By Bruce Cathcart

Buyers and sellers in the Coachella Valley seldom meet in a modern real estate transaction these days but when they do it is usually at the initial showing of the home. If they do meet, for some this can be a very awkward moment. For others it can be quite comfortable… even too comfortable. In either case this is a time when both buyers and sellers need to be very careful in what they say!

I always counsel my sellers before their home becomes “active” on the market on how to behave and what to say and what not to say when talking with buyers and their agents during a showing of their home. Not surprisingly many sellers choose not to be home when their house is being shown and let their agent’s brochure do the talking for them. This can be a good thing as the buyers and their agent can speak more freely as they go through the home and generally they spend more time looking at the home. For those sellers who choose to remain at their home during a showing, I suggest that they greet the agent and their buyers at the front door with a friendly smile and welcome greeting, trade a brochure for the agent’s business card, and then tell them if there is anyone else in the house, any pets, or any other surprises that they may encounter during their showing. Next, I suggest that the seller tell the agent and buyers where they will be throughout the showing (like on the couch watching TV or out by the pool, etc.) just in case they may have any questions about the house after the showing. This also tells the agent where to find the seller at the end of the showing so they can thank them and let them know that they are done. At this time it doesn’t hurt for the seller to give just a little plug for a couple of the home’s best features like, don’t miss the solar panels on the roof and the view of the desert mountains from the pool area which is stunning today! Just a short one or two line pitch and no more, then the seller needs to go to where they told them they would be. There is a certain giant furniture store in north Indio where I cringe every time I walk through their front door only to be set upon by their “home furnishings counselor” who despite my most blatant request to be left alone, manages to dog me throughout my visit constantly answering questions that I am not even asking! Sellers please let the buyer’s trusted professional salesman (their agent) give the tour of your home and do all the talking! At the end of the showing, if the agent and buyer have questions answer them honestly starting with the negative and ending with the positive. For example if asked about the power bills start with the summer rates of $300.00 per month and end with the winter rates of $100.00 per month. Do not try and tell buyers what you think they want to hear. I once had a seller tell an older couple that I was shopping with in the La Quinta Cove area that there were hardly any small children in her immediate neighborhood when it was pretty obvious that she lived next door to the “old woman who lived in a shoe”! Nothing that seller said after that had any credibility and the buyers chose not to make an offer because of her, not because of her house. So it is best to be brief and always tell the truth. Never discuss price and terms and never negotiate! It is improper for a Buyer’s agent to discuss this matter without your agent present but sometimes the buyers will ask, “Would you take…?”. The correct answer is, “Please have your agent contact my agent with your offer”.

For buyers, other than trying to negotiate with the seller there are only a couple of things you definitely should not say. Do not say bad things or point out the deficiencies of a seller’s home to the seller in hopes of getting a lower price. This will more than likely be taken as an offense and will not help in the negotiating process. On the other extreme, never say something like, “I don’t care how much I have to pay for this home, I want it!”. This too will not help you in negotiating with the Seller. Be friendly, be genuine, and ask your questions in a positive way.


This week’s real estate tip: Sellers make sure that you are pro-active in helping your agent with the creation of your brochure. Nobody knows your home better than you so make sure that all of your home’s best features are included in your brochure as this will be your opportunity to point out features to prospective buyers that might otherwise be overlooked!

Bruce Cathcart is the Broker/Co-Owner of La Quinta Palms Realty, “Your Friendly Professionals” and can be reached by email at or visit his website at