If I were a prospective home buyer, I would now know, thanks to Ellen James Martin's article "Some Things in Home Sale Are Best Kept Secret" (Feb. 22), that when a listing agent said to me, "The sellers are very private people" or "They would appreciate keeping their personal business to themselves," that it's fire sale time!
It is a fundamental motivating or demotivating factor to know why the sellers are selling. Is it rowdy neighbors, a recent unsolved murder next door or loud parties?
Whatever the reason--personal, tragic or even comic--the prospective buyer has a right to know. As soon as an agent starts hedging about privacy issues, a red flag goes up and normally the worst is feared.
The seller creates an air of doubt and suspicion that could prevent the buyer from making any offer at all. I would advise any seller to think twice before putting up any roadblocks to an already complex home-buying process. As a public relations practitioner with real-estate agent clients, I'd absolutely advise against this practice.