William's Places: Dear Mr. & Mrs. Seller, Your Absence Is Appreciated...

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Seller, Your Absence Is Appreciated...

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Seller, Your Absence Is Appreciated…



          When people are selling their homes, there is sometimes an unnecessary presence. Sellers (and sometimes their agents) remaining in their homes during a showing to potential buyers. I cannot fathom why any seller would so eagerly and willingly sabotage the sale of their home in such a fashion. Nor can I imagine why an agent would be a party to such a move. Either agreeing to such conditions being stipulated by the seller upon listing the home, or neglecting to counsel sellers that their absence during showings would be in their best interests’ amounts to a failure on the part of the agent to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities to their clients…


          Now, this must be a universal phenomenon.  This is only the umpteenth time (ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, but I digress) that I have read about this as I track my blog’s progress and read other real estate blogs, both here in the Rain and elsewhere. Recently, Mark Hall and Todd Clark wrote posts highlighting the consequences for sellers who chose to remain in the home during a showing. In both scenarios, a potential buyer backed off and chose another home because of the actions of the seller, who was present during the showing. When the time for feedback came, I am certain that neither the agent nor the seller were happy with the results…


          If it has never happened to you, then you are lucky. I happened to be one of those buyers, once upon a time. I went to view a home with my wife and our agent, and the seller was at home. Not that she (and she was an elderly lady) said anything, or went out of her way to make us feel uncomfortable, but we all got that vibe. I went and put in a full price offer on the house anyway…only to have the seller back out and eventually change her mind about selling the place at all. I seriously think now, in retrospect, that I should have never made an offer on the house, considering the suspicions the lady aroused in all of us.


          The surest guarantee of getting a house sold is an absent owner. Now, I know that many may argue with that premise, simply because price is king…but I would argue that a good agent can negotiate the price, but cannot negotiate any negative feelings that may arise because of the unnecessary and unwanted presence of a seller and/or their agent. Buyers’ being able to tour a home without either the listing agent or the seller present enables several things to happen:

1.     A thorough examination of the home;

2.     Buyers to confer openly with their agent about any possible issues that may have been spotted as the buyers toured the home;

3.     Establishes an atmosphere of sincere interest. The seller wants to sell, and communicates that to the potential buyer by not being there.


So, Mr. and Mrs. Seller, next time there is an appointment to show your home, your absence is greatly appreciated!




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Courtesy of William James Walton, Sr. , Realtor, WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group

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Call William James Walton, Sr. Real Estate Agent with WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group (203) 558-7463 for help with your real estate needs -buying or selling -  in Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott, Middlebury, Southbury, Prospect, Naugatuck, Plymouth and Thomaston

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Comment balloon 154 commentsWilliam James Walton Sr. • January 30 2011 10:20PM


When I am repersenting a buyer< i absolutley love to meet teh sellers, they are so helpful, sharing and talkative.

By the time i leave, i know why they are selling, where they are going to, the faults of the home and how to put my client in the best negotiating position that i can.

A seller in teh home will only cost teh seller money...


Posted by Andrew Monaghan, CRS, GRI, EPro Associate Broker (The Monaghan Group) almost 11 years ago

I agree with Andrew. 

That said, if there is anything that makes prospective home buyer more uncomfortable than having a seller hovering while the buyers are touring a home is

1.  having the sellers wait until the buyer arrive, then hustle and bustle to get the children bundled and with great angst, stuff everyone along with pets into a vehicle to leave the premises.  Or, to walk up and down the block watching and waiting for the prospective home buyers to leave. 

2.  Or, have the sellers take to the deck while the buyers rush through the house, thereby making sure that the buyers will feel uncomfortable and not able to focus on the property.

3.  Or, have the sellers take to the office/den and work on a computer while the buyers are . . . . See# 2.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

William I'm with you.  I don't ever recall a situation where my buyer or myself has been comfortable during a showing in the presence of the seller.  It's a bit awkward when you are trying to get your buyer to open up and give feedback (particularly where improvements may be needed). 

But I've got to give credit where credit is due and agree with Andrew.  Knowing the seller's motivation is priceless and they are usually eager to reveal it.  I need to rethink my position on this one and perhaps learn to work it to my buyer's advantage (no matter how uncomfortable it might be).  I still don't have to like it, but it's just one of those things we have to deal with from time to time.

Very thought provoking post.

Posted by Charita Cadenhead almost 11 years ago

Oh, I know how that is! Thanks for the reminder.  


Posted by Vanna Siackhasone, Anchorage Real Estate 907-720-4663 (Real Estate Brokers of Alaska 907-720-4663) almost 11 years ago


In my experience, my buyers usually spend a lot less time in a house when the sellers are there.


Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 11 years ago

Yes good post William-

Annie posted a while ago also on the same topic and we are in complete agreement. I am thinking now about printing those posts to add for my Seller's package. Just a thought so far...


Posted by Catherine Chaudemanche - Edison & Central NJ, Full Time, Informed and Involved- Results Driven (Metuchen Keller Williams Elite Realty / Middlesex County, NJ) almost 11 years ago

If only Sellers understand that their presence can impede the sale of their home.....

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) almost 11 years ago

Sellers can disclose a lot of useful information when asked, but I also agree that the buyer feels more comfortable going through someone home when they are not at home

Posted by Al Wright, Have your inspections performed the Wright Way (Affordable Canadian Home Inspections) almost 11 years ago

It's always fun when the sellers are home for nearly every showing and love to give THE TOUR...it really can be uncomfortable for the buyers, and if the sellers love to talk, too, detrimental to their bottom line!

Posted by Lisa VonBargen, Estes Park Real Estate Photographer (Photography7522) almost 11 years ago

The same and even more so can be said during a home inspection. Sure the sellers can blab some important information, but in the over all scheme of things the negatives far out weigh the positives.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 11 years ago

It's hard for buyers to feel comfortable to open closet doors and really look around when the sellers are home.

Posted by Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh, A doctor who makes house calls. (Century 21 New Millennium) almost 11 years ago


Buyers will, absolutely, not spend as much time in a home when the seller is present. This is just an uncomfortable situation for them. And, the more time a buyer spends in the home, the better chance there is for a sale.

There is also the fact that when sellers are home, the buyers will invariably ask them questions about their motivation and situation. Their broker should do everything possible to encourage them to vacate the premises when a showing is taking place - for their own good.


Posted by Claudette Millette, Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass (The Buyers' Counsel) almost 11 years ago

Had that on a home inspection today!  Sellers didn't want to leave.  Were uncomfortable with people in their house.  UGH!  I was able to get them to substitute ME for THEM.  Some sellers just don't get it.  Buyers are always uncomfortable with sellers in home when showing or doing inspections....they want to take ownership of it, not feel like intruders.

Posted by Kathy Batterton, TeamWork makes the Dream Work! (RE/MAX Infinity CDPE, E-PRO, GRI) almost 11 years ago


I have only had one seller insist on staying throughout the open houses. In the long run it worked out well, but, one might question whether an earlier visitor might have been more interested.

However, on the good side I did do the open houses myself because I couldn't really delegate them to a colleague.


Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) almost 11 years ago

"I cannot fathom why any seller would so eagerly and willingly sabotage the sale of their home in such a fashion. Nor can I imagine why an agent would be a party to such a move."

I have a theory on why...That type of person whom you are complaining about (and rightly so) must be what's commonly described as a "busybody".

What else could it be? I have to believe in the best in people and not everyone on this planet is a blathering idiot, so busybody it must be, lol.


Posted by Michael Myers (King-Rhodes & Associates) almost 11 years ago

Seller's sometimes mistakenly think that as the Owner they are experts and feel they need to be on hand to answer questions. What they don't take into consideration is that by remaining aloof, they fortify their bargaining power during negotiations.  Inevitably they talk too much, pitch the buyers, and sabottage their own sale I agree.   They forget they have hired a "Marketing Specialist" theuir Realtor® to do that for them.

Posted by Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904 (St.Cloud Homes ) almost 11 years ago

I  agree - having the seller there is a little uncomfortable.   And totally unnecessary at closing!  I never quite got that - maybe  it is more ceremonial?

Posted by Lisa S. Mullins almost 11 years ago

William - I agree that it is detrimental for the seller to be present during showings. Is it any wonder why most FSBO attempts fail?

Posted by Judy Jennings, Tap into Judy's real estate expertise & resources. (Top Agent Plus) almost 11 years ago

Even worse was going to a home where the renter decided to stay and talk the buyers right out of going past the front door. Or where renters left-but left a mess of dirty clothes everywhere.

Posted by Deanne Olivas, Your Home Matters (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago

I must be the odd man out here...As a buyers agent I always prefer that the seller or someone that knows the home (perhaps the listing agent), be present to answer any questions that may come up. And as a buyer I always want to meet the sellers and prefer negotiating directly rather than through a listing agent

Posted by Ron Parise (LocateHomes.com) almost 11 years ago


I remember taking buyers to a bungalow where the 2 elderly sellers chain smoked in the living room with the TV blasting. We were out the door in a heartbeat and never went back. That property went to foreclosure.

But some sellers won't listen, no matter what. 

Nice star, my friend!

Posted by Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ (Weichert) almost 11 years ago

William I can empathize with both sides of this argument. If the sellers are agile and healthy enough to move around then by all means they should get out. Their presence can be uncomfortable and the buyers are less likely to stay in the house.

On the other hand, if the sellers are elderly or as does happen, a couple with infants, I would discuss this with the requesting agent ahead of time so that there are no surprises, and ask the sellers to kindly stay out of the way and not impede the showing. I have also had young children in the house that just couldn't wait to talk about moving away because daddy is getting a new job, etc.

Congrats on the feature, another late night post.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 11 years ago

Yes, this is a universal phenomenon.  We must keep educating our sellers.  I once had a seller who had their home previously listed with another agent.  They said they could never get good showing feedback and wanted to "hang around" for the showing, so they would know what buyers were saying.  We agreed, I would be present for showings.  I just "hung out" in the entry (where I could hear what the buyers said) and allowed the agent to do their thing.  After the showing, I had a good feel for what the buyers thought.  Some would even say to me when they left, "thanks, but we don't think this will work for us because ......". 


Posted by Karen Pannell, Owensboro KY Real Estate -270-903-2167 Homes, Cond (Real Living / Home Realty) almost 11 years ago

I couldn't agree more, leave and let the buyers feel comfortable, people don't buy a home they aren't comfortable in!

Posted by Jason Burkholder, Associate Broker, Realtor, e-Pro, CMS (Weichert, Realtors - Welcome Home) almost 11 years ago

Ed - Would you believe that I've been sitting on this post for weeks? Started writing it back in the middle of November, and used Scribefire to post it yesterday.Writing late night posts will not be my thing anymore, with a little man clinging to me for dear life every night between 8 and 1, when he finally decides to fall asleep...

Posted by William James Walton Sr., Greater Waterbury Real Estate (WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group) almost 11 years ago

I don't mind if the sellers are in the home when I show it but I certainly do not lke them or their agent there when we do the home inspection.

Posted by Richard Lecinski (Long Realty Company) almost 11 years ago

William. It is my own personal opinion to absolutely agree with what you say. In most cases the buyer feels very uncomfortable, and uneasy about looking at everything they need to look at and ask the questions they need to ask in front of the seller for fear of offending the seller in some way.

But on the other side of the coin, there are a few buyers out there who like the seller to be there because there are questions they like to ask the seller that they get an answer on immediately instead of us, the Realtor, having to ask the seller after to relay back to the seller, because as you know, there are questions that will come up that were not covered in the first place, that were not even thought of at the time. 

Because the (not bothered about the seller being there) buyers are very few and far between, i prefer them not to be there too. It may be a good idea to mention that even though it is inconvenient for them to up sticks for that 1 hour of their day, to put themselves in the buyers position and ask themselves would they want to make the biggest purchase of their lives under these circumstances. Blah, Blah, Blah, you know what to say :-)

Posted by Anonymous almost 11 years ago

As the listing agent I prefer them to not be there.

And generally that's true with buyers since they tend to not feel comfortable walking around and exploring when the seller is there. But sometime you can learn some pretty interesting things about the home, reasons for sellings, the area, and more that is useful for the buyer. If they like the house having the seller there is good. I try to make the best of it either way.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California, Inc.) almost 11 years ago

I absolutely agree that it is so uncomfortable and difficult for the buyers to really look and appreciate it unless they connected with the sellers.  However Andrew had a great point. You can get so much info on the property as well as their situation. Sometimes having this info can really help with what the offer should be and how to negotiate it! So, I guess if it has to happen, take advantage of it.

Posted by Dianne Hicks (Realty ONE Group) almost 11 years ago

But who will point out the granite counter tops to the buyer? lol

Posted by Mark Hall, Homes for Sale Vancouver Washington (Realty One Group Cascadia) almost 11 years ago

Not just showings but open houses too!  I went to an open house once where the seller (male) was coming out of the bathroom (after using it) as I was walking into the house.  I didn't have a buyer with me at the time thank goodness but talk about uncomfortable.  The wife at this particular event was lounging in the living room looking bored.  Talk about the surest way not to sell your house.

Posted by Marian Pierre-Louis, Metrowest Boston (Fieldstone Historic Research) almost 11 years ago

Not much good to have the homeowner at the showing. Need to leave to determine real interest

have a great day


Posted by Tony Grego, 317-663-4173 #1 Trade Association for Alternative Inv (REISA - 317-663-4173) almost 11 years ago

I think you've said it all!  Good job.

Posted by Martin Kalisker, Professional Standards & Legal Assistant (Greater Boston Association of REALTORS) almost 11 years ago

William, you said it so well, much better than I did in my recent blog about the same subject.  I was amazed at the agents who fired back comments disagreeing with me.  One was flat out hateful about it.  So I'm glad to see all the support here.  Lenn added much to this conversation as usual.  She is so right.  Buyers need to feel comfortable and unrushed if they are to "fall in love with a home."  So sellers and seller's agents....go away!

Posted by Marian Goetzinger, Crystal Coast Real Estate NC (Pine Knoll Shores Realty 252-422-9000) almost 11 years ago


Try doing what the police have been doing... tell the sellers that they have to come and pick up their free prize.

Posted by Andrew Jones, LA Beach Cities Homes 310-399-3740 (Horizon Pacific Realty ) almost 11 years ago

I hate when the sellers are there.  My buyers feel uncomfortable, heck so do I. 

Posted by Trisha P Realty Group, "Holding the Keys to Your Dream Home" (Realty Executives) almost 11 years ago

Man do you write a good post!  Interesting though that not many have touched upon the listing agent being present at the showing.  (Luxury market aside). I've taken buyers to other areas of MA where all showings are accompanied.  It can be a good thing because they disclose a lot.  But having an agent present can be just as uncomfortable.  One listing agent let us have some time upstairs while he waited downstairs but we were still huddling in the master bedroom whispering to each other. 

Posted by Erin Golding (Hallmark Sotheby's International Realty Hopkinton, MA) almost 11 years ago

William - One of the points you made here resounded with me.  I think I'm more surprised when agents go along with this nonsense as part of the listing than when sellers don't know any better and simply remain in the home during showings.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) almost 11 years ago

Hi William,  If I may make a suggestion which might prove helpful to agents.  I tell the listing agent that it is fine to have the seller wiat for my arrival and then they must leave.  This makes scheduling showings much easier because you don't need such a tight timeframe !  The sellers seem to appreciate the courtesy and agents do also.  Hope your Holiday Season is the best ever !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) almost 11 years ago


The chatty Seller who wants to give the tour, with an editorial about everything in the house, how it works and how the grandchildren love the yard. UGH. It is a turn off to the potential Buyers and really wrecks the showing. One must be tactful though to get the Seller to leave and not play "agent"....they honestly think they are being helpful.

Posted by DEBORAH STONE (Balboa Real Estate San Diego, CA) almost 11 years ago

Happy Holiday Active Rain readers:

This is one of those things in real estate that can work for you or agin ya. I prefer to show a listing without the owners around, but this Tuesday night I showed my listing to a great young couple who ended up knowing the owner, her kids etc. My seller in turn knew his mother and had great friends in common. I am waiting for the offer as soon as I have more information on the well. It was a great experience for everyone. Am I just lucky?  Bill


Posted by Anonymous almost 11 years ago

Goodness, this is quite a surprise...

I'm in the middle of some business, but I'll definitely be back to address everyone's comments before the night ends.

Posted by William James Walton Sr., Greater Waterbury Real Estate (WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group) almost 11 years ago

Just had a conversation with one of my sellers about a showing this morning. Instead of leaving she found a "hidey hole" so that she could listen to what they are saying. I was in a state of shock about this. What if she was discovered by the buyers and their Realtor? Probably that house would be off the list, and to me it is invading someone else's privacy. 

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) almost 11 years ago

I have just learned of a tool that I hope helps to encourage my sellers to leave. I use Centralized Showing Service and they have a service called showing beacon. When an agent shows the home they push the button when they leave and it calls the sellers to invite them back home.  I always show my sellers the feedback "Sellers were home. It made buyers uncomfortable."

Posted by Sherry Chastain, Realtor, Selling Homes, Lake Properties,Luxury Homes,Short Sales (Hendersonville, Nashville, Old Hickory, Lebanon Tennessee) almost 11 years ago

Have a showing this Sunday and the seller will be there.  Some folks just don't get it....even after you've explained the downside!

Posted by Kirsten Lindquist, Realtor - Sonoma Wine Country (Pacific Union International) almost 11 years ago

When sellers are present it also gives the buyer the opportunity to ask questions.  Sometimes this gives the buyer an advantage they wouldn't have if the seller were gone.

Posted by Team Honeycutt (Allen Tate) almost 11 years ago

William A seller not leaving the home can be costly, I actually had a buyer walk because of that said reason.

On the other hand I have had buyers gain useful information because the seller was home.


Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) almost 11 years ago

It is definitely best if the home is empty. That's for sure!

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) almost 11 years ago

William - Congrats on such a well deserved feature!  There's nothing that makes my buyers more uncomfortable than when the seller or listing agent is at a home they want to see. Buyers definitely need to take the time and have the space when they are touring homes.

Posted by Julie Dumaine-Russell (RE/MAX Alliance) almost 11 years ago

I see two sides of this issue. I do enjoy how the sellers always (and I mean always) put themselves in a bad negotiating position by doing this. But I also like for my buyers to be able to openly discusse the property and look around the house without "that vibe".

Posted by Nathan Tutas, Your Central Florida Real Estate Expert (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) almost 11 years ago

That's good advice William. Buyer get nervous around Sellers. I, on the other hand, would love to talk to Sellers, so you better keep them away from me!

Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) almost 11 years ago


All very excellent ideas...definintely seller's need to leave so buyers can see themselves not the seller in the home!

Posted by Lori Churchill Cofer, Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA (Beasley Realty) almost 11 years ago

I haven't ran into this much, but I can surely see where it might pose a problem. This was a great post! Congrats on the feature!

Posted by Danielle Pierce, ADPR (Platinum Realty and Preservation) almost 11 years ago

A Seller present during the showing always hurts the sale.

Posted by Scott Taylor, REALTOR (Realty Center - Orlando - Ocoee) almost 11 years ago

I have to tell my buyer's to 'slow down' and 'take your time' when a seller is present.  I don't think I've ever had a buyer make an offer on a home that a seller was present....hmmm...yep, never!

Posted by Paul C. Wilkinson, GRI, REALTOR -Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula - (951) (CENTURY 21 Preferred) almost 11 years ago

Very well put. On the surface it may not seem like the seller being there would cause any problem but the buyers have a hard enough time imagining it being their own home with the seller's belongings there. The seller physically being there will almost always kill the deal.

Posted by Mike Woods (M.S.WOODS REAL ESTATE, LLC) almost 11 years ago

The buyers are generally uncomfortable when the sellers are open and spend much less time in a home wihch gives them less opportunity to fall in love with it

The benefit, as has mentioned, is that it may give the opportunity to learn more about the seller's motivation.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) almost 11 years ago

Goodness, how time flies when one is busy ....

I will have to do this more often, follow up with everyone who commented by dropping by your blogs and commenting there. I think that makes for better interaction, no?

Better late than never, though...and I am quite late with this...so forgive me, if you will...

Posted by William James Walton Sr., Greater Waterbury Real Estate (WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group) over 10 years ago

I agree that it can be quite uncomfortable, but it may actually give the buyer some info he might not get otherwise.

Posted by Margo Currie (Exit 1 Stop Realty) over 9 years ago

William, this is a wonderful post! Well written and informative. Well worth a re-blog.

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) over 9 years ago

William, too true,  Have the seller wait around and usually the buyer can't get out of the house fast enough.  Great post.

Posted by Suzanne Taylor, Home Sales In Corpus Christi, TX (Ultima Real Estate - Corpus Christi) over 9 years ago

It depends on the situation.  The first comment is correct in that they can often divulge information their agent probably wouldn't.  Then there's the "sorry I'm here, I'm just really sick and..." TMI seller that makes you want to leave and never come back

Posted by Danny Dietl, Buy, Sell, Lease - iMetroProperty.com (www.dannyrealestate.com) over 9 years ago

William, earlier today I posted a blog where the owner circumvented me by staying home. Agents beware!

Posted by Billi Evans (Murney Associates) over 9 years ago

William - she turned down your full price offer and then decided to not sell her home?  Hmmmmm.  There are lots of reasons for the seller to not be present. Great post.

Posted by Tni LeBlanc, Realtor®, J.D., Tenacious Tni (805) 878-9879 (Mint Properties, Lic. #01871795) over 9 years ago

Last week there was a question on Trulia from a homeowner who was very frustrated because the showing agents didn't do a touring monologue as depicted on HDTV, so he took it upon himself to do the tour.

He was angry that he had many showings, at which he was present, but no offers.  In his opinion, the agents were not doing their job, they just let the buyers walk around the house without the agent saying a word.  Obviously, his anxiety rubbed off on the buyers.

I've had sellers who wouldn't leave, renters who left a mess, and a client who forgot to tell me about the boa constrictor in the basement bedroom (it was in a glass cage).

One time, my seller met the buyer at closing and HATED her.  The seller didn't want to close because she was upset about imposing 'that woman,' on her neighbors. I had to remind her that she was moving on with her life, and we would have a couple hearty drinks AFTER the closing.

Posted by Mary Jo Quay, I Move You Home (EXP Realty ) over 9 years ago

William, can't be said enough.  Seller does not need to be there.  For some reason, it sabotages any deal.  One of my sellers rejected a very good offer because he didn't like the looks of the buyer.  I asked him why, what was wrong?  He said he looked "shifty" to him.  Because of that he wouldn't accept the purchase offer.  I have no idea if that buyer was shifty or not, but I agree with seller's absence is appreciated.  Love that title. 

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 9 years ago

I showed a house today where the seller followed us everywhere, commenting in each room "Well, if you buy it today, I'll work out a good deal for you on these drapes"  "You know, this dishwasher is just 6 years old".  Those comments continued through to the garage where he said he was willing to haggle on the lawnmower.  Sellers - go for a ride while we're there.

Posted by Susan McLaughlin, Monmouth County Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty - East Monmouth) over 9 years ago

I listed a seller who felt she needed to be at the house when the buyers came so she could "explain things and answer questions...." Arrggghhh!!

Posted by Pam Sitterly, CRS Magnolia-Tomball Texas (RE/MAX VINTAGE) over 9 years ago

I think we all encounter this at some point.  If you really want to sell a home-let us do what we get paid to do. 

Posted by Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904 (St.Cloud Homes ) over 9 years ago



I'm right there with you.

It's a great negotiating advantage for the buyer when the seller is there.


Posted by Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty, Homes for Sale Mount Dora Realtor (Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty) over 9 years ago

Couldn't agree more. If you are representing the Seller, get them out! If they choose to stay it will cost them one way or another in the end.

It can be advantageous for the Buyer's agent to "interrogate" the Seller, but the Buyers are very uncomfortable and can't wait to leave.

Posted by Bob Pisa, Broker Associate, Commitment, Service, Satisfaction... (Downing-Frye Realty, Inc. Naples, FL) over 9 years ago

This is a very frustrating problem and some sellers seem to be very set in their ways, so I don't always blame the listing agent. The are doing themselves a huge disservice by not leaving the home during showings and if they lose out on a buyer because of it, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Posted by Dan and Amy Schuman, Luxury Home Specialists (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 9 years ago

I agree wholeheartedly!! Having the seller home makes everything uncomfortable. The buyers are less willing to check out the nooks and crannies, and if the sellers are talkers....it's tough to get out gracefully!!! Thanks for the post.

Posted by Scott LaMantia, GRI (McColly Real Estate) over 9 years ago

There are times where it could actually help, in my opinion, but as a general rule, I agree that Sellers should not be present during a showing.

Posted by Tre Pryor, Realtor, e-PRO - Louisville Kentucky (REMAX Champions) over 9 years ago

I've had it actually work both ways.  I just wrote a contract BECAUSE the seller was there, told a lot about the house, and was very interesting herself!  Buyers fell in love with her.  The REALTOR usually sets the mood!!  If you can't help the situation, use it to your advantage!

Posted by SHEILA HINSON over 9 years ago

I tell all my sellers to visualize that as they speak to potential buyers there are $100 bills flowing out of their mouths. This seems to get the point across.

Posted by Anonymous over 9 years ago

I know what you are saying....but I also appreciate it when sellers allow us to come in while they are doing other things. Better to see the home than be turned away. Around here...a nice home that's well-priced on a Saturday could get 10 showings, it's tough to keep kids out all weekend, so I'd rather they stay and let us look.....

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 9 years ago


So true. Sellers need to be absent for showings. I ran into one yesterday while out showing. He and the two large dogs made it a short showing...


Posted by Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR, ACRE, Plano TX Ambassador (RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs) over 9 years ago

Andrew - I thought our COE prohibited us from communicating with another agent's client?  I agree with what you say, but it's always my client who initiates the conversation with the seller and asks those questions.

William - I had a seller come home in the middle of the inspection on a home in a foul mood and started arguing with the inspector that he didn't know what he was doing because there was nothing wrong with his house.  My client decided then and there not to buy the house.  Home buying is such an emotional decision for many clients.  It's not a fully rational process, so the atmosphere that is created for the showings is very important - put the lights on, soft music, declutter the home, and LEAVE, if you want to sell your home at the best price you can and in the shortest period of time.  Excellent advice!

Posted by Gail Robinson, CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT (William Raveis Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Most homes I've shown that had the seller insist they be there, my buyers did not buy.  It seems my buyers couldn't get out of the house quick enough and didn't feel as though they could see all of the house and what it had to offer.  Especially when the sellers follow room-to-room and talk the entire time.  The sellers need to realize they are making a big mistake by being there.

Posted by Susan Mays (United Brokers Group) over 9 years ago

William: When we walk in with our clients and the homeowners or tenants are present the showing is usually a foot race for the clients. It is so important to not have them present.

Posted by Surprise Arizona Realtor Jim Braun Sun City Grand Active Adult Communities, Surprise AZ real estate Phoenix West Valley (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Jim Braun Sun City Grand Az ) over 9 years ago

I completely agree...Buyers are not comfortable looking into a sellers stove, under the sink or even in closets when sellers are around.  I make sure my sellers understand this simple principle with they list with me.  Most of the time, they concur. :)  Great post.  DJ

Posted by Debbie Jean (DJ) Artrip (Debbie Jean (DJ) Artrip, Cardinal Real Estate, Northern Mich) over 9 years ago

I agree with William, the seller should NOT be present for the first showing.  However, I feel that if the buyer wants a second look at the house, and they are really interested in it, perhaps we could ask the seller to be present for any questions they may have when they come back to look again.   That way they get to feel at ease about the house and the seller can explain certain things about the house to them.  As for the home inspection, the seller should NOT be present, it's just impossible for them to just sit there without commenting or following the inspector around.  They will see the report, and will have a chance to comment at that time.    Sellers should remember that their house is a "PRODUCT on the shelf" and they need to allow qualified buyers to view it for as long as they need to.

Posted by Corinne Whitehead, Realtor Jersey Shore Homes for Sale (RE/MAX At Barnegat Bay) over 9 years ago

This is definitely near the top of my list of pet peeves when showing my buyers a home!  I have had a buyer actually turn away from a showing because it was clear the seller was still in the house andI cannot say I blame my buyer all that much!  I always request a "private" showing with the agent as well as when I call the PTS number hoping to provide the most comfortable showing experience for my buyers.  Great post, thanks! 

Posted by Cindy Unzeitig, Your South Sound Realtor (Better Properties) over 9 years ago

The #1 reason sellers must not be present is expressed in Andrew's (Post #1) comment. Any good Buyer's agent will try to befriend the Seller and get as much info as possible on Seller. Then negotiate the price & terms in the best interest of the Buyer.  There are Sellers, who in spite of agent's counseling, feel compelled to lead a tour of the home. If worked right, this Seller is a gift to the Buyer & agent.

Posted by Ranji Singh (Century 21 Heritage Group Ltd.) over 9 years ago

Ditto!  Yesterday I had a client that had happened into an open house the day before.  The owner of the home was there - said the out of town listing agent could not make it.  My client came away with way too much information.  This seller just assured herself that, if they do make an offer, it will be very low.  It is unbelievable what information she provided because the potential buyer just asked. 

Posted by Barbara Hensley, Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas (RE/MAX Properties) over 9 years ago

I cannot agree with you more.  I just took a higher end priced listing.  The wife works out fo the house and sadi would it be a big deal if I was here during the showings.  I can lock myslef in my office and they can have free reign of the rest fo the house.  I said NO WAY.....  I never had a buyer feel comfortable walking through a house that the seller was there.

  I have had the seller leave as we came through a house.  That I was okay with.  but never  never never stay.  I have seen to many buyers walk away form a house becasue of that.


Posted by Dave diCecco, Dave Sells Charlotte (Helen Adams Realty) over 9 years ago

You are so right - the sellers can kill any chances of selling their home if they stay during showings.  I once had a lady follow me and my buyers everywhere and the buyers couldn't get out of the house quick enough.

Posted by Terry McCarley, REALTOR, SRES, CDPE - Cape Coral, FL (REMAX Trend - Cape Coral FL) over 9 years ago

Buyers need to feel comfortable when looking at their future home.  If the sellers are present, they will be on edge and not be able to speak freely.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 9 years ago

sellers need to learn it...anything they say can and will be used against them to lighten their wallet.  i think  the agents learn this lesson first...the longer the buyers stay for the showing the more likely they are to offer.  i suspect it's even more so now that everyone seems busier.

years ago i had some tenants torpedo a sale.  for the longest time i couldn't figure out why  the buyers were seeing the place but no offers.   i finally asked a friend to make an appointment to show it and got a wake up call from her that  the tenants had slammed the place and at  the same time they mentioned how much  they liked living there.  a 30 day notice cured that problem.  off topic i know but it makes the point that  the buyers agent and the buyers should be the only ones talking during a showing.

open  the door, greet them and go for a walk.  let them know they are welcome to stay as long as they like and that their agent can get with yours for any followup.  let the buyers agent do  their thing!



Posted by Michael Ford, California+Hawaii+Oregon over 9 years ago

Don't get me started on this one.  Last week, my client, (female) and I (female) were met at the door of a large home by an adult male who told us he would be playing video games upstairs.  He did not introduce himself and melted away.  We never went upstairs.  Duh!!   My client was very uncomfortable.  If trapped and assaulted in an upstairs room, we think we could have taken him out but decided the house was not worth the risk.   No matter what the reason, a Seller remaining on the premises during showings or inspections, is almost always a negative.  I've also seen that rare circumstance where buyer and seller connect and it proves fruitful.  However, in this market, a 99% negative is to be avoided.    By the way, I love #77 and will use that one.  After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! 

Posted by Beverly Femia, Broker Realtor Stager - Greater Wilmington, NC Are (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) over 9 years ago

My husband is right now doing a home inspection and he called me to confirm the address of the house. Why was he unsure? Because there was a moving van and movers there at the time scheduled for the inspection - that won't be chaotic! Don't know yet if they're renters who don't care, sellers who figure it's in the bag, ... But I'm willing to bet that the buyer's agent didn't know the movers would be there.

Norah Kendall

Posted by Doug Kendall (Doug Kendall Property Services Inc.) over 9 years ago

William--Ditto "   "  Even the tiniest comment by a seller can nix a deal.  Congratulations on this post's inclusion on the AR's newsletter.

Posted by Mary Yonkers, Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor (Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate) over 9 years ago
Hi William, Nicely crafted post. Not sure why some sellers/agents don't seem to get it. I've found that, as a courtesy to the seller, I suggest to the listing agent that it is ok for the seller to stay in the listing until I arrive - then they need to leave. This system seems to work well for all concerned and helps you and I in scheduling.
Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 9 years ago

You said it well -- and you are absolutely right most of the time! Having said that, here's an exception, mostly for second showings: unique country properties with acreage, vacant land, etc. The seller often knows information and detail about the property that is not obvious. Having the seller "walk" the property with buyer and buyer's agent can be informative and useful.

Of course, in the case of the elderly/infirm seller, especially in this harsh winter weather, sometimes you have to make an exception based on safety. Then you just hope they've been coached well!

Posted by Jan Stevens (Coldwell Banker Pittsburgh) over 9 years ago

It happens all the time to me unfortunately. Its akward. I have had one there during home inspection and became confrontational during the appointment (this was a home we were getting in a short sale).


Posted by Rachel Purser, SFR e-certified (Prudential American Realty Center - Pickerington, Ohio) over 9 years ago

I think that it can work both ways.  If a seller is "chatty" they can give away their motivations and negotiating position, which will only HELP you as the buyers' agent.  However, if the seller is suspicious or makes the buyer uncomfortable, they will rush through the house and decide to cross it off the list.  I think that leaving all the lights on and being absent is the best way to stage the house for a potential buyer!  Great post.

Posted by Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group) over 9 years ago

William, I ageed with you it's so much better to sell the home without the sellers presence. At one of my Open house, I had a seller just sat there  during the open house and helped herself to all the snacks, I got for the visitors. Funny.

Posted by Donna Paul, Long Island Home Specialist,All About Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty Gold Coast) over 9 years ago

Ron (#20) made a good point. I've had several sales which I believe came together BECAUSE the listing Agent was there. What really made it work with one in particular: The other Agent met us at the door, introduced herself, showed us around briefly, and then said she needed to return some phone calls, and went outside, completely out of hearing distance. She said she'd be available, told us to take our time. And, when we finished looking, we had some specific questions, and she was readily available. My buyers had the opportunity to ask her a few questions which I believe helped in the negotiations...

Sellers there initially? Never.

Buyers and sellers meeting later in the process?  Perhaps. That really depends on the players,  the listing and selling Agent included.

Posted by Michele Norris, ((( Buy or Sell, Call Michele ))) Lake Tahoe NV (Crystal Realty - Incline Village Nevada ) over 9 years ago

Great Post Andrew.

Sellers love trying to be the expert, they love trying to control the situation, and they really love costing themselves thousands!

Posted by Anonymous over 9 years ago

I agree with the author.  Even worse- when the seller has a pet-usually a dog- that jumps on people.


I had a potential (cash, as is, no inspectiosn or any other contingency) for a house that was virtually falling down, owner delinquent in the mortgage, etc.  The owner not only was there, he let his dogs (  good sized ones) run loose.  They atatcked the buyer-who sprayed them-but they tore his suit  jacket-the owner was upset- the buyer

"hurt his little pets"- listing agent was upset but someone dug into the pcokets to pay for the jacket- and the seller and his pets were soon out on the street-rather then walking with a few $$$$.


I, also have lost sales because of the sellers being there.  I also try NOT to show homes where listing agent must accompany.  And try not o take those type of listings.  And do try (not always successful) to tell my seller's-if they are home, sit and read a book; or go for a walk, or whatever.


As for information about the motivation, I usually find the mailman a great source of knowledge; soemtimes a talkative noisy neighbor.


My 5 cents

Posted by Joel over 9 years ago

I totally agree. The worst is when the seller is starting to "sell" his home, i.e. conduct the showing and engaging the buyers. They can't wait to get out of there! I noticed that the seller's presence is happening more when seller's relative lists the house. Are they afraid to tell the seller what to do? Last summerr I went to an open house where the entire family was present, parents in the living room and a kid or two in their bedrooms. Listing agent is a relative. The house is still on market....

Posted by Sylvia Jonathan over 9 years ago

The sellers should always try to be absent, or at least otherwise occupied. Sitting by the pool with a drink is a good place for them, working in the garage workshop is also good. Cleaning the kitchen, not so good.

And agree with the comments about the animals. If Fido is gonna bark his head off the whole time we are here, take him with you.

Posted by Liane Thomas -Top Listing Agent, Bringing you Home! (Professional Realty Services® International ) over 9 years ago

I agree - the buyers have a hard time visualizing themselves in a house if the sellers are present. How can you say how awful the wallpaper is or which walls you would knock down when you're afraid of hurting someone's feelings.

Posted by Patric Santo Pietro (RE/MAX First Realty) over 9 years ago

I would blame the listing agent for not educating their clients on the importance of not being present during a showing..  Agents need to tell all clients who are selling a home to leave while the house is being shown. How would the sellers feel if looking at a home and the owner is standing over their shoulders.  A showing is business deal not a social affair.  In the pasted I have had owners present while showing a home and the potential buyers are not able to view the home.

Posted by Allen Deaver, Allen Deaver (Sky Realty) over 9 years ago

great post...obviously a topic that hits home for many agents.

Posted by Tara Stone, NJ Estates and Stables (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

I called a FSBO the other day and his MAIN COMPLAINT for firing the last realtor is he (the seller) was not allowed to be present at all showings!! I talked with him a bit and he seemed to soften up, but it shows he (and other stubborn sellers) aren't serious about doing all that is necessary to sell their product. Great post!

Posted by Jay O'Brien, Kansas City Real Estate (RE/MAX Revolution) over 9 years ago

Hi  William   

I think you are right on on this one. Sellers should give buyers agents space to try sell there e home..........Brad

Posted by Brad Hornshaw, Realtor, Listing Agent, Buyers Agent, Investments (Brad Hornshaw Realtor Lynnwood, Bothell, Everett) over 9 years ago

Here is one reason why sellers like to stay in their home while buyers peruse.  A relative of mine had her previous home up for sale  and was gone during the showing.  She came home and found that her daughters underwear drawer was left open and all messed up and some underwear was missing.  It freaked her out.  The house did sell, but now she is trying to sell again and is losing her home to foreclosure or short sale whichever comes first.  Her Realtor isn't addressing her fear, he's just trying to plow thru it and get the keys to show the property........and his tactics aren't working. 

Posted by Kevin Walton over 9 years ago

It depends on the seller... some just do not want to leave while other do not want to be there no matter what. it is up to the listing agent to educate the seller of the pros and cons

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) over 9 years ago

Another option would be for the seller to request the listing agent to be there when the home is shown.  Security issues may have something to do with the seller being uneasy with unattended people in their home.  Good post.

Posted by Robert Courtney, Century 21 All Islands, RA, CDPE, MCRE, CIAS over 9 years ago

The seller should not be around when the house is being shown to the prospective buyers, but if they have to be home they should not be following the buyers or try to sell the house themselves to the buyers. 

Posted by Oscar Bautista (Coldwell Banker Infiniti Group) over 9 years ago

When I list a property I ask my sellers at that time to agree not to be there for showings. I explain the logical reasons for this and usually have no problems with boundaries set upfront. I explain that open houses as well as showings are so the buyers can see themselves living there and that along with the staging to remove the personal items such as photos... they are the most personal item in the house and should remove themselves as well. Usually they laugh at that line but it makes the point.

Out with buyers, a seller actually sat in his car on a snowy day running and reving the motor while we went through the property. If he had only gone around the block and left prior to our arrival it would have changed my clients opinion of the property. My buyers were off put by feeling hurried and wondering if he really wanted to sell it.

Posted by Karen Paris, Because Your Move Matters and Karen Cares (Keller Williams Capital Properties Fairfax) over 9 years ago

Great post, William!! I insist on my sellers not being there for showings, and do my best when selling my own home not to be there either. I only stay when the buyers agent really wants me to, after sending my husband and my dogs away!

I had a listing last year that the sellers insisted on me being there for all the showings. This was an expensive house, a hard sell, and the selling point of the neighborhood was the park like setting and the peace and quiet. This was a second showing. The wife had seen it and was bringing her husband. They were considering purchasing additional lots as well. The sellers left, as instructed. The potential buyers showed up, viewed the inside, then the husband and I took a walk around the neighborhood so I could show him the lot lines for the properties. Right then, I figured out where my seller had gone. He'd parked his truck on a lower lot and proceeded doing his yard work....with the LOUDEST equipment he owned. This went on the entire time. Here I am, as embarassed as could be, trying to explain how quiet it USUALLY is. Needless to say, I didn't get an offer.

Posted by Carina Woolrich, Advantage Chatuge Realty (Advantage Chatuge Realty) over 9 years ago

Too true - I can understand an elderly seller being present but it still un-nerves buyers looking.

Posted by Joyce Herr, Lancaster County & Beyond (Prudential Lancaster Real Estate) over 9 years ago

It's interesting to see the varied points of view on this. In reading all the pros and cons, I still agree with you. It's in the sellers' best interests to remove themselves.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 9 years ago

I so agree with you!  The biggest problem is having the Seller's Agent at the home.  Many insist on showing every room in the home, even for vacant properties!  Then, there is the Seller's Agent who lurks around the home, listening to our conversations.  I could go on....

Posted by Anonymous over 9 years ago

I so agree with you!  The biggest problem is having the Seller's Agent at the home.  Many insist on showing every room in the home, even for vacant properties!  Then, there is the Seller's Agent who lurks around the home, listening to our conversations.  I could go on....

Posted by Pat & Steve Pribisko (Keller Williams Greater Cleveland West) over 9 years ago

I agree.  Buyer's do feel uncomfortable because I think it makes them feel like they are intruding.

Posted by Larkin (Hathaway) Correia, REALTOR Salesperson, ABR, SRS, GRI, AHWD (Keller Williams Honolulu) over 9 years ago

I haven't read all the comments so this has probably already been stated. As a listing agent, I always advise sellers to leave. I warn that they may something that would hurt us during negotiations. As a buyer's agent, I don't care if a seller is present. I drill the heck out of them to get all the information I can. I did have a situation last year, where a seller was present. And yes I drilled her. My client, however, didn't like the way she followed us around the house. We scheduled a second showing and requested she not be present. She was pretty put out but her agent came and picked her up to get her out of the house. Upon closer examination my buyers opted not to buy the house.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 9 years ago

William- did you really post this originally in 2009?

It cannot be said enough, and it is a timeless issue.  The seller should never be home during a buyer's viewing.  Brilliant post!

Posted by Jennifer Prestwich, Madison & Co Properties (Henderson, Thornton, Broomfield and Westminster) over 9 years ago
It is better for the seller to be away for the showings. But I also agree with Ron # 20 and Michele #101. I have been the listing agent who has to be present for showings, and I try to welcome the buyers and the agent, and help them be comfortable. I also try to allow the agent and buyer to have time alone.
Posted by Karen Steed over 9 years ago

Sellers are people too and sometimes just can't leave. In this case it was an elderly lady. Maybe she needed help leaving her home and couldn't find any. However I  don't see any reason for you to be suspicious just because she was there. As to changing her mind - well sometimes sellers do though not necessarily because they were there at the showing

Posted by Maya Swamy, Ph.D. Long Beach, CA - fundsavailable.com (Funds Available) over 9 years ago

Buyers want some privacy so they can spend their time seeing the home and being honest about their thoughts instead of polite to a home seller.

Posted by Dennis Neal, Your Home Sold in 45 Days or We Se (RE/MAX, Big Bear) over 9 years ago

Good Post Bill, We all try our best to accommodate every ones schedule. Generally it's best the sellers are not present. Potential Buyers are rarely candid nor comfortable asking questions when the owner is in earshot. However I've had sellers able to conduct White House Tour quality showings which all buyers find charming.


Posted by R Grodin over 9 years ago


I couldn't agree more...i wrote this blog post about it...someone reblogged it and ended up featured...guess we all feel the same pain when sellers linger....


I actually insist on this and so far (15 years) my sellers all get it and leave...

Best in 2011!!!


Posted by Annie Holdreith (Daniel Gale Sotheby's International/Manhasset, New York) over 9 years ago

I think perhaps this issue lies with the selling agent. If the seller was confidant in the ability of the selling agent, perhaps they would not feel that they needed to be in attendance to help sell the home. What a great post and it has led to some great comments!

Posted by Hilary Young, Team Assistant - The Nines Team in Lodi (The Nines Team Realty) over 9 years ago

Great post. I agree with those three things that happen. Basically the more people that are their the more the client will be persuaded or coerced by what is going on around them with those other people. Also people usually feel way more comfortable when they know the individuals around them and will make stronger decisions instead of wavering ones.

Posted by Patrick Henry, PMZ (PMZ) over 9 years ago

Hi William,

What's interesting is that sometimes the LA (listing agent) needs to be there to really give a proper tour. I'm talking about estate type properties w/peculiar features that the buyer's agent and/or buyer might not know about, features that the LA had to study in order to memorize and feel very comfortable showing them off.

There are a LOT of properties that just don't have lock boxes and you need to make an appointment w/LA in order to show them. Actually it's quite normal.

However, if there is a lock box and the property is pretty straight forward, then yes, the sellers along with the LA should make it a point to not be there.

Thanks for posting.

Posted by Dimitri Matsis-REALTOR® (818) 599-6083 (Troop Real Estate Inc. Westlake Village CA) over 9 years ago


Yep, it's pretty annoying when the seller is home and it really does make the buyer uncomfortable.  I have had sellers follow us through the home, which the buyers found offensive.  Thanks for posting!

Posted by Monica Foster, Broker, CRS, ABR, SRS, CHMS, CNE, CNHS (Monica Foster Team of eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

It just makes the buyers rush through! It is hard fr the buyers to imagine their life in their new house while the family is just sitting around.

Posted by EliSabeth McDermot over 9 years ago

It just makes the buyers rush through! It is hard fr the buyers to imagine their life in their new house while the family is just sitting around.

Posted by EliSabeth McDermot over 9 years ago

It just makes the buyers rush through! It is hard fr the buyers to imagine their life in their new house while the family is just sitting around.

Posted by EliSabeth McDermot over 9 years ago

William - This is a great post and you have definitely hit a nerve! Look at all these comments! By the way, I would rather sellers leave while the house is being sold. Some of them just can't get past people being in their house while they aren't there.
Garrigus Real Estate

Posted by Todd & Devona Garrigus, Broker / REALTORS® (Garrigus Real Estate) over 9 years ago

This is a really good post and worthy of a reblog.  It would get a suggest if you were not here already.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 9 years ago

William -- This JUST happened to me this past weekend.  Although the seller was very pleasant, having him there made my buyer uncomfortable and looking for the nearest exit!  It does not happen too often, but when it does, it has never worked out well.

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Very good post, I liked it a lot. I run into this when I inspect homes as well.

Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 9 years ago

I agree with Lisa at #9 here that sellers attending a buyer showing, being talkative about their situation and reason for departing probably would help buyers with tipping points at contract and repair negotiations.

Posted by Harrison K. Long, REALTOR , GRI, Broker associate, Attorney (HomeSmart, Evergreen Realty) over 9 years ago

Here, here!  I second that emotion!  I've even had a buyer follow my buyers and I around, giving their "guided" tour of the home.  I asked him to excuse himself so we could view on our own, and he then just followed us around quietly.  Good grief Charlie Brown!  My clients were annoyed to say the least, so they just passed on the home eventhough they kinda liked it.

Posted by Randy Elliott, REALTOR : Lodi / Stockton, CA (RE/MAX Gold) over 9 years ago

Especially prefer sellers do their drinking elsewhere.  Just sayin'...   Can really spoil a showing.

Posted by Lynn Afton, REALTOR® Near Big Rapids, MI, Mecosta County (Greenridge Realty Oakmont) over 9 years ago

 Good point, William.   I once had a Seller who insisted upon being present when I showed his house to prospective buyers.   After literally spending over an hour with the Seller explaining why that would be a mistake and begging and pleading with him to be absent, he finally agreed to leave the premises for the Buyer tour.   I was especially pleased with that decision because the Seller's house was not neat, needed some cleaning and some airing out.   Although I had suggested to the Seller that these things needed to be taken care of so that the property would show well and create a better opportunity to sell, the Seller was offended and I lost that argument after several separate attempts to persuade him otherwise.  So I was especially pleased when he promised to leave the home at least an hour before the Buyer's appointment.

So imagine my surprise when I showed up, mop and cleaning supplies in hand, to find the Seller not only at home but cooking breakfast !   The Seller said he was sick (Not !) and didn't feel up to leaving the premises.   I did get him to confine himself to the Recreation room while I sneaked upstairs and boiled the cinnamon sticks I bought with me to minimize the scent of sausage and bacon.  But, the Buyers were not impressed and the Seller was angry at ME for not bringing him a contract !

What is one to do ?



Posted by Betsy "Diann" Kirby (ERA Queen City Realty) over 9 years ago

So true, so true! It is better for both the buyer and the seller if the seller is not home. Candid conversations and openness about what they think can't happen with the seller there.

Posted by Traci Ferguson, Realtor, EcoBroker, LEED AP (San Luis Obispo Realtor & ecoBroker with Patterson Realty) over 9 years ago

William,  Very very good post.  I know when I am out with buyers if there is a homeowner there, or AROUND, they feel rushed and usually want to get in and out right away.  Sellers should give the buyers some room on showing day!  Best to you in 2011!

Posted by Joan Valverde, GRI,CDPE,CNE,MRP,SRES Colo Sprgs, Blk Forest, Monu (HomeSmart Realty) over 9 years ago

You have said a mouthful! Just get out sellers and maybe you can sell your house in the process! There is no better advice we can give.

Posted by Laura J. Lycans, Your Dream + My Passion = Success!! (Sandhills Choice Realty, LLC) over 9 years ago

  We had a seller once who home schooled and could just never seem to be able to arrange to leave....and would tell  us that the buyers were not dressed well enough, didn't drive an expensive enough car....bla, bla, bla as she screened....and screamed....

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 9 years ago

I recently sold my own home and we have 4 adults, 1 grandchild, 2 dogs & 2 hamsters that left the house for showings.  To make it easy, we had the leashes on & the hamster cages out 10 minutes before the showing was scheduled and we were ready to go out the back door as soon as the buyers came.  That way we weren't out for longer than necessary and we usually stayed close-by and sometimes just took a walk in nice weather (the dogs loved that part). 

So many sellers have turned buyers off over the years that I just don't understand why they insist on staying for showings.  I guess they figure they know their home better than anyone but they haven't been convinced that buyers make their decision very quickly and don't need a guided tour by an emotionally charged, proud seller.

Posted by Judy Orr, SW & Near West Chicago suburbs (HomeSmart Realty Group) over 9 years ago

Great Reminder William!

Posted by Paul Armstrong, Serving Orange County & The Long Beach Area (Realty Network) over 9 years ago

I think having the sellers not being present is the responsibility of the listing agent.  I make it a point to set this particular expectation of all my sellers from the very beginning.  Perhaps if listing agents did a better job explaining the harm they cause we would see few sellers at our showings.  Great post.  Thanks.

Posted by Bob Zorechak - ABR, GRI, e-PRO, Sells Homes in Morris/Somerset/Hunterdon Cos., NJ (Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan) over 9 years ago
I agree 100%...I dread the words "the seller will be there but they wont bother you" when in fact it does bother me as the agent and for the buyer. The last one i had like this, It was just suppose to be the older lady but in fact it was her and her daughter when we got there. They were on our heels so much we couldnt even turn around.
Posted by Leslie R. Willis (RON NEFF REAL LIVING) over 9 years ago

One of my buyers kind of liked the gal in the bikini out on the deck sunning herself one beautiful Saturday afternoon.  Otherwise, yes, probably a turn off.  I also have had buyers refuse to go into the home once they find out the owners are there.  That put me in an incredibly awkward position to have to tell the sellers that the buyer wasn't interested in looking while they were there.

Posted by Derrick Guevremont, Rochester MN Homes for Sale (Counselor Realty of Rochester) over 9 years ago


We always stress how they should NOT be present and 99% of the time they get the message, but there is always one that will stay. It never ends well...


Posted by Brent & Deb Wells, Prosper TX (LivingWell Properties) over 9 years ago


You are so right in everything you say here!  I worked an open house for a fellow agent in our office several years ago and the sellers not only stayed for the whole open house but followed everyone who came around pointing out all the things about his house.  It was horrible.  Needless to say, I never offered to hold it open again and it took months and months and a couple more listing agents to get it sold! 

Posted by DeeDee Riley, Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas (Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA) over 9 years ago

Ok, now that I have this many comments, I'll definitely have my days full trying to reciprocate on your blogs. To all who have commented, I want to say thanks for the support and encouragement. It is greatly appreciated.

Now, off I go to reciprocate...

Posted by William James Walton Sr., Greater Waterbury Real Estate (WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group) over 9 years ago

Had this conversation with a seller not too long ago.  He announced one day that "he was the only one who could show the house properly" and that "he intended to be present for each showing".  Gave him a long list why this wasn't a good idea but "he knew best". 

I'm sure you aren't shocked to hear that the house never sold and it came off the market.

Posted by Catherine Marrone, West Newbury MA real estate, Essex County (Integrity Residential Brokerage LLC) over 9 years ago