Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Should I Leave or Stay When My 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 you 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 you to interact with they can be fully immersed in the experience of your home … a good showing.

If your home has complex features that are key selling points, i.e.- supplemental solar hot water heating system, surface water irrigation, etc., you will likely need to be consulted for an explanation so they can finalize a buying decision. It can then be to your advantage to be available at a showing. You 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 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: 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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