Guaranteed Home Sale Programs Are Gimmicks

What Are Guaranteed Home Sale Programs?

Guaranteed Home Sale ProgramEvery now and then one of my clients will see an advertisement for a guaranteed home sale program and ask me what they are all about. Guaranteed home sale programs were originally started many years ago by ERA Real Estate. Since that time there have been many other individual agents and companies who have copied various forms of the program.

The guaranteed home sale program is in fact one of the biggest gimmicks in the real estate industry! It really should be named I will sell your home under value guaranteed.

Wikipedia defines a gimmick as a unique or quirky feature that makes something stand out. The special feature however, is typically thought to be of little relevance or use. Real Estate agents who use this marketing tactic are doing just that – trying to stand out from the crowd.

Have you ever seen Real Estate advertising that says something to the effect “if we don’t sell your home we will buy it” and wondered what the heck that was all about? You are probably shaking your head up and down right now because it sounds like a pretty enticing offer.

If you look around the internet there are plenty of sites out there that offer some kind of guaranteed sale program. Some of them even go as far as spelling out the time frame in which they will sell your home. “We will guarantee your home is sold in 30 days, sold in 45 days, or sold in 90 days” they proclaim loudly. The premise behind these pitches is some kind of guarantee that the Realtor will sell the home or do X for the client.

This is just another marketing gimmick that in some respects is no different than value range pricing. The difference being is that more times than not the list price is under the current market value of the property. In some cases WAY under!

I have to hand it to the Real Estate agents that use this gimmick as part of their marketing plan because there are quite a few home sellers that actually believe there is something special going on. It’s seems that some consumers believe that these guys are really not your average Real Estate agents but some kind of Realtor super hero! I can picture it now when they arrive on the scene all dressed in a sharp suit ready to sign up the next home seller only to head off to a local phone booth for a quick change of clothing.

Well maybe not a phone booth anymore as they are much harder to find.

There is no doubt in my mind that plenty of homes can sell in under 30, 45, 62, days (pick a number) no matter what kind of market we are in if they are priced at or below the present market value. In fact, I know this is the case because I sell quite a few Massachusetts homes every year that go under contract in an expeditious time frame and these are homes that are not under priced!

Not too long ago while selling a home in Framingham MA, one of my clients mentioned to me they had interviewed an agent who was promoting the sold in X number of days guaranteed sale. The client understood the average time to sell a home in the Framingham real estate market. It was clear to them the home would sell in an instant because the Realtor wanted to price the home almost ten percent under the value. The client was savvy and could see right through the agents gamesmanship.

Needless to say I listed the home and it sold in a reasonable amount of time (about 40 days) and significantly over what this agent was trying to get them to list for!

How Do Guaranteed Home Sale Programs Work?

According to most of these guaranteed home sale websites you will receive an up front guaranteed price in writing from these Realtor’s and if they receive an offer that is higher than their guaranteed price from a Buyer, you will get the higher offer, not them. WOW… well isn’t that SPECIAL.

They go on to say they are not passive agents and do more than just put a sign in the yard and wait for a buyer. YIPPEE! There is nothing magical about this. In fact you can bet your bottom dollar that the number they are going to guarantee you is no where near what you would expect a buyer to pay for your home.

Yet they sign up a lot of clients this way so I have to give them some kudos and a good old fashion pat on the back.

Realtor Selling Your Home For Less Than The ValueThere are usually two sets of consumers that will respond to this type of Real Estate marketing. Those that think the Realtor may have been born on Krypton and a seller that is DESPERATE to sell their home. If you really need to sell your home at all costs why not go with someone that will guarantee that they will buy it?

It would be interesting to know just how many homes that they actually do end up purchasing. My guess is not many! Buyers know a value when they see it and in most cases will jump at the chance to buy a home under market value. Aggressive pricing is the same reason why most bank owned homes sell quicker than traditional homes.

Some real estate agents find desperate sellers using television ads, radio, billboards adds or other forms of marketing to get their message across. It really is hard to believe so many people fall for this sold in X number of days crap.

What you should be looking for is a Realtor in your area that knows how to market homes online really well. Not some foolish sales pitch like I will sell your home guaranteed in some amount of days!

When the home is priced under market value this is not that important because all you are going to need is the multiple listing service (MLS) to get the job done.

A seller that is willing to price their home under market value is the kind of client any Realtor would love to have because it is pretty much a sale in the bank. When you are looking to sell your home for the market value this is obviously not the route you want to take.

Sold in X number of days guaranteed sale programs are a marketing gimmick designed to get the phone to ring and get the Realtor more business. It is just a form of emotional selling. When selecting a Real Estate agent make sure you do your home work!

Conflict of Interest

When you hire a real estate agent to sell your home more than likely you will be paying a pretty hefty amount of money to do so. It only makes sense that you should get your monies worth. A sellers agent should have one very specific goal in mind when representing you – get the most money for your home! The agent should be putting the sellers interest first and negotiate for the best price and terms for their client. The agent owes the seller undivided loyalty, reasonable care, disclosure and obedience to lawful instruction.

There is an inherent conflict of interest when an agent is buying the home under the value of the property. What you should ask yourself is how you will feel if the real estate agent puts your home back on the market after purchasing it from you and sells it at a profit.

Keep in mind just about anybody can sell a home if it is listed way under value. You would be better off finding out the market value of your home and then selling it for sale by owner. Take the 5 or 6 percent commission you would be paying the Realtor and discount the price by that amount. Guess what will happen if your home is priced five to six percent undervalue? There will be people pounding down your door to purchase it.

Pick a Top Producing Real Estate Agent Instead

Don't Hire a Realtor Stooge Some excellent considerations for picking a top Realtor include:

  • Their track record of success in both strong and weak home selling markets. You want someone who knows how to get the job done regardless of what is going on in the world around them.
  • The agents ability to market well. Does the agent provide exceptional photography on the homes they are marketing? Make sure you do your due diligence and check! This is one of the most important considerations in real estate sales. What does their marketing material look like? Some agents will try to get away with as little as possible. A good agent will provide a nice color brochure that shows off the best attributes of your home not a black and white multiple listing sheet. That is called zero effort. An exceptional agent will go above and beyond by providing outside the box real estate marketing to help sell a home.
  • How is their real estate add copy? Does the Realtor take the time and effort to write exceptional descriptions of the properties they have been hired to sell or are they clearly just slapped together. You don’t need a wordsmith but should have someone who has as at least invested some time into describing your homes best features.
  • How is the agents communications skills? Do they respond in a timely manner to emails, text or phone calls? This is something you should pay careful attention to BEFORE you hire them. If they aren’t doing an exceptional job beforehand, I guarantee they won’t after you hire them!
  • What are the Realtor’s statistics? Some of the things you should check on are how many properties they list actually end up selling. Two other very important considerations are the average days on the market and list price to sale price ratio. Keep in mind however if the real estate agent finds enough suckers to list their homes under value, these numbers are going to be off the charts.

By now I hope you understand that guaranteed home sale programs are not the way to get the most money for your home. You should be extra careful when choosing an agent that has this kind of marketing plan in place to lure home sellers into signing up with them.

Are all agents who have some kind of guaranteed sale program terrible Realtor’s? No probably not but as a consumer you really need to decide if you want to work with someone who is like a pitchman on some late night infomercial!

Don’t be surprised either if the agent has set up their business to work on a volume basis. After all the whole purpose of setting up the guaranteed home sale program is to get you to call to find out what it’s all about. With enough people calling, the first thing they will try to do is spin you off to one of their minions. There are better choices!

Additional Real Estate Gimmicks to Avoid

Use these additional resources to become more informed about guarantee programs and other gimmicks like them.



About the Author: The above Real Estate information on guaranteed home sale programs are gimmicks was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 28+ Years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service Real Estate sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.

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  1. says


    Excellent article, however,for years I have been offering a 30 day home sale program while maximizing my clients profit and market value.
    The point is that if the clients actually listens to me, their home will sell in 30 days or less at market value, not less than market value. To accomplish this we market heavily on the Internet, professional photos, etc. It is more of a “Truth program”.
    I adopted this program to combat the notorious – Guaranteed sale program or I will buy it – bullshit.

    What would you say about my program?

      • Bob McTague says

        80% of the homes I list, sell in 30 days or less. Due to the pricing and marketing. Price is a function of marketing.
        To answer your question, I am so confident that it will sell in 30 days or less when they listen to me, that I credit the seller back 1% of the sales price if it does not sell in 30 days or less. The large majority of agents in my market tend to overprice..(another debate) so I am just telling them homeowner the truth about pricing if they tell me “I want it sold ASAP or within 30 days! – Which happens a lot.

        To be clear it is not a guarantee or I will buy it, it is an accurate estimation of the market value to sell in 30 days or less (A probability)… many homeowners do not want to listen to the truth the first time around. Also, many homeowners in MY market get jumpy if the house is not sold in a 30 days.

        Many times we get multiple offers when the price is at market value. Common sense stuff.

        • says

          Bob & Jeff – the difference here is that both of your are putting your money where your mouth is so to speak with your guaranteed sale programs. In what you describe you have some skin in the game and it is performance based. This is better than the typical guaranteed sale baloney we see so often as agents where the Realtor is saying they will buy the home for pennies on the dollar.

  2. says

    Amen, Bill! I wrote one like this a few years ago on an old website I had. I totally agree with you. We see that stuff advertised daily around DFW. It is a pure gimmick.

    I actually used a small bit of that advertising in my marketing. HOWEVER, I offered to sell your home in ________ number of days or I’d give back my part of the commission. I didn’t do this to try and wholesale homes and screw clients. Rather, I firmly believe in my marketing system to the point where if it doesn’t work, I won’t charge you money. I thought this was a much more ethical approach and a way to combat the bull of most guaranteed sales programs.

    Anyway, the article I wrote a few years ago is long gone because I changed sites, didn’t move it to the new site, etc. But, it was very interesting to see the responses I got from my article. I received a lot of backlash from agents who didn’t want this dirty little secret exposed.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

  3. ps7603 says

    I will sell your home under value guaranteed. Copied that from the article and so, so true.
    I recently had an elderly neighbor fall for this gimmick.

  4. Toni Adams says

    Great article! It has been my experience that most people who are considering selling their home, think these type of offers are in fact, “Gimmicks”, and don’t trust them. I have had clients ask me how these things work, and commented, “What’s the catch”, or “Too good to be true”! They also think it’s some type of scam, and makes the RE office look desperate. And the most interesting comment, which you eluded to, was “Why should I sell to a Realtor who is going to slap some paint on the walls, and sell it for more than they got me?” Clients don’t think they should have to compete with a Realtor!

    • says

      Toni – like you mention there are some people that see right through the guaranteed sold in X days gimmick. Unfortunately others do not. We all know many people make extremely poor real estate agent selections. This is just another example of that.

  5. says

    Several years ago, I attended a Star Power conference, and this very strategy was suggested. A guarantee program. When you really looked at all the fees, the guarantee was to buy the home less full commissions, a selling expense, closing costs, a price reduction – something like 15% off of the recommended list price, NOT the price the house was at on the market. Seemed like a good strategy to get listings, but not in the best interests of the seller if they really thought out the implications.

  6. says

    Thanks Bill for saying it like it is. I would hope that every home seller who meets a “Guaranteed or I’ll Buy it” agent will read this article before they fall for the spiel. Like you said, in many markets, the home is going to sell quickly anyways, so choose an agent who knows how to present the property fabulously and more importantly, to find the MOST amount of buyers in order to spark multiple offers and bidding wars. As you said, buyers find homes ONLINE.
    Keep up the great blog. I look forward to seeing your new content.

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