When buyers appear at your doorstep, it's best to leave. But if you can't, the less said the better.

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When you put your home on the market, you may feel you’ve invited the world to your doorstep. The phone starts ringing, and your agent may ask you to take the family and the dog for a drive while your home is shown to a potential buyer.

Among the reasons you have an agent is to take your place for showings, but sometimes it just happens that you’re home when another agent brings a prospective buyer.

Try to get out of the house, if possible.

Assign each family member a room, hand him or her a basket that can be used to gather up all clutter, then quickly shoved under a bed or put into a closet.

When the showing is over, you can retrieve the baskets and put things in their proper place.

The main reason you want to be gone is that it allows buyers the opportunity to imagine themselves as the new owners of your home. It also prevents you from inadvertently saying something that could improve the buyer’s negotiating position.

Like preparing a witness for trial, your agent has probably coached you on what to talk about and what not to talk about when you come face-to-face with a buyer.

Here are suggestions that may help.

Stay off topics that could be sensitive such as churches, schools or neighbors.

If you have pets, don’t mention that or your buyer’s eyes might immediately start searching the floors for stains.

Don’t talk about what you’ve done to the home. That’s a no-win game in which you either did too much and the buyer doesn’t want to pay for it, or not enough and the buyer wants to discount your home.

Don’t mention warranties or guarantees. Some of these may be negotiation points you’ll need later.

Don’t offer personal information about you, your situation, your job or any family members.

Don’t mention other buyers or the number of showings you’ve had.

Don’t mention anything about the size of the house or its rooms. “Cozy” rooms may appear small to some buyers, while other buyers may be looking to downsize.

It is your house, but the buyer may consider your presence an intrusion.

— “Guide to Home Selling” by the National Association of Realtors