Author Topic: Leave us alone please. Advice needed  (Read 3029 times)

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mrkitty

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Leave us alone please. Advice needed
« on: January 03, 2013, 03:49:34 PM »
We like to look at model homes on weekends. In a few years we believe we will be in a position to buy, but right now we are just looking for fun and to dream about our next home.

When we arrive, if we are greeted by a sales agent and when they ask us what we are looking for and how soon we want to buy, we answer honestly that we're just here to admire for now, and usually they say ok, well enjoy looking and if you have any questions, I'll be here. And then we look around, admire, and thank the agent when we leave.

But sometimes we run into sales agents that insist on escorting us through the house pointing out every.single.feature as though we're going to buy a house today, even though we've told them we are not in a position to buy a house today or even in the next year.

I personally find that really annoying, because I just want to get a 'feel' for the home. While it's nice that they want to explain the features (and sometimes I do have questions, so it's nice to have someone there to answer them), it's not particularly helpful. Last time we bought a house, and we expressly went looking to actually buy a house, not just idly admire, but actually buy, I didn't find it helpful to have our Realtor walk us through explaining things. It's too distracting. If I have questions, I can ask when we're done. What I need to do is figure out if I feel comfortable in this space. Does the layout of the kitchen make sense for me? How about the traffic flow? Do I feel comfortable carrying food around a corner and across the foyer to serve in the dining room, or is it better to have the dining room closer to the kitchen? Should we even *have* a dining room? Is the house too big for us? Will we feel like we're rattling around like marbles in an empty box, or do we really prefer something cozier? How about the 'energy' in the home? Do we feel comfortable and secure? Is the 'vibe' pleasant?

I can't answer this by having someone talk my ears off about the upgraded wainscoting or the fact that these hardwood floors come with the house, no exception, or that the house comes with antique white interior paint. I need to experience the feeling in the home to find out if I could imagine myself living here.

I'm sorry this is so long.

Is there a polite way to tell the sales agent that we would prefer to just walk through quietly and ask any questions afterwards? Because even if we were in the position to actually sign the papers today, that still wouldn't help us buy the house.

I know that the sales agent has to sell the house. And, I totally understand that when you go look at a model home, you should expect some level of sales attempt to take place.

But how much is too much? How do you politely communicate the notion that we are sincerely not looking to buy a home today and we don't want to waste your time when we are just here to admire...for now?

We've mostly encountered sales agents who are wonderfully gracious and helpful. Once in a while, though, oh dear. Even if we were seriously looking to buy that day, the behavior sometimes we find so obnoxious and overly aggressive that we move that builder lower on our list of one's we're looking to potentially work with.

What do you think is the most polite way to handle a situation like this?
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 03:53:05 PM by mrkitty »
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PastryGoddess

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Re: Leave us alone please. Advice needed
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2013, 03:54:53 PM »
"Thank you, but we'd like to take a look around on our own"

smile, wait a beat, then turn and walk away

onyonryngs

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Re: Leave us alone please. Advice needed
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2013, 04:01:14 PM »
It's one thing to make an appointment to view the house when you're in the market - the agent has your contact info, etc. but during an open house the agent has to keep an eye on things and many home owners don't want random people wandering around unattended.  I would assume they were under orders from the seller.  I'm not a fan of the practice though - wandering around houses if for parade of home type events, not agent's open houses.

Summerof81

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Re: Leave us alone please. Advice needed
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2013, 04:04:49 PM »
As someone who used to work for a major builder as a salesperson, you could get fired for NOT giving it your all when someone walks in the door...regardless of the fact that you are just looking.

So what you are doing will most of the time keep salespeople at their desk/the lobby, but you will encounter those that can't afford to be picky as to whom that practice on (which is what they are trying to do).

camlan

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Re: Leave us alone please. Advice needed
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2013, 04:06:57 PM »
The OP says that she is looking at model homes. I think those are furnished, but not lived in, houses in a development.

But the agent may still have orders to stay with people who are looking through the house. Sometimes people steal things or vandalize the house.

I suppose you could ask the agent if he/she has to follow you around. If they do, you could then tell them that you'd like peace and quiet to see if the house "speaks" to you. Or words to that effect. I'm sure most agents would get that if they shut up, they might get a sale, and that if they keep talking, they might lose one.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Leave us alone please. Advice needed
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2013, 04:07:44 PM »
In model homes, many sales agents are required to stay with people as they tour the house for security reasons.  Or it could be part of the company culture to do a hard sale.  You might not be ready to buy today but if they tell you enough about all the things they as a builder include then you might leave with a better image of the product.  Other times they are just board and happy to have someone to talk to.
"Would you mind if we did a walk through on our own first?"

For resale homes, in most cases either the buyer or seller agent is required to stay with the potential buyer at all times.  I always made sure that clause was in my contracts.  In these cases you can say that you'd prefer to just walk through the home quietly first then on the second round they can point out specifics. 

mrkitty

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Re: Leave us alone please. Advice needed
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2013, 04:09:43 PM »
It's one thing to make an appointment to view the house when you're in the market - the agent has your contact info, etc. but during an open house the agent has to keep an eye on things and many home owners don't want random people wandering around unattended.  I would assume they were under orders from the seller.  I'm not a fan of the practice though - wandering around houses if for parade of home type events, not agent's open houses.

I totally see what you're saying, and I agree with you. But we don't go to open houses. We're not seriously looking for a house at this time, so we feel it wouldn't make sense to look at a pre-owned house. When we sold our house, we had an open house, and it was so uncomfortable for us. Yes, it was necessary, but harrowing for the logistics and just feeling mildly violated with strangers traipsing through and making comments..and judging. We don't want to inflict that on someone else, especially since we're not going there with the intention of potentially buying.

So we limit ourselves to only model homes in new construction neighborhoods. But I definitely understand (and agree) with your point about the dynamics of the situation being different in an open house situation where someone actually lives there or privately owns the home. Totally different scenarios, and I wouldn't want to intrude if I'm not potentially buying the place.

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TootsNYC

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Re: Leave us alone please. Advice needed
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2013, 04:11:10 PM »
Just ask nicely, "Could we wander around by ourselves? We'd like to get a feel for the size of the rooms without distraction."

I love the "like to get a feel for whether the house speaks to us."

And if they need to tag along, maybe say, "We'd like to talk, just us. Could I ask you to hold the sales pitch for now? We'll ask if we have questions, and you can give us some of the highlights when we're done, perhaps."

onyonryngs

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Re: Leave us alone please. Advice needed
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2013, 04:13:21 PM »
It's one thing to make an appointment to view the house when you're in the market - the agent has your contact info, etc. but during an open house the agent has to keep an eye on things and many home owners don't want random people wandering around unattended.  I would assume they were under orders from the seller.  I'm not a fan of the practice though - wandering around houses if for parade of home type events, not agent's open houses.

I totally see what you're saying, and I agree with you. But we don't go to open houses. We're not seriously looking for a house at this time, so we feel it wouldn't make sense to look at a pre-owned house. When we sold our house, we had an open house, and it was so uncomfortable for us. Yes, it was necessary, but harrowing for the logistics and just feeling mildly violated with strangers traipsing through and making comments..and judging. We don't want to inflict that on someone else, especially since we're not going there with the intention of potentially buying.

So we limit ourselves to only model homes in new construction neighborhoods. But I definitely understand (and agree) with your point about the dynamics of the situation being different in an open house situation where someone actually lives there or privately owns the home. Totally different scenarios, and I wouldn't want to intrude if I'm not potentially buying the place.

In that case, I'm also a fan of the "I'd like to get a feel for whether the house speaks to us" and "without distraction" options.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Leave us alone please. Advice needed
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2013, 04:22:11 PM »
This is one thing that I hate about sales and service in general: when they hover when you just want to be left alone. It could be in a shop, a restaurant or a display home and it really turns me off the experience of whatever I am doing as I'm too busy being annoyed.

And some people are really thick about taking hints.

mrkitty

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Re: Leave us alone please. Advice needed
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2013, 04:50:27 PM »
This is one thing that I hate about sales and service in general: when they hover when you just want to be left alone. It could be in a shop, a restaurant or a display home and it really turns me off the experience of whatever I am doing as I'm too busy being annoyed.

And some people are really thick about taking hints.



I think you just hit the nail right on the head, Katana. That might be what my issue is.

I honestly didn't know that sales reps could get in trouble if they don't escort potential customers (although it does make sense and I feel kind of silly not having realized that) and I can appreciate the security angle (again, stupid for not thinking of that, especially since I was so paranoid about it when we sold our house), but I think it's that hard sell thing that sticks in my craw.

We've had sales agents walk through with us - and while *I* would prefer to be left alone to experience the feel of the room - most of the time they have hung back - a little - to give us a chance to walk around, examine this or that feature, etc. - it's the really hard sell approach that has me climbing the walls. (So to speak.  :P)

What I really can't stand is when the sales agent demands a reaction every.time. they show something to me.

"Oh, look at the size of that bathtub! Don't you just love it?!"

Me: "Yes, it's lovely."

Rep: "What do you think? Don't you just want to buy the house right now? No other company offers the extra jumbo BehemothTM premier bathtub like we do. It's included in this floorplan only...."

Me: "Oh." (Actually just wanting to move on to the next room by now)

Rep: "How much do you think this house is?"

Me: "I don't know."

Rep: "Go on. Guess."

And it just goes on and on. I guess my problem is that I need to start using my polite spine to move things along.

The other thing that really irritates me is when (in the past, when we were looking to buy a house for real) the Realtor would walk through with us, and I would make a comment to DH about something, i.e. "The kitchen is nice, but I'm not sure I like the laminate countertops and the tile floor..." and the agent would bust into our discussion and say "oh, but you can replace the countertops and floors, no problem."

I didn't have the nerve to say this, but I wanted to say "oh, really? Are YOU going to pay for it?" Again, I know they have to make a sale, and it may be helpful to point out that if there are only one or two things that are keeping you from wanting the property, that they can be changed, it still bothers me because it's like, yeah, easy for you to say - you don't have to pay for a partial or full kitchen remodel.

That's pretty much why we hope to buy new construction one day. I don't want to have to deal  with making changes after the fact.


« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 05:04:25 PM by mrkitty »
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TootsNYC

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Re: Leave us alone please. Advice needed
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2013, 04:58:28 PM »
Don't respond to the questions. You aren't required to have the same conversation HE wants.

Just go straight to the conversation YOU want to have, which is: "Please give us some space and some quiet to appreciate the house itself."

Just say, "I'm sorry--I'm going to ask you to give us some quiet. We'd like to look at the features of the house ourselves and discuss them between just the two of us. We'll ask if we have a question."

Feel free to say, "I'm sorry, but I'm finding your questions and conversation distracting. I'm going to ask you to give us some quiet."

And cut-and-paste.

mrkitty

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Re: Leave us alone please. Advice needed
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2013, 05:21:10 PM »
Thank you. This is really good advice, and I'm going to try these ideas when we head out this Saturday.

I mean, it's not really important. I just noticed that this is an area where maybe I could improve my communication skills and further practice developing that polite spine. It's one thing to think about hypothetical or even historical situations, but quite another to work on an on-going thing. KWIM? I just want to figure out how to move things along because I'm not one for standing around, chatting endlessly in the sales office. I get a little antsy and start feeling like we're giving too much info - DH happily answers all those intrusive questions about our finances, living situation etc. My issue might be with him, actually...he's just so darn friendly and open with people.  ::)

I really appreciate the information, feedback and advice! I will work on DH, too. :)
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Summerof81

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Re: Leave us alone please. Advice needed
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2013, 05:27:22 PM »
Some builders REQUIRE their salespeople to practice on those who come into their model homes.  If you aren't going to give them a sale, then they just think of it as practice to perfect their sales pitch.


mrkitty

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Re: Leave us alone please. Advice needed
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2013, 05:31:25 PM »
I guess that makes sense.

But depending how hard sell it is, it can really alienate a future customer when the time comes....as I said upthread, we have a list of homebuilders we really like and have walked away with certain impressions of how we were treated...
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