Selling Advice

My Friend Wants to Buy My House…

When your guests visit, they always sing high praises for your house. In fact, one couple loves it so much that they insist they want first crack at if you ever decide to sell. Naturally, they are so impressed with the house that you don’t expect them to quibble about the price. You aren’t surprised. After all, you have put lots of love into your home and as far as you are concerned it’s perfect. It should fetch top dollar! Trust me, I know the entire conversation by heart!

Move Toward Your Selling Goal

Unfortunately, when the time comes to step up to the plate, most who expressed interest aren’t as sincere or as capable as hoped. With visions of saving commissions dancing in their heads, sellers often want to delay listing until the “friends” make their final decision. Because this day may never come, it’s good to know there’s a reasonable solution that will allow the property to be listed while preserving the right to sell to someone with prior interest.

In other words, you can have the best of both worlds. After all, keeping the property off the market isn’t the best way to move toward your selling goal. Sellers should simply request that their real estate agent include the prospect as an “exclusion” on the listing agreement. By listing the prospect in the special terms (along with commissions due, if any) should be enough. But don’t expect an exclusion period to last forever. I start spending money the minute I list, so I limit the exclusion period to 60 days or less. This should be ample time for the excluded buyer to move forward. In fact, knowing the property is listed will motivate them to perform. A notation about excluded buyers must be noted in the MLS. And remember, your “friend” is probably looking at other properties with an agent while considering yours.

After a Buyer Commits…

But here’s the thing, even in today’s market, finding the buyer is still the easy part. The things that hold a transaction together once a buyer decides to commit have not gotten easier. Loans have gotten so complicated that choosing the proper loan and lender could make or break the transaction. Cash purchases can also be challenging. Still, excluding a potential buyer is a reasonable way to begin marketing the home while waiting for the “friend” to perform. After all, if the property is not on the market, your friend is basically the only one who CAN buy no one else will even know you decided to sell!

About the Author

Denise Nakanishi

Denise Nakanishi is a REALTOR Broker with Hawai'i Life. Denise Nakanishi is one of Hilo's most acclaimed real estate agents. She reached the rank of Major in the US Army and is now known by many as "Major Mom." The nickname fits–not only does Denise bring the discipline and mission-oriented attitude you'd expect, she's also caring and compassionate, always looking out for her clients like they're her own family. Having made the Big Island her home since 1987, Denise combines her extensive knowledge of the area with a sharp focus on customer service and the results speak for themselves. She's the recent recipient of the Best East Hawai`i, Best of Zillow, Chairman's Circle Award, President's Circle, Top Producing Agent since 2001, and Realtor of the Year awards. Denise stays ahead of the curve because she's passionate about education–she served as Education Chair for Hawaii Island REALTORS® for many years. She's one of Big Island's best real estate resources, known for her weekly article in the Hawaii Tribune Herald. Denise leads Team Nakanishi for Hawai`i Life, who is committed to their family, work, and community. In her little time away from work, Denise is a committed runner and Grandy. She also devotes many hours to various Veterans' Organizations, the East Hawaii Cultural Center, and the Hawaii Island REALTORS®. You can email me at or via phone at (808) 936-5100.

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