Oh No You Didn't!
Bob Stewart challenged us to write a post about the mistakes that Sellers make that can cause them to loose a lot of money or cost them the sale, in his CHALLENGE: MISTAKES SELLERS MAKE THAT COULD COST THEM THE SALE post.
The Seller I am going to tell you about still makes me shake my head. This happened about 18 or so years ago in a hot Denver market. Properties were selling within weeks of going on the market and hitting the MLS. That is, except this one. I didn't understand why this property was still available after 3 weeks. It was a nice home in a great neighborhood. It showed well. It was updated. It wasn't cluttered with excessive "stuff." There were no obvious problems with the house. Why wasn't it selling? I had had several showings, but no offers. I was in a quandary... until I stopped by his house when a showing was actually taking place. I wasn't aware there was a showing when I stopped by, but I finally had my answer!
The seller was home! I specifically told him to leave the property when a showing was scheduled. Buyers like to have privacy while viewing a house and be to able to speak freely to their agent as well as feel comfortable opening cabinets and closet doors. And when a Seller is home, the Buyer does not feel comfortable to do these things. Not only was Mr. Seller home, but he was giving a tour and not letting the agent do his job. The seller had diarrhea of the mouth going on. I tried to pull him aside to allow the agent to "work" with his Buyers, but my helpful Seller insisted on completing his tour. And that is when I heard it. I just cringed. I'm repeating in my head over and over and over again, "Did I really just hear you say that??? Oh no you didn't!" had the worst pit in my stomach. What was Mr. Seller thinking?
This is what the Seller said. "Oh, I want to tell you that the first Buyers that saw my house asked me this question, so I am making sure that I tell all the Buyers this, since it seems to be important. They asked me, 'Is the neighborhood quiet?' My answer was, 'Absolutely. There are kids that play, but they don't scream. In fact, a few months back I answered a knock on my door. It was the police. They had wanted to know if I had been home at a specific day and time, which I was. The police proceeded to tell me that they were looking for any of the neighbors that may have heard anything when a robbery occurred at a restaurant just around the corner. I didn't even hear that! It really is a quiet neighborhood'."
After that, I watched the agent and his Buyers quickly retreat for the door. They couldn't get out of the house fast enough. I looked directly at the Seller with my eyes as large as silver dollars, and said first in my head, "Oh no you didn't", and then to Mr. Seller, "Do you know what you just said?" He said, "Of course I do. I gave them an example of how quiet the neighborhood was." I couldn't believe how naive the Seller actually was. I then replied, keeping my cool as best as I could, "No, you didn't. You just told the Buyers that you live in an unsafe neighborhood." Mr. Seller then replied, "That's not what I said. I told them I didn't hear anything." I then said, "That may have been what you said, but it was not what the Buyers heard."
Believe it or not, even after this event and after me giving him thousands of reasons why he should not be home when Buyers come to view his house, he still insisted on being home and giving tours. His reasoning was that the other agents do not know his house as well as he does. The house never did sell and I withdrew myself from the listing.
Sellers need to understand that we, Realtors, give Sellers advice on, what to do and what not to do, because we do this everyday. This is our profession. We are the expert. We don't pretend to be the expert in their line of work for a simple reason, because we are not. When an agent tells a Buyer or Seller something, it is for their own good. Don't second guess us. You may be costing yourself a sale or purchase.