Thursday, October 16, 2008

Seller Tip: Always Take the Showing

by Osman Parvez
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The phone rings.  It's your agent's showing service.  An interested buyer would like to schedule a showing right now. 

Yikes.  The house is a mess. The kids are running around half naked.

You decline the showing and tell them to reschedule with 24 hours notice, as indicated on the listing sheet.  You can't possibly let them see the house in this condition.

Wrong answer.  

This post is tough love based on a real client experience.   Our listing was priced right.  It was being marketed well  (our guerrilla strategies are usually quite effective).   Still, showings were at far lower levels than expected.   We were only seeing maybe a handful every couple of weeks.   Worse, our client was cancelling half of the showings because agents were trying to schedule at the last minute.    

Ideally agents would schedule their showings with ample notice but the reality is that many do it at the last minute, irrespective of showing requirements.  It's a common practice and in a soft market, you should never refuse a showing.   Sure, you risk turning off a potential buyer if they can't see past the mess but the odds of them rescheduling are slim to none.

I know it's tough to keep a house in staged, ready to show condition. Only the most obsessive compulsive person could naturally live this way.  Add kids and you're dealing with mission impossible, but you still have to try.    

If your property is being marketed by an experienced agent, priced to the comparables, and it's STILL not getting many showings, it usually means you're dealing with a soft market.  In a market like this, you simply can't afford to let potential showings go. The buyer will likely NOT come back.

The right answer is to always take the showing.  Rush around and tidy up the house as best as you can.  Throw some clothes on those kids. Then get out of the house and let the showing happen. If you want to sell your home quickly in a soft market, only in extreme circumstances should you refuse to show.  

By the way, if the agent and potential buyer shows up while you're getting ready, drop everything and get out of the house.  Trying to show a home while the seller is still there is never a pleasant experience. It makes potential buyers uncomfortable and they'll only give your house a cursory look. They will be anxious to move on to the next house on their list.  

image: CJ Sorg

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The ideas and strategies described in this blog are the opinion of the writer and subject to business, economic, and competitive uncertainties.   We strongly recommend conducting rigorous due diligence and obtaining professional advice before buying or selling real estate. 

2 comments:

  1. "Obsessive compulsive" is not interchangeable with "anal retentive" - many people with OCD have very messy houses and nobody who has OCD lives "naturally" with the condition.

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  2. A close friend of mine has suffered with OCD and depression for many years. I know firsthand the challenges of the disorder for him, his family, and his friends.

    When I used the term "obsessive compulsive" in this post, I wasn't thinking of the actual psychiatric disorder. But it's still fair to call me on it.

    Point made. Though in fairness, how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go in an effort to be PC. Those suffering with loss of bowel control might take exception of your use of "anal retentive" to mean fastidiousness.

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