I’ll See Myself Out

By Sharon Naylor

April 15, 2019 5 min read

What would make you leave a home showing early? For each potential homebuyer, the reasons for a quick "Let's get out of here" are varied. It might be that the home doesn't match up to the listing, that the rooms are smaller than they appeared in the media gallery, that wear and tear is greater than expected, and maybe it just has a smell that you can't quite identify. It could be that noisy highway right outside the property's front door, a train line in the backyard, power lines that are way too close, etc.

Or it could simply be fatigue from a busy day or months of going to showings. And just like you might not be at your best that day, a real estate agent might not be at his or her best. So, you might opt to see yourself out and call it a day.

"The Realtor at an open house was glued to her phone, answering us with one-word responses, very disconnected," says Angel Torre, a newlywed looking for her first home in Denver. "She may have been in the middle of a drama, not just bored, but we felt it best to walk away from that one."

"Our Realtor really needed to make this sale. Any sale. She had this wild-eyed look and kept selling even after we said this house was not our style," says Michael Glance, who is downsizing with his wife in Iowa. "Talk about intense!" Realtors might not be in the best headspace to answer questions, read your interest level or help you take the next steps.

To help you answer the "Should we stay, or should we go?" dilemma when attending a house showing or open house, here are some questions to ask yourself:

Can our questions about this property be answered at another time by someone else? You might be operating out of worry, as in "If we don't make an offer, someone else is going to get this house!" and force yourself to stay, watching other potential buyers who are getting the same "It's not going to last a day!" sales pitch from a too-eager real estate agent. It might just be a disconnect with the real estate agent, whether it's your agent or the one at this open house. You might be best served leaving this open house in a hurry, calling your own agent and making an appointment soon to tour this house in a calmer moment. Sure, the property might get snapped up by an eager buyer that day, but these things happen in house hunting. There will be another.

Am I in the mood for this? If you'd rather be anywhere else, go anywhere else. Nothing this real estate agent does is going to please you, and you'll see this house through a dark lens.

Is your partner not in the mood? This is a big one. You might have fallen in love with the perfect house online, and you'd hand over your wallet before you even stepped into it if you could. Your partner has agreed, after coming home from work tired or stressed, to go look at this property with you, but his or her eyes are dull with disinterest. He or she isn't really into it. "Do you like this bathroom?" you ask, waiting for wide eyes and a "Wow!" over the tile work and the clawfoot tub. But your partner's response of "It's nice" with a shrug is disappointing, to say the least. This is when you see yourselves out, because hurt feelings are on the way and nothing productive is going to happen today. How to get out? "We have a safe word," says Torre. "When we're uncomfortable about being rude to a Realtor, one of us just says 'shiplap' and that's code for 'We need to leave now.'"

Is this real estate agent wasting our time? Again, anyone can have a bad day, but perhaps you've run into one of those unprofessional real estate agents at an open house (not your well-chosen real estate agent), who is trying to pummel you into buying the place, not answering your questions, being evasive and pressuring you even after you've said you're not interested in this property. Not wanting to be rude, you stand there while the real estate agent says he's bringing you to the backyard to see the view ("Just wait ... You're not going to believe it! And there's a fire pit! And there's room for a pool -- and a hot tub!") Sometimes a high-energy person with urgency and desperation will turn you right off, and it's better to leave than try to be polite.

When one or any element is not adding up to "We should stay," it's almost always best to depart. Then, reach out to your trusted real estate agent for a private showing at a more opportune time and -- importantly -- this preview walk-through has given you ideas for in-depth questions to ask about the property.

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