Both buyers and sellers have their own unique ways of undermining the sale process—often without even realizing it. Here are some of the most common faux pas that folks commit on each side of the transaction, so you can be sure to avoid committing them when you enter the real estate market.
Bad Buyer Behaviors
We get it, you can start to feel a little silly and playful when you’ve looked at multiple properties, leading you to say and do things you wouldn’t otherwise. Here are some behaviors to avoid during your home search.
Being disrespectful of the property
You may think that the carpet is the ugliest color you’ve ever seen. You may want to poke around in the medicine cabinet out of curiosity. You may be horrified at the lack of updates in the kitchen. While you want to use the visit as an opportunity to take a good look at the property and discuss its features, you don’t want to be disrespectful of the home or its owners. Treat the space as you would want potential buyers to treat your own, and save the jokes for the car ride home.
Allowing children to play in the home
Of course you want the whole family to be excited about your new home, but you need to be mindful of where your children are going and what they are doing when you are on a tour. While they may want to see their “new room,” they shouldn’t be playing with items in that room or crawling under the bed. They shouldn’t be hiding in closets or digging in drawers or cabinets. Set appropriate boundaries by discussing the process and behavior ahead of time so that everyone knows what is expected of them.
Criticizing as a negotiating tactic
Some buyers think that by trashing the home they can convince homeowners that they should come down in price. However, this will likely cause them to take a hard line during negotiations or not to negotiate with you at all. Remember, while it is a transaction to you, it’s home to the sellers, and they don’t need to hear your thoughts on their decor or taste.
Using a home as a hangout spot
While you may have spent the day or evening looking at homes and are feeling exhausted, remember that the sellers may be sitting around the block in the car with their pets and children, waiting patiently for your verdict. Don’t use your visit as a chance to lounge and chat, especially if you have no real interest in the home. Instead, go back to your agent’s office or to a local coffee shop to take a break or discuss your offer.
Making fun on social media
One of the worst things you can do is to use your visit to a home as a chance to try out your comedy routine for friends and followers on Facebook or Instagram. Not only is it rude, there’s a chance that your comments could get back to the sellers if you have acquaintances in common. Besides causing anger and hurt feelings, your comments could jeopardize their chances of selling their home or undermine your position in a subsequent negotiation.
Standard Seller Slipups
Sellers sometimes make their own mistakes when preparing or showing their homes. Watch out for these common errors in judgment to preserve the value of your listing.
Failing to prepare for showings
Maybe you’re tired of cleaning up before showings and hiding your toothbrush every morning. Maybe you’ve had a bad day at work and you were just getting ready to relax. Maybe your favorite show is about to start or you were just settling in for a nap. If you want to get your home sold, it’s important for you to make sure your home is buyer-ready whenever you say yes to a showing. Don’t expect buyers or agents to overlook a messy kitchen or bathroom and give you the benefit of the doubt. Most of the time, they won’t.
Sticking around during showings
Staying in the house—either because you don’t feel like going out or because you don’t trust people in your home—is a major turnoff to potential buyers. It makes them uncomfortable and ensures that they’ll spend as little time as possible in the home, which is bad news for your potential sale. Take a walk around the neighborhood, drive to your favorite restaurant, or ask a friendly neighbor if you can come over and sit with them while buyers are in your home.
Playing used-car salesman for buyers
One of the things buyers hate most is having a homeowner show them the home’s best features. It puts them in the position of having to ooh and aah like a dinner guest instead of evaluating the home and discussing it with each other. You may think that only you understand how great your house is. If that’s true, you need to spend some time staging and preparing it for buyers, and ensure that your agent is effectively communicating its best features in the marketing material.
Toying with buyers to “test the market”
Some people like the idea of listing their home as a way of seeing how buyers will respond but with no real intention of selling the home—at least not right away. This is unfair to your agent as well as to buyers who are seriously looking for their next home or who have spent money to travel and home search before relocating to your area. Your real estate agent can give you an accurate valuation without spending time on a home sale that is destined to go nowhere.