You know the routine by now. There’s a for sale sign in front of your home, there’s a knock at the door. You take one last look around your house to make sure that it is ready to show. Next you open the door with a smile and you greet the prospective buyer and let them into your home.They politely reply and walk into your home. Everything is going great, and it should. That’s the easiest part. Every moment after this however, with every word that you say has the potential to kill any sale that might come from this buyer! Any real estate agent will tell you, that once you put yourself in a sticky situation, it’s nearly impossible to correct it and talk your way out of it. There are just some things you should never say to a buyer.
In a perfect world, your awesome and professional real estate agent would conduct showings, or make sure that the buyers agent was present at showings, and keep you far away from them. However, life isn’t perfect and even brief meetings as you walk out the door have the potential to be disastrous. Countless deals have been killed because of off the cuff comments. No matter how honorable your intentions are, these are the top ten things you should never say to a buyer.
1. We Don’t really want to move, but
- We’ve outgrown the house
- We are getting a divorce
While these are definitely genuine reasons for you to move and sell your home, its almost guaranteed that this will turn off potential buyers. Most home buyers have a phobia of anything that could potentially be wrong with the property. Outgrowing the home might seem like a very benign thing to say, the buyer might feel that your home is plenty big already and to hear you say that you outgrew it might make them think that it isn’t as big as they think. Divorce is usually associated with arguments and fighting along with misery. Buyers need to be able to connect emotionally with your home, and hear that a lot of negative energy is in the home will definitely turn them off. This may inadvertently push them to another home that doesn’t have as much perceived baggage.
2. Youll love the neighborhood, its so…
This is really dangerous territory. Let the buyer decide what they think the neighborhood is like. Unless you really know the buyer well, and it’s a good chance you don’t, you may be soliciting the exact opposite of what the buyer wants and likes. Don’t guess a buyers preferences just based on their appearance. Even if they have children! They might shudder at the thought of a gaggle of children playing baseball in the street or kids breaking down the door every Halloween.
3. You’re our [fill in the blank] showing!
- One hundredth
No matter what number you fill in the blank with, you leave your situation open to all different kinds of interpretations. Too few and a buyer might think that nobody has come through the door and draw a conclusion that a price is too high. On the other end of the spectrum, if you say a number that is too high, the buyer might think that something is seriously wrong with the property and that nobody wants it. In any situation it is always best to be quiet about how many showings, offers and other feedback that others have made. Always let the buyer make up their own mind about the house.
4. I’ve been meaning to clean that for ages, but…
I can’t think of anything that turns a buyer off more than an absolutely filthy house. Dirt, grime and other odors are one of, if not the biggest deal killer. There is not a thing you can say that will justify the condition of the home and change the buyers mind. Excuses for why your home is dirty are things you should never say to a buyer. Everyone, there are no excuses here. If you want to sell your home, go the extra mile and get to scrubbing that house from top to bottom! If you do that, the buyer will have no reason to talk about the condition of the home at all. It’s a great idea to dust everything!
5. You should try the local [blank.] It’s really great!
Hold it right there! The buyer may have a different faith than you or have none at all! Either of those is totally ok. The could think that starbucks is the worst coffee they’ve ever tasted and prefer something else. Don’t assume that the buyer is going to love everything that you love. Don’t assume that just because they are looking at your home they have the exact same tastes as you.
6. The AC/Roof is new.
New is a very ambiguous term. A two year old air conditioner might seem like brand new to somebody. Especially if you had the original one that was 20 years old on previously. However, a buyer might think that less than six months is brand new and two years is a long time. This leaves it open that your buyer will feel tricked if they have a different definition of new.
7. You can’t have everything!
This is true. Philosopher Jagger once said that “You can’t always get what you want.” Most home buyers need to make decisions about what they truly want in a home. It is not your job though to tell a buyer where they need to make compromises about what they want in a home. That job lies with their agent. Buyers always start with having unrealistic ideas about what they can purchase in their price range. That is something they will have to come to grips with in their own time. Try to remember that this is their dream to own a home and it is important that you don’t smack them with reality before their agent can temper their expectations.
8. We’re short on…
- Kitchen space
Many people would applaud your honesty. And being honest is a good thing, however what you are doing is undercutting your home and under-marketing your property. Of course there are things about your home that might annoy you, but that’s something you should never say to a buyer. Your job however as a seller is to showcase your home in the best possible way. The buyer is good enough at pointing out your homes flaws without you helping them. A reason you’re moving might very well be because you cant fit your 80inch 4K tv on your wall. The buyer however might be living in an 800 square foot condo and think your wall is the biggest wall they’ve seen in a home! They might be excited to have a wall they can just put a tv on.
9. We’re already under contract to buy another home
When you have an offer on a replacement home, that usually means that you want to sell quickly. It also means that you have a lot to lose if you don’t sell your home quickly. Buyers will try to take advantage of this and may be tempted to throw you a very low ball offer because they think you’re desperate to get into your other home. You could potentially lose a lot of money this way. You’re not trying to give it to the buyer, are you?
10. I’m sure the price can be negotiated
Hold your horses right there! Of all the things that a seller can say, anything about price needs to be off the table. This strikes the most fear in an agents heart, when a seller starts talking about price directly to a buyer. It is smart for sellers to negotiate. Being flexible when it comes to price is a very good thing. However, price is just one part of a great offer. Giving your home away doesn’t help anybody. Least of all you. Your agents job is to be a buffer between you and the buyer. That’s the reason you hired them. They best answer to a buyers question about price is to have them talk to your agent.
The main thing to take away from this is: leave the showing of your property to your agent and the buyers agent. Buyers absolutely hate when a seller doesn’t leave the property and follow them around the house. And the endless offering of tidbits about the house and your memories in it just taint their perception of the home. They cant see it as theirs because you are constantly reminding them of your time in it. Leave the house, go for a walk or a drive. Maybe see a movie, do whatever you have to do. Let the buyer make up their own mind about the house.