Spilling the beans

New Milford CT real estate talk, how not to show your house.

spilling the real estate beansShould the home owner be present for showings?  Most listing agents agree that the owner of the house should not be present for showings. I agree, and this is an important topic for sellers to understand. Of course if you are a FSBO, most likely you will be present, so take a few tips from this article. Keep your mouth closed if you must be present! Do not spill the beans. When I am working with buyers I actually like it when the seller is around. I don’t have to ask them anything, yet most spill the beans willingly, almost desperately!

But I know my house best!

Yes, you know your house best. You know the good, the bad and the ugly. And 9 times out of 10 you will annoy the buyer with your descriptions. They want to absorb the house, to see if they can imagine themselves living in the house. If they like what they feel they will ask questions for their agent to ask the listing agent. My guess is what you will accomplish is spilling your beans. Why you are selling, how much money you need, why you hate the neighbors, and many other things you shouldn’t be talking about. Again, when I am acting as a buyers agent, I just love these beans… seriously…

You will give your house away! Or scare them off completely…

Don’t believe me? True story. I showed a modest house to my buyer, a single young man. The seller was an elderly gentleman who refused to leave for showings. He was an unhappy, bitter, angry and lonely man who had lost his wife to a 30 year battle with Alzheimer’s, also lost his life savings to the nursing home. My client and his father were struggling to look at the house through his talking and I realized I had to interfere. I engaged the man in conversation to allow my client to look through the house without being disturbed.

I found out information I should never have known. Mind you, I didn’t have to ask questions, it all just came out. I started out with the only thing I could think of… I remarked about the weather…. That was all he needed to start on his story, to spill his massive bowl of beans all over the place.

  • He had no more money
  • He had to sell the house
  • He was going to have to move in with a brother in Washington he had not seen in over 40 years
  • He was not going to take anything but his small tv and some clothes
  • All furniture, even personal effects, tools, dishes, everything, was being left in the house
  • He was going to put his cats to sleep, he couldn’t take them with him

There was more. I was horrified and immediately called the listing agents to tell them that perhaps they might want to encourage him to leave for all showings or attend all showings to keep him occupied. I also relayed the rest of what I had been told and suggested they had better do something about it. They were not very receptive to my call and surmised that perhaps he was just lonely.

We put an offer in on the house. The property was at a price point where we were competing against other buyers. My client wanted this house, but not at a price over asking and didn’t want to get involved in a bidding war. I suggested 2 things that I learned from the buyer that would probably tip the balance to our favor without having to increase the offer.

My clients would take the house with all the contents
My clients would take the house with the 2 cats

Bingo, that’s all the seller needed to hear. The other offers were rejected, my buyer got what he wanted.
(There is more to the story, but it is for another post I think.)

It is human nature to “spill the beans”. If you are selling, you need to leave the house for all showings so you don’t “spill the beans” and give the buyer an edge. And you need to steer clear of the buyers agent too, spilling the beans“to this person is a big no-no too! Go sit on the back porch, take the dog for a walk, sit in your car if you must, but steer clear of the buyer and their agent! Don’t chance it, don’t SPILL THE BEANS!

c Andrea Swiedler 2011


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