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While it may be the largest single asset for most sellers, the idea of driving a hard bargain can easily go awry. Good etiquette helps buyers feel good about a new home.

Depending on whether one is selling real estate in Highland Park or homes in Mt. Washington or Eagle Rock, there may be slight differences in how the homeseller and agent approaches the sale. But the common ground in all home sales, regardless of which region the home is located, is good, old-fashioned etiquette.

Contrary to many reports etiquette is not dead. The core of good manners is that it honors guests and others, making them feel as good about themselves as they do with their interaction with you.

Which is exactly the feeling a home seller wants to create for homebuyers. As the prospective home purchaser approaches, enters and tours your home, they should truly get the royal treatment. They shouldn’t have to hunt for a parking spot (because you thoughtfully took care of that in advance), the door should be warm and welcoming, and their visit something that is pleasant and inspiring. 

The small oddity of home selling etiquette is you, the seller, are neither seen nor heard. If you were there, the buyer very likely would approach the process differently. What that would do is interrupt the course of their thoughts, distracting them from envisioning living in the house or condo. So the etiquette of being absent from open houses and showings is a strategic form of manners – done for a very good reason.

Other ways in which sellers and their real estate agents can show good manners and smart sales techniques also includes:

• Ask for a researched, reasonable price – Trust your Realtor’s research and experience on pricing. One sales technique is to offer the property at 10 or 20 percent below the comparables. A bidding war can ensue and you get solid offers at the price you wanted in the first place (and often, higher than that). What makes a property linger on the market is when your price is too high or you are not willing to negotiate.

• Respect the advice of your Realtor – They know this business because they are professionals. They are incentivized to find you the best buyer at the best price as quickly as possible.  Sometimes their advice is hard – yes, that artwork is a distraction and the bathroom should be painted a neutral color – but it’s in your best interests.

• Be patient – If your home is in Glassell Park or Eagle Rock or Highland Park, remember buyers might also be looking in Hermon, Mt. Washington or Garvanza. Just because you don’t hear back in 24 hours doesn’t mean you need to have your agent badger the buyer’s agent for feedback right away.

• Provide preliminary documents – For an open house or any showing, a well-organized set of copies of a pre-sale home inspection, warranties, an appraisal and anything else relating to the home should be available for prospective buyers to take with them.

• Pets, and odors, take a vacation – This is where an objective third party (your agent, or a friend) should be frank with you: if the cats smell or the dog has bad breath. Can you arrange for your pets to live elsewhere for a month of two?

• One bedroom is an office – This is not purely about etiquette, but it’s about thinking through the life of the buyer. With more people working at home, full time or a few days a week, many buyers want to know if the new home will accommodate that. Stage the third bedroom as an office and it paints a picture for them.

Tracy King is a Realtor with 25 years experience selling in the Northeast Los Angeles area. In a very polite way, she helps sellers and buyers transition to the homes they will love.

tracy 150x175With over 30 years experience in helping clients buy and sell homes in Northeast Los Angeles, Tracy King has a depth of real estate knowledge that makes her the go-to for both the first-time home buyer and the seasoned real estate investor. When she's not holding open houses or negotiating offers, Tracy enjoys wine tasting, cooking, or planning her next trip to Paris. If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Northeast Los Angeles, contact the Tracy King Team at 626.827.9795 or