In all the confusion of choosing the right agent to list your home, determining an asking price and developing a marketing strategy, sellers almost always forget to ask (and their agents neglect to explain) what exactly is going to happen to them during the home sale process! “What to Expect While On the Market” is a series of posts I have created that are designed to give you an overview of the typical home-selling process, help you understand why we do things the way we do, and why we give the advice we give.
As soon as your home shows up for sale on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), other real estate agents will expect to be able to show your home. The agent will call our office or showing service to schedule the showing and receive any special instructions. Showings are typically scheduled a few hours in advance within a certain time frame, for example between 2:00 and 4:00 on Tuesday. However, there are no strict guidelines on how much notice agents provide; sometimes they will call the day before; sometimes one hour before.
We will take the agent’s information, call you to confirm that the showing time will work for you, and then call back to the agent’s office with the approval and special instructions. This procedure ensures that only active real estate agents gain access to your home.
What to do during the showing window
Tidy up and LEAVE!! Many sellers understandably believe that because they know and love their home, they can best sell it to potential buyers. However, in reality, most buyers and their agents are uncomfortable looking at a home when the owner is there. They will tend to give only a cursory look to the home, and will have trouble imagining themselves in what is so obviously YOUR home.
When I am acting as Buyers Agents with my clients, I cringe when I realize that the owner is home and intends to show us the house himself.
How tidy does the home need to be?
As tidy and de personalized as reasonably possible. Potential buyers need to imagine themselves living in your home, which is difficult if it is messy, crowded or overly personal.
Strive for an odor free environment
Smell has enormous impact on buyers, even “pleasant” smells such as potpourri or baking bread may evoke negative feelings for some. Almost all buyers react negatively to pet smells, smoke and incense. Do not leave food cooking during showings – dinner is highly personal and will make buyers feel that they’re intruding on your privacy.
-While you’re on the market, try to prepare meals that don’t produce strong odors.
-Thoroughly clean your refrigerator. Out of habit, buyers will open the refrigerator door. Most refrigerators do not smell fresh and leave a lingering odor in the air.
-Clean out the litter box frequently. Cat odors can be a strong deterrent to sale. Ask a friend you can trust if your home has any pet odor at all.
A last look around as you leave each day…
-Make all beds
-Put away dirty (and clean) clothes
-Clean the sinks and mirrors
-Turn on lights
-Close toilet lids
Yes, it is inconvenient, but clean, tidy homes sell at higher prices, period. Isn’t it worth the extra effort?
Can I turn down a showing?
Of course – it’s your home and you have a right to privacy. HOWEVER, please understand how Buyer Agents work with their clients.
Typically, the agent and buyer schedule some time together to look at homes – perhaps 2 -3 hours once or twice a week. They may look at many homes in various parts of town. The agent may want to show your home between 1:00 and 2:00 on Saturday, along with other homes nearby.
If that time slot is inconvenient for you, and you turn down the showing, chances are that the buyer will never see your home. Unfortunately, it won’t work to ask the buyer to come at a different time, because they’ll already be in another part of town, or finished looking. Or, perhaps writing an offer on a competing home…
Try not to risk losing the Perfect Buyer by declining showings unnecessarily.
Sometimes we will call you to schedule an “agent preview”. This means that an agent will come alone to your home (with no buyer) for a quick run through. There are three reasons agents preview:
1. They have busy buyers who want their agent to screen all properties before showing
2. They specialize in your area and like to keep up on the market
3. They have a new listing coming up and are checking out the competition.
The same guidelines for tidiness apply during previews, but it’s not really necessary to leave.
Previewing agents are usually just trying to get a feel for the home, so will probably just breeze through quickly. Don’t be offended or concerned if they are only in your home a few minutes.
Will I show or sell your home?
Maybe…but don’t be surprised if I don’t. There are thousands of real estate agents in our area so the chances of my selling your home personally are small. Of course, if I have, or find, buyer clients who might like your home, I’ll certainly show it to them first.
This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.