5 Things not to say when buying a house in the COVID market | Home Buying Mistakes in the Bay Area
As more inventory comes on the market and we adjust to the new normal, a new set of rules/strategies apply. Watching what you say may sound strange as we are all social distancing. I mean, who will hear you anyways?
Trust me, loose lips sink ships. You don’t want to inadvertently make it harder to transact than it already is.
At some point we will likely be in an open house world again. If not, you will likely run into a neighbor who is the Sellers best friend, the listing agent or walk into a house that has a security system that is equipped with microphones.
NOTE: Those have to be disclosed but people forget to do that all the time.
Either way, you need to watch what you say so you don’t put yourself behind the eight ball before you even started. Let’s dig in!
1. The Decor/Staging SUCKS!
The obvious reason to keep this opinion to yourself is you could very easily offend the Seller or the listing agent. The way someone decorates their home is intently personal. Telling someone they have bad taste or they did a bad job will only give them a bad taste in their mouths. You don’t want to start off the relationship with them on the wrong foot.
The not so obvious reason to keep this to yourself is that you will be loosing a strategic advantage in negotiation. If you think the presentation is ugly, so will other. Most buyers don’t have great vision and cannot see past what is. If you point out to them the paint is a strange color or the staging is not proportioned to the room, they may realize it and see past it.
In fact, you should look for homes what don’t have amazing photos or presentations because other people will pass on them and the competition could be lower. If you bring it up to fellow buyers, you could easily just have created more competition for yourself.
2. This is my DREAM home!
Saying this effectively tips your hand to the other side of the table. When the Seller/ listing agent know you LOVE the house, they can use that as leverage in a negotiation.
They assume you will dig a little deeper for this property and they are probably right. In that case, it could make it more expensive for you to get into the house or put you in a position to take on additional repairs.
When negotiating, they could counter you with a higher price to see where your limit is or ask you to take on a sizable repair. And because you love it, you will at least consider doing it.
As a best practice, let them know you really like the house but make sure you play “hard to get” by not tipping your hand.
3. Pointing out defects, permit issues or other issues infront of other people.
This is an open house strategy I share with all my buyers.
If you walk into an open house and start talking to the listing agent about if the addition was permitted, that the windows seem old and that the floors need to be refinished, they will remember you as a challenging buyer. Aside from making them feel uncomfortable in front of other attendees, they will label you as a difficult buyer.
They will relay this to the seller and remember it when your offer comes in. In a competitive bidding situation, you don’t want that label.
The best practice here is to ask the agent what you should know, tell them you like the house and generally leave them feeling good about you. When you go home, you can dissect the disclosure packet and figure out what defects there are.
Remember, you are being judged here. Make sure to leave them wanting more and not wanting nothing to do with you.
4. Why are you/they selling?
As we all know, financial and health situations have been flipped on their heads. The reasons for selling are much different that they used to be.
These days, there could be any number of reasons people have to sell. The loss of a job, retirement funds or a loved ones could all be motivators. If you pry into someone’s business they will either lie to you and feel bad they did so. Or they will tell the truth and have to relive/admit their sad state of affairs. Either way, they likely won’t feel very good about the conversation you just had and associate that feeling to you.
And to be blunt, you just don’t want to pry into people’s personal business. It has no bearing on what the house is worth and what it will sell for. You will just come across as the nosey person getting into their business.
As they say, curiosity killed the cat. Don’t be the cat.
5. The house is OVERPRICED!
While this may be true, you do not want to be the person who tells them that. The market or another less savey buyer will do that for you.
You want to be the one who diligently watches the days on market rack up and catch them when they are ready to price reduce or negotiate at a more realistic number.
If you tell them their price is too high, they are going to argue with you and get the sense that you are trying to lowball them and take advantage of the situation.
Trust me, you don’t want to bring that energy into your transaction.
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