Should the Owner Stay During Showings?

When selling your own home, it is a natural reaction to want to be home to help with the showing.  After all, who knows their home best? 

The seller can talk about all the best features like his son’s airplane collection, the swing set that his kids used for years, the above-ground pool that covered up the hole from the underground tank removal…. Then the buyer stops in mid-stride. “Excuse me, what was that about an underground tank?”  Seller replies:  “Oh, we thought it was a problem but had it checked out and it was no big deal – just forget about it.”

What the home seller just did, in a friendly sharing of information, is brought up a big red flag in the buyer’s mind.  They will now walk out of that home with more questions than they should have at this point in the process. Everything should absolutely be disclosed, but at the proper time and in the proper format. 

Let’s roll back the video tape.  Let’s assume the seller is not home this time.  The buyers would have viewed your home, and if they liked it their Realtor® would  request a seller’s disclosure form from the Listing Agent.  This form would  explain in detail about the tank and what was investigated and completed with Township approval. The Buyer’s agent would be there to explain what this means to the buyer.  This would have been after the buyers decided they liked this home and could envision themselves living there. 

By bringing up something about the home that is not an issue but raises red flags, it just makes the buyer’s think of a HUGE LEAKING OIL TANK, and not how lovely the home is and how great it would be for their family.  Even though this tank may have been addressed, investigated and filled in as per town code requirements, all the buyer’s heard was “underground tank”.  The seller disclosure may not be sufficient at this point to explain away the concerns. 

Home sellers typically compromise their negotiating position by being home during buyers home tours.  This is an actual example:
The sellers are walking with the buyers and their Realtor® during the home tour.  The buyers see a big, newer John Deere tractor in the shed.  The buyers comment, “what a great tractor, must come in handy with a yard as pretty and big as yours”.  The seller said  “Well, for the right price, I will include this beauty”. 

For the next month, the seller and the buyer went back and forth about the “right price” that included that tractor. Then the seller decided not to include it – then the buyer decided not to buy this house.  One slip of the tongue cost the sale of the house.  This may sound silly, but as a Realtor® who shows a lot of houses I can say I have seen this happen more than once. 

It is not a good idea for the seller to be home when prospective buyers are viewing the home.  I have seen too many times where sellers say something that has nothing to do with the transaction, but sours a buyer towards the home or the seller gives up something without knowing it.  There are also the home sellers that follow the Realtor® and the buyers in every room, from beginning to end.  This is a sure way to aggravate the buyers, not allow them to feel comfortable and put the brakes on them getting emotionally attached to your home. 

Buyers tend to be shy about opening doors and really looking when the owner is home, and I can tell you from experience, they will not buy a house without doing this.

It is best to leave, take a drive, take the dog for a walk, just GET OUT.  Let the listing Realtor® handle all follow-up questions and negotiating.  That is why you pay your Realtor®.  Happy house selling!!!

Suburban Realty Professionals  ♦  Princeton Office  ♦  96 Wall Street  ♦  Princeton, NJ 08540  ♦  877-221-8787