Sellers have an important role in the home selling process. The standard provisions of our listing agreement obligate the Seller to help sell the property not only in a general sense but specifically by preparing the home for showings. For example, the Seller needs to allow access for required inspections, secure belongings, and allow installation of a lockbox among other things.
Photo courtesy freedigitalphotos.net/Simon Howden
While we encourage Seller assistance and cooperation, it’s sometimes counter-productive for a Seller to actually walk potential Buyers through the property. Here’s why. I spend a good amount of time with Buyers prior to showings. Discovering their needs and preferences is a large part of my preparation. While a house with a steep driveway may be a problem for one Buyer, it may excite another with teen-aged skateboarders. Buyers see features differently. An astute agent will direct the Buyer’s focus to the features that are important to them.
It’s understandably difficult for Sellers to stand by and let the agent direct the showing especially if the agent has never visited the property. Remember, a Buyer probably does not need to initially consider every feature of the home. They only need to get a general sense of the property.
Being Present During Showings Could Lead to Pitfalls
Of all the reasons a Seller may wish to leave the property during showings, none is more important than what could become the basis for an awkward relationship later on. Often an innocent inquiry escalates into negotiations or worse; it opens the door to a casual friendship that may be easily sidetracked.
Here’s a classic example. Buyer stops by occasionally after purchase has been agreed upon. Eventually Buyer asks Seller’s permission to start making repairs to the now vacant home. Because Buyer and Seller have struck up a friendship, Seller agrees. Time goes by. Closing is delayed. Buyer continues working, each day more aggressively. Repairs are now major.
Just before closing, the lender re-verifies employment and discovers that the Buyer no longer has a job, hence, no longer qualifies for a loan! Get the picture? It’s tough for a Seller who has become friendly with a Buyer to refuse their requests.
Let Your Agent Do the Work While You Take a Walk…or a Hike
This situation (true story by the way) would likely never have developed had Seller not been around during the initial showing. So, while I dearly love all my Sellers, property showings are one situation where I kindly ask them to please “take a hike!”