Market Wise Q&A: When Can the Seller Start Packing and Shut the Door to the Buyers?

Pat Kapowich for the San Jose Mercury News column Market Wise

Q: We have sold our home to a young couple who keep requesting visits for everything under the sun: room measurements, vendors, showing friends and family, etc. Our listing agent told the buyer’s agent that since their inspections and contingencies have successfully passed, any more access to our home would be an inconvenience. According to our agent, that announcement is unacceptable to the buyers. We have to move in two weeks and do not want any more interruptions. At what point can we as sellers close our doors to outsiders and get about the business of moving?

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A: When you are unpacking your belongings at your new home, that’s when. Selling your home is an inconvenience. Having a sale fall apart because of perceived seller slights is a tragedy. Sellers can have a beautiful transaction in progress and the smallest thing can and will create real or imagined problems with unpleasant ramifications. That can include renegotiating or canceling the sale outright. And homes that go back on the market after a sale fails are rightly or wrongly stigmatized. Closing your doors to a buyer and her/his friends, family and vendors will only produce ill feelings toward the seller, the transaction and even the property.

Buyers and sellers are at an anxious time in their lives and bilateral goodwill is critical to demonstrate at every opportunity. Buyers tend not to file claims against people they like and/or purchases they feel good about.

The solution is this: Simply limit the number of these buyer visits, and make sure one or both agents involved in the transaction is or are present. It should be explained to the buyers that because the process of moving has begun, the home is no longer in showroom condition. Do yourself another favor and go one step further: Be present and helpful at a buyer walk-through. You’ll be finishing the sale the same way it started in good faith.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

E-mail questions to Pat at
pat@www.siliconvalleybroker.net