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Too much talk?

Posted by Rona Fischman June 6, 2011 02:09 PM

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Our Monday guy Sam Schneiderman, broker owner of Greater Boston Home Team, is back to discuss how much a seller or seller's agent should talk when showing a house.

When a prospective buyer views a home or condo for sale, how much talk from the seller or listing agent is enough and how much is too little?

Below is a partial list of the things that I have heard listing agents ask or say to buyers. In the parenthesis that follow some of their comments I’ve included the real question that is often hidden behind the agent’s more Innocent question.

- Discuss potential improvements or modifications to the building that the buyer can make to each room in minute detail, often without disclosing that a variance would be required or lack of knowledge that such a modification would never get permitted.

- Discuss ways that the buyer can potentially decorate the home or show off the existing ugly decor.

- Talk about the way the current owners or the previous occupants, used the house for their family.

- Point out the obvious bathroom, master bedroom or walk in closet, etc.

- Ask the following questions to try to qualify my buyers:
o Where do you live now? (How well do you know the area?)
o What do you do for a living? (Trying to guess your income range or qualifications.)
o Do you have children? How many? (Does this house have enough bedrooms?)
o How old are your kids? Boys or girls? (Does this house have enough bedrooms? What sports and other programs can the agent highlight?)
o Are you looking only in the Brigham School district? (How important is this location to you?)
o Have you been looking long? (Are you desparate to buy the right home or are you a problem buyer?)
Sometimes, the agent will stand talking away between the buyers and the doorway to the room that the buyers are trying to leave or see. Meanwhile, all the buyers want to do is look at the house to see if the floor plan and amenities will work for their needs.

On the other hand, there are times that agents do not answer the obvious question that any buyer or buyer’s agent would be thinking in that room (i.e. is there hardwood under the carpet or does that two foot water stain on the ceiling mean that there is a current or past water problem?)

In many communities, buyer’s agents can get into homes for sale using lockboxes that are left for them by listing agents. The buyer’s agent and the buyer are free to explore at their own pace in peace and quiet.

What is your preference?
Would you prefer to see a home that is for sale with or without the seller or listing agent present?
Just how much talk is enough and how much is too little?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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