On listing your home, there are times when a buyer will make every effort to get around your listing agent. They may find your phone number and call you; they may even come directly to your door, a more likely approach.
They will give excuses like, “I don’t like dealing with real estate agents,” or “I prefer to deal directly with the seller when I buy.” Too often they are trying to discover your motivation and attempting to negotiate a price lower than if dealing through an agent.
We highly recommend avoiding this scenario.
Simply and politely provide the prospect with your salesperson’s contact information and suggest that they call your salesperson or brokerage for any and all information about the property, if they want to see the property or if interested in submitting an offer. Then let your salesperson know so he or she can follow up, if possible. You decided to market and negotiate the sale of your property through a trusted REALTOR®. Let him/her field all buyer inquiries for you. Besides, it’s also part of your listing contract.
Some Buyer Questions to Avoid
Here are questions to steer clear of, either on the phone or face-to-face:
- “What are you asking for the home?” They likely know this already, but it may be asked as an introduction to the following follow-up question.
- “How much will you take for the home?” Avoid answering this question. For example, you’re asking $250,000. The buyer asks, “How much will you take?” If you say something like, “I want no less than $244,000,” then this can be viewed as the new asking price.
- “Can I see the home now or within an hour?” You can be told that they are here from out of town and are leaving that same day. This could be valid, but it can also be a way of seeing your home so that it can be quickly eliminated. Have the buyer pre-screened first. It’s also a security issue.
- “Why are you selling?” If you have a high need to sell—you’ve bought another home, financial stress, health problems, a divorce—this could be viewed as a reason to grind you on the price. This type of personal information can weaken your position.
Avoid Negotiating Verbally as Well
A buyer may start to negotiate with you verbally while viewing your home, over the phone or on a second visit. Resist the temptation. Again, suggest that he submit a written offer for your review and consideration through a licensed REALTOR®. A verbal negotiation can be a strategy to pre-negotiate--to feel you out-- before the actual negotiating begins. It’s a way to test your motivation as well.
A verbal negotiation does not commit the buyer in any way. There’s no deposit, nothing in writing and nothing signed. As well, stay clear of negotiating directly by email. Let your REALTOR® handle it.