Years ago, a long time agent told me a story about her well meaning sellers were so enthusiastic about the young couple buying their home, they just could not resist chatting with them when they met in passing after the home inspection.
Just couldn't resist telling them how safe the neighborhood was, what with the undercover police officers who lived on the street, who were always looking out for the neighbors.
Despite a terrific home inspection, the buyers walked on the transaction, without asking for any repairs or giving any indication there were issues with the property.
Eventually the listing agent found out why - seems the young couple liked to grow a few "medicinal plants" and freaked out about having law enforcement in close proximity.
You just never know what is going to trip someone's trigger...and it's best to err on the side of caution and say absolutely nothing at all. As a home seller, if perchance you run into the buyer on the other side of a transaction, be polite, talk about the weather or pay a frivolous compliment, but don't talk about anything significant.
Certainly you don't want to bring up how close you are to the nearby high school football field - you know, the one you cannot see from the house - and about how it comes alive on Friday nights, what with all the lights and loud announcements. Who wouldn't find that exciting?
I'll tell you who won't find it exciting - my empty nester clients who just got their last child packed and out of house, who are looking forward to nothing more than peace, quiet and that brand new hot tub. Yep, they'll be voiding on the home inspection and moving on down the road to a quieter neighborhood. Thanks for the heads up, Mrs. Seller.
While experienced agents and home inspectors can help buyers avoid many of the pitfalls and landmines of buying a house, the unknowns remain that - unknown - until someone spills the beans. And usually those beans get spilled by homeowners, friends and well meaning neighbots.
When I am working with buyers, there is nothing I like better than sellers who won't leave home when I'm showing the property because I know no matter what their agent has told them, no matter how many times they have warned them not to say a word, they will.
While showing property one afternoon, I even had a seller pull me aside and whisper to me that he would take $20,000 less but his agent woudn't agree to lower the price, so he asked me please not to tell her he said anything. Oh, don't worry, sir, it's our little secret. A secret that came in quite handy when my clients decided to write an offer. The listing agent never did quite figure out what happened there.
So, a word of advice to sellers: when your agent says DO NOT TALK, we really, really do mean it. We know you mean well, we know no one could love your house or know your house as well as you do. We get it, we really do. It's just that our job is to protect your best interests - and sometimes, that means protecting you from yourself.