I’ve recently encountered situations where sellers remain present for buyer showings. I’d like to talk about why this is almost always a bad idea, and share ways for sellers to ensure a good showing experience.
I cringe when sellers expect to be present at my buyer showings, hovering defensively, and pointing out every special feature. When prospective buyers schedule a tour, the seller should be gone… so buyers can evaluate the home in private.
Your Home Doesn’t Need Hype
Real estate isn’t just about bedrooms and bathrooms and finishes; it’s about selling a lifestyle and its benefits. People in Kitsap County buy homes to accommodate a growing family, give the dogs a place to run, reduce the daily commute, make a financial investment, and dozens of other reasons. The reality is this: what’s important to you may not matter to a qualified buyer. You are not going to personally persuade anyone to buy your house; with a solid marketing plan and proper staging, the house should speak for itself.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Show Your Own Listing
By remaining present for buyer showings or open houses, you can sabotage your home sale in many ways.
- Super. Awkward. Greetings. You’re not just sizing up the room, you’re sizing up the other party.
- The buyer and buyer’s agent won’t feel as comfortable discussing critical feedback on the spot.
- The buyer may assume you have something to hide.
- If parking is limited, the agent and buyer will notice this right away if your vehicle is taking up a spot or parked in the garage.
- You could accidentally say something that gives a buyer an advantage in future negotiations.
- You could offend the buyer with seemingly innocuous comments that put them off, because you don’t know their worldview or core values.
- The buyer may not have a fair chance to freely explore the whole property, especially if they don’t feel comfortable opening cabinets or closets in front of you.
- Sellers tend to say too much. You may love that your neighbors’ kids drop by un-announced all the time, but the buyer may value privacy and quiet.
What To Do Instead
I want to acknowledge that your home may have special features and qualities that stand out. Perhaps it has reclaimed or imported materials, trees that bloom beautifully in the spring, or smart fixtures and appliances that can be controlled via mobile apps. There are many ways to inform buyers without intruding upon their private showing:
- Include detailed captions in the online listing photos, emphasizing special qualities or valuable features. This may pique the interest of more buyers!
- Display a typed summary of features, interesting facts, or area highlights on the counter for serious buyers to review. Keep it to one page.
- Specify agent remarks in the MLS listing, including special showing instructions (e.g. “Remove shoes to keep carpets clean, and don’t let the cat out!” or “Beware rotten boards on back deck, use caution.”).
- You can also specify showing tips in the agent remarks (e.g. “Enter the neighborhood from Forest Rock Ln for best views.”).
- Add supplemental documents to the MLS listing, such as plat surveys and well inspections, along with disclosure forms that detail property conditions.
- I showed a home recently that had gallery-quality labels printed and placed sparingly around the home (e.g. “Self-Closing Drawers” or “Dual Fuel Fireplace”). This approach could backfire, but it beats mansplaining!
- For documentation, including history, wildlife, vegetation, utilities, and equipment operation or maintenance, it’s best to type a concise summary and place it in a marketing binder. Keep it simple, because no one will read it all during a 30-minute showing.
- If valuables are a concern, they should be removed from the house prior to listing it.
Trust the Process, and Be Flexible
There may be times when a seller cannot leave the home for buyer showings. Sometimes, an illness, disability or health-related condition prevents a seller from leaving the home. Lack of transportation or severe weather may also require sellers to stay put. In each of these cases, common courtesy and agent professionalism will go a long way to ensure a positive showing experience.
Getting qualified buyers through the door is a big part of the listing agent’s job. And a good agent will take the time to understand your needs and priorities, and direct the entire process accordingly. Trust agents to do their jobs, and give the buyers space to evaluate your home on their own terms.