Encounters With Owners:
You will probably meet the owners on one of your visits. As all of you stand around
feeling awkward, watch carefully for non-verbal communication among home owning family
members. Did Daughter blush when Dad said the tap water was fit to drink? The owners may
offer coffee or a soda, but watch out if you're offered alcoholic beverages. They could be
trying to blunt your powers of observation and resolve. Beer, wine and sherry, of course,
do not count as alcoholic beverages.
Be as charming as you can when you meet the owners. Remember, your goal is to make them
divulge the worst secrets of the house and then let you have it for a fraction of what
it's worth just because they like you so much. Failing this, you want to undermine their
confidence in the value of their home. Do this by pointing out obscure problems in the
form of compliments.
Example: "I love the way you've handled the space in the living room. It makes the
room look so much bigger than it really is."
Caveat: Never suggest that anything is wrong with the taste of the owners, even if there
are acrylic fur seat covers on all the toilets and a portrait of Elvis over the hearth
with eyes that follow you around the room.
This Homebuyers Tip was excerpted from:
The House Trap, by Alfred Gingold, Workman Publishing, 1988.