Showings – Make the Most of Them
Now that your home is on the market, we want buyers to come and see it, but what happens when they do? How do you prepare your home–and yourself–for these visits by total strangers? These three key points will help you get through the showings process in good humor.
1. Notice of Showings Doesn’t Always Happen Quite Right
The best scenario is someone calls to let you know they are coming at a specific time and they show up as expected. The good news is most of the time, they will do what they plan to do, but in the real world several other options are possible.
They are Early or Late
It will be easier to remain positive throughout this trying time if you realize that in most cases, the intentions were good. When a buyer and their agent have only one home to see, it’s usually fairly easy to be on time. Most of the time, however, they have 4-6 homes they are seeing. In fact, the more serious the buyer, the more homes they tend to look at. They might be in town for a few days with the intention to buy something, and wouldn’t it be nice if they selected your home to buy?
They Don’t Show Up at All
Failing to show up at all could be the result of a family emergency or simply the agent’s lack of courtesy. Sadly, agents sometimes forget that for every appointment they made, there is a human seller who made preparations for the visit, oftentimes rearranging their schedule to accommodate the visit. Disappointing as it can be, it’s easier to accept if you realize sometimes it’s going to happen this way.
Someone Knocks at your Door, but They Haven’t Called
This is a trickier one. First and foremost, think about safety. It’s just good common sense not to allow a stranger into your home just because it’s for sale. A legitimate agent and their buyer will understand your reluctance to invite them in without advance notice. If you feel comfortable letting them in at all, be sure to ask the agent to open the lockbox with their key and give you their business card. No agent should be out showing property without a valid lockbox key or a business card.
2. Where Should You Be? Anywhere But Home!
Buyers feel uncomfortable looking around someone’s home when the owner is watching them. Agents are often reluctant to point out features of your home when you are listening, because they fear saying the wrong thing or failing to mention something you want them to point out. You want the buyer to feel at home so they can visualize themselves living there.
“The Agent Isn’t Selling”
More than once in my years as a listing agent, a home seller will call me to express disappointment that the showing agent and buyer didn’t say anything at all. I’ll ask where they were during the showing, and invariably they’ll say at first they were watching from a distance, but then they took the buyer on a guided tour, pointing out all of the nice features, because someone had to do it, after all!
You can take comfort from the knowledge that a buyer’s focus the first time through a home is often simply to see if the floor plan works for them, the yard is the right size and there isn’t a freeway within reach. If your home passes these simple tests, you might see this buyer again as they revisit the homes on the short list. There will be plenty of time for them to notice the nice doorknobs you’ve installed.
“They Criticized My House!”
The other key thing to remember is a buyer almost always has to find something wrong with a home they are serious about, and then solve it. If the buyer has no interest whatsoever in a particular home, the size of the bedrooms doesn’t matter, nor does anything else. It’s only when they are considering what it would be like to actually live in the home that they have to solve little obstacles.
A skilled agent will help the buyer figure out their own solutions, in fact, and you should as well. Bunk beds can solve a slightly small room size, but if someone is busy overcoming every little objection, the buyer tends to resist the pressure. They need a little space to reassure themselves that the home will be a good choice.
3. The Most Important Thing
The bottom line is if you want to sell your home, buyers have to see it. Whether they show up without calling or say all the wrong things, it is possible that one of these imperfect people will make a beautiful offer on your home. Or the agent who annoys you might bring someone else tomorrow who will pay top dollar. That’s why it might be best to give them the benefit of the doubt–at least until you know whether they will be the next owner of your beautiful home.