Should Buyers and Sellers of Homes and Real Estate Ever Meet

Pittsboro NC Real Estate Agent Eric Andrews goes over the pros and cons of buyers meeting sellers during the home purchase process in this video.

Speaker 1:           Should buyers and sellers ever meet?

Speaker 2:           Well, it depends. As real estate agents, we’re taught, no, they shouldn’t meet whatever. And there’s a lot of reasons for that. We talk about loose lips sink ships. Whatever you think, something really, really innocuous that the buyer or seller says, it can ruin a transaction. It can ruin it for the buyer, or it can ruin it for the seller. In the old days, we used to have closings and there was a closing ceremony, and the buyer’s agent came in and the seller’s agent came in, and the attorney was there, and usually the lender would be there, and the buyers would be, husband and wife would be there, the seller’s husband and wife would be there, and all of us met at the table. That was usually the first time the buyers and sellers had met.

And there was a lot of communication and, “You need to know this about the refrigerator, you need to know this about the neighbor, da, da, da.” And it was a good time. It’s very rare for buyers and sellers to meet at a transaction now. The transactions are so broken up that usually the seller comes in a couple days early, signs all the deeds, does all the preparation, and then the buyer comes in and signs what they have to do. I would say the vast majority of the time now buyers and sellers never say a word to each other, which is a lot different than it was 15, 20 years ago. But as agents, we’re probably a little bit more protective of sellers, and we don’t want sellers to have to communicate with a buyer. One of the reasons why they’re hiring us and paying us a lot of money is so they don’t have to deal with the buyer, but we’re also afraid that a seller might say something that will kill the deal that they didn’t think was a big deal at all.

It doesn’t matter what you say, it could really, really hurt a transaction.

Speaker 1:           Did you have that example of somebody asking about shooting in their property?

Speaker 2:           Yeah. One time we had buyers and sellers meet without the agent’s knowledge and the buyer said, “Hey, is it okay to shoot in this neighborhood?” And the seller said, “Oh yeah, the neighbor shoots all the time, he’s got a firing range in his backyard and da, da, da.” Other people were worried. They had kids. That scared him and ended up killing the deal. And you have to be cautious about what you say as a seller. It can go either way, but sometimes it can help. We’re in such a competitive market right now where we’re in some price points, we actually have multiple offers. And sometimes the buyers will write a letter to the seller and they’ll say, “This is why we want your home.”

And if there’s a bunch of offers in there and someone’s taking the time to write the letter that can affect, that can move the seller. And they might be more pro that particular buyer. I had a transaction last year on a farm where the buyers and sellers met and we were in a multiple offer situation, and it went for way above asking price. And we had a buyer that didn’t meet the highest price, but they had met with the sellers and they were just so enchanted by this particular buyer that they said, look, if you meet the highest bid, we’d rather sell to you than to these other people. It worked out for them, but most of the time, and it can work out in some situations, whatever. But most of the time, I think it’s better.

Like one of the services that a real estate agent provides is that buffer. And we don’t want the buyer to show that they’re earnest. So after the deals under contract, we still have to go through all these repairs and there’s another round of negotiations. And we find out the roof was bad, we find out the HVAC is bad, we find out there’s a leak under the kitchen sink. Well, these are things that we want the seller to fix for our buyer. And if the buyer’s like, “Oh, I’m so glad I got to meet you, I really like your house,” the negotiations aren’t going to go well for the buyer. Everyone’s innocent and everything, but you don’t want to show any cards, you don’t want to give up leverage.

Just as a for instance, I had a client a few years ago that I had their house listed and this couple made an offer and he looked him up on Facebook, and the first thing that came up on Facebook is, “We just made an offer on a house. We hope we get it, we’d pay any price for this thing.” And it was like 185 on 200. And he came back with, okay, it’s going to be 200. And that was an inadvertent buyer and seller meeting, but it can happen.