Preparing Home Sellers for Showings
Successful showings are the result of good preparation by both you and your sellers. You'll find that buyers are more plentiful if you make sure your listings have a reputation among other agents as being homes that are easy to show. You'll need seller cooperation to make that happen, so put yourself on the pathway to sales by explaining some of the intricacies of showings to your sellers.
Most sellers want the house to be in “perfect” condition before a buyer sees it. Sometimes they ask you to put a note on the MLS that a twenty-four-hour notice is required for a showing. What they don't understand is that same-day and last-minute requests are common.
They might miss out on a good number of showings by being inflexible. Agents might even stop asking for showings if the sellers deny access too often. Explain that fewer showings equal fewer potential buyers, which increases the time it takes to sell and decreases the demand for the house.
Encourage sellers to keep the house in good showing condition, even if it's not perfect. Buyers can see past a little clutter as long as the house isn't dirty. The easiest way to maintain the house during the time it's on the market is to get the prep work handled before it goes on the market; organize rooms and perform de-cluttering tasks so that ongoing care will be easy.
Showings for tenant-occupied houses must be handled according to your state laws. Learn how much notification you are required to give renters before entering the house. Most states allow access with twenty-four hours advanced notice. Sometimes you can work out special deals with the tenants to shorten that timeframe.
Keeping It Flexible
Real estate agents try to arrive with their buyers at the scheduled showing time, but sometimes there are delays. Buyers might arrive late for their appointment. They could all be stuck in traffic. Late arrivals are often caused when buyers take longer than planned to look at one or more houses before they get to yours. Hopefully, your sellers are away from the house in anticipation of the showing. Encourage them to stay away a little longer than they think is necessary, so that they don't interrupt the showing when they return.
Sellers Who Want to Show
Sellers worry that agents and buyers won't be able to view the house adequately unless they are there to show them the fine points. In fact, many want to be present because they are curious about potential buyers and they want to witness buyer reaction to the home.
Make your sellers aware that buyers feel very uncomfortable when a seller is present. They often won't even open closet doors or look into all of the rooms because they fear being rude. It isn't unusual for buyers to try to get away from the house quickly if they feel the seller is watching them. That's not a good scenario for a sale.
Convey showing facts to sellers in a “did you know” tone, rather than telling them what they must and must not do. They are more likely to comply with your requests when they understand that certain actions will help them sell the house and others can slow down the sale tremendously.
Sellers like to talk to buyers, and not just about the house. Buyers might be turned off by the mood of the seller or by a statement the seller makes, causing an early exit. They are there to see the house, not get to know the seller and chitchat about hobbies or the weather — or worse, politics and other controversial topics. It's best for business to keep them apart.
If your seller absolutely will not leave, make sure they understand that it might reduce their chances of a sale. Counsel them to go outside or stay in one location while buyers are there, and not to hover over the buyers and their agent.
Sellers Who Want You to Be Present
Sellers may not realize when asking you to be present at showings that your presence is an immediate turnoff to other agents. They don't have time to work around your schedule and as previously noted, real estate is a competitive business. Some agents are afraid you'll try to take away or influence their buyers. If the other agent is working as a buyer's agent, she won't feel comfortable discussing the house with her clients if you are there. Explain to sellers that having you around can be the kiss of death to showings and refuse to do it unless there is a very good reason why you should be there.
Show that you respect your seller's opinion by asking him what he thinks the home's best features are. Promote those features and others in a flyer, and make sure the seller has a supply of them to leave out for buyers at showings.
Some sellers might ask you to be present if they are worried about the theft of small items from the home. There is no guarantee that you or another agent will see every move a buyer makes, so those items should be packed away before showings begin. Packing them up reduces the chance of theft and keeps buyers from spending their time inspecting an interesting collection instead of looking at the house.
As some people are afraid of dogs and other pets, it's best if they are taken away from the house during showings. If that's not possible, owners should put pets in crates or kennels while buyers are in the house.
While it can be difficult to communicate to sellers that they must follow your guidelines and de-clutter the home, go elsewhere during showings, and put their beloved pets in a kennel for the duration of a showing, try to remember that sellers often simply want to help you get the house sold. Try to figure out a way to give them a role in the sales process, but make sure it's one that is truly helpful and that won't have a negative impact on showings.