11 Mortifying Home Buyer Behaviors That Make Real Estate Agents Cringe

11 Mortifying Home Buyer Behaviors That Make Real Estate Agents Cringe 956x538 blog


  1. You broke something in a seller’s home, Part 1
  2. You broke something in a seller’s home, Part 2
  3. You were late … for the umpteenth time
  4. You ripped up the carpets to see what was underneath
  5. You brought your dog, and it went bananas
  6. You lowballed, badly
  7. You cheaped out on the earnest money deposit
  8. You pulled a 180 during negotiations
  9. You asked way too many questions
  10. You procrastinated on making a decision
  11. And finally, you used the potty

[Edited transcript]

1. You broke something in a seller’s home, Part 1

Janice:             This article just makes me laugh. It’s talking about what not to do when you’re buying a home, which at first when I read this I went, “Wow, they really had to write this down?” Then I thought, “Well, this all must have happened if they had to write this down.” Number one, You Broke Something in the Seller’s Home Part One. They give the example of just because you play the air guitar doesn’t mean you’re supposed to pick up the client’s Les Paul and showcase your version of a song. If you drop the guitar, it’s going to cost you a lot of money. The only thing I could think of is, don’t touch.

Anthony:            What’s a Les Paul? Is that like an expensive guitar?

Janice:             Oh yeah. It’s like the best of the best guitar, and it is not cheap.

Anthony:            And they broke it? That’s hilarious.

Janice:             Right. Great, hilarious for this story, but I’m sure it wasn’t very funny for the clients on both sides. I think of like pretend you’re a toddler, do not touch. Do not touch.

Anthony:            All right, I’m sorry, devil’s advocate. Why are they leaving it out, the sellers?

Janice:             Okay, that’s a good point.

Anthony:            I mean, just if it’s that expensive. If it’s like a Stradivarius Violin, why would you leave it out during an open house?

Janice:             All right, that’s a good point. Either way, don’t touch it.

Anthony:            Agree, agree.

2. You broke something in a seller’s home, Part 2

Janice:             This one wasn’t I guess as funny. They talk about a client trying to test the shower pressure during a showing. So, they ended up breaking off the faucet handle. The water wouldn’t turn off, and they flooded the bathroom. They said, “Just wait for the inspector to look at that kind of thing.” So, not funny. I get things happen. How do you feel about that, like turning on the faucet or flushing toilets when you’re in an open house?

Anthony:            It feels like a very innocent mistake. I mean, any … I guess the broker’s correct. I mean, that’s something for the inspector to do. I mean, you don’t want to … I don’t know how I feel about it. What are you personal thoughts on that, Janice?

Janice:             At first, the number one where it says, “Don’t pick up the Les Paul,” I thought, “Well, duh. You don’t touch that.” The second one I’m like, “Well, I don’t know that they were doing it maliciously. They just wanted to make sure the shower worked.” I guess it goes back to just don’t touch anything, just look around.

Anthony:            A big thing in Manhattan is looking in closets, because closet space is like gold in Manhattan. So, if it’s one of those fancy sliding doors or accordion doors, a problem might happen. Something might jiggle or break. So, I can see that happening, I mean, not so much faucets, but I’m kind of sympathetic to this home buyer.

3. You were late … for the umpteenth time

Janice:             This is just maybe my own personal pet peeve, but I grew up where if you’re on time, you’re late. You should always be a few minutes early.

Anthony:            Janice, do you know who Tom Coughlin is?

Janice:             I probably should.

Anthony:            He was the former head coach of the New York Giants, an American football team. Yes, he had something called Coughlin Time where if a meeting was at three o’clock, you were late if you weren’t there at 2:55.

Janice:             That’s absolutely correct. You don’t show up somewhere at three o’clock if it starts at 3:00. You should definitely be early. That’s what I think. I’d rather sit in the car for five minutes waiting to walk in than just be late. That’s just me. It’s common courtesy. Just be on time. Things happen. Like you said, you’re in New York, there’s traffic. If you didn’t account for it or there’s an accident, just call them. Just make sure that you’re there.

Janice:             It also talks about canceling is even worse, because the homeowners have most cleaned and prepared. I can tell you, when I sold one of my homes at one point in my life, we showed it 24 times and had three open houses. Now, that’s just a whole nother story.

Anthony:            That’s a lot.

Janice:             Every time we had to clean, prepare. I had four children. This isn’t exactly easy. Then when they canceled, the frustration was just … I mean, it was heartbreaking because you worked so hard. So, just be on time, or if you have to cancel, give some notice. Common courtesy, really.

4. You ripped up the carpets to see what was underneath

Anthony:            All right, number four. You Ripped up the Carpets to see What was Underneath. I mean, did this actually happen?

Janice:             Apparently. Like I said, you’re not on HGTV. You can’t really just run in and see if there’s hardwood underneath is what they were saying. In your book, you mentioned if there’s an area rug, you can lift it up and peek under there. You don’t want to pull up the carpet where it’s tacked into the wall and pulled taught. You just don’t do that. Maybe you ask them later on what’s underneath, but that seems like you broke something. That wasn’t an accident. You pulled up. You probably messed up the carpet in there. Don’t do it.

Anthony:            Yeah, let me take out my keys and chip away some of this paint to see if there’s anything behind there.

Janice:             Right. Right. What’s behind the walls are shiplap. You’re not on HGTV. Let’s just look around. Ask questions if you have to, but let’s not pull things up.

5. You brought your dog, and it went bananas

Janice:             This common courtesy issues and manners. Number five is, You Brought Your Dog and it Went Bananas. Okay, don’t bring your dog. Okay, service dogs, I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about you just want to bring Fido to go with you to look at a house. It’s just a bad idea for all kinds of reasons. You don’t know what kind of pets that they already have there. Like I said, when we were showing our house, we had a cat. Well, if your dog doesn’t like cats, that’s going to be a problem. So, just rule number one, don’t bring your dog. It seems like, I don’t know call me crazy, but doesn’t that seem pretty like … don’t do it?

Anthony:            From my experience, there’s a related issue that’s a little dicier and it’s bringing a young baby.

Janice:             Oh, yeah.

Anthony:            For parents, it might not be in their budget or they might not have anyone to babysit so they can go to open houses. Totally get that. I’m sympathetic to that.

Janice:             Absolutely.

Anthony:            I’ve been to open houses with screaming and wailing babies, and-

Janice:             Oh, we’ve all been there.

Anthony:            Right? Younger babies might be prone to … let’s call them explosive diapers.

Janice:             Yes.

Anthony:            I mean, are you going to change that in the open house?

Janice:             I didn’t think of that.

Anthony:            What if there’s also colicky babies or babies that tend to spit up? So, it’s touchy. Again, I think you and I have both have had young kids and we’re sympathetic, but maybe it’s not appropriate to lug them around to various people’s homes.

Janice:             Yeah. I could see the flip side of both where you might not have a choice. If you do happen to have a choice, it might be best. Just don’t bring the dog. I don’t know, I go back to this. Don’t bring the dog. Now, maybe you arrange something at another time if you’re buying. I don’t even know if that works. Why would you bring the dog? You’re going to be moving in, the dog will figure it out. That’s just my thought.

Anthony:            I don’t know, some people are pretty beholden to their pets, like, “We wouldn’t make an offer unless Fido loved it.”

Janice:             I mean, I love my pets. I get that, but they’re not helping me buy the house. Unless they pay for the mortgage, then they don’t have a say.

6. You lowballed, badly

Janice:             I guess you have to expect that. I don’t know, this is maybe one of those you can help me with that when you got in at the asking price, and this is where having a professional comes in, because I am not a professional. So, I’m sure they will stear you in the direction of not low-balling to where it’s embarrassing. Several years ago when the market crashed, that might be different, but we’re in a different world right now. Maybe you could help me with this one.

Anthony:            I kind of disagree with this one pretty strongly only because, being in the New York City area, I think some of the asking prices are offensive.

Janice:             Interesting, okay. Okay.

Anthony:            I don’t mean like, “In my day a soda cost a nickel.” I’m not talking about that sort of mentality, but rather even looking at the comparables. There’s this sort of assumption that the market will hockey stick and jump forward, and that’s what they’re pricing based on. Even if I put in a what I think is a reasonable offer, it’ll be like ten percent below what they’re asking. Who is the one being offensive there? Right?

Janice:             Right. Right. It goes back to the professional, because you would know to look at the comps and see what it is.

Anthony:            True.

Janice:             Maybe not low-ball, but maybe that’s more of a fair-

Anthony:            More like bringing them back to reality kind of thing.

Janice:             Right, right, absolutely. Your basis is fact and research, not like, “Hey, I’m going to just low-ball it.” That makes a lot of sense. Thanks.

Anthony:            Actually, to be fair in those scenarios, the listing broker, meaning the broker who’s representing the seller, is probably appreciate to get those offers because they probably know that their client is out on a limb. They need to show them, “Hey look, these are the offers that come in. These are actual offers. What you’re asking for is to the moon.”

Janice:             It’s unrealistic, right.

7. You cheaped out on the earnest money deposit

Janice:             Then number seven, You Cheaped out on the Earnest Money Deposit. So, maybe you can help me with this one. Going back to the professional.

Anthony:            Traditionally, the earnest money is what you put down with the contract. There’s a difference between earnest money and down payment. Down payment is you will ultimately pay, let’s say, 20% and the bank will ultimately pay 80% of the purchase price. I’m going to use a round number, a million dollars, just because I’m not so great at math. So, you’re saying, “I will eventually pay $200,000 of the purchase price, and the bank will pay or lend $800,000.”

Anthony:            Now, earnest money is what you put down with the contract to bind both sides to the commitment that we’re going to try to close on this deal. It’s usually ten percent or half of your down payment if you’re doing 20%. Again, in my example, on a million dollar property, you eventually have to pay $200,000 out of your pocket with $800,000 financing. When you sign the contract, you would typically put down ten percent or $100,000. At the closing, you’d put down the other $100,000 and the bank would bring the 800,000. Are you with me so far on the math?

Janice:             Absolutely. So, what you’re saying is on this million dollar home, I shouldn’t put down $100?

Anthony:            Exactly, because that shows zero commitment.

Janice:             Got it. That makes sense.

Anthony:            The seller knows if you decide at the last minute to walk away, you don’t care because you’re out 100 bucks. [crosstalk 00:12:08] If you walk away at the last minutes, you’d be out 100,000 bucks, that shows your commitment to the deal.

Janice:             That makes sense.

Anthony:            Yep. That’s what earnest money is. Did I explain that well? Did I over-explain that?

Janice:             No. Actually, that makes perfect sense. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Thank you.

Anthony:            Yes, the author’s point makes sense. If you put down a very chintzy amount, it shows the seller you’re not that interested. You want to keep your options open.

Janice:             Right. Like you said, it makes sense. If I put down $100 on a million dollar home, what’s to keep me there? What’s $100. That’s a night out barely in New York.

8. You pulled a 180 during negotiations

Janice:             You Pulled a 180 during negotiations. So, you’ve gone through the whole process saying that you’re not concerned with what the inspection uncovered because you’re handy. Then when you’re sitting down to make the offer, now all of a sudden you want the seller to fix everything at their own cost. So, it’s like you said one thing and then it was time and you did something completely different.

Janice:             I guess it’s rude, but that’s where having a professional comes in I think too, because they’re going to steer you to, “Okay, this is what you should do, and you really shouldn’t change it.” That’s kind of what I think. Again, going back to the professional.

Anthony:            I can’t say anything on this because I see this all the time.

Janice:             I bet, I bet.

Anthony:            What it usually boils down to is good cop, bad cop. The broker is the good cop, the real estate attorney is the bad cop. The buyer will … Once they get the deal done and it gets into contract, and the broker will sweet talk to get into the contract. I don’t mean to make this sound so nefarious, but … Then when it comes down to the nitty-gritty … These are a small percentage of what the total purchase price is, so it’s usually not that big of a deal. People want to stand their ground, “Why should I pay for that?”

Anthony:            The attorney will be the bad cop when they’re negotiating the contract and really finalizing things. The attorney will be the one saying, “No, we’re not paying for that. I mean, I don’t care what the broker said. We’re not paying for that.”

Janice:             Right.

Anthony:            That’s what I mean by the good cop, bad cop.

9. You asked way too many questions

Janice:             You Asked way too Many Questions. I kind of agree, I kind of disagree with this one. They were making the point that they had somebody ask what was the energy wattage of each light bulb. Okay, that’s just kind of annoying. Then they said to the insulation factor, what was the thickness of the drywall. Okay, maybe but you could probably get that information on the inspection.

Janice:             I think this is funny, but I kind of disagree with this one as in you probably want to ask some questions. If you really want to know the wattage of the light bulb, just look at it, or replace the light bulbs when you get in if you’re that concerned about the wattage because they’re going to burn out anyway. I think asking questions is important, but don’t ask too many. Maybe don’t ask ridiculous ones. That would be my thought on number nine.

Anthony:            My take on that is sort of from an economist’s point-of-view in that everything has a price. So, if that’s the kind of buyer you’re going to be, just expect to pay a little bit more than a normal person because people have to deal with you.

Janice:             Yeah. That’s a good point. That might be the same person that, going back to one of the first numbers, that isn’t showing up on time.

Anthony:            Right on.

10. You procrastinated on making a decision

Janice:             Then number ten, you procrastinated on making a decision. This happens all the time. I mean, you find a beautiful home and you really want it, and then you just wait. Then it gets sold out from underneath you, and it happens. This gentleman from New York says, “Ask yourself, ‘Will I be upset if somebody else nabs this property because I wasn’t fast enough?’.” I guess this one isn’t as funny, because it is true. You’ve got to make the decision and figure out what you want to do, not fast, but I guess sooner … you don’t want it to be taken out from under you.

Anthony:            Yeah. It really is an internal decision, and the relationship between you and your finances and the home that you’re “falling in love with.” Yeah. I mean, if you’re getting pressure to make a decision on the spot and you’re just not comfortable with that even though you love the home, then maybe it’s not the right home for you. Right?

Janice:             Right, right.

Anthony:            It just kind of depends on the situation.

Janice:             Absolutely. I’m sure that can be frustrating for the realtor that is all excited, that it wants to be this house, but then they wait and then they lose it. So, I can see how that would be a little bit frustrating. I don’t know if it’s-

Anthony:            I’m sorry. I don’t know if you was you or you were quoting the article, but if you can’t pull the trigger and you’re okay with losing the house, if somebody swoops in while you’re making a decision, then it’s not “the one,” or at least not yet.

Janice:             Right, right. That was actually the article that had quoted that. It was a gentleman out of New York that had it happen to. I don’t know that that’s mortifying. That’s more just like not great decision making or having a plan.

11. And finally, you used the potty

Janice:             Okay. You can insert bathroom humor here, but everyone … there’s emergencies. Fine. Just don’t use the bathroom. I don’t even know why anyone would think to go to an open house and … I know on Roundview, there’s a Wawa on every corner. You could go to the Wawa or something. That is actually pretty mortifying. Could you-

Anthony:            [crosstalk 00:17:30] No, I have done this. So, I am I guess guilty of this one.

Janice:             Okay.

Anthony:            In my defense, it’s not there’s a lot of public bathrooms in Manhattan.

Janice:             Okay, little different scenario. You don’t have the Wawa’s on every corner, but maybe have a little [inaudible 00:17:45] if you have to. I don’t know. Just kind of look at it as for emergencies or last resorts only. Like you said, there’s not a lot of bathrooms in Manhattan. Fine.

Anthony:            [crosstalk 00:17:56] That thing said, in Manhattan, most high-rise buildings and whatnot will have a lobby bathroom or something.

Janice:             Perfect.

Anthony:            So, that’s always an option, yeah.

Janice:             Right, right. Ask your realtor if there’s another option before destroying the bathroom. I don’t know. That one is mortifying to me. I don’t know if you could bring myself-

Anthony:            Yes, if I was open housing, I wouldn’t love that either. If I was the seller-

Janice:             No, no because then, what, the next 50 people that come through are like, “What is wrong with this place?” It probably won’t help the sale. Anyway, yes, that is definitely a good way to end the article with mortifying home buyer behaviors. That’s a great article. It was funny.



Original post by Cathie Ericson (@CathieEricson)

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