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Mind Games in Real Estate Often Backfire on Buyers

Sale Sign2 PolaroidA relative of mine in a different state is selling her home now, and I’m learning a lot about how home sellers think and, more importantly, how they feel

Since we don’t have a professional relationship, I’m hearing the straight un-filtered scoop about what it’s like for her at each step of the home-selling process.  

Home Sale Preparation – A little uncertain about what’s needed in the way of home sale preparation, but eager to please prospective buyers and willing to do whatever her agent recommends.

Listing Contract – Signed with no second thoughts and ready to get the show on the road.

First Showing – A little frenzied as she scurries around to turn on lights, empty the trash, fluff the pillows and cushions… and very eager for someone to call after the showing and say “Your home is lovely!”  (Really, she doesn’t even care if they want to buy it… she just wants someone to acknowledge all the work she did to get it ready for showing!)

Fifth Showing – Less enthusiastic about the lights, trash, etc., but more anxious than ever for feedback.  Struggling to understand why buyers don’t fall in love with her beautiful home.

A Contract is Coming – Nervous but cautiously optimistic.  Dare she look to the next step in her life?

Contract in Hand – Like many home sellers today, she is stunned at the insulting offer.  And price isn’t the only negative… they want her draperies (not for sale at any price!).  Seller doesn’t feel good about it, but eventually negotiates an “agreeable” price.

Home Inspection – They may call it a “home inspection” but, like many of today’s buyers, this is the moment buyers have been waiting for… it’s their excuse for re-negotiating terms that already favor them beyond belief.  The home is in excellent condition but, instead of providing feedback promptly after the inspection, they say they’re “thinking about it” now… don’t expect anything from them ‘til next week. 

 You’ve got to be kidding me! 

Waiting to provide results of the home inspection is perceived by the seller as a mind game, not a thoughtful process on the buyer’s part.  In the case of a nearly new home in excellent repair (one that had a home inspection just a year ago), the seller knows there are no major issues that require consultation with contractors or other experts that might require several days. 

The most likely reason the buyer is stalling now is to toy with the seller’s emotions… to make the seller worry that the sale could fall through so they can return and ask for more concessions (perhaps the draperies?).  If I ever questioned whether this is an effective strategy, I can see now that this will probably not benefit the buyers.

Instead of being resigned to a disappointing sale price and being more than willing to work with the buyers to resolve any legitimate home inspection concerns, the seller is really annoyed.  With each passing hour, she’s feeling more negative about these buyers and this transaction…. and less willing to address any home inspection issues, even legitimate ones, let alone give up her draperies! 

The seller’s conversation with herself goes something like this:  “The worst that can happen if this sale falls through is that I will put the house on the market again and/or continue to own and live in a wonderful home.” 

These buyers may soon discover that mind games in real estate can backfire on them.  In this case, it could cost them the house.  

__________________________ is your one-stop source for information about Crofton, Maryland and the surrounding area.  It’s my way of keeping current residents informed about their community while also attracting relocating home buyers to the Crofton area (including Bowie, Crownsville, Davidsonville, Fort Meade, Gambrills, Millersville and Odenton).  Please feel free to contact me any time for more information.

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