As we’ve discussed previously, open houses are a crucial element to any home selling strategy. This is because they’re the most efficient way to get as many buyers through your home as possible. However, it’s often private home showings that result in the serious offers. Therefore, it’s important to plan for incorporating both approaches into your home sale process.
It’s not unheard of for sellers to receive offers directly from open houses. Still, it’s reasonable to expect that a serious buyer will want to schedule a second showing first.
This is because they’ll have more privacy and time to look through the home in detail. This will give them the opportunity to ask their agent questions which will be relayed to you and your listing agent. Obviously, purchasing a home is a big decision to make. Most people will want to see the place a couple of times, with various stakeholders, before making a commitment.
Making Your Home Available for Private Showings
Private showings are where the most serious offers are made. However, they also present a potentially difficult situation for the seller. Unless you’ve already moved out, you’ll need to accommodate requests to see your home while it’s an active listing.
Despite what you may believe, it’s imperative that you’re not home during these showings. Nothing kills a buyer’s interest faster than having the homeowner present. Worse yet, some homeowners feel the need to lurk around behind the buyers during their tour.
Buyers become uncomfortable with asking challenging questions out of concern that they’ll offend the owners. Because they don’t ask the questions on their mind, they remain uncomfortable with the property. Ultimately, they tend to choose other homes.
Besides leaving the home, you’ll want to make sure the house is in impeccable condition for the viewing. This means you’ll need to keep the place clean pretty much 24/7, as showings can take place at any time.
Some homeowners will limit the showing availability to specific days and times, but we strongly recommend against that approach. The last thing you’d want to do is limit buyer access to your home. That is, of course, if your goal is to sell the home as quickly as possible.
What to Expect During and After the Showings
A typical showing starts with the buyer’s agent contacting the listing agent and requesting a 30-60 minute window to tour the property with their clients. Depending on interest in the home and how available you’ve made it, there may be back-to-back showings from morning to evening on most days.
Your agent will install a lockbox on your door to allow access to your home while you’re gone. Buyer’s agents will meet their clients at your home and walk through the inside and outside of the property together. Often, prospective buyers will ask questions, many of which their agent won’t know the answer to. The agent will then forward these questions to you and your agent to answer.
Questions might include:
- Is the home in a flood zone or prone to other natural disasters?
- Why is the homeowner selling the home?
- What is included with the sale (appliances, outdoor furniture, etc)?
- Have any major renovations been made since the home was purchased?
- When was the roof last replaced?
- How old are the appliances, water heater and HVAC system?
- Are there any major issues with the home that could affect the ability to get a loan?
It’s possible that some buyers will ask for a second showing. We recommend you be as accommodating as possible. Multiple showings is usually a sign that they really like the property and are close to making a decision.
Of course, there’s also some folks who aren’t serious about purchasing and just want to look at your home. Sometimes these people will request three or more showings. Having a good listing agent who follows up with the buyer’s agents after each showing can prevent this from happening.
Establishing Your Expectations
If you have any specific requirements for anyone walking through the home, make sure your agent is aware so they can explain that to the buyer’s agents. Buyer’s agents are responsible for enforcing any homeowner rules during the tour.
During the pandemic especially, some suggestions we have for home sellers concerned about home contamination include wearing of booties, using hand sanitizer before entering the home, and wearing a face mask for the duration of the interior tour. Booties and sanitizer should be provided to make compliance easier.
Keep in mind that even with the clearest communication, some agents won’t enforce the rules. As frustrating as this is, the best course of action is to perform your own disinfecting/cleaning routine after the showings. Just remind yourself that this period of discomfort and inconvenience is temporary. Soon enough, the home will be sold and you can return to normalcy.