Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sellers, should you be home or away for showings at your place?

A seller asked me recently if she should plan to be home or away during real estate showings at her home?

One of the reasons sellers think it could be helpful to be present for a showing is that they are worried a buyer or their agent might not be able find everything, or that they should be present to point out important features. 

Other sellers just wish to be there to see reaction to the showing firsthand.

Sellers should be aware that at the very least buyers feel uncomfortable when they are present, and that it can actually kill a sale. Buyers often won't even open closet or cabinet doors when the seller is home, and when they cannot view a house comfortably, they'll hurry up and move on to the next one.

It's best to be gone for a little while longer than the expected time of the showing.  Here in Chicago, that usually means heading out 10 minutes before the appointment time, and returning 30 minutes after. 

Most agents and their buyers do try to arrive within the scheduled showing time, but sometimes it isn't possible. They may get stuck in traffic, or the house they saw prior to your showing took longer than expected. It happens, and sometimes it happens too late to be fixed by a phone call.

Some Tips:

If you are worried about theft of small items, you should store them away. Packing up collections and small personal items is part of the process you should have already gone through to prepare your house for showings.

Pets should be out of the house during showings, especially large dogs, since many people are afraid of them. A gruff bark coming from inside the house is enough to make some home buyers turn around at the front door.