In 1999, my family and I were house hunting in Los Gatos. I’ll never forget one house, close to the one which we eventually purchased, in which the home owner followed us through the house and backyard. He was right on us like a heat-seeking missile! It was so extreme that when we exited the house to have a look at the back yard, he followed us, pulled out a lawn chair, unfolded it so that he was aimed right at us, and sat down. To this day, my kids refer to that place as the house where the creepy man followed us around.
It’s probably the most extreme case of a seller’s overbearing presence running motivated buyers right out of the house. You’ve probably had that experience at some retail stores, where you feel like you cannot even breathe because a sales person is all of 6 inches away.
Home buyers need a little space. The more, the better, in most cases. What’s ideal is for just the buyers and their agent to be present – and the owners gone. It’s usually in everyone’s best interests, especially the seller’s! Here are a few quick reasons;
- Buyers want to speak freely about your property, and won’t feel that this is possible if you are present
- If you are at home, buyers will feel that they are intruding and feel inclined to rush their visit (the longer the visit, the more likely they’ll write a contract)
- It’s hard for home buyers to see a “house that’s for sale” if it seems that you are very much there – it’s still your home, rather than a property to buy
- You may say something that will not be good for negotiations later (ideal to leave all communication from one agent to the next)
Sometimes you cannot help it and must be there when a real estate agent shows your home. What to do in those cases? Do be cordial but try to keep your distance and conversation to a minimum, possibly stepping outside to give them a little more space.