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The 15-Minute Lie

The 15-Minute Lie

I have a confession. Since I don’t have a Priest, I’ll confess this morning right here to you directly. Hopefully you will find it in your heart to forgive me.  Here goes. I have lied to my listing clients that I represented through the years.

There. That felt good although you are most certainly aghast with disappointment in me. However, I told this lie not with a black heart. And I did it for the greater good of my client. I call it the “15-minute lie.” The lie I have told over and over was that the showing appointment and time to leave the home was 15 minutes earlier than it really was.  The reason this was a good intentioned lie is because of avoiding the “awkward meeting.”

An “awkward meeting” takes place when an owner, selling their home, purposely stalls leaving the home so they can size up the potential buyer of the home.  Basically, I arrive at the home and work to get lights on and the home in show condition. There is a certain type of homeowner when selling that is never ready. They dilly dally around looking for “stuff”.  It could be some return of a golf club or clothing item. Then they have an extended small talk conversation with me. They wait it out until the Buyer agents and potential purchasers are at the front door. Then they attempt to leave but the agent and Buyer’s car is blocking them.  I must ask the Buyer than to go back to their car to move it so the owner can leave. Now the Buyer is aggravated and not concentrating on their home.

The Seller of the home desires this meeting because they can’t help themselves. They are curious to see who these buyers might be.

There are seven reasons you don’t want to be there when showing the house….


  1. Your Agent Needs to Get Ready

We want to “show you the money!”  Real estate agents have to focus. Get the house dolled and pampered up. It’s game time. Showing a house is exhausting. A Realtor is on stage and there is actually a lot of brainpower that goes into a showing. You are constantly reading everyone’s body language. Making sure to point out the attributes. Pointing out competition homes’ weak points. Sizing up where their eyes go for feedback. In order to do all of this, there is a pre-showing ritual you go through. Really no different than an actor or actress getting ready for a play. Let your agent get ready and in rhythm.


  1. They don’t like you.

I just saw Seinfeld 2 weeks ago. I remember an episode where Jerry’s Mom couldn’t believe someone didn’t like their son.  Well, sometimes the vibe just isn’t there. The Buyers might not like you especially if you give feedback and you don’t handle that well. We want them to concentrate on the house. You aren’t there to make a friend.


  1. Confrontation

I’ve seen people selling the house follow the buyers around making them uncomfortable. One person selling the home would always sit in the den. The people looking at the house wouldn’t open up and would just whisper. Other times a political conversation that starts with small talk ruins a sale. Please, just leave the house.


  1. You say something you wish you hadn’t said.

Why are you selling? “ahhhhh”. Will you fix everything that we find in the inspection report?” Ummmm.”  Will you include all the furniture?  “Wellll.”.


  1. They feel your desperation.

Sometimes the awkward meeting comes with a comment from the buyer that says, “You don’t have to leave”. And sometimes the Seller just doesn’t. They start trying to hard sell the house and the body language of desperation comes through.


  1. You already have the advantage..

We, as your agent are sizing up the Buyer for you. You as a Seller have the advantage because no one is sizing you up directly. For you lawyers out there it like one party getting the advantage of doing a deposition and the other party not. If you want to be deposed, then stay for the showing.


  1. They become your new unwanted phone pal..

Maybe that is ok for now. But as a deal progresses, once you give them your phone, they call you directly every time they want to gain access or have an issue. It’s impossible to take back control once they contact you. Plus, if you ask them to stop calling you, now you have a fight on your hands. Don’t open up that window.


They say only a fool represents themselves. So, give your Real Estate consultant just those 15 minutes of fame to get ready.  I promise you won’t regret it. No lie.


Jeff Lichtenstein, originally from Chicago, got his start in the home furnishings textile business where he traveled over 35 weeks a year selling fabrics. After the family business was sold, Jeff moved to Florida and became a real estate agent. Today he is the owner and broker of Echo Fine Properties, a luxury residential brokerage voted best brokerage of the year. Jeff manages a non-traditional model of real estate that mimics a traditional business model. Echo has 80 agents, an average of one million dollars per transaction and over 500 million in annual sales. Between traveling for work and annual family trips to national parks with his wife and 2 now adult children, Jeff has visited 49 states. He is also one of the few Chicago White Sox fans you’ll ever meet.  Some publications he has been quoted in.

Author of business & leadership book How Making a Sandwich Can Change Your World –  The Amazing Success of the PB&J Strategy – Available to Buy Now!

Feel free to ask him a question directly at including a complementary  valuation of your home.

Posted in Open House Blog, Real Estate Tips on February 6, 2024 at 3:05 am.


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