Leave! Take the Kid and Dog with You!

Written by Posted On Saturday, 07 February 2015 03:27

When buyers are coming to see your home, get out. It's not a good idea to have Timmy playing piano for “mood music” or to have your “show” dogs running around nipping heels. It's especially not good for the seller to be "helpful" by following or leading potential buyers through the house. Every so often we run into a listing that simply has us walking away shaking our heads – is it that sellers don’t listen or that they just want to do things their way? A smart buyers agent will make them pay...This post has been waiting to be written for a long time...

piano-boyPiano Boy
Anyone that attempts to tackle any musical instrument gets a salute; the piano especially but there’s a time and place for everything.  Walking an 800K+ home with interested buyers is not that time. Despite my repeated suggestions that little “Timmy” ice down his fingers, we were subjected to Fleur de Lise for what seemed like a 30 minute loop. Timmy was into it; perfect posture, hand and head positions...and he missed that same note every time he came to it. We started at flabbergasted, moved to a little annoyed and left laughing. Not at Timmy, but at his stage mother who for some reason felt that we were an audience instead of buyers looking at the house.

Ankle Biters and Happy to See You
I know Precious and Sparky are great dogs, we have three beagles that are the best dogs on the planet (not) and I love dogs. Not everyone does, and not everyone wants to be accosted by them. 100+lbs of dog charging the door as it opens in full bark mode probably isn't the best first impression. Neither is walking a home and being peppered the entire time by two Maltese dogs nipping at the buyer’s feet and pants cuff. Dogs sense vulnerability and these two were enjoying the adventure – not so for the buyers. At another house we had a chance to meet “Sparky”, a 90lb chocolate lab covered in mud that was overly friendly. It was odd she said, she told him to “sit” and he always does - just not this time. The buyers loved the red clay all over their pants.

Thanks, we'll figure it out
Does anyone need a tour guide for a home? Maybe the White House or the Vatican…but is one needed for a 2400 square foot colonial? And ridiculous as hearing “….and here’s the kitchen…”, even worse is having to stop everything to hear every painful and excruciating detail of what amounts to a standard sink, faucet or light fixture (I blame HGTV for all that). Owners should be proud of their home, but be confident that agents and buyers coming through will see the level of care and be able to figure out which room is which.  Fact sheets are fine, tour guides (especially owners and/or their kids) are not.

Less is more
Appraising and selling real estate full time since 1989, has put me in several thousand homes. Experienced agents and focused buyers have a systematic approach to recognizing if a home is appealing and is going to work. I submit that within minutes of getting on site, a decision has been made as to whether or not a particular home “strikes a nerve”. We’ve all had homes that we’ve closed up within minutes; serious buyers know what they want. Sellers shouldn’t complicate things…it’s best to leave and let the agent and buyer evaluate your home alone. At the very least, take Precious and Sparky for a walk.

What you say will be used against you
Loose lips sink ships - or in this case sink selling price. Sellers that feel compelled to be involved as a buyer and the agent walk the home is asking for trouble, in an effort to be social they can hang themselves. Experienced agents asking simple questions: Have you found another house? What makes you leave such a beautiful home? I bet the house is getting a ton of attention? So are you getting ready for the big move? On and on. A savvy buyers agent can get a seller tell them they've bought another home, they're moving in two weeks, they're getting divorced and a ton of other info that can be used against them when it's time to write and negotiate an offer.

My sellers have clear direction regarding showings - leave. When the buyers show up, say hi and excuse yourself for a walk, make a call or head over to see what BOGO deals are at Publix. Get out....and if you can't get out, avoid the buyers and find a reason to stay out of their way. What you say can and will be used against you in a court of - I mean contract.


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Hank Miller, SRA

Hank Miller is an Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser in the north metro Atlanta area. Since 1989, real estate has been his full time profession. Hank´s clients benefit from his appraisal and sales experience; they act upon data, not baseless opinions. He is an outspoken critic of the lax standards in the agent community.

Hank remains an active certified appraiser and completes specialty work for FNMA, lenders and attorneys. He is a well-known blogger and continues to guest write for multiple industry publications as well as national outlets like the WSJ, NYT, RE Magazine, USA Today and others. He is a regular on public Q&A sites on Zillow, Trulia and many others.

Hank consistently ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the metro Atlanta area. He runs the Hank Miller Team and is known as much for his ability as he is for his opinions. He is especially outspoken about the lack of professional standards and expectations in the real estate industry.


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