Lancaster County PA Realty Check: How One Seller Blew a Sale

How One Seller Blew a Sale

Here's a true story of how a "helpful" seller lost a serious buyer because they didn't leave me alone to do my job!

I was showing a nice 1950s vintage ranch house to my buyers.  The house was in good condition, with an average size rear yard.  However, behind the house, with no fence separating it, was the vast rear lawn of an adjacent church.

My buyers were a young couple, both of whom were employed.  They had no children.  They were looking for a home with low maintaince to match their lifestyle.

The seller, who should have been absent for the showing, was not only home but followed us around to make sure we missed no detail - which of course also prohibited my buyers from having an uninhibited conversation about the house as we toured it.

As we went out to the back yard, the seller said, proudly, "You can mow the lawn for the church and make use of all that area for yourself!"  I could see the change of expression on the faces of my buyers, who up until then had seemed interested in the house.  It was the kiss of death.

The moral of the story for sellers is, don't be present for showings if at all possible.  If you must be home, keep a low profile, and let your listing agent or the cooperating buyers agent do their job.  It takes more training than you may realize.  There's no question that you know your house better than anyone else - but the agent knows the BUYER better than you do.

©BrianSchulman2008             

Brian Schulman offers expert real estate representation for buyers and sellers of homes in Lancaster County, PA.  To learn more, visit http://www.FindLancasterHomes.com/

 

Brian Schulman offers expert real estate representation for buyers and sellers of homes in Lancaster County, PA.  To learn more, visit http://www.FindLancasterHomes.com/

Lancaster County Facebook Business Page Brian Schulman LinkedIn R.E. Lancaster County Newsletter 

Interested in Receiving Information on  Local Lancaster County Events?

Lancaster Local Events  

 

Comment balloon 23 commentsBrian Schulman • June 19 2008 07:27PM

Comments

Oh boy - I think they think are really being helpful, pointing out all the marvelous features of their wonderful home - but in this case, the seller's really killed the deal! 

"There's no question that you know your house better than anyone else - but the agent knows the BUYER better than you do." amen brother. 

Posted by Alyce Martin, Albuquerque - THE Place To Be! (The Realty Group, LLC) about 10 years ago

Oh boy - I think they think are really being helpful, pointing out all the marvelous features of their wonderful home - but in this case, the seller's really killed the deal! 

"There's no question that you know your house better than anyone else - but the agent knows the BUYER better than you do." amen brother. 

Posted by Alyce Martin, Albuquerque - THE Place To Be! (The Realty Group, LLC) about 10 years ago

Oh boy - I think they think they're are really being helpful, pointing out all the marvelous features of their wonderful home - but in this case, the seller's really killed the deal! 

"There's no question that you know your house better than anyone else - but the agent knows the BUYER better than you do." amen brother. 

Posted by Alyce Martin, Albuquerque - THE Place To Be! (The Realty Group, LLC) about 10 years ago

Oh how true. There are times when people just don't realize what they are saying. Valuable story and lesson.

Dave

Posted by The Dave Ruwe Homes Team, Realtors (Re/Max Lakeshore) about 10 years ago

Oh how true. There are times when people just don't realize what they are saying. Valuable story and lesson.

Dave

Posted by The Dave Ruwe Homes Team, Realtors (Re/Max Lakeshore) about 10 years ago

How odd!  I'm suprised they didn't try to initiate negotiations!  Never a good idea to have the two meet!

Posted by Linda Coen-Cushman (Coen-Cushman Real Estate, LLC.) about 10 years ago

hmmmmm there seems to be a hiccup on here - sorry about the multipost

Posted by Alyce Martin, Albuquerque - THE Place To Be! (The Realty Group, LLC) about 10 years ago

Brian~ There is no real advantage to a seller being there while the property is being shown.  It definitely makes the prospective buyers uncomfortable and usually will blow the deal. The buyers will not placethemselves in the home and want to get out right away and they won't ask any questions either...

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) about 10 years ago

I don't know why Sellers can't understand why they REALLY NEED TO LEAVE!!!! But some can't!

Posted by Joan Mirantz, Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire (Homequest Real Estate) about 10 years ago

Brian - Hope you gave the listing agent some constructive feedback. I fired the last seller who did that while I was showing his home. It's still on the market after two years, and I imagine he still stands in the hallways during showings, eavesdrops on the listing agent, then pops through the door to remind the agent they forgot to mention how much insulation is in the ceiling.

Posted by Kim Skumanick (Keller Williams Real Estate) about 10 years ago

Alyce, sellers think they're improving the odds of converting the buyers, but in fact they inadvertently drive the buyers away.

Dave, you're right - sellers don't understand the negative effect they have on buyers.

Linda, it's almost never a good idea to have buyers and sellers negotiating together directly.  There's a good reason agents are hired to be representatives and buffers between the principals.

Vickie, it's not only no real advantage, but a real disadvantage to have the seller there.  You're right, it makes the buyers just want to excape.  In the rare case that there's some feature that demands a complicated demonstration, the seller can demonstrate it after there's already a contract in place. 

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 10 years ago

Joan, it comes down to a matter of trust.  Sellers like this don't trust the agent to do as good a job as they themselves would have.  These may be the some of the same sellers that first tried to go For Sale By Owner.  Generally such sellers overestimate their own knowledge, and underestimate the abilities of their agent.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 10 years ago

Kim, the sellers who insist on making sure that the buyers know how much insulation is in the ceiling don't understand what motivates buyers.  Buyers may take into consideration a list of features, but it's the overall feeling of a house that makes them want it.

That feeling only comes when the buyer has the space and time to feel the ambience for themselves.  A seller in the room totally eradicates the opportunity for the buyers to imagine themselves as the potential new owners!

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 10 years ago

Brian, I can't believe some of the things that come out of a seller's mouth; I often go along when someone is really interested in purchasing.  One woman told a potential buyer she was "moving to the nicer Condos" in the next town....Sorry to hear of your experience.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) about 10 years ago

Carole, that's a good one - nothing like telling your buyers that they want to find a place that's nicer than what they're trying to sell!  But many sellers don't think of listening (by being quiet), and feel a need to fill the void with talk.  Silence can be much more useful.  Absence is even better.

Sellers should realize that buyers don't want to be pressured, so double-teaming the agent isn't helpful.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 10 years ago

Brian,
I agree completely with your comment above about buyers choosing a certain home because it 'feels' right to them. That comment in itself could become a post as very few sellers realize this. They believe it is the nuts and bolts that sell the house and try to point out as many of those as possible.

I also believe that many of them have not been properly educated by their listing agent when it comes to protocol for showings and the reasons behind it.

Jo

Posted by Jo-Anne Smith about 10 years ago

Hope they learned their lesson. It is difficult to tell sellers not to follow you around as it is their house. When I get a listing I mention it to the sellers. But when I am showing homes not listed with me I can not say anything.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 10 years ago

Jo, I think you're right that sellers don't realize what really motivates buyers.  For that matter, neither do many agents.  Too many sellers and too many agents recite lists of features.  Buyers don't buy features, they buy benefits.

And indeed, when it comes to protocol, how can a buyer picture themselves as the owner of a home if the seller insists on following them around?

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 10 years ago

Gita, it is indeed difficult to tell sellers what not to do in their own homes.  We need to tell them diplomatically how they are harming their own interests if they don't understand the dynamics of a showing.

You're right, we can't tell this to owners of homes that are another agent's listing.  But more agents need to learn this, and tell their own clients.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 10 years ago

Had a buyer client on the 3rd showing of a property.  They were putting a contract that night.  Something happened and the seller was unable to leave the house.  Basically we were there to check a few things and off to write up a contract. 

It was all well and good.  Me and the husband set off to do our stuff, and the owner and wife somehow struck a conversation.  In the course of 10 minutes they were debating politics and the deal died.  She won't sign, and I don't think the seller would sell to them.  WOW! 

I know the LA coached his client, I coached my client.  It was a simple final walk through, but the two parties together killed the deal over a simple disagreement.  If only the seller could have taken a walk aroung the block, their house would be sold. 

Posted by Chad Baird (Re/Max Spirit) about 10 years ago

Chad, it's unbeliveable how some people don't think before opening their mouths.  Why either of the wives would have allowed themselves to be drawn into a political argument at such a sensitive time is beyond me!

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 10 years ago

Nothing good can come from a seller being home during a showing.  If a question comes up during the showing, the Buyers agent can call the Sellers agent and get the information.  I always coach my sellers to leave the house or at least go outside while the potential buyers are inside.

Posted by AJ Heidmann ~ CRS, YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert (McEnearney Associates, Inc.) about 10 years ago

AJ & Jodi, well said, nothing good can come from a seller being home during a showing.  Any questions that arise can be referred to the listing agent, to ask the seller after the showing.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 10 years ago

Participate