on YouTube where real estate professionals are embracing an upfront response about the potential downsides to relocating to an area, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Real estate pros often get blamed “for sugarcoating everything,” Jamie Eklund, who sells properties in Northern Colorado, told The Wall Street Journal. “If a house is old and rundown and small, we say, ‘It’s cozy and has lots of character.’ But everything has its bad side, and I want to be as honest with people as I can.”

As Eklund highlights cloudless skies near the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in his videos about Greeley, Colo., he’ll also allow that “it smells like a farm town,” showing the surrounding cattle ranches. “If it is something that might bother you, you might want to reconsider,” he says in his videos.

For those relocating from city to the country, real estate pros say they want prospects to have an honest idea of what to expect from the area, as the adjustment can be tough for some. “A lot of times they think they’re Davy Crockett, but when they get here they’re really Betty Crocker,” Billy Milliken, a Maine real estate broker, told The Wall Street Journal.

While Milliken’s clients may fall in love with the waterfront homes in fishing villages, he’ll remind them that the beautiful lobster boat they’re admiring out on the sea can make a lot of noise at 4 o’clock in the morning. He also has a proposition for any clients interested in his recent $339,000 listing—an off-the-grid, one-bedroom cottage on a small island. He wants them to spend the night at the home first—so they make sure they can handle the remoteness and won’t have any regrets.