Buy Alexandria Real Estate: Stop Right There! 12 Things You Should Quit Telling Potential Homebuyers

Alexandria Virginia Real Estate Blog

Stop Right There! 12 Things You Should Quit Telling Potential Homebuyers

The door bell rings.  You scurry about the house making sure everything is clean and in order and then you open the front door.

You're greeted by Rachel the REALTOR and her clients coming to see your home for their 2 p.m. appointment.  The urge to engage them in conversation is great.  You want to know about the buyers.  You want to tell them how great your house really is.  You want to be friendly, helpful, and informative.  Instead of letting them explore, you want to show them around the house and point out your favorite upgraded features.


REALTOR Brian Block holding a stop sign

Fight the urge to speak, say hello, and let them look around your house on their own.


Moving to Chicago1.  "My husband's new job in Chicago starts in a month."  Sure, you're excited about it.  That's the whole reason for your move.  However, do you really want the potential buyers knowing your urgency and your timetable.  Closer to your move date, they'll have more bargaining power.


2.  "Our neighbors Sally & Fred are great!  You'll love them!"  You've lived next to them for 12 years and have a great relationship.  You go to the movies together, your children are in the same playgroups, you even collect each other's mail when you go on vacation.  However, how do you know the new buyers will like them?  How do you know Sally & Fred won't pick up and move after you sell your house.  Best leave this one unsaid.

Baby on the way3.  "Our new baby is due in June!"  This is an obvious sign that you need out of your current house.  You're running out of space.  Again, don't give buyers unnecessary information about your motivations and timeframe.

4.  "Let me show you around the house"  Chances are these buyers have seen a house before.  They don't need you to show them the kitchen and the backyard.  They probably know where the powder room is too!  Not to mention, they've got their REALTOR there with them.  Let their agent show them around.  You'll just appear clingy & desperate.


5.  "Our price is negotiable!"  Isn't everything in life negotiable?  Guess what, bozo!  You just lost money.

6.  "Don't you just love the new recessed lighting we've installed?"  To you, it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.  To them, it's just something else that doesn't match their tastes and they need to replace.  Let them find the things they like on their own.  Same goes for granite counters and other features.  You may love the new granite in the kitchen but it may be the wrong color for the buyers.

Dream Home7.  "We just found our dream home last weekend."  What this means to them is "we can get a deal because they need to move."  It also gives away your deadline, your pricing, etc.

8.  "We hope that some nice folks like you buy our home."  This can be perceived as a thinly-veiled discriminatory statement.  Think about it.  Be very careful.

9.  "We've loved living here."  That's great.  So, why are you moving?

10.  "I've lived here for 22 years."  Okay... see #9.

11.  "We don't really need to sell."  That's code to homebuyers for "we're really stubborn on our price and we're not going to sell it unless some idiot with no idea of market prices in the neighborhood offers us full asking price even though the house is not worth it!"

12.  "Make us an offer."  Who do you think you are?  The Godfather?

So, Say "Hello" and then make yourself scarce.  If they want to buy the house, their REALTOR will call your REALTOR, and then you can talk all you want at the settlement table.  Otherwise, you might never get there!


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Comment balloon 28 commentsBrian Block • February 27 2011 03:19PM


Big mistake to have buyer and sellers at the house together.  Instruct those seller to watch what they say.

Posted by Richard Weeks, REALTOR®, Broker over 7 years ago

Brian, I always ask that the sellers not be present to prevent these very things from happening. Great post that should be featured!

Posted by Mike Frazier, Northwest Tennessee Realtor (Carousel Realty of Dyer County) over 7 years ago

Hey Brian,

Good post.  Out here we like our sellers to be gone during showings.

Posted by Lloyd Binen, Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411 (Certified Realty Services) over 7 years ago

Those are some good questions!  And the answers are too!  I like #9...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Hi Brian, I do accompanied showings with occupied homes.  Who better to show and sell the home then the listing agent.

Posted by Conrad Allen, Webster, Ma, Realtor (Re/Max Professional Associates) over 7 years ago

So important to let the realtor do their job!    Great post!

Posted by Li Read, Caring expertise...knowledge for you! (Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring)) over 7 years ago

Brian, great post!  So many sellers who are trying to help actually do end up talking themselves out of a better offer.

Posted by Diane Lipps, Broker "Lake Ray Hubbard Real Estate" (DA Rock of Homes - Broker/Owner/REALTOR (469-879-1301)) over 7 years ago

Having a third party to negotiate on your behalf is in my humble opinion The Best Way to Get Maximum Value for your property.

Great points Brian! I like it so much I have suggested it for a featured post and I am re-blogging it.



Posted by Harry Logan (RE/MAX executives realty) over 7 years ago

Great advice, Brian. Thinking that they are being helpful and hospitable, sellers often cost themselves money.

Posted by Holly Weatherwax, A Great Real Estate Experience ( Associate Broker, Momentum Realty) over 7 years ago

Sellers seem to dig their own grave when they stay around when the home is shown.  Great advice, Brian.

Posted by Kay Van Kampen, Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate (RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX Solutions) over 7 years ago

Brian, I was laughing all through your post -- I've experienced every single one.  Just loved it!

Posted by Sharon Kolb, Broker - Atlanta Decatur Homes (Atlanta Decatur Homes) over 7 years ago

Nice blog and Great Advice! those 12 are awesome suggestions. #4, #9 and #12 made me laugh, all true coz i think its better to not speak so often while the homebuyers are looking at the property, they really know what they are looking for!! 

Posted by business consulting firm philippines over 7 years ago

Brian:  Congratulations on the Feature.  You have 12 great reasons for Sellers to Zip It.  A home without the homeowner present will sell a lot faster than one with the talking owner giving away some key elements of negotiations and motivations.  What are "nice folks like you"?  Love it.

Posted by Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer (House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada) over 7 years ago

If the seller's going to tell them any or all of the first 12 things, they should just take out their wallet and say - here help yourself, I was going to leave all of this money on the table anyway.

Posted by Norm Werner, Helping the first time and every time (Real Estate One) over 7 years ago

Sellers are usually mistaken when they think it's a good idea to be present when buyers look at their home.

Posted by Retired Notworking over 7 years ago


Great post.  I would much prefer that the sellers are not around when I show the house.  THat is what WE are contracted to do. Hopefullly, they can do their job and make the home presentable and we'll do ours and work with the buyers to get them to the table.

Posted by Dan Littlefield, Littlefield Realty Group (Keller Williams Coastal Lakes & Mountains) over 7 years ago

Brian, so true. Sometimes the less said the better.

Posted by Ellen Dittman, #1 Stop for NE FLA-JAX/OP 904.535.1199 (TEXT OK) r (Watson Realty Corp.) over 7 years ago

A good reason why buyers and seller should not even talk to each other during a transaction. .

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 7 years ago

I once took a buyer to a home where a VERY pregnant woman and a screaming 2 year old answered the door.  Her first words were "make us an offer".  Seemed her husband was already in New Orleans and she was left behind to sell the house.  My buyer got a great deal!

Posted by Jeanne Gregory, RE/MAX Southwest, Sugar Land, TX over 7 years ago

I love this! Great post and something we should all be educating our sellers about before putting the sign in the ground! I think I am going to include this (may I?) in my seller presentation. I have a short blurb about not being home but I have not spelled it out so nicely and it should be. I especially like #11 because that is a very common "excuse" for the folks who think their price (which is always grossly overpriced) is a better figure than yours.

Posted by Anonymous over 7 years ago

This post is great but I cannot get past the picture of you holding the crossing guard stop sign!  Are you moonlighting?

Posted by Renée Donohue, Las Vegas Real Estate Broker - (Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate) over 7 years ago

Hi Brian, love your humor and the beard. Of course we have heard this hundreds of times, but you do such a good job of putting a new spin on it.


Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 7 years ago

Brian: Great post full of wise advice for all sellers.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 7 years ago

And it is especially awkward to have the buyer and seller present at the same time as the Home Inspection.  It is very difficult to have a frank conversation with a buyer if the seller is listening.  So please, try to have the seller leave if the buyer is going to be there for the Home Inspection. 

If the buyer must be there, please tell them to let the Home Inspector do their thing without interference or too many questions.  And help them understand it should take about an hour per thousand square feet to complete the Home Inspection.  Plus or minus some time depending on age, whether it is occupied or vacant, and whether it has a crawl space or not.

Thank you,

Richard Acree 

HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC (Nashville, TN)

Posted by Robert Dirienzo, Home Inspections - Nashville TN (HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

We don't like sellers here when the house is being shown. Even when they keep their lips zipped, the buyer aren't comfortable to look freely around the home with a seller breathing down their necks.

Posted by Deborah Bly, RE/MAX Realtor (RE/MAX Space Center) over 7 years ago

Great post, Brian.  12 reasons why sellers MUST be absent during showings!

Posted by Bill Morris, ABR, CRS, CDPE, ePRO, MBA (RE/MAX Capital City) over 7 years ago

I have a firm rule that sellers cannot be there for any showing.  They need to turn on all the lights, open all the curtains and blinds, take their pets and kids and get out 15 minutes prior to the showing window and don't return until 15 minutes after the window.  And if they are still there when you come back, drive around the block until they are gone.  Don't make them feel pressured to leave quickly by lurking around in the driveway or street in front of the house!

Posted by Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group) over 7 years ago

Incredible list. Every seller should get a copy of your post.

Posted by Dave Halpern, Louisville Short Sale Expert (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827) over 7 years ago