home sellers should never say...

“So, why are you selling?” 10 answers that get home sellers in trouble.


Home sellers innocently get themselves in trouble

Buyers often ask their agents why the sellers are selling. They are looking for clues to the seller’s motivation. They want to know about the home sellers motivation in order to figure out how hard to negotiate. Although, “Why are you selling your house?” may feel like a completely innocent question — it isn’t.

Truth is: practically any answer you provide is bound to include revealing details that these potential home purchasers can (and will) use against you, whether or not what the buyers think the details mean are true or not— people hear what they want to hear and assume what they want to assume.

We all have our individual unique world views and those views come with a fair amount of confirmation biases. I’m belabouring the point.

Of course, sellers have agents to shield them from talking directly with buyers and their agents. Sellers should not be home during showings and open houses. In a perfect world, seller’s would not even live in the home that they are selling.

But it is not a perfect world. Sometimes buyers meet sellers. Sometime buyers are still hanging around when sellers come home and sometimes they arrive a little early, before the sellers have left. When that happens, home sellers should be ready with an answer — something positive but vague like, “We love the house, but we’re ready for a change”.

So, exactly what is a bad response? Well, there are several, actually, like these beauties below:

I’m relocating for work

This is one of one of the most common reasons why people move. However, revealing this to a potential home buyer could lead them to think that you need to sell fast and they may make you a low offer.

We need a bigger house

You don’t want to give the buyers the impression that the house is too small. If it’s too small for you, maybe it will be too small for them too.

We are downsizing

You don’t want to give the buyers the impression that the house is too big. If it’s too big for you, maybe it will be too big for them too.

We want a smaller mortgage 

You don’t want to give the buyers the impression that the house is too expensive. If it’s too expensive for you, maybe it will be too expensive for them too. Also, this answer may lead potential home buyers to think that you need the money and they may make you a low offer.

We have already bought our next house

Don’t say anything that will give the impression to the buyer that there is any sense of urgency that you have to sell quickly. Most people can’t or don’t want to carry two mortgages.

We want a quieter neighbourhood

This implies that the neighbourhood is noisy. Never say anything that can be construed as negative

We are moving closer to family so we can take care of them

This will get the wheels turning in the buyer’s head—> they have a sick parent —> they want to sell fast —> give them a low offer.

I can’t climb the stairs

This will not only scare off older buyers but also buyers with young families. No one wants their child to go tumbling down the stairs!

We want to lower our utility bills

The last thing you want to do is imply that your gas and hydro bills are high

It is too hard for us to maintain

This one tells the buyers that your home is old and getting worn out. All they will see is work.


Seller’s agents never want sellers and buyers to meet. If it happens just remember, the best answer goes something like: “We love the house, but we’re ready for a change”