It never fails – a nice home hits the market and one of the first questions out of a buyer’s mouth is “why are they selling?” This is a very dicey question and the response should always be kept short and vague. Any explanation you give is bound to contain ammunition to homebuyers that they could use against you, thereby compromising your negotiating power.
It is important to be especially careful when speaking with potential buyers and sometimes even your neighbors. If you are listing your home through a REALTOR®, you shouldn’t have to worry about answering any questions directly.
However, if you do find yourself in the situation, you want to make sure you avoid the wrong answers at all costs. While some responses may seem innocent to you, they could be affecting your offers more than you realize.
“We want to lower our costs” may seem innocent and could mean something as simple as downsizing. However, to a buyer, it could raise some red flags. To them, this could suggest that the home requires too much upkeep, utilities are too high, or the home itself is just too expensive. Suddenly, they want a more “manageable” home and decide to keep looking.
“We need a bigger home” on the other hand, could quickly start making that perfectly sized home appear too small. While it is totally understandable, especially for a growing family, buyers could start questioning the size of the home for themselves and quickly lose interest.
“I got a new job” is another response that seems harmless, but could affect the offers you receive. While job offers or transfers are a very common reason for moving, this could indicate that you are working against a deadline. If buyers sense that the seller is in a rush or desperate to sell, they may feel encouraged to take advantage of that by giving a low ball offer.
“I have health issues” could leave all possible issues up to the imagination of the buyer. Suddenly, that one stair case looks a little too steep or the house itself seems difficult to navigate. This could scare off anyone, really – older homebuyers, homebuyers with older parents, or even homebuyers with young children.
None of the said reasons are bad reasons to be selling your home. You just don’t want the buyer to interpret your response the wrong way. If you are being asked by someone who doesn’t need to know, a simple “we are ready for a change” will suffice just fine. Though, the easiest way out of all of this is to not be present for showings and let your REALTOR® do the talking. Having them handle all communications with prospective buyers and their agents will make your life that much easier. After all, you have enough to tackle during this process. Talk with your agent, ensure you’re on the same page, and trust them to handle the rest. Happy Sunday – Until next week!
Eve Leombruno, 2023 MBOR President