Should Buyers and Sellers Meet During the Transaction?

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Most top agents have had experiences with buyers and sellers who have met and things were promised and not delivered or misunderstandings took place. It happens all the time. And sometimes this can lead to problems during the transaction and at closing. In fact, many times it does.

But there can be benefits to having the clients meet and talk.

Yesterday my wife met with some buyer-clients for their home inspection and afterward the sellers and the buyers sat and talked. They poured wine and just talked for about an hour. It wasn’t planned and there was no negotiating done but it gave them a chance to get to know each other. There are some issues being negotiated right now and my wife says the opportunity to have the clients meet really went a long way by allowing everyone to see each other as people and not simply opposing sides of a deal.

I wonder if there would be a benefit to having a scheduled time during every transaction where the clients could meet for an hour or have luch and just get to know each other a bit, ask questions about the area and neighbors, hear all the stories about the home and memories made there, and just have the chance to connect. The agents could make sure things aren’t said that shouldn’t be- and if anything is agreed to verbally, the agents could put it onto an addendum and get it signed so there are no misunderstandings around it.

Being a managing broker over the years I’ve mediated dozens of transactions where, once both sides get together and talk it out, things can be solved without going to court or arbitration. When I was a broker in Colorado it was common practice for the buyers and sellers to attend settlement at the same time, where they could exchange keys and talk a bit before closing. In Utah and California (in the areas where I’ve worked) buyers and sellers close seperatedly so they usually never meet.

I don’t know how it would look exactly, but I wonder if it could help smooth over some things and help ease buyer’s minds a bit. I’ve had clients meet before of course, in fact a lot of times they meet (when first seeing the house or at the walk-through) but not in this capacity, where the whole objective is to get to know each other and discuss the house as a home.

The idea has merit- I wonder if anybody else does this already and has experience with it?

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8 thoughts on “Should Buyers and Sellers Meet During the Transaction?

  1. I’ve had this experience a few times, and I’ve determined it’s a case-by-case situation. There seems to be times when things get sticky, and you know adding a more personal touch will help take the edge off. That’s about the time to try and figure out a way to get the buyer and seller together.

  2. Here in Tennessee we have many that close together it seems to be ok and yes I always take a blank addendum for the just in case conversation. Anyway I feel at the time of close it does work well and yes they exchange keys and share some stories.

  3. Haven’t tried it formally, but have had buyers and sellers talk in the past (usually without me knowing) and it’s seemed to help rather than hinder the conversation.

    Sellers view their home as “their” home in perpetuity, so they always have curiosity about who’s moving in. Buyers always have some trepidation about who lived there before.

    Bringing both parties together, in some cases, could make for some eased emotions on either side.

    Or it could scare the living hell out of one or the other. 🙂

  4. A recent transaction got completely out of my control(agent for the buyer) and the seller’s agent, when we brought together the builder and the buyer. Though I didn’t like not being involved, the builder did a better job of communicating and satifying the buyer. The deal did close successfully. (Scared the living…..out of me)

  5. That’s what we do at Help-U-Sell. We actually all sign contracts together, and it eliminates any issues where we would have problems. There are still some clients who can be rude, disrespectful or selfish that no matter what you did, you would have problems at closing because they “misunderstood” or they didn’t complete their tasks. More often than not, it makes my life alot easier.

    Real estate 101 dictates that this is taboo, however, and diminishes the value of the broker’s fees.

  6. Mike,

    I think it’s area specific, as is all real estate. In Salt lake I’ve closed deals with Help-U-Sell and we’ve always closed at seperate title companies, with the clients not meeting.

  7. Not area specific, broker specific. It’s up to the broker-manager. That’s why with some franchises, you have diluted systems. When I sell my own listing, we all sign together, but never when a co-broke sells it, as we have different agency representations.

  8. Here in Texas, we close quite few deals with the buyers and sellers at the closing table. We don’t do escrow. What is that anyway? For the most part it is either pleasant or a non-event. I have had sellers bring a notebook full of all their vendors with whom they have dealt – Dry cleaners to dermatologists. They also brought instructions for every item in the house ( dishwasher: fill with soap, close the door and turn on). Contractually everything was signed and firm, but those sellers had the buyers thrilled and amazed that they were purchasing such a well loved home. Of course, this is Texas and we are friendly, polite and the best drivers. 😉

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