The Wrong Way to Approach a Home You Want

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

The Wrong Way to Approach a Home You Want

Being a Top Bristow Listing Agent, I get to see plenty of negotiating tactics that buyers and their agents will use to "get a deal" on a home.  The recent Bristow real estate market has been favoring sellers, and buyers are clearly frustrated by this.  Homes are going under conract quickly and they are having a hard time justifying full list price or more, to land a home.

One of the least effective ways to get a home you really want is to act as if you are barely able to deal with it.  Slagging interior finishes that are new, but not your taste, is bad form.  I was literally standing in a kitchen of a renvoated listing during an open house and had a visiting buyer sigh and groan.  It seemed as if someone was forcing her to view the home, but she conveyed in conversation she was dragging her husband to see it because she felt it was the best of what they had seen.  Right after, she sighed and said, "This whole kitchen will have to be ripped out."  Mind you, the granite, hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances were all new.  HAVE to be ripped out?  Really?  

This was a home where everything had been replaced.  As I said, it was renovated, but not to her tastes.  So she had her agent run comps and sent over a very low offer.  The comps, all of which I was intimately familiar with, we were told either were just like this one, or so much better.  That was not the case, but I knew what was happening.  This buyer was comping the home based on what she WANTED vs. what it actually offered.

The counter from the sellers came with a different breakdown of the same comps, with a lot more specifie information on each of them.  (That's what hiring a local expert doing a lot of business in the market to sell your home gets you.)  The buyer's response  might as well have said about one comparable that would be the most recent, and wasn't as updated in the sytems (roof, HVAC, flooring, windows) was,  "That one over there looks nicer."  This buyer was all about the lipstick, and not the structure the lipstick was on, or the location of the home itself.

Needless to say, the sellers didn't counter a second time.  They kindly said goodbye and expressed that the buyer's were more likely to find something they really loved elsewhere.

Don't lose out on the home you want, by thinking it is good strategy to act disinterested and slag the home.  Zip it and don't penny pinch.  If you want the home, in a seller's market, it is likely another buyer wants it too.  



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Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

A potential buyer said they didn't like that our deck was not off the kitchen and they didn't like having to walk through the living room to get to the deck and grill. Until then I would never had imagined that being an issue. LOL

May 25, 2018 12:24 PM #12
Stephen Turner
Gemcraft Homes (TriCorner Realty) - York, PA

even as a rep for a builder, I can assure you that there is no such thing as a perfect home. If buyers state a concern (or objection) such as countertops or such, my response is usually "but that wouldn't prevent you from owning this home, would it?" If they say yes it would,  done. we move to the next. If they say no, then great I'm closing that objection and don't want to hear about it again.

May 25, 2018 01:03 PM #13
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

"This was a home where everything had been replaced.  As I said, it was renovated, but not to her tastes."  That line seems to be rattling around a lot among buyers lately.  In a brisk seller's market, with less than robust inventory, that strategy doesn't work.  

May 25, 2018 01:11 PM #14
Jill Murty, Realtor - Orange County, CA
PREA Realty - Laguna Niguel, CA

If complaining is their opening act, it's unlikely there will interest in the rest of the play. 

May 25, 2018 01:39 PM #15
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

People tend to forget to just get in and then you can always trade-up...

May 25, 2018 02:28 PM #16
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good evening Chris Ann Cleland,

I'm so glad to see your post featured! When the market swings to a sellers market it always amazes me how some buyers react! They lose a home they want because they aren't receiving the right advice from their Realtor or are too stubborn to listen! You are right if you want a home in seller's market you can bet another buyer does too!

May 25, 2018 04:44 PM #17
Fred Griffin presently on Leave of Absence
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

      Show me the report from the Home Inspector.  If there are serious problems, we can discuss them.  But if you don't like the paint color or the landscaping, don't expect the Seller to lower the price or make an allowance, thank you.

May 25, 2018 04:59 PM #18
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Great blog!  I've had buyers say that same thing  'oh all this will need to be changed'  just b/c it wasn't to their particular taste!  Frustrating!

May 25, 2018 06:27 PM #19
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Chris Ann

Well, I haven't heard the term "slagging" but have certainly seen the behavior. It's an often-used but not successful attempt to negotiate which really makes no sense. Feigning a lack of interest, on top of this, and submitting a low offer is a sure way to get a resounding "thanks but no thanks", and no counter.


May 25, 2018 08:37 PM #20
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

There are definitely buyers who believe the price should be decreased for every upgrade they want to make. Um.... that's not how it works.

May 26, 2018 05:12 AM #21
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Thanks for sharing!!!

One of the least effective ways to get a home you really want is to act as if you are barely able to deal with it.  Slagging interior finishes that are new, but not your taste, is bad form.

May 26, 2018 08:23 AM #22
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Chris, we see so many different strategies in home buying. Your example is not unusual, but as you have well said, this is not the way to win a home.

Thanks for sharing.

May 26, 2018 08:53 AM #23
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello Chris Ann and some buyers are unbelievable when looking at homes. I once showed my brothers wife 30 homes in Henderson Nevada for around 5 weeks 5 years ago.

She is a very picky person when it comes to decor and cleanliness, bless her heart! Most of the homes they liked, they were too slow to make and offer and missed out. The others homes she did not like because of rooms painted the wrong color, dirty carpet, etc I just explained to her it's easy to paint! It's easy replace carpet and is a good idea anyway!

There were about 10 homes we drove by where she wouldn't even walk through the front door and my brother picked up some of these listings off a website he was searching on his phone in between my searches.

I do not believe there is any perfect home for any home buyer, close but never perfect.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend ;o)

May 26, 2018 12:46 PM #24
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

We are currently working with one of our buyers who has decided the deck he knew he needed to replace prior to writing the offer - should be funded in part by a reduction from the seller. It ain't going to happen. They got the house 20K below the list because of the damn deck. Wish us luck - this stuff drives me crazy. 

May 26, 2018 02:09 PM #25
Corey Martin
Martin Presence Group - Ruston, LA
Real Estate and Management Solutions

If you don't really want the house, don't place an offer. Don't look at the house if you aren't really interested. And you are correct, doing something like talking down the house over details borders on dishonest. Thank you for sharing.

May 26, 2018 08:33 PM #26
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great post!  Just experienced this same phenomenon with one of my listings. It's so obvious that buyers are controlling the offers with remarks like that. 

May 26, 2018 10:19 PM #27
Sybil Campbell
Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia - Williamsburg, VA
REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia

I showed houses to a buyer Friday who sounds just like the buyer who came to your open house. She was picking apart everything about a beautiful million dollar house saying the walls and quartz counters were not her color preference and the hardwood floors were a lighter finish than what she would have chosen.

May 27, 2018 10:37 AM #28
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

This was one of my "groans" when I was working.  I'd have buyers put their nose up to personal sellers' selections in paint colors, flooring, lighting  . . . and I'd have to tell my buyer clients that if it's not in ill-repair, then it's not going to be a negotiation point with the sellers.   One client retorted with "I thought you were OUR agent."  It's as if the more they'd kvetched to me, the more I could do for them to get them the price they wanted to pay.    As a world traveler, I've been to parts of the planet where people don't even have a flushing toilet.  At times, it was difficult for me to hear the kvetching.  I'd remind my clients to count the NICE THINGS about the house, rather than focus on the items that caused them so much angst.  If there were more NICE THINGS about the property, I'd try to tactfully tell them that's what they should focus on.  

May 27, 2018 01:25 PM #29
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

It is interesting that buyers give away their negotiating power by stating their "need" to replace a brand new kitchen.  Good for your sellers for waiting for the right buyer.

May 31, 2018 09:39 AM #30
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

That's funny.  Sometimes buyers have to learn the hard way, by losing out on a few prime homes before they get it.

Jun 22, 2018 04:31 PM #31
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Chris Ann Cleland

Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
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