You Can Blow the Transaction with One Sentence

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 0225085927

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. 



Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Lise Howe 08/12/2016 08:00 PM
  2. Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers 05/15/2016 12:35 AM
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Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Great post, Susan Haughton .  I suppose this subject may well be the reason statistics have shown that FSBOs net 10% less than those who use a REALTOR.  

May 15, 2016 05:48 AM #39
Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Sitterle Homes - Richmond, TX
Sitterle Homes

Susan, I had a boss once though crooked as hell he told me that when they agree to sign shut up! Smile and say sign here and here!

May 15, 2016 07:24 AM #40
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Great post Susan Haughton a slip of the tongue can be costly!

May 15, 2016 09:41 AM #41
April Swenson
Coldwell Banker Ocean Shores Brokers - Ocean Shores, WA
CRS and Managing Broker - Ocean Shores Real Estate

If you have Buyers who would be impacted and unhappy that they are moving near a stadium, then they need to know. If you represent the Sellers, then it's better they know at the beginning than going through a deal which could blow up later and you go through a deal nervous that it could blow up at anytime. And if some people want to grow weed and are scared of some cops, then so be it and kiss them goodbye. Some deals are not worth the risk and worry. Money is not everything.

May 15, 2016 04:16 PM #42
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

The problem is people don't think about consequences or ramifications until it is too late. They also often pooh-pooh their agent's advice and think they know better because they've sold one or two homes in their lives. It's a real struggle to get them to zip those lips.

May 16, 2016 01:42 AM #43
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate market

As a rule, sellers are not present at showings here. Listing agents show the property and don't allow them to stay. Occasionaly though you find one hiding in a back room meekly trying to ignore everyone.  Not a good idea to have a seller there for the reasons you stress and also because they may overhear something they don't like.

May 16, 2016 05:51 AM #44
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

Susan Haughton i make sure i repeat stories like this to every new listing i get. When working the buyers side though, i do love sellers who like to talk. 

May 16, 2016 11:25 PM #45
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

As the saying goes, "Loose Lips Sink Ships".  Best to let the other party do most of the talking. 

May 17, 2016 12:06 AM #46
Sharon Miller
RE/MAX Platinum - Crane Hill, AL


I've never been to Reform, Alabama but know where it is located. Like "out West", in proximity to the Mississippi border, Crane Hill is situated in a remote area of Western Cullman County in north central Alabama. Crane Hill is one of many "Mayberry-like" hamlets located adjacent to the beautiful recreational area known as Lewis Smith Lake. I have been fortunate to live in this area, often referred to, by local residents, as paradise, for the past sixteen years. Crane Hill is two and one-half hours east of Reform. Have a great one!


May 17, 2016 02:28 AM #47
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Congratulations on your feature recognition. This is very good reading for home sellers and listing agents.

May 21, 2016 10:08 AM #48
Alan Grizzle
Chestatee Real Estate - Dahlonega, GA
Full Time Realtor, Lifelong Resident of Dahlonega

I agree saying the wrong thing can do more harm than good however that does not make it OK to hide something that is important to the buyer. If someone would be bothered by the football field annoucments I would hate to see them by that house and find out about the anouncments after the fact. There will be somebody that will enjoy sitting on that porch and listing to it just as much as it would bother the other.  There is a right house out there for everybody.  I see it as my job to get my sellers listings exposed to all potiential buyers. This helps them get the best price from the right buyer.  I also think it is my responsability to help my buyers find the home that works for them.  To me the real estate business is much more than making a sale. It is about helping people do what is best for them.  When you put people first I assure you, you will have plenty of business. 


May 21, 2016 03:10 PM #49
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

Hi Susan --  I'm not sure how I missed this post but while reading it, I was reminded of an experience where I was showing my buyers and the sellers were there the entire time.  It was a large home and "custom" built by them and they freely provided lots of information.   

Later that day, I received a phone call from Mr Seller who also told me that he thought he was overpriced(he was) and had "suggested" to his agent that he lower the price.   I thanked him for his call and contacted my clients who eventually purchased the home at a significant discount.   Yeah, having sellers "hang out" can sometimes work to our advantage and I definitely share this story with my clients who think that won't make a difference.  

May 22, 2016 01:13 AM #50
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Wow!  You just never know what people may say that can blow a transaction!

May 22, 2016 07:45 PM #51
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello Susan ...

Congrats on the feature and Happy Memorial Day 

Photography by Robert Swetz

May 29, 2016 03:29 AM #52
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


We should listen to understand . . . . a speak to communicant . . . . When we're talking it's easy to talk our out of a sale.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

May 29, 2016 09:26 AM #53
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Congratulations on earning the feature for the post.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

May 29, 2016 09:27 AM #54
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Perry Wellington Realty, Adam Conrad, Broker - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Susan, sellers can definitely do more harm than good by staying when buyers are previewing the home.Great post!

May 29, 2016 09:29 AM #55
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Susan- you know what they say about loose lips.  You never know what's going to be a hot button or not-so-hot button for a buyer so it's best just to smile and say "nice weather." or better yet, for sellers not to speak with potential buyers. 

May 29, 2016 11:03 AM #56
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I can almost always learn a tidbit or two from a seller who chooses to remain at the showing. They are so proud of their home and love to share details. Some details they don't realize should be kept to themselves.

May 30, 2016 12:47 AM #57
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Oh, Susan!  Loose lips shink ships!  I sold one of my dearest friends a house about half a block from a high school football field.  And it's the marching band practice that can make you completely crazy, especially if they are as out of tune as this school's!

Jun 24, 2016 01:43 PM #58
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Susan Haughton

Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.
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