Updated 3/16/17; Originally published 8/24/15
- Make it easy on buyers and agents to schedule showings
- Always say “yes” to a showing
- Be sure to take basic precautions with respect to protecting your home and belongings during showings
You picked a great price. You’ve made any absolutely necessary repairs and gotten the house clean and tidy. You have fantastic pictures and are getting promoted by your real estate agent.
It is all worthless if buyers can’t see your home.
Your buyer is almost surely not going to buy sight unseen! Would you?
For buyers to fall in love with your home, they need to see it! Remember, marketing your home is all about foot traffic – accessibility – the “A” in my “PACE” Home Selling Strategy. You’ve got to get soles to get sold.
Showing Your Home
I believe the ideal way to sell your home is vacant. It is easier for everyone – the seller, buyer, and agents.
But that is not always an option.
If selling your home while still living in it, it behooves you to be as accommodating to the buyers’ showing schedule as possible.
And buyers can be a nuisance! They’re trying to see the house, sometimes with little notice, after hours, and almost always on your weekend! Most times you will receive a day’s notice or so. But having the flexibility and understand to show on even shorter notice will help sell your home quickly. In my experience, buyers rarely reschedule a showing. If you say “no”, there are often 10 other homes on their list that meet their needs, too.
“We can’t show the house because…
…we don’t want to sell it”. That is all an agent will hear after the “because”. Birthday parties, moving out, house is a mess, family visiting, whatever. When you decline to show your home even once, your agent probably just crossed your house off of their “Closings I Am Looking Forward To” list, (and yes, agents do make those lists).
Selling your home is about getting exactly the right buyer in the door to make an offer. Every showing counts. This is especially true at the higher price points ($250,000+ in the Fort Hood area) where there may only be a few showings a month.
I recommend making showing your home appear to be as easy as possible.
In the MLS, agents include showing instructions for the other agents. E.G. “24 hour notice required” or “please take off shoes” – that sort of thing.
Agents often get last minute showing requests from clients, sometimes hours before a client wants to see their home. If an agent is scouring listings to show, they are going to pay special attention to the showing instructions. A home that appears too complicated to get scheduled may not make the final cut. Is that fair? Well, that’s just the reality.
Make it read easy to show. Even if in fact you have three kids, two dogs and a parrot, I recommend advertising “1 hour notice. Easy to show!” This lets a Realtor feel at ease adding your home to their list of homes to show.
That, of course, means keeping the home in relatively good condition and having an exit plan to get the whole household assembled and out in time for showing. But if you can do that, you maximize your odds of getting under contract. No more showings and rushing everyone out the house!
Another way to make showings even easier on agents is to employ an appointment service like ShowingTime® or Centralized Showing Service (CSS). Instead of calling your agent to schedule a showing, they call these companies which then call you to confirm the time with you.
Why is that better? Well, successful agents are busy folks during the day, and can’t always answer their phone or get back quickly to a showing request. A showing service is always available, 24/7. The buyer’s agent can confidently schedule your home to view at any time.
Lockbox and Security
Your home will have a lockbox with a key in it so that buyer’s agents can let their buyers in to see your home. The lockbox is an electronic Bluetooth device that is opened only by licensed real estate agents who pay for the service and app. The lockbox keeps a record of who accessed your home and when, in the event there is an incident and you need to track down who accessed the home. The benefit of working with a broker to sell your home and offering a buyer’s agent commission is that you have professional agents showing your home, accompanying the buyer throughout the home, and bringing only qualified buyers through.
Regardless, store jewelry, money, and precious keepsakes elsewhere while your home is on the market.
Tips on Showing Your Home
Check out here if your home is vacant, or here if you are selling owner-occupied.
For most homes, accessibility isn’t a challenge, especially vacant homes that are easy for Realtors to schedule and access. But I have worked with sellers – either as their agent or the agent trying to schedule a showing – who can be difficult scheduling a showing. Don’t be that guy. The Fort Hood market is a buyer’s market, not a seller’s market. It can be a hassle sometimes, but please just prepare for that if you are serious about selling. Declining a showing is the #1 way to go from “active” to “expired”.
Questions about lock boxes, showing services or showings? Share in the comments!
Brian E Adams, REALTOR®
I am a real estate agent in the Fort Hood area, with StarPointe Realty. Contact me for help buying and selling in Central Texas!