Good Morning everyone, Miranda has a very good post about Sellers feeling territoal when showing their homes. I enjoyed her post and hope that you do as well.
People are all more or less territorial. It is a painful thought that strangers have the run of our most precious territory: our home! I even have nightmares on the subject. So I understand when sellers make many excuses for hanging around when their homes are being shown to prospective buyers. Excuses abound, but the real reason is the primal feeling, "This place is my place. Do tell me it's beautiful, but don't violate my space! You are my guest here, but you need to be ready to leave when I say so."
Using very plausible excuses a seller will often insist on staying for the whole showing. If outmaneuvered on that front, he will dawdle around, leaving only after he has met and sized up the prospective invader, or he may lurk around the corner and show up at the end of the showing so as to strike up a conversation with the rival for his space.
Irrational, you say? Of course it is. But who called us rational? Let's see if we can't try to understand.
· Do you become uncomfortable when, in a wide open space, someone stands too close to you during a conversation, say about a foot from your face?
· Do you resent it when a dinner partner takes an unvited taste of something on your plate? Or talks and gestures across to you to the person on your other side?
· Does it bother you when a casual acquaintance rearranges your hair or clothing?
If your answer to any of these is affirmative (as mine were to all), you are beginning to understand how a seller feels when his agent suggests he not be present for a showing of "his territory."
But the buyer is also territorial. The buyer is stalking his next territory. Because he is looking for an ideal new place for himself, he resents the person who, allegedly hoping to move, sticks around seeming to insist on holding onto it. As he walks up to the door he whispers with dread, "Is the seller going to be home?" He isn't planning to steal something. He just wants a chance to envision himself at home there, find fault, contemplate changes, search out features to fall in love with. He can't do that while the sellers lurk around the corner listening for compliments or thinking up "yes buts."
Before we Realtors can hope to mediate this controversy, we will have to deal with the excuses sellers frequently use for contriving to be present. These are ones I have told myself in the past because I wanted to hear praise for my superb decorating ideas exhibited in my home. Tell me a new one I haven't used.
· I want to be here to protect my valuables.
o Pocketable valuables have no place in a home that is being marketed. If you can, put them under lock and key. If not, photo and inventory them and check for missing items immediately upon your return. If you seem to be keeping an eye on the prospective buyer, he will leave as soon as possible, missing that oak tree and those squirrels. Furthermore, a real thief can pocket something while you are holding him be the lapel. So stop kidding yourself. You just want to stand there signaling "mine, mine, mine." Keep it up and it will be yours, yours, yours for a long, long, long time, time, time.
· I want the buyer to feel welcome.
o The buyer does not want a host! He wants to "try on" a new home. You are not welcome to try it on with him! There is not room there for you both. You even emphasize that he is settling for your hand-me-down.
· Agents don't know my home as well as they should. I want to be sure Mr. Buyer knows about all the features of my home.
o Your home? Features? While you are taking advantage of his good manners as a "guest" in your home to tell him about the extra insulation in the ceiling, he is missing the fact that his new office has room for his vibrating chair and has a killer view of an oak tree with a family of squirrels frisking on its lower branch putting on a show for him. His wife stands there smiling, wishing she had her umbrella to smack you with, thinking, "George, get me the hell out of here.!"
· I want to tell him I love this place and explain why I am moving.
o Yeah, right! You want to tell him you are moving to a house with a three car garage because you need more storage and are tired of carrying groceries in from a windy carport. That gets the buyer thinking that he wants the same comfort and wouldn't it be nice to have a place to park his golf cart? Or you tell him you need a place that requires less work! Who doesn't? "So do I," he decides! Samson killed a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass. I remember once killing the sale of my own home with the same weapon!
· Agents who show my condo just stand there and hardly say a word.
o My answer to that objection is "Good! I'm glad to hear it," for that means the agent has been trained to listen, not to kill your sale with that famous jawbone. Show me a "good talker" and I'll show you a poor-to-average real estate salesman. A good listener is the one who will sell your home-- unless your home sells itself. Either way the sale will happen only if the buyer can hear himself think. All distractions are detrimental to your net worth.
There are more excuses without end. But none is the true reason. You, Mr. Seller, want the buyer's money, but in your heart of hearts want to keep a grip on your place, too, your territory. Believe me, I understand because I have been there, have made the same mistakes. It is human nature to defend your cave. I understand. Don't be ashamed. There are a million of us. Just get over it.
Take your choice: the money or the cave. You are not going to get both.
If you are smart, and if you truly want to sell, not just proudly "show" your home, you will meet your buyer for the first time at the closing table, collect his money, and move on. He assuredly has no interest in moving in with you: so clear out. Only then will he unclench his fist on his gold, making it yours. He will paint over the colors you chose, tear down that knee wall you installed, change the kitchen counters you were so proud of, and donate the light fixtures to Goodwill. But you will have his money. Sorry, but that's just the way this old world wags.