Shhh! When and Why Homebuyers Should Stay Quiet

Buying a home is a big deal! You may be overflowing with excitement and nervous anticipation—and brimming with questions. Of course, you want to talk about it! Who wouldn’t?

Take a moment to hit the pause button. 

Remember: buying a home is a negotiation process. Everything you say and do could broadcast information that benefits other people—like sellers and their agents.

For example, imagine how a seller will respond to your deeply-discounted offer if they know:

“We have to close before school starts.”

“Our landlord already has a new tenant.”

“It’s the only place that ticks off all the boxes.”

Even though your purchase contract doesn’t mention any of these points and your buyer’s agent isn’t going to share details like that, there are other ways damaging information can inadvertently get back to the current homeowner.

Buyers should be particularly cautious in these situations:

Interviewing buyer’s agents

Every homebuyer should have a qualified real estate professional by their side. Buyer’s representatives can help you find the best property and navigate the complexities of purchasing it.

When picking your buyer’s rep, ask the right questions. You want to select someone who will do an excellent job representing your interests and helping you make the best decisions. 

If you limit your search to agents who’ve earned the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation, you’ll know they already have specialized training and experience in representing buyers.

Before making a decision, refrain from divulging sensitive details that could hurt your negotiating position. After all, a second-place agent could show up on the opposite side of the table, representing the sellers of the property you’d like to purchase.

Attending open houses

Open houses are a fun and easy way to view homes, as long as you remember that the agent who greets you at the door represents the sellers. They’re happy to meet prospective buyers and will probably ask questions about your current situation, what you’re looking for, etc.

Be sure to let them know if you’re already working with a buyer’s rep. Also, be careful about sharing any details that could come back to haunt you, in terms of hurting your negotiating position.

Touring homes

You and your buyer’s agent may be the only people in a house, but the owners could still be listening to your conversations. Today’s technology makes it easy to place cameras or other surveillance devices throughout a home.

It’s not just a question of the sellers hearing things that make them more confident about driving a hard bargain. If they know you’re ridiculing certain aspects of their home, they may also be unwilling to compromise. 

Stick with straightforward, non-judgmental comments until you’ve completely vacated the property. Some sellers will go so far as to spy on prospective buyers from a neighbor’s home or ask neighbors to report back on what they heard and saw.

Posting social media updates 

Don’t take pictures while touring someone else’s home unless you’ve received permission from the owner. In some states, you could be breaking the law. If you’re not sure, ask your buyer’s rep.

Even if you’re allowed to take photos, it’s a bad idea to post them on social media. That’s another way you could hurt your negotiating position by divulging information or angering the sellers. Be patient and post as many photos as you want when YOU’RE the owner!