At first glance, you might wonder why a seller would be showing a home, especially when that seller is represented by a real estate agent. However, situations in which the sellers are showing a home can happen in many instances that are all fairly common.
For example, a seller might be living in the home and there when the buyer and the buyer's agent show up to see the home. Of course, everybody knows the seller should immediately leave the home when a buyer appears on the doorstep with an agent in tow, but it's the comments from the seller on the way out that can cause problems. A seller doesn't have to be present for the entire home tour to say the wrong thing.
There are also times when a tenant might be uncooperative, which could require that the seller be present during showings. Tenants might not respond to a listing agent or a buyer's agent's requests for showings and prefer to open the door only for the owner. A seller might not allow an agent to secure a lockbox to the home and insist on showing themselves. Sometimes, sellers like to be involved in every step of the home showing process, and it's such a bad idea from all sides of the fence.
Things a Home Seller Should Never Discuss
The Code of Ethics put out by the National Association of Realtors, to which all REALTORS® agree to abide, say that a buyer's agent is not to interfere in an agent's listing. The Code also says an agent is supposed to treat all parties fairly, but the Code of Ethics doesn't stop a buyer's agent from pulling personal information out of a seller when the seller is willing to provide it.
All too often, sellers answer questions put to them by other agents because they don't think they are doing anything wrong. They don't see it as a mistake to provide what they feel is just information. But what they can say to an agent or the buyer can have big implications.
Here are some things a seller should never talk about with a buyer, regardless of how innocent the topic might seem:
- 1-The present sales price.
- 2-The length of time the home has been for sale.
- 3-Why the seller has decided to sell.
- 4-The comparable sale prices of other homes.
- 5-Any price reduction considerations.
- 6-Things that might be wrong with the home
- 7-How many offers the seller has received.
- 8-How quickly the seller would like to close.
You know the drill for personal rights: anything a seller says can and will be used against the seller when the buyer enters negotiations to buy that home. If a seller, for example, mentions that she hopes the home sells soon because she's under contract to buy another home, the buyer might not offer as much as the buyer might offer without this information.
The best thing a seller can say to respond to any of those questions is :
a) Do not answer the question at all and
b) Repeat after me: You will have to ask my agent that question.
Buuuutt, I just wanna know if you've had any offers yet or if you know of any buyers who might be writting an offer? Answer: You will have to ask my agent that question.
Can't you tell me if your home has been on the market for 7 days or 7 months? Come on; this is not a hard question! Answer: You will have to ask my agent that question.
If we wrote an offer today, would you be willing to reduce the price by $10,000? Answer: You will have to ask my agent that question.
It is one of the reasons a seller hires a real estate agent to sell a home. A listing agent is a buffer between the seller and the buyer, including the buyer's agent. Let your agent earn her commission and protect your investment.