By Kay Wilson-Bolton
August 18, 2005
Real estate agents almost always advise sellers to be scarce when their home is shown to prospective buyers.
Buyers are also advised to conceal their excitement about the listing if they do happen to run into the sellers. The reasons are obvious.
Some agents worry that chance meetings between sellers and buyers could jeopardize their negotiating positions for a variety of reasons.
In some cases this might be so, but such an encounter could just as easily have the opposite effect.
One couple returned to see a listing they were considering at night so they could appreciate the city lights view. The seller was home. The buyers and sellers engaged in a friendly conversation, which left the seller with a positive impression of the buyers.
The seller subsequently received three offers. The couple he met at the property actually offered the lowest price of the three. The seller wanted these buyers to have the house if they were willing and able to pay the highest price he was offered. So rather than accept the highest offer, he issued a counteroffer to the buyers who’d made the lowest offer. They accepted. If he hadn’t had the personal connection to these buyers, they wouldn’t have received preferential treatment.
This could also be true of an investor’s offer versus an offer from someone who plans to live in the home and raise a family.
Sellers who list their homes for sale with a real estate agent often do so because they don’t want to interact directly with the buyers, at least until negotiations have been completed.
This includes any negotiations that might be required to resolve inspection-related issues. If the seller has lived in the property for some time, he has had time to decipher idiosyncrasies that could take you months or longer to figure out.
If you do meet with the sellers, it’s usually best to keep your redecorating and remodeling plans to yourself. The sellers may have a strong attachment to their own taste in such matters.
In the end, good judgment and common sense prevail as well as trusting the process of established practices. Your REALTOR® should know best. Be sure your agent is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. It makes a difference.
Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner of CENTURY 21 Buena Vista and CENTURY 21 Ojai Valley and is celebrating her 30th year in real estate. She can be reached at 805.340.5025.