Thursday, July 24, 2008

Follow Up Comments ... Should the Seller Leave or Stay?

Interesting Follow Up to our previous Blog ... Following are some interesting comments we received on our post regarding whether or not a seller should stay home during a showing. Thanks to those who shared their opinions!

Should the Seller Leave or Stay When Their Home Is Being Shown?

10 Comments on Should the Seller Leave or Stay When Their Home Is Being Shown?

I think most buyers are a little uncomfortable when the sellers are home. The buyers feel like they are invading their home.
07/16/2008 01:31 PM
Steve Dawson (Prudential California Realty)

Jim, I had a Seller who insisted on attending "ALL" showings after a while and several showings the seller got frustrated with arranging his schedule around our showings. So eventually he prepared a hand-out with the features he believed were important, in case a showing was unassisted by the listing agent. That seemed to work out for all parties concerned. Steve
07/16/2008 01:35 PM
Steve Loynd, Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., Loon Mt, NH.

Great question and off the cuff I would say get them outta of the home as it makes potential buyers uneasy and unrelaxed to speak freely...
With that said, I have shown some homes where the seller was on site but NOT directly in the home and was available for questions that the buyer and myself had and got straight forward honest answers that helped the buyer make a decision.
but in general I would say get your sellers off site. Any questions can be answered after the showing and thru the listing agent. All it takes is the seller to say one wrong thing to off set the potential buyer and teh sale is blown...
07/16/2008 01:38 PM
Ryan Servatius (ERA Network Real Estate)

If they want to be there for the showings they are control mongers. Better gone than scaring off potential offers.
07/16/2008 01:46 PM
Heath Coker, Broker Owner (Cape Group Real Estate &

Certainly buyers are more comfortable viewing a home without the seller present. I have a few listings that are Ranches. Since I didn't grow up in the country and much of the lingo and even important features that a ranch buyer seeks still elude me, I appreciate the help of an experienced rancher in showing the property. Where it is imporant to draw the line, is making statements or promises that may not be accurate. Sellers have a vested interest in selling at the highest possible price -- so I need to make sure that they don't oversell something about the property. I try to have a discussion with the seller ahead of time and advise that the seller avoid overexaggeration and I have a similar discussion with the buyer indicating that any statements made by the seller need to be verified for accuracy -- not that they are attempting to deceive, but we want to make sure that you (buyer) get what you expect -- we don't like negative surprises.
07/16/2008 01:52 PM
Property Connections Realty Inc.

Heath, you make an excellent point and that reminds me of the sellers who want their agents at the shows...

Not good and turns off buyers agents as I have seen listing agents ask the potential buyer directly what they are looking for and then say they have some other listings that might meet their needs...

07/16/2008 01:56 PM
Ryan Servatius (ERA Network Real Estate)

Sellers must leave for all showings. I've never sold a house where the sellers were present when I showed it. The house then becomes "the one with the people at home" instead of "the one with that great master suite."
07/16/2008 02:45 PM
Don Fabrizio-Garcia - Connecticut Real Estate & Appraisals (Keller Williams CT Realty)

Pretty Interesting - the comments all seem to be running in the same direction. Heath, you are exactly right, these people are control mongers. They bragged to us that when they sold their last home they hid a tape recorder to spy on the Agents and see what they were saying. The wife would vacuum the carpet all one direction to make sure she could tell where the footprints lead and which rooms the people really walked into.
Ryan, you are right too! We got many many negative comments in our feed back from the showing agents and their customers. As I said, one agent refussed to show it after a preview session where the seller drove her nuts!

We agree with Steve's comment. If the Seller has "items of interest", let them write a list to be available to potential purchasers.

Thanks all for the interest and for letting me vent a smidge!
07/16/2008 05:24 PM
Jim Valentine (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates)

Jim, I prefer them out of the house. I think that everyone feels uncomfortable having them there. It also leaves them open to giving out information that we as agents can't give, ie why they are moving, how desperate they are to move, how quickly they would or have to be out of the house. This is why they have hired a listing agent, let them be present if they feel that someone has to be!
07/16/2008 05:46 PM
Tony & Darcy Cannon - The C Team (ERA Realty Center)

It is usually better for the seller to be gone but there are always exceptions to every rule. It makes it difficult for buyers and agents to talk about the house with the seller standing there.
07/16/2008 06:57 PM

Gene Allen Realtor Hampton Roads Real Estate (Resh Realty Group)

Should the Seller Leave or Stay When Their Home Is Being Shown?

There is no set rule in the industry. In the Carson Valley where we live and work, some agents are so adamant that a Seller must leave the house that they will turn down showings if the Sellers can't leave. We believe that any showing is better than no showing, but there are ways to maximize the results of your showing and your presence, or absence, can be an integral part of that. Most of the time we recommend that Sellers open the blinds, turn on the lights, put on some soft music and take off. The home will show itself with the showing agent illuminating the highlights.

Buyers know what they are looking for and will seek it out as they look. Without the Seller to interact with they can be fully immersed in the experience of your home ... a good showing.

If a home has complex features that are key selling points, i.e.- supplemental solar hot water heating system, surface water irrigation, etc., the Seller will likely need to be consulted for an explanation so they can finalize a buying decision. It can then be to their advantage to be available at a showing. A seller can show them how easy it is to operate the special feature and how it benefits the property ... ostensibly how it will benefit them. In this scenario the seller should be sure to be scarce - hang out in the garden or garage, out of the way, waiting to be of help if you are asked.

Let the agents do their work. Different agents have different styles, and the really good ones will adapt their style according to how the Buyer processes information. If they have an analytical personality, i.e.- an engineer, they might point out the detail of the new hinges in the doggy door. With a kinesthetic personality they will let them flow through the house and get a "feel" for it ... without intrusion. People will absorb information and buy according to their own personality ... don't intrude on the process with your buying style.

We recently had a Seller that would follow the Buyers and agents around the house showing and talking and negotiating on the spot. They weren't wanted or welcome and lost sales because of it. In fact, one agent that was previewing it for a Buyer had such a negative experience with the Seller that she didn't even show the home to her client ... exactly the opposite affect the Seller was seeking.

Our Advice: As a seller, when you have the opportunity to have a showing take it ... whether you are home, or not. Buyers want to explore your home to see if it will work for them. When they start opening doors and drawers they are showing interest in how your home fits them and their lifestyle. Some Buyers are hesitant to look closely when the Seller is in the home. Take a walk, or a spin around the block. If they have specific questions about your property the agent will ask you or your agent, often via cell phone during the actual showing. If you want to make sure they see or learn something make a sign and put it where they can see it. If you place signs around your house pointing out key things that aren't readily apparent it can really help a showing agent. Pictures on the dining table can help show how pretty your flowers or other seasonal features are. You are helping to show/sell your home in a subtle manner. Nobody knows your home better than you ... be judicious on how much information you give and when you give it. Don't exasperate a Buyer by overwhelming them. Let them enjoy the experience of "trying on" your home to see if it fits ... then enhance that experience and close the sale with your additional details when asked.

Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-5472 ,,

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