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8 Ways Homebuyers Annoy Sellers

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By Dana Dratch

homebuyers_with_agent(MCT)—Selling a home is stressful. And poorly behaved buyers add to the strain. A little give-and-take is normal, but some buyers push the envelope, as well as the sellers’ buttons. Here are eight ways that homebuyers annoy sellers.

DON’T: Skip appointments.

For sellers, “the No. 1 complaint is not showing up after you’ve set an appointment,” says Mark Ramsey, a broker in Charlotte, N.C.

To prepare for a showing, a smart seller spends time clearing up clutter and making the home shine, then grabs the kids and/or pets and vacates for a few hours so buyers can tour in peace.

Imagine how a seller feels when you announce at the last minute that you’ll visit next week instead. Or you simply don’t show up, without an explanation.

Bottom line: Unless you’ve had a truly last-minute emergency, cancel hours before the appointment, Ramsey says.

DON’T: Ignore “house rules.”’

Just because it’s a home doesn’t mean it’s your home. Some prospective buyers treat a home like they’ve been living there for decades – unlocking doors, cranking up the heat or air conditioning, and letting their kids run wild, bounce on the furniture, and borrow toys. Some even use the toilet, which gets problematic if the house isn’t occupied and the water has been turned off, Ramsey says.

Sellers are allowed to set some ground rules (“no shoes” is a popular one), which are included in the showing instructions, Ramsey says. And if sellers aren’t home, it’s up to agents to enforce those rules, he says.

“I tell buyers, ‘Let’s just pretend we’re walking into the White House,’ ” Ramsey says.

DON’T: Nitpick.

Want to alienate the sellers who currently own your next house, not to mention your real estate agent?

Start complaining about small issues, like carpet and paint colors, says Matt Laricy, managing partner with Americorp Real Estate in Chicago.

The walls are yellow or the carpet is brown, “so they say they won’t buy the place,” Laricy says. “Do you know how cheap it is to repaint a property?”

In many cases, such an objection is not a price-reduction strategy, he says. “If it was their strategy, I would say it’s a bad one, though,” Laricy says. Paint and carpets are easy fixes, he says. Instead, focus on the big-picture items, like location and light level, he added.

DON’T: Present a laundry list of defects.

One weapon in the buyers’ negotiating arsenal is to write a long list of what’s wrong with the house.

Big mistake, says Ron Phipps, principal in Warwick, R.I., and past president of the National Association of REALTORS®.

“Sellers don’t care why you’re discounting the house,” he says. They’re looking at that bottom-line number. Include a roll call of defects and the question becomes, “Why do you want this place?”

Instead, he recommends a kinder, gentler approach for buyers: Submit a list of comparables, your offer and a personal letter introducing yourself and why you want the house.

DON’T: Request multiple “visits” before closing.

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