Want to alienate the sellers who currently own your next house, not to mention your real estate agent?
Start complaining about small issues, like carpet and paint colors, says Matt Laricy, managing partner with Americorp Real Estate in Chicago.
The walls are yellow or the carpet is brown, "so they say they won't buy the place," Laricy says. "Do you know how cheap it is to repaint a property? Are you really not going to buy the place because they put in brown carpet?"
In many cases, such an objection is not a price-reduction strategy, he says. "If it was their strategy, I would say it's a bad one, though," Laricy says. Paint and carpets are easy fixes, he says. Instead, focus on the big-picture items, like location and light level, he adds.
One couple took it even further on a walkthrough, criticizing the sellers themselves, says Ron Phipps, principal with Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., and past president of the National Association of Realtors.
The sellers were listening in electronically (legally) -- and they were not pleased. "You can't unring that bell," he says.