Buy Alexandria Real Estate: Shut Your Mouth! 10 Things a Buyer Should Never Say to a Seller

Alexandria Virginia Real Estate Blog

Shut Your Mouth! 10 Things a Buyer Should Never Say to a Seller

You like the house.  Scratch that.  You absolutely love the house.

You've looked at all the homes in your price range.  You started with an online home search.  Many of the homes you wanted to see and that you were tracking online sold before you even got a chance to see them in person.  You walked through the doors of this one and instantly you were in love.  Yes, love at first sight does exist especially when it comes to homes.

Desperately you look around the house trying to find something wrong but you cannot.  You even love the color they painted the second bedroom.  Who would have thought it?  Neon Green.  Somehow it works.

The seller happens to be home and you decide to engage them in conversation... see what you can find out.  You've got a few questions before you make your final decision.  Despite being advised against it by their REALTOR, the seller is more than willing to talk to you.


Shut Your Mouth! 10 Things a Homebuyer Should Never Say to a Seller

1.  Our mortgage lender said we're approved for $625,000 -- Wow!  You just gave away the farm!  The house was listed for $615,000 and they would have probably accepted $608,000.  Now the seller knows what you can afford and they're not going to budge on price.

2.  We really want to be in the home before school starts for the kiddos -- Your motivation and your timing is your business -- not theirs.  Hmmm?  Do you think the seller can use this information to their advantage?

3.  Our first baby is on the way -- check out my baby bump! -- Again, the seller now knows you're pretty darn motivated to move out of your one bedroom apartment.  Did you think they didn't notice the pregnancy?

4.  Are there many [Insert Minority Group] living here? -- Besides being a downright offensive question, how does someone answer this.  Their REALTOR can't tell you.  Don't put others in the difficult situation of hearing such a question and making yourself look prejudiced.  Housing Discrimination is BAD, WRONG, and by the way ILLEGAL.

5.  I just love what you've done with the kitchen?  -- Thought you were just being polite.  Oh yeah?  We paid $58,000 to upgrade it and now that we know you love it, you're going to pay us for every penny!

6.  Can we buy your furniture? -- You're buying the house.  Now you want the used furniture too?  This must be negotiated separately outside of the real estate contract.  Oh, and don't even try to involve the real estate agents in these dealings.  REALTORS sell homes -- not furniture.  There's plenty of furniture stores (and they all seem to be perpetually running GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALES!)

7.  How are the neighbors? -- This is kinda like a thinly veiled version of Question #4.  Plus, they may love the neighbors, but that doesn't mean that you will.  Also, neighbors move.  So even if they're great or horrible, that shouldn't play too much of a part in your purchase decision.

8.  Is your price negotiable?  -- Duh.  You've just told the seller "We like your house, but we think the price is too high."  What are they going to say?  They can't really say NO and they can't really say YES.  Remember, everything in life is negotiable. 

9.  Can I look in here? -- "No you can't, we're trying to hide something.  We don't want you to see the corpse we're storing in the basement."  Can you imagine a seller saying that?  Hey, you're buying a house.  The biggest purchase you might ever make in your life.  You're going to look in every nook, cranny, and corner of the house whether they like it or not.  You're going to look in the closets and under the rugs.  And if you don't, you can be sure that the home inspector will.

10.  Let us cut out the agents and do this deal ourselves -- BAD IDEA.  You might think you're winning, but everybody loses when this happens.  Would you get on an airplane and say "let's bypass the pilot and fly this thing ourselves?"


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Comment balloon 38 commentsBrian Block • March 31 2011 06:19PM


You are right Brian, exactly why we want to introduce these buyers and sellers for the first time at the closing table!

Posted by Brin Realty Associates Team At Bean Group, Amherst NH homes and Southern NH real estate (Bean Group | Brin Realty Associates) about 7 years ago

Thanks for posting. Kind of like negotiating the purchase of a new car, the less you say the better!

Posted by Ricki Pritchett about 7 years ago

Hi Brian...We often see post on what sellers should not say but it is equally important that buyers keep mum also.  Of course that goes means agents for both sides also.



Posted by Kate Elim, Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a (Dockside Realty) about 7 years ago

Brian, I had a client knock on a sellers door last week, previewed the home and called me to write the offer.  NOOOOO!!!  That was my first thought.  Luckily, I got the offer put together.  My buyers haven't purchased a home for 45 years.  They are used to negotiating themselves.

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

I have often wondered how often people, including agents, give away information that worsens their negotiation or position.

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

Brian, You are absolutely right! May be okay to have some conversations before settlement but not before ratification. They atill need to be advised not to ask these questions.

Posted by Renée Montgomery, Northern Virginia Real Estate (Century 21 New Millennium) about 7 years ago

Where on earth is that buyer's agent???

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Brian -- A while back I had a buyer 'just stop by' a house he had made an offer on that was a renovation. The seller happened to be there 'fixing up' a few things, and they got into a conversation that ended up creating many, many issues.  Since that happened, I always reinforce and remind my buyers to talk through me only.  Buyers and sellers can meet ......  at the closing table.

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) about 7 years ago

just one more reason why a buyer's agent should be grabbing his client by the shoulders and hustling them out of the house.

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Coldwell Banker Residential) about 7 years ago

You know my slogan... "You have the right to be represented by a REALTOR.  Anything  you say to the Seller/Buyer or Seller's/Buyer's agent will be used against you in negotiations for this house."

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) about 7 years ago

You will also hear newer buyer's agents making the same mistakes when they speak with the listing agent or seller. 

Posted by Kevin Kueneke, San Diego Mortgage Banker (Caliber Home Loans) about 7 years ago

Any buyer's agent worth their salt would have stopped that conversation right in it's tracks!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) about 7 years ago

Brian - Ah yes from out of the mouths of buyers come wonderous things....

Posted by Robert Hammerstein, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Keller Williams Valley Realty) about 7 years ago

I wonder sometimes if agent warn their sellers/buyers against this behavior because it has happened to me alot lately!

Posted by Rosalie Evans, The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale (Meritus Group Real Estate) about 7 years ago

I wonder sometimes if agent warn their sellers/buyers against this behavior because it has happened to me alot lately!

Posted by Rosalie Evans, The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale (Meritus Group Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Great reminder post to buyers.  And as I always like to say:

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) about 7 years ago

Brian, thanks for the reminder.  Buyers really need to follow their Realtor's lead.  Buyers and sellers have no idea how much info they give away with simple questions and responses.  Shew!  Thanks for posting.

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) about 7 years ago

Is your price negotiable?

SURE! Of COURSE! Make me an offer and then you'll find out!

I hate that question....

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) about 7 years ago

Important things not to say to seller. It puts the buyer at a distinct disadvantage to do this.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) about 7 years ago

Great post....I'm always very careful about the buyers having conversations with sellers...nice job!

Posted by Cory Barbee, Broker (760) 563-4022 about 7 years ago

 Do they have a pet???  Do they smoke???   DUH!

Posted by Evan Russell (ERA Russell Realty Group ) about 7 years ago

Brian - I love this list. I tell buyers many of these things when we encounter sellers (relatively rare, thankfully).  Nicely done, my friend.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) about 7 years ago

What a great list! Every buyer should get a copy of this list.

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

Thanks for posting. Margaret, commentor #10, said it all.

Posted by George Bennett, Inactive Principal Broker, GRI (Inactive) about 7 years ago

VERY good post.  Oh, how people love to open mouth and insert foot.

Posted by Paula McDonald, Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury) about 7 years ago

Very good. Brian Block knocked it out of the park on this blog post!

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge about 7 years ago

Oh, Brian, this is a great post!

Posted by Cathy Baumbusch about 7 years ago

Great post Brian, I used to agree with you about #1. Since real estate is local, here a buyer must disclose all their finances with their offer. I used to think buyers were at a disatvantage "giving away the farm" However, the more I've worked with both buyers and sellers negotiating over the years, contrary to what a seller or buyer may think, just because a buyer is qualified for more doesn't mean they have to or will pay more for a particular property.

I used to have the loan officers change the pre-approval letter several times starting with the exact amount of the offer. (that can work against a buyer because it looks like they are "marginal" not qualified to pay the full asking price.)

On the other hand a higher pre-qualification makes the buyer look more qualified regardless of how much they are willing to pay for the specific property. What a buyer can afford and what they will pay or are willing to pay should have nothing to do with negotiations.

As a listing agent if I receive a pre-approval for less than the list price, I will ask the buyer's agent why are they showing properties out of their buyer's price range?

Posted by Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn (The Corcoran Group) about 7 years ago

Brian - Great job.  These are also some of the Comments you should probably avoid saying on Facebook (Twitter) too!

Posted by Eleanor Thorne, Equity Resources 919-649-5058 (Equity Resources) about 7 years ago

THE reason that I always talk to my clients about being quiet.. too many things can influence negotiations in the wrong way.

Posted by 1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) about 7 years ago

Brian....good stuff here.   You get the suggest button from me!

Posted by Larry Bettag, Regional Vice-President (Larry Bettag - Cherry Creek Mortgage) about 7 years ago

I'm with Lenn, where is that buyers agent? The buyer and seller should never talk without their representative. This post sends chills up my spine!

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker Serving Sonoma County, CA (Safe Haven Realty) about 7 years ago

Brian - I actually loved this post!  I caught it on Judi's reblog and believe I am going to reblog for the morons buyers here in my market in Los Angeles & Ventura counties.

Posted by Donne Knudsen, CalState Realty Services (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA) about 7 years ago

I love this!!! Some buyers no matter how many times they're reminded forget to stop talking and get diarrhea of the mouth which is potentially fatal in the presence of the seller and/or listing agent. That disorder also causes nasty side effects for their horrified buyer's agent!

Posted by Diane McDermott, Charlotte NC Real Estate Market (Realtor®, GRI, Landis e2 Real Estate, LLC) about 7 years ago

Hi Brian,

I saw this on Donne Knudsen's reblog.  Great detail here.  We once had a seller tell a very interested buyer (3rd showing) that we were going to reduce the price $10K if they didn't put in an offer. Yep, got an offer the next day for $20K less than asking and we were only able to get the up by $10K.

Sellers shouldn't say anything either.  In fact, I think they should never talk to each other.  Period.


Posted by The Scott Loper Team Bux-Mont Premier Properties (Keller Williams Real Estate - Montgomeryville) about 7 years ago

This is a fantastic list and way too funny.  It goes along with the post that I just did . . . Please Get Out!  As my grandkids would say - TMI !!!

Posted by Mimi Foster, Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor (FALCON PROPERTY SOLUTIONS ) about 7 years ago

I just saw this post from a re-blog and wanted to stop by and say how much I enjoyed it. It's funny but at the same time, so many buyers hurt their position by not being able to just keep quiet.

Posted by Dan and Amy Schuman, Luxury Home Specialists (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 7 years ago

Brian- Thanks to Donne's re-post I was able to read yours!  Love the list.  Funny thing about #9... sometimes, nosy buyers will start looking in dresser drawers!  Crazy.  I have seen this only once, but I have heard of it MANY times.  I gently reminded my buyers that the furniture was not staying with the house, so we should focus on what IS staying.  

Posted by Jennifer Prestwich, Your Castle RE Colorado (Henderson, Thornton, Broomfield and Westminster) about 7 years ago