Inappropriate Question at Open Home?

Just completed our usual weekend round of house viewings. Not much luck in terms of finding a reasonably priced property, but nevertheless we persist.

Most our interactions with the real estate agents hosting the house viewings have been relatively positive. Understandably some are more curt than others especially when there's 20 other buyers viewing the property.

However, an interaction this morning left me quite shocked. We were asking the agent regarding the usual details of the property, build age, rental rate etc. When we asked why the owner was selling, the agent said "Frankly it's inappropriate to ask this during a home open and why the owner is selling is none of your business."

My partner and I were so shocked that we just walked out without another word. Which is a shame because we were considering putting an offer on the place up till that point.

Just want to hear other's opinions on whether it is an inappropriate question and how I should've handled it better. Being a first home buyer, it's a default question I ask all the time to gauge urgency of sale.


Mod: The poster has received sufficient answers and asked the thread to be closed. See final comments.

closed Comments

  • +8

    I agree with the agent, moreover if that comment put you off the property then you could not have been that interested.

  • +1

    Lol.

  • reasonably priced property

    That’s always subjective, unless you are fan of OzRRP or don’t see price jacking a problem.

  • +7

    I like to leave negative reviews on agents who are dicks. It's only fair right?

  • +6

    It’s not that it’s inappropriate, it’s just they are not going to tell you the truth…

    • It's not even that they're not going to tell you the truth. It's because they don't care enough to know.

      (or if the eager seller told them regardless, they don't want ANYTHING to hurt their chances of a Fast AND High sales)

  • +8

    lol fk the agent. Just go ask the owners directly then ask the neighbours.

    Real Estate Agents, like bankers, are scum.

    • What about used or new car salesperson (cept for Spackbase of course)?

      • +2

        Bankers
        Politicians
        RE Agents
        …the trifecta of "professions" filled with scum that (in general) negatively affects the populace.

        Can you name some more?!?

        • Off topic but what is it about bankers? Not disagreeing but never really dealt with one yet

          • -2

            @R-Man: They're rent-seeking people.
            Money for nothing. If all the bankers were Thanos-snapped away, themselves say that civilization would crumble.

            The truth is, not only would it NOT crumble, but it would start to get more fair, more efficient, and economy itself would boost. Their jobs can be automated since 1990. Literally be done with a calculator and computers. Many of the low-level job stuff has already been wiped out. But it's the high-level stuff that is the problem.

            Those higher-level bankers are the cause of Banks to go bankrupt, economies to be destabled, recessions to follow through, and global financial crashes to happen. In the 150 year history of banking, we've had a recession every 8-16 years like clockwork. It's not because of technology and progress that leads to this, it is in-spite of it. Hence why cryptocurrency have a strong future, and threaten fiat-currencies. Currencies like Bitcoin, Cardano, and Solana are inherently more valuable than Etherium, Ripple, and Dogecoin, as they have a stated Max Cap supply and can't be manipulated in their current state.

            • @Kangal:

              Those higher-level bankers are the cause of Banks to go bankrupt, economies to be destabled, recessions to follow through, and global financial crashes to happen. In the 150 year history of banking, we've had a recession every 8-16 years like clockwork.

              That broadly has nothing to do with banking, but rather, just the nature of human beings. It's just the cycle of how the world is perceived.

              When you have a tragedy, there is fear, people retreat into safe havens and doing things that are familiar. Once that resides, you have growth, people coming out of the woods to do new things. You then have greed, once people see certain people becoming successful and/or rich, they want to join in the party and start doing the same thing. Once everyone starts doing the same thing, then this creates bubbles, which at some point have to crash and the cycle repeats.

              Have no opinions on bankers either way, but IMO everyone is greedy, it's just that the bankers are open and honest about it.

              • @p1 ama: Bankers are definitely NOT open or honest about it. Have you ever met an executive Banker, or had beers with one?

                The nature of 'bubbles' has more to do about Stocks, rather than anything banking related.

                An unemotional computer can do a far better job when it comes to approving loans, setting up terms, chasing payments, following rules, etc etc. When it comes to future/predictions in areas like stocks and businesses, that is not a suitable job for computers (yet)… and that niche which isn't the core of Banking can be done by humans.

                I think what's even worse than Bankers are Casino/owners. They contribute nothing back into society.

                • +1

                  @Kangal: I have plenty of mates who are bankers.

                  Overall, I'm just curious about what you're saying because you seem to have bought into this narrative that bankers are somehow evil, but you seem to have next to no idea of what bankers actually do. You've basically taken the stereotypical caricature of a banker and generalised.

                  An unemotional computer can do a far better job when it comes to approving loans, setting up terms, chasing payments, following rules, etc etc. When it comes to future/predictions in areas like stocks and businesses, that is not a suitable job for computers (yet)… and that niche which isn't the core of Banking can be done by humans.

                  Yes, computers already basically do all of those things, in case you're unaware ;)

                  I think what's even worse than Bankers are Casino/owners. They contribute nothing back into society.

                  Sure, but I don't get the logical conclusion of your argument. How many casino owners are there actually? If you don't believe they contribute anything ot society, what do you propose we actually do about it?

                  • @p1 ama: Stereotypes exist for a reason.
                    I don't doubt there are Bankers who happen to be good to their friends. But it takes something special to work up the chain. These people are like Real-Estate Agents, but on a deeper scale. They do even less "work" and take bigger "rewards". The only good thing is that not anyone can be a Banker, it's sort of like an elite boys club, unlike the REA industry.

                    Remember, the banking institute (money) is hand-in-hand with politicians (power). They get lots of special treatments we don't. For example, if you accidentally transfer some funds to another's account then it is deemed to be other parties money. But when the same thing happens from the bank to your account, it is deemed that you have stolen that money, and the onus is on you to return that amount.

                    The conclusion is that, Bankers still exist and they sit back and don't work. They let the computers do the work, then they push the Enter button. That's the short and skinny of it. When they stuff up, they don't bear the responsibility or consequences. Most governments are too frightened to go against this industry. We have automated most of the Banking Systems, and we can automate all of it (or close to that). It's basically rent-seeking behaviour but somehow we've adopted that into our culture, just like we have with REA. My distain for bankers does NOT come from stereotypes; I used to be naive about economics in my youth and held them at esteem, now I'm older and have studied the field, I realise how life operates, the good the bad and the unfair.

                    Casino owners came to my mind afterwards, to answer my previous question: Can you name some more professions. I don't think we have a "casino addiction" or gambling lifestyle here in Oz. So it's not a problem that requires action. If or when it does, then it would most likely be handled without anyone suggesting it.

                    • @Kangal:

                      Stereotypes exist for a reason.

                      Other common stereotypes include all Asians are good at maths, all black people are lazy and all Jews are rich. Do you believe these at face value too?

                      I don't doubt there are Bankers who happen to be good to their friends. But it takes something special to work up the chain.

                      You can say this about anything. It also takes a "special something" to work your way up the chain at the local Maccas. Whenever you have a bunch of people trying to climb up the ladder where there is only space for a few, obviously the few who do make it need to have characteristics the others don't have.

                      The only good thing is that not anyone can be a Banker, it's sort of like an elite boys club, unlike the REA industry.

                      This is completely false. What exactly do you know about the banking industry?

                      Remember, the banking institute (money) is hand-in-hand with politicians (power). They get lots of special treatments we don't. For example, if you accidentally transfer some funds to another's account then it is deemed to be other parties money. But when the same thing happens from the bank to your account, it is deemed that you have stolen that money, and the onus is on you to return that amount.

                      What does this have to do with banking?

                      The conclusion is that, Bankers still exist and they sit back and don't work. They let the computers do the work, then they push the Enter button. That's the short and skinny of it. When they stuff up, they don't bear the responsibility or consequences.

                      Where does this conclusion come from. You've said "the conclusion is that…" without having any premise.

                      Also, where does this idea of bankers not doing any work come from? Sure, you can make judgements about the morality of bankers and their greed, but everyone I know in banking works 12+ hour days, some even 15+ hour days, most work weekends and are racking up 80+ hour weeks right from the moment they graduate from uni all the way till when they're an MD around 15 years later at the very least.

                      We have automated most of the Banking Systems, and we can automate all of it (or close to that). It's basically rent-seeking behaviour(en.wikipedia.org) but somehow we've adopted that into our culture, just like we have with REA.

                      I have a PhD in economics, I understand rent seeking. This is not true for bankers. In banking, you create new economic value by creating liquidity in markets. Without banking, you would not be able to raise capital to start a new business, for instance. You can also discuss the value that's generated through hedging instruments which allow businesses to mitigate risks.

                      Are there certain examples of highly structured products, e.g. structured loans, or structured derivatives, for which the fees are far too high for what value they bring to a business - sure, you can make that case. However, I would say that this is the minority.

                      If you're such an expert in banking that you can so confidently say what you are, then answer this simple question - what does a banker do on a day to day basis? If you can't answer that, you're wholly unqualified to comment on any of this because you're simply not well informed. FWIW, I'm happy to explain this to you, I've worked in an investment bank myself (not as a banker, though), if you're open to listening.

                      Here's my take - there are generally 2 activities that "bankers" (taking the traditional definition engage in):

                      1. Client relationship management - institutional banking products are highly complex and tailored to each client's needs - you need to understand the client's business to understand how to structure products in a way that suits what they are looking for. This involves developing a relationship with the business over a number of years, being familiar with their business model, their sources of income, their risks…etc.

                      2. Client advisory - you use your market and business knowledge to advise clients on a range of business matters including what investments they should make, what assets they should purchase, what their capital structure should be, whether they should consider debt or equity financing, how they should raise capital…etc.

                      Neither of these activities can be performed with computers, and neither of them (as you say) involve simply just pushing the Enter button. You honestly just sound like some dude who's watched Wolf of Wall Street and just think that banking is just a whole bunch of dudes with expensive cars and hookers.

                      I'm not running a defence of the banking industry - there are plenty of issues we can discuss and I can point to many, many ethical issues in banking which drives the need for regulation. However, like with most issues, systemic failures are complex and often not a result of individuals. You can't pin the issues in the banking industry on individual bankers anymore than you can pin gang violence on some kid smoking pot.

                      My distain for bankers does NOT come from stereotypes; I used to be naive about economics in my youth and held them at esteem, now I'm older and have studied the field, I realise how life operates, the good the bad and the unfair.

                      You still don't seem to know very much.

                      Casino owners came to my mind afterwards, to answer my previous question: Can you name some more professions. I don't think we have a "casino addiction" or gambling lifestyle here in Oz. So it's not a problem that requires action. If or when it does, then it would most likely be handled without anyone suggesting it.

                      So basically you've just decided to name-drop Casino owners for no reason whatsoever. Nothing you've said forms any sort of cohesive or logical argument.

      • Salespeople you can easily say no to but service managers at dealerships are the lowest form of scum.

  • +3

    If you hit a nerve with the agent then the reason is something that will reduce the asking price?
    e.g. A neighbour of mine recently sold as they knew that the house next door was about to be demolished and rebuilt.

  • +2

    I don't think it was an inappropriate question to ask. You're within your right to ask for any information that could influence your willingness to buy the house and would only be unreasonable if the outcome was something outlandish like "The seller is 'x' age, 'y' background, so I'm not interested anymore".

    Whether it's a question that is effective in helping you make a decision is entirely different. They can deflect or lie if they think the answer might be seen negatively. I think the agent handled it like crap. Even if they felt it was out of place, they could have just said a million different things.. not too sure, owner just wants a change in area, seller has not disclosed this info etc.

  • +4

    Whatever you ask, you are guaranteed the answer will be a lie anyway. Real Estate Agents only fidget and look uncomfortable when they are telling the truth.

  • +6

    Absolutely appropriate. This is part of due diligence. When you buy a business, is it not appropriate to know why it is being sold? Different, but similar, as is touching and testing a product in a store before purchase.

    We looked through a house last year that was in need of some TLC. We asked the exact question as it had been on the market for a little while and others had sold quickly. The husband was a drinker and had shacked up with another woman, wife was working and running the house with four teenagers, dog, cat, etc. It made perfect sense to us that she was too time and emotionally poor to have it ready for a top dollar sale. they just wanted an exit from relationship and mortgage.

    We offered a low but reasonable price and all parties were pleased.

  • +2

    No one is your friend, be an arsehole back all you want because their shit eating grin will still be there when you sign the papers and pay them the money.

    Don't think anything of it.

  • +2

    While the agent appeared to be rude, you are supposedly relying on nothing the agent says. Most, if not all, contracts would have a clause that says you as the purchaser has relied on nothing explicit or implicit from the agent anyway.

    Plus some sellers instruct their agents to say nothing as well, as it is private and generally irrelevant anyway. I mean, if I am the seller and selling so that I can buy a small yacht and sail around the Mediterranean, or selling because I am desperate because a gang has kidnapped my dog and wants a million in ransom money, it is irrelevant. Makes you 'feel' like you have more control. The best form of control that you as a buyer can have is 1) know what similar properties have sold for in the past two months and 2) know the purchasing process. Just because we get a pre-approval does not make us experts in the house buying process.

    • +1

      But the interwebz says I should ask this to look the smarts!

  • https://www.realestate.com.au/advice/7-must-ask-questions-wh...

    Why is the vendor selling?

    Asking why a vendor is selling a property can assist you when negotiating price, according to Buyer’s Agent Deborah West, Principal of SydneySlice Buyers Agent.

    It can potentially save you thousands of dollars when you go to negotiate the sale price.

    “If the vendor has already bought a property they will be more motivated to sell,” West says.

    “If they are looking to buy a new property they may like a longer settlement period. Is it a divorce or deceased estate? Often a deceased estate will need to run through to auction.”

    Knowing the reason behind the sale is invaluable information to a buyer – make sure you ask.

    Lol…

    Don't believe everything you read on the internet

    In fact I wonder how many REA's would answer truthfully to the majority of questions in that article

    • Exactly, do they think that agents don't know these things? Why the hell would they give you a reason to put in a lowball offer and cost themselves commision.

  • +1

    Wow I can’t get past the fact you’re able to go inspect a property in person….

  • +6

    One thing is certain, the agent is a dick.

    What some of these agents fail to realise is that when you go to sell a property in future, it most certainly won’t be with them.

    I have had poor experiences with rental agents also (as a tenant during property renovations) and that has ensured I would never appoint them to manage any of our rental property portfolio.

    Their business is relationships. We know they are all lying theiving slime balls - at least they could be nice about it.

    Nothing wrong with the question OP, everything wrong with the response.

  • +2

    My partner and I were so shocked that we just walked out without another word. Which is a shame because we were considering putting an offer on the place up till that point.

    Well if you're making your purchasing decisions on the attitude of the sales agent then joke's on you.

    Just want to hear other's opinions on whether it is an inappropriate question and how I should've handled it better. Being a first home buyer, it's a default question I ask all the time to gauge urgency of sale.

    Nothing wrong with the question, but I would never ask this sort of question. What exactly are you trying to get out of asking this sort of question? Almost all owners who are selling are just moving. If there is a pressing need for sale, the agent won't disclose it anyway. Even if you knew that the owner needed to sell, you can hardly leverage that when there's 20 others also at the inspection looking to make an offer.

  • +2

    Screw the small talk at OFI. If you're serious, you pick the phone up before an OFI and obtain that kinda info beforehand.

    I had something similar happen to me when I asked at an OFI. Agent looked kinda ticked off that I'd even ask such a probing question…

    Agents are scumbags.

    Saying that, an option is to always try to get it straight from the owner or neighbours…

  • +5

    Massive red flag. There are so many dodgy sellers out there wanting to pass off their problem ridden properties and a regular ploy is to keep the buyers at arms length. If the seller or agent isn’t receptive to you just walk away and the chances of you getting a better place go up over time.

  • +1

    Put up a poll

    I dont think I have actually asked this question myself, I recall a few agents stating the reason in general conversation though

  • +3

    I beg to differ. I’ve had agents volunteer why the seller is selling. Eg: divorce, bought another property and are on bridging finance. They will do anything to get the sale. Their fallback excuse is they are working for the seller when they don’t want to answer your questions.

  • +3

    A reasonable question, and the answer (or lack there off) provides plenty of red flag potential that the agent / seller is playing games.

  • +2

    Punch the C in the head and when they ASK WHY, say it's none of your business.

  • +3

    This Rat asks this Q all the time. Most times you get a genuine answer so you can work with the seller and their terms. This agent is being a knob

  • +5

    Had a similar experience with an agent in Perth. Refused to answer this question and said it was irrelevant and that he will not answer any such question. His communication came off quite rude so we just walked out. I left him a review on Google for his troubles.

    • +1

      I'd suggest a Cottonball Club for you and OP .

      • +1

        I’d suggest one for your mum too

        • what are you… 12?

  • +1

    I think it's neither inappropriate or irrelevant. The answer to the question may lead to a situation where you re-think whether you yourself want to live there. In a market where there are 100+ perspective buyers for every single house I don't see how giving you the answer to that question in any way disadvantages the vendor.

    The fact that the agent was so defensive about you even asking that question to me would be a huge red flag and one could infer from that the answer is something more than just downsizing or moving interstate for work as an example.

    Good choice in not making an offer in my opinion.

  • +4

    True story.

    Real estate agents are certainly a mixed bag.

    As a business person I attempted to join the local chamber of commerce…

    Met a stack of real estate agents in the process.. Most of them truly unremarkable.

    Afterwards when we upsized we got a really steep discount on our listing fee and then sold and bought..

    They thought I was leaning a certain way politically which I wasn't but pretended for the sake of the conversation… Anyway we got our place for 20% below market value and sold our last place on the same day.

    It was seamless. And we were darn lucky.

    There is an art to this stuff.

    Best thing to do, is to be interested but not pushy and get the real estate agent to engage. If it's a buyers market it will work in your favour if it's a sellers market like it is right now, the attitude will change. A little bit like recruitment consultants.

  • -1

    The real estate agent has a point but he (and im guessing its a 'he' and one of those totally arrogant real estate agents flushed with cash for doing very little) could have shown a more tact. It's a real estate agents paradise right now.

    They are literally filling their pockets with easy cash as demand and prices are high and supply low. So much so they think they can treat potential buyers/renters like shit because there are just so many of them. Real estate agents i place now below used cars salesmen but only slightly above LNP politicians.

    • Why would you think it was a 'he'?

      • +1

        Down voted for a asking a valid question 🙄

      • Yeah I wonder why?

  • +3

    I would have hit back right then and there:
    ‘I don’t think it’s appropriate for a shrewd agent like yourself to judge and deliver such a remark about morality to a prospective buyer when none was asked for. And by the way you made me and my partner feel uncomfortable. I will be complaining to your manager (assuming she/he isn’t) and to REIA. Have a nice day’

  • +2

    Its a very fair question to ask… i ask it too when i look at properties, coz that will help when i have to do the strata search for a unit. If a real estate agent cant answer that, they’re hiding issues with the property, and the sellers are just fed up with issues with the property. Trust you instinct.

  • -2

    Look, it's a busy time - you ask these questions when you feel the property is a potential, and that the RE has time to discuss the issues with you. NOT in their FACE, on open day.

    Reasons as to why the previous owners are selling, HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU!

    Why have you taken this as an affront, without even re-evaluating you position, and asking yourself whether your questioning, at that particular moment, was appropriate, or not, and whether knowing why the seller are downsizing, moving to Bali, etc, CONCERNS YOU.

    • +4

      It does though.

      There are two parties to this transaction and the seller's reasons for selling are an important piece.

      Settlement times are often negotiated - knowing the seller is planning to move interstate and looking to purchase still vs already has a property lined up and is wanting to settle on the 42nd day is another story. Same goes if it was an investment property/they are downsizing/moving to bali or if the owner just strung up 15 random backpackers in the back of the property (though the latter is required under most state laws per reasonable disclosure now).

      Sure you can put it a thousand other ways, but essentially it's in the buyers interest and the sellers interest to have the facts on the table if you are looking to negotiate a settlement on a property and reason for selling is often asked and more often than not openly disclosed I would imagine.

      I'd fire my realtor if they took the approach of "it's inappropriate" to prospective buyers as I'd like them to know. It's an opportunity for the realtor to push the potential buyer towards a higher figure - it's part of the negotiation.

      Why not respond something like "they are disposing of one of a litany of properties they have in their portfolio, are looking for a short settlement period and are looking for the best price for the property"?

    • Calm down

  • +1

    the sales person can be arrogant, its a sellers market and although you appear to be put off purchasing this property due to their arrogance, a real buyer will get past the loser sales person and buy the property if its the one they want. the sales person does not have to suck up to potential buyer in this environment

  • This is appropriate. Agent usually give answer. If they don't want to tell you the honest answer, they usually tell you common answers like downsize, move interstate, or bought else where, but usually try not to give you an impression owner is desperate to sell. Although this agent sounded like there is some problem with the property, the agent is too honest to tell you a lie and just reply inappropriate which will put buyers off.

  • +1

    Personally, I think it's not only appropriate, but a smart question to ask.

    Every time I've either bought property/business or been involved on either side where it's a sizable transaction, I've asked this question. It's a good way to find out if they're wasting your time or whether it's worth working out a way to structure a deal that suits both parties better.

    That being said, an agent won't always know the true reason.

  • +3

    It was very appropriate because the answer told you to avoid that REA like the plague.

  • +2

    Do you really want to miss out on a house you really like just because the agent is a d!ck?

    • +2

      I completely hear you. A lot of people buy with their heart though. Largest purchase for many in their lives; but they want to have a good feeling about the purchase. Dealing with a d!ck in this situation could very well put off potential buyers; I get it's a seller's market at the moment, but that one person you are turning away/removing from the buying pool / putting them off could be $10k or $100k in this market.

      I'm genuinely surprised by the RE agents attitude.

  • The house is on sale, could be the reason why the owners are getting divorced. Lucky you didn't buy it, maybe the house has a bad luck for new couple.

  • Anyone selling through an agent is a mug, but some people just don't have the brains or care factor to put in some real low level effort to save a heap of cash. I'll be charitable and say some people don't have the time, but that's nonsense in reality.

  • Bit of a childish reaction to walk out, especially if you're considering putting in an offer. Agent's response to your question was quite idiotic, he/she could've phrased it in a much more friendly manner.

    Either way, it's mainly your loss if that made you walk out of a property you wanted to make an offer on, as it will likely sell in this market and unless you were wanting to offer considerably above market, it really doesn't make much difference to the agent.

  • +1

    leave a negative review on the real estate agent's fb/google maps page and mention the agent's name and the circumstances. Asking why someone is selling is a completely reasonable and common question. REA was out of line and should be told so

  • +2

    Reasonable question shit agent

    • +1

      I think the main point is not the question but the reaction of OP not continuing with the offer based on the REA answer .

  • +1

    LOL!

    Imagine the agent or the owners asking you: WHY ARE YOU INTENDING TO BUY THIS PROPERTY?

    • My world I'm dealing with people who know they have the best price hence for me I have no problem dealing with whatever attitude to get it .

    • +1

      Every single one of them does. The first question they all ask is: "is this for yourself or for an investment?"

    • +1

      Imagine the agent or the owners asking you: WHY ARE YOU INTENDING TO BUY THIS PROPERTY?

      You're acting like its a dumb question, when it would actually be a good question. If buyer was buying as an investment, the agent/agents company could make some extra cash being your property manager.
      Why ruin possible future opportunities by being a dick for no good reason.

    • +1

      They ask this all the time.
      "Are you planning to live in it or use it for an investment property?"

  • +2

    They don't really care about losing one customer since they are flooded with work right now. Must be nice.

  • +2

    I asked that question about a place i was interested in. Agent told me the family was relocating. I suspected there was a divorce because there were no men's clothes in the walk-in wardrobe.

    2 hours after the auction (i didn't bid) the agent rang me to ask me what I thought about sale price and told that they in fact were divorcing.

    I respected the way he had played the game and thought he was just doing his job (working for the vendor).

    Don't be disheartened by one grumpy agent. Ask all the questions you want!

  • You can do a requisition on title to ask them questions about the usual dangerous stuff, e.g. flight paths and so on.

    Furthermore, most sellers in this market are under pressure to sell from their banks. You can check on the title to see if there is a mortgage on it.

    You can also ask the vendor directly if you want. You can get in contact via their solicitor or the address listed. It's publicly available information.

    • +1

      Furthermore, most sellers in this market are under pressure to sell from their banks.

      What with loan costs at an all time low and defaults the same.

      I would say most sellers in this market are trying to take advantage of high house prices, even in Perth where is has been average for the last 10 years.

  • +1

    Nothing wrong with asking.
    The agent could have easily said the owners didn't mention any reasons.
    Or they could have come up with any random innocuous answer, I'm sure there are plenty he could have pulled from his previous sales just to keep the conversation going.
    Seems like a super rude response.

  • Walking away from an investment opportunity or forever home because some agent was rude to you is your loss. Don't get offended next time.

  • If I was the agent, I'd default to standard "vendor downsizing" or "upsizing" whichever applicable. Not gonna say about the druggo neighbours, someone died, etc

  • perhaps response was a little harsh, but completely accurate. Absolutely none of your business. Personally if I was vendor I would have just given you a lie rather than risk offending a buyer. But really if you walk away from an investment because a real estate agent upset you then property investment is probably not for you.

  • +1

    both parties overreacting

    agent could have just said "I don't actually know sorry" or "they haven't said"

    you guys also didn't need to walk away because of his words either - just say "oh alright no worries"

  • +1

    Rude agent. The question is fine to ask, agent could have said "sorry, I don't know" or "sellers didn't say"… Whether you got the truth or not, it can be a turning point.

    The answers could be
    Downsizing
    Neighbours are noisy
    Moving to another state
    No schools near by

    Whatever the reason, the answer could be an answer the OP didn't think of..

  • Unfortunately (or fortunately) seller's market atm. Agent doesn't have to do anything and the house will go above reserve. Perhaps agent couldn't be bothered entertaining your questions.

  • The agent wasn't considerate nor kind but they most likely want to keep the vendor's life private.

    Who knows what's going on behind the scenes, and there could be a family dispute where a sibling is trying to obtain details about the vendor, so they send in randoms to find out more information at their open home.

  • Perfectly reasonable question to ask, though you probably won’t receive a useful answer.

    Same agent wouldn’t have any issue asking you how long you have been looking, what sort of property you are looking for, why you are looking. Mainly to work out how best to sell the property to you (and what not to mention).

    No point dealing with rude agents, plenty of houses for sale. If they are this hard to deal with whey they are trying to sell the property to you, just imagine what they would be like once you have signed on the dotted line…

  • Similair experience here.
    The girl looked me straight in the face and said "The vendors situation has changed".
    Obviously if the situation hadn't changed, they wouldn't be selling.
    This is the answer they give when they don't want to give an answer.
    OP dealt with a less polite version of this.

    In another experience the agent was very keen to tell me without asking that the vendor's husband had died and she just wanted this property gone as it had disasterous tenants and she was willing to sell for whatever she could get. That place looked like a brothel and would be a hard sell with little interest.

  • Expecting an honest answer from a RE agent? Even if it came across as truthful, they'll never tell you the real reason.

    s32 notice should give enough details to stalk your way into social media postings to find out reasons if the vendor is daft. Not always clear cut, but dig hard enough and you'll most likely find something that puts you onto it.

    It's amazing what people will share with the public at large if you dig hard enough.

  • This is a really strange attitude given that vendors consider it their right to know everything about prospective buyers; and very often will sell the house on their own assessment of who deserves it most. Don’t get me wrong - I find that strange too

    • +2

      In a hot market never met a vendor that cares about anything but the most $$$

      • Exactly. I think someone’s getting selling confused with renting.

        • Not at all. It happens in a lot of markets, especially Tas. I have personally had a higher offer in Vic refused in preference for a 'young family' within the last 3 years

  • Some agents are just a-holes especially in a hot market.
    Some agents have bad days and/or didn’t like you or your approach/tone.
    Some agents are dumb and lack EQ and maybe their response should be a red flag.

    It’s business. Don’t take it personally. If you are truly interested then keep doing your due diligence and ask the question again if you are not satisfied.

  • +1

    Agent's ask alot of rude questions.
    They often start with "How long have you been looking?"
    If you say 6 months+ they immediately write you off as being a time-waster.
    I said 12 months to one agent and he almost choked on his latte.

  • +1

    Unless the vendor has authorised the agent to disclose their reasons, it actually could very well be an inappropriate question and the agent could reasonably have privacy considerations in responding.

    Whilst it’s obviously a “nice to have” bit of information, the expectation that the other side of any negotiation is under any obligation to provide you with information that would to be their disadvantage is an odd one.

    Unless buyers are happy for agents to ask what their maximum spending capacity is, any timeframe they may be under (e.g. settlement date of a property they’ve sold) and are happy to respond politely to those questions, it’s a bit hypocritical to judge the agent by a different standard.

    As no vendor or agent in their right mind would disclose a reason for selling that could be used against them in negotiations, it really is a question that a lot of tyre-kickers could be expected to ask in the absence of anything more pertinent.

  • It is your business if it is property-related, but the probability of having the truth from the agent is close to zero, particularly if it is property-related.

    If the reason is not related to the property, that's probably irrelevant if the owners got pregnant, or are downsizing, or if they are sick of not being able to leave Western Australia because of border restrictions, which is most likely the case in this scenario lol

    REA doesn't have to be rude, he could just say "personal reasons" if he doesn't want to talk about that.

  • +2

    Thanks everyone for the input, especially appreciate the constructive feedback.
    This was initially more of self validation that I was NTA.

    I've also reflected on my line of questioning and I have to agree there are better ways of getting the information through other approaches.
    However, I maintain that the question was valid because I was also asked why I was buying the property.

    My only regret is accepting that response and not calling out a knob being a knob.

    • Asking why you are interested in buying the property is a little different, the agent is looking to show you and talk to you about features that will interest you or perhaps even recommend you other properties to look at (though of course you are also free to refuse to answer that but it is in your interests to answer). Your question is unlikely to get a useful answer in a hot market, if it is an answer that would advantage you they will lie or not tell you, so not sure what you expect to get out of asking it as you likely can't trust the answer, many of the answers also are most definitely none of your business and certainly none of the business of the real estate agents to share with you.

  • +2

    Seems like a totally normal question to me.

  • Totally OK to ask/confirm this. You could always ask this question differently. For example - What's the current situation of the owners ?

  • +1

    It's an appropriate question. They just don't have to answer you. But the response received was rude. I would be sure to leave an online complaint so that management takes action.

  • It's not an inappropriate question but a clued in agent would have simply said that the owner is selling for personal reasons and retaining the property no longer fits in with their life plans.

    Who was this agent by the way? I'm interested as I don't want to use them if I was ever to sell.

  • +2

    Definitely not an inappropriate question to ask IMO. In fact I don't see why you wouldn't ask it - you're arguably making one of, if not, the biggest purchase in your life so one would expect this is a general question to ask to suss things out. I've been to many inspections and not a single agent had a problem with answering it. Maybe the agent has something to hide, or is just a d*ck in general.

    • -1

      I don't see why you wouldn't ask it

      Why would you ask it?

      What relevance does it have?