Biggest Mistakes That Cost Sellers Money:
What NOT To Say To Buyers!
The door bell rings, you grasp the knob, and throw one last glance
around. As your daughter quickly puts the vacuum cleaner away, you
open the door with a big smile. There stands an agent, with buyers.
“Hi! ... How are you?... Come In."
Those are probably the last three unsolicited comments that should
pass your lips for the remainder of the visit. The real estate field
is littered with stories of potential sales that were killed by
sellers who inadvertently uttered the wrong thing.
Before continuing, you should understand that the types of 'better
left unsaid' things discussed here have nothing to do with the
"Seller's Disclosure" Addendum, or hiding anything from a potential
buyer. To the contrary, all of the suggested "DON'T SAY IT!" topics
presented here are based on personal preferences. Being human, sellers
often find it difficult, if not impossible, to keep from offering
opinions or information that they think makes them appear “credible”
to the buyer. Without knowing the life's experiences and propensities
of each buyer you see, how can you keep from opening your mouth and
inserting your foot?
Please don't talk about...
- How many kids are or are not in the area. (Even if the buyer has
children, you have no way of knowing whether or not they want gangs
of them banging down their door on Halloween.)
- The huge stone bird bath in the backyard that is visited by
HUNDREDS of birds each year. (How could you know the spouse is
deathly afraid of birds?)
- How great your church is. (They might be of different faith)
- How quiet the neighborhood is. (They may want a more social
atmosphere, and look forward to making new friends.)
- The 'newness' of items in the home. ('New' is most definitely a
relatively term! What you consider 'new' may be 'old' to others. For
example, an item that is two years-old may be 'new' to someone who
has lived in the house for 15 years, but may be 'old' to a buyer who
thinks of 'new' as anything in place for less than 6 months.)
- Information on existing warranties (They may expire before the
new owners close on the house, or they may not non- transferable.)
- How many 'showings' you've had. (Buyers could interpret this as
"No one else wanted the home, why do I? Or “I wonder what's wrong
with this house?”)
Please do not OFFER the following statements as the reason
you are selling:
- The death of a family member. (Some people have a phobia about
moving into home where someone died.)
- How you've outgrown the house. (If buyers have the same number
in their family, they may have second thoughts about their need for
such a large home.)
- How the home is too small for you. (Your comment may give them
the push to look for more expensive (bigger) homes.)
- Your recent divorce. (Potential buyers may be having marital
problems. This could easily turn them off.)
- That you bought another home. (If a buyer knows there is
urgency, this can be used against you in negotiating )
If you get the distinctive impression that everything you say to a
potential buyer could get you into trouble down the road ... then you
have correctly interpreted this article. Since you are under contract
with a real estate agency, the best course is to make yourself scarce
after the greeting. In fact, a good course of action might be to say.
“Please take your time viewing my home. And if I do not see you before
you leave, thank you for coming. You'll have to excuse me, but:
(important phone call, helping kids with project, deadline at work,
This extricates you from a potential “foot-in-mouth” encounter later,
and does not make you appear to be avoiding the buyers' questions.