One piece of advice that so many agents hesitate to say is - Please Don't Talk.
Don't chat with potential buyers or their agents. Be careful what you say to friends and neighbors as well. Why? Because you could inadvertently disclose information that could compromise your negotiating position. Any important details that should be relayed to the buyers needs to go through your agent.
What seems like a harmless question could actually be an attempt to start negotiating you down in price. My favorite is to ask why the sellers are moving. Job transfers, divorce, etc. indicate the sellers are moving because they must - and therefore may be open to bargaining. And if they've already bought their next house, they may be feeling desperate.
Some sellers think they're being helpful by answering questions about the property that could be answered through the seller's disclosure statement or an inspection report. Often they end up talking too much and end up saying something that:
- Turns the buyer off. The casual remark about the corner of the back yard where the departed family pets were buried just ruined the vegetable garden idea the potential buyer had for that space. You didn't know they're avid gardeners and now they don't want the house.
- Implies you'll make repairs for them. When someone asks about a missing knob, floor scratch, etc. it's easy to say something like "we can fix that" or "that's easy to fix". But by conceding a potential issue and agreeing to fix it, you may be setting yourself up to make a lot more repairs or concessions.
- Cause you to like or not like these buyers. They've been through a personal crisis that you can relate to and it draws on your sympathies. Or maybe you have mutual friends? Or they're just such nice people. Would you sell at the same price that you would to someone who criticized your taste, treated you rudely or called your furnishings ugly? When the deal is done, their money is all the same color of green.