JL's Columbia SC Real Estate Blog: Why Do Sellers Sell

Why Do Sellers Sell

 It's a question that I inevitably get from interested buyers on listing. It seems like a simple and innocent question that is done completely out of curiosity, and I can't really blame anyone for asking. However it is a difficult question to answer from time to time depending on the situation and what the answer really is and in the end the only thing that matters all that much is the fact that the seller wants to sell their house.

 There can be an endless amount of reasons for why a seller wishes to sell a house. They could be upgrading and moving on to a bigger house or a newer house. They could have possibly outgrown their current confines for any number of reasons and another home would fit their needs better. They could be doing the exact opposite and no longer need all the room they currently have and want to downgrade. Age may be a factor and they can no longer take care of the home and feel that another would be more appropriate for them in this stage of their life.

 Maybe they have taken an out of town job and need to relocate. This happens a great deal and I live in a military town, so people are always being shipped in and out from base to base. These are all perfectly normal reasons for selling a home and these days it's all too common that a seller may have lost their job or had a rate adjustment and can no longer afford to remain in the home

 I also once had a situation where the seller found out that his wife had been having a 6 month affair with the contractor that was remodeling their house, and the divorce at hand caused them to sell. Situations like these are where the question becomes a little more difficult to answer, because it's not my place to spread anyones business around when they are already having a difficult time. The only thing I ever really say is that the seller wants to sell. That's why they are selling and in all honesty, no matter the underlying reason for their decision that's always why they are doing it. They either want to or they need to and that's the long and short of the situation.

 Realtors aren't always being vague simply because they want to avoid the question. Once and a while, they simply can not say due to the confidential nature of an agency agreement. In the end their reason for living really shouldn't change a thing. If you want to buy the house and it's listed, then they obviously want to sell the house, that's why it's listed and that's really all the matters for the most part. So don't take it personal when we don't give a long drawn out answer as to why a seller is selling, sometimes it's just uncalled for, for us to do so.




JL Boney, III - Columbia, SC Realtor - Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

 I specialize in Columbia, SC real estate and the surrounding areas, including Blythewood, SC, Kershaw County, Fairfield County, and Lexington, SC. If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in Columbia, SC or any of the surrounding areas, I would love the opportunity to speak with to see how I can help. Thanks for reading and feel free to contact me if I can be of service to you.

Office- 803-788-1450     Cell- 803-730-9601     Email- James_Boney@Yahoo.com

My Columbia SC Real Estate Website

My Columbia, SC Real Estate Blog



Subscribe to JL Boney's Columbia SC Real Estate Blog by Email


Comment balloon 22 commentsJL Boney, III • March 15 2009 05:49PM


My response to "why are the sellers selling" is "This is not a distressed sale.  This is a normal real estate transaction."

Unless, of course, it is a short sale...

Posted by Melina Tomson, Principal Broker/Owner, M.S. (Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon) over 11 years ago


That's really the important question ... you have to know the motivation of the seller before you consider taking a listing. If a seller tells me "I really don't need to sell" then I am out of there!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 11 years ago

JL, there certainly are reasons that we should keep close to the cuff. I think you wrote a very good post here and I thank you for letting the public know.

Posted by Caren Wallace, Portland Caren Real Estate (Premier Property Group LLC) over 11 years ago

JL, I always find this question annoying.  Before this latest debacle in the economy, it was always my firm belief that it really didn't matter why the seller was moving.  They want a different house.   What difference does it make if you like the house and want to make an offer.  Now, with some cashing in on the financial difficulties of others, I guess it is a more valid question.  Still bugs me though.  I have a British Agent friend, no not dear Sheldon, who when I asked why the sellers were leaving this gorgeous townhouse we were standing in, answered me in his upper class British accent.. "This home no longer suits the needs of my client".   I laughed out loud.  It was so formal... we are friends and we were sharing a lunch at the home.  I told him that I hoped that wasn't what he was saying to everyone... he asked why?  I said because you sound like a horses ass, that's why!  His wife was standing near me and cracked up! 

Posted by Susan Mangigian, Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) over 11 years ago

When the buyer askes me this I tell them because the sellers are moving.  "Why are they moving,"

"Because they are selling their house".  I start here and then go into any confidetiality issues there may be.

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) over 11 years ago

It is a fair question, but the needed vagueness in many cases in the answer is just as fair. We have to protect our clients.

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) over 11 years ago

JL, I agree with Susan Mangigian's initial expression that it really doesn't matter, but buyers and buyers agents are curious because they want leverage in the negotiation. They want to know if the seller is desperate or has a deadline to get out.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 11 years ago

Melina- Saying it's not a distressed sale is a good thing to point out these days.

Richard- It is important for us to know for motivation purposes, yes sir.

Caren- It's an often misunderstood issue. But we do have to protect our clients.

Susan- It doesn't really annoy me so much, but sometimes it's hard to respond. I think I would have laughed at your friend too.

Bill- I explain confidentiality when I just can't talk about it.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 11 years ago

J- We do indeed, but I can understand the question too.

Gary- People are always looking for leverage.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 11 years ago

JL, there will always be LIFE.  Such as:  Death, Divorce, Job Relocation.  Those are the main reasons that sellers will sell in ANY market.

Posted by Regina P. Brown, M.B.A., Broker, Instructor (MBA Broker Consultants) over 11 years ago

But JL, it's so much fun asking that question!  Listing agents squirm, hum-haw around, stutter, and sometimes spill their guts!  Either way, I like to sadistically listen to them.   ;-)

Posted by Randy Hooker, Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek (Dreamcatcher Realty / Greater Phoenix Area) over 11 years ago

I ask this question to listing agents all the time. I am also asked on my listings. It gives power in that knowledge.

Posted by Chip Jefferson (Gibbs Realty and Auction Company) over 11 years ago


Great explanationand some I have used many times......the Buyer's have heard many times....information is power.....LOL

Posted by Daniel J. Brudnok, REALTOR, SRES, e-PRO,ABR,GREEN,CSP (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, REALTORS - Exton - PA License #RS-225179-L / Delaware License #RS-0025038) over 11 years ago

JL - WHat if they want to sell because of a nasty neighbor, they aren't exactly going to tell anyone.  Or the ghost they can't get rid of..... ha ha ha.

Posted by April Hayden-Munson, Brookfield Wisconsin Real Estate over 11 years ago

That has always been a "can I Leverage My Position" question to me but it is a valuable legitimate question never the less. Using a Pro is one of the best things a seller can do to market their property as we know how to handle questions such as this.

Having said that I don't think I will be doing any remodeling any time soon.

Posted by Cameron Wilson, The Short Guy - Murrieta,Temecula,Menifee Californ (Labrum Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Your right...the seller's motivation is not a topic I'm willing to discuss.  That's not to say I won't ask if I'm representing the buyer.  Sometimes I'll get an earful from the listing agent, and use that in determining an offer, closing dates and the like!

Posted by Laura Giannotta, Your Realtor Down the Shore! (Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore ) over 11 years ago

Regina- Those will always be the main reasons as far as I can see.

Randy- You're a cruel man my friend, no wonder I like you.

Laura- Knowledge is power.

Dan- Yes it is.

April- You know those ghosts are getting a little out of hand these days.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 11 years ago

Cameron- You may be wish to avoid that temptation my friend.

Laura- Some times getting an earful is a good thing when you are watching out for your client.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 11 years ago

It is always an odd question and one I think people ask because they don't know what else to say.  That in itself seems odd, too.  But, I think the guy asks it more often because he doesn't know how the heck things work in the house.  LOL.  But, seriously, we must keep our clients' motivation confidential.  "Why are you moving?" might be a good answer...or not?   I like "because they are selling their house." 

Posted by Don Sabinske, Sabinske & Associates Inc. (Don Sabinske, Sabinske & Associates Inc.) over 11 years ago

Don- I like the why are you moving response, I will have to give that a shot sometimes.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 11 years ago

How about Why wouldn't they move? as a response!

Posted by Jamie Boney (Mungo Homes) over 11 years ago

Jamie- I'll give it a try.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 11 years ago