Should Buyer and Seller Meet?

Real Estate Agent with John L Scott Market Center 700512026

Should Buyer and Seller Meet?


I was reading an article written by Tara Nicholle-Nelson , broker, attorney and author and she mentions how rarely the buyer and seller sit across the table from each other these days.

"It is a rare occurrence these days to have a home’s buyer and seller sit down around the kitchen table to make a deal. In some areas, they do still sit around the attorney’s boardroom table to close the deal, but by that time, the deal is done and the ship has already sailed on any avoidable mistakes".

In my business as a listing agent at Fishhawk Lake as well as a buyer's representative, quite often having the buyer and seller meet to do a walk-through at a certain point, is actually beneficial for a variety of reasons. In selling vacation homes, mostly, there are certain steps that owners take to winterize for example. There may be quirks about the property or ways to do landscaping in the spring and summer that the new owners might be interested in knowing and by putting these two parties together face-to-face, it can make a HUGE difference in the comfort level of new owners as well as the sellers.

Recently, I had sellers who did a walk-through with the new buyers to show them all the intricacies of the property (including how to get the sitting lawn mower started and where the water shut-off is as well as the hidden key location). To list this property had been a particularly difficult decision for these sellers and we talked about it for roughly two years before it went on the market. Many memories were tied up in this darling cabin. It was bittersweet going through the the details while walking around the property with the new owners, and I was there to help if needed. They all got along famously, and it was readily apparent to the sellers how much the buyers already loved the property,which quelled some of the up and down emotions that were natural during this letting go process.

It certainly is a case-by-case decision as to whether or not the buyer and seller should meet face-to-face. If it's been contentious, then it's probably better to keep it at arm's length. That is where we come in as realtors to understand the nuances of our clients, protect them and guide them to the right decisions from start to finish.



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Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


You are right, it really depends on the situation at hand.  We have done it both ways in our carreer.  Sometimes, the seller insisted on meeting the buyer, and we always made sure that the agents were there on both sides.  We all work in different markets and the situations are unique to those markets, as are the people.  It is hard to make a rule one way or the other.  Our rule was, to represent the deal between all parties, and do the best to make it happen.  Wishing you a great week. A

Mar 18, 2013 02:02 AM #1
Lori Bowers
La Quinta, CA
The Lori Bowers Group

We recently had thebuyer and seller meet. It did not end well. The buyer thinks the seller is his best friend. In reality, the seller can not stand the buyer. I try to keep buyer and seller apart at least until the home is closed.

Mar 18, 2013 02:03 AM #2
Dan Hopper
Keller Williams Realty Downtown LLC - Denver, CO
Denver Realtor / Author / Advocate/Short Sale

Interesting topic Gayle.  Not too often do we ever try to have the buyer and seller meet during the negotiation process.  It reminds me of when a buyer wants to view the property and the seller wants to walk them through the home, not many positive things have come out of that process.  There are occassions that it has happened, like working a buyer with a FSBO.

Mar 18, 2013 02:04 AM #3
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

Gayle, this is a great example of decision making on a "case-by-case" basis.   Too many agents paint with a huge brush!    Brian

Mar 18, 2013 03:29 AM #4
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Gayle-Since I am not a realtor and have never done this I can only speculate on it but I would think it would depend on the two parties involved and the expertise of the realtor to know when it is right and when it isn't.

Mar 18, 2013 03:47 AM #5
Mary Elizabeth Allen
Lake Monticello, VA

The timing of your post couldn't be more poignant for me. I'm just over two weeks away from closing on the sale of my previous home up in Charlottesville. Because the home is there, I'm here, and the buyers are in PA, I know we're not going to meet at the closing table - but I already have a list of 'fun facts' about the home to email to them when we close. Everything from how to loosen the occasionally stuck lock on one of the back fences to the strange knocking noise in the master bath on hot summer days (we've confirmed it's not a ghost). 

Sending that list to them will be cathartic for me and hopefully will help them get settled into their really lovely new home more easily. I'm also going to include a personal note thanking them for buying the house, telling them who will mow their lawn for them, and noting the perfect location for a birdfeeder. :)

Mar 18, 2013 05:40 AM #6
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

I agree with your assessment Gayle that it should be done on a case by case basis. Sometimes the parties get along fine, sometimes they are butting heads the whole contract process. I wish more would get along...

Mar 18, 2013 07:25 AM #7
Judith Parker
ProStead Realty - Charlotte, NC
CRS, GRI, CMRS, Charlotte, NC

Good evening Gayle, great post and each case is different as well as people.  It would definitely need to be looked at case by case.  Have a nice eve!!

Mar 18, 2013 08:35 AM #8
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

I was fortunate on 2 home purchases to meet the sellers and do a walk through with them and the agent. It was quite beneficial to get aquainted with a few things like where's the breaker box, there's city water pipe running through the northside of the garden space, and how to prepare, clean, and get the pool heater and piping ready for winter. Yet, being around escrow, I too conclude, sellers and buyers are often better off not meeting... case by case!

Mar 18, 2013 09:57 AM #9
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

Many times in California the buyer and seller never meet, although I do understand that there are different set ups in different cities and states.

Mar 18, 2013 11:08 AM #10
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Alexandra, in a nutshell you encapsulated my feelings exactly:

Our rule was, to represent the deal between all parties, and do the best to make it happen.

Lori, maybe it's such a different lifestyle out here at the lake, but people are far more relaxed about things...I DO have those anal types, or the cheap ones who just want a DEAL, BUT if it's someone who's completely dislikable, I don't want to do business with them, because they are all my future neighbors, and it's a small community that doesn't harbor negativity.

Dan, I've done the FSBO thing while representing the buyers, but once again, everyone was cool about it. This place draws a different kind of vibe....maybe that's it.

Brian, as you well know, if you read people well, you instinctively KNOW if it's going to be a good mix of people--otherwise, the suggestion is not made. I'm certainly not a Blanket Rule kinda gal!

Sharon, you may not be a realtor, but you nailed it!

Mary Elizabeth, your stories always draw me I'm wondering, if there IS A GHOST, do you have to disclose it?? I loved the way that you will pass on the heritage and possibilities of this home in such an unobtrusive way--and that it brings you solace.

Gary--oh I feel the same way!

Judith, you have to look at it from a fresh perspective each time, don't you? Because each of us is unique. Thank God, huh?!

Rene'~I would say definitely around the conversation related to monies, that "never the twain shall meet"!

Melissa, isn't it interesting how rules vary state-to-state and even city to country types of settings?


Mar 18, 2013 12:31 PM #11
Sondra Meyer:
Star View Real Estate - Colorado Springs, CO
See It. Experience It. Live It.

Hi Gayle!  I agree with you.  Personally, I'd prefer the buyers and sellers not meet until they are at the closing table.  Before then,  there is always a HUGE risk that they might have a lot in common, that they might like each other, and start making oral agreements amongst themselves that could end up in a lawsuit if something went wrong.   Thank goodness, the worst case scenario hasn't happened to me yet.  However, the situation makes me nervous. is legally not might business.  Personally, I'm glad that I met the seller of the house that I live in.  I consider him a very good friend and he knows the intricacies of my "1909" house.  "Have you checked that breaker box in the upstairs closet?"  Me...."So, you are saying that I have a breaker box in the upstairs closet?  Are you sure, I've never noticed it?."


Mar 18, 2013 02:28 PM #12
William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE
Hi Gayle, Case by case is the best way to consider the question. While it is unusual, I can see where there could be some benefit as long as both parties are represented and there is some particular reason where the gain would be demonstrably greater than the risk.
Mar 18, 2013 03:43 PM #13
John G. Johnston
John G. Johnston & Associates, LLC - Westcliffe, CO
An Exclusive Buyer's Agent ~ Westcliffe, CO

Gayle  I totally agree that case by case is a must.  But I have successfully done it many times.  I wrote a contract offer today that the buyer had been talking to the seller via their website.  The buyer decided they were comfortable enough with the sellers to trust them and made an offer!

Mar 18, 2013 03:45 PM #14
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Sondra, it's interesting to me how many realtors are sharing their own stories of being the seller and being friendly with the new owner. One would think that being a realtor, we/they would know to remain neutral, but we ARE human, after all!

William, one of the things I love best about this business is that each transaction is different. I would get bored otherwise.

Maybe John, your market and mine are quite similar--that or our personalities. I didn't know I had a beard, though.

Mar 19, 2013 01:32 AM #15
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I don't have a problem with them meeting, especially if there are things for one to show the other!  Every house has its secrets and fun things!

Mar 19, 2013 01:41 AM #16
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Jay, I love your attitude!

Mar 19, 2013 01:45 AM #17
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate

"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905
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