Five Things to Never Say When Buying a House
I do my best to make sure a seller is not at home when a buyer comes to look. In fact I insist that be the case when I list a house here in Sullivan County NY. When the owners are there, a prospective buyer feels like a guest. And it is difficult to imagine yourself "at home" in a property when you are busy feeling like a guest.
There have been many polls and studies done to corroborate this, but it seems that fairly often when I arrive with a prospective buyer, invariably the door is opened by a cheerful, smiling homeowner.
It is a delicate matter to traipse through someone's personal space. Taste is an individual concept, and many times a casual comment can hurt someone's feelings or reveal something that can hurt you in negotiations down the road.
So if you end up in the situation where you are viewing a home with the homeowner present, these are the five no-nos that if done, can put you at a disadvantage.
1) I can't wait to rearrange, move, rip out etc. A certain amount of renovation is expected, but you have to keep in mind that more often than not, the house you are looking at has a truckload of memories built up. That leopard print living room is where the Smith's had a decade of Holiday mornings and other special life moments. I have seen many sellers take a hard stance on price for personal reasons. You want the sellers to like you. For them to like you, you need them to think you like what they like.
2) Why are you selling? This one is a bigger one than you would think. And it is a very common question. I guess buyers feel it is a good ice breaker question, so it seems to be the fall back one. But often the reason they are selling is not necessarily a happy one. Change is hard for people. And selling the family homestead is often a big change. Many times the reasons are innocuous, like a job change or simply up or down sizing. But more often than not it is a hardship that necessitates the sale. Some sellers will bristle at the questions, and others will open up and pour out their issues. Either way, it can make for an uncomfortable moment.
3) This is my dream house! Or "Its perfect!" Or any variety that lets the sellers know how much you like the house. Look I'm not saying be dishonest or that there can't be open negations and everything has to be cloak and dagger, but why put yourself at a disadvantage. Every one hundred dollars borrowed in a mortgage is actually over three hundred over a thirty year mortgage. These negotiation tactics can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
4) I am approved for X amount. Same principle as number three. Saying you are approved for more than your offer can put you at a disadvantage for obvious reasons, but playing the "I am only approved for X amount so that is all I can offer" can also put you at a disadvantage. It can make seller nervous if they think you are maxing out the amount you can borrow.
5) You have a lovely home, but it is not for us because.. Again this is an over sharing moment. In recent polls, it was determined that 90% of home buyers knew a house wasn't for them within the first five minutes of being in the home. But you never know. Perhaps seller will drop the price in a few months, and suddenly changing the green shag carpet is now in the budget. A pleasant good bye is all that is necessary.
That is why having a good real estate broker is important. They can shield you from pushy sellers, or seller's agents, and guide you through the tour. Small mistakes can cost you thousands of dollars.