It is very wise to interview several Realtors® before deciding who to use to list your house. However, in the process, it is easy to forget the rules of Agency and let some things slip out that shouldn’t.
Imagine this: Agent A shows up at your door for an interview. He steps in, introduces himself, and your first question is: “Would you like a tour of the house?” It is a great place to start, and agents love to use it as a way to build rapport with their potential client. BUT you must remember that at this point, you are NOT a client, you are only a customer. Let’s suppose that while touring the house with Agent A, several things come out about why you are moving. Let’s say you have a new job in a new city, and you need to get this house sold ASAP. Perhaps maybe you even mention that you have a mortgage, so you need to get at least $XXX for the house.
Now, let’s imagine that although Agent A seemed like a great guy, you instead decide to list your home with Agent B. Agent B gets your property listed and in the MLS, and is doing an overall fabulous job. Later Agent A comes back, this time it is to show his BUYERS your property. He spoke with Mr. and Mrs. Buyer and when they told him what they are looking for, he realized that your house might fit their needs.
When Agent A’s buyers decide to make an offer on your home, they want the best deal possible, and it is Agent A’s job to get it for them. Because they are his clients, he owes them certain Fiduciary Duties, including confidentiality, but he does NOT owe that duty to you. He remembers that you said you needed $XXX for your property (he knows your bottom line) and that you are a little desperate to sell, he therefore has an advantage in the negotiations.
When you are interviewing agents, it is best to ask them about their marketing plan, tell them the features of your house, and keep the things you wouldn’t want to tell a buyer to yourself. I’m not saying that an agent would deliberately try to get information out of you to use against you, but it can certainly happen. Once you have decided which agent you would like to use, and enter into a contract with them, then you become a CLIENT. Only then is an agent required to keep what you tell them confidential.