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Guide to Selling One's Home: Should you be present during buyer visits?

Wondering whether you should be present when an agent shows your home? Check out these tips!

If you're selling your home, you know that one of the biggest anxiety producing subjects is the property showings. Should you stay? Should you go? When clients ask me if they can stay during showings I try to explain that often, it's not the greatest idea. There are several reasons for this, including:

  • Buyers may be inhibited in their discussions while you are present. It's human nature (usually) not to want to hurt the feelings of a seller, so buyers usually keep conversation to a minimum, therefore not fully processing the home and how it could work for them. You want a buyer and agent to be able to talk openly and honestly about the home to process the pros and cons. Often, any perceived obstacles can be solved during these discussions. 
  • Buyers will often rush through a home when a seller is present. They can feel they may be intruding and are sometimes uncomfortable scrutinizing someone's home, so they get in and get out as soon as possible. You want possible buyers to feel comfortable in your home. It is often a "feeling" people use to describe when they knew a home was the "RIGHT ONE," so you want that feeling to be positive. You want them to take their time and see the space and experience the nuances.  
  • Sometimes a seller quite simply can talk too much.  What you feel is a pro or a con, could mean the exact opposite to a potential buyer. How you answer a direct question about your motivation for selling, or what work the home still needs can effect any offer coming from that buyer. You don't want a buyer to know if you're selling in a hurry or have a family issue.  You also don't need them to know "you don't have to sell." You don't want to sound either desperate or difficult. In addition, the subjective nuances of a home or neighborhood are just that, subjective. Let the buyer make up their minds on their own.   
  • You may get hurt feelings.  When a buyer asks you how much it would cost to remove the wallpaper that you spent months selecting and thousands installing, you may get your feelings hurt. Again, referring to the first point above, let buyers  speak freely with their agent. For some, a room full of a feature they don't like, whether it's the carpet or a built in shelving unit, can be remedied during conversation with their agent. Some buyers aren't able to visualize, yet a well placed question from their agent, such as "so if we changed the flooring here, you'd love the house?" could be the difference between an offer and no offer.

Granted, there are times you may be caught home when an agent shows up with their clients, and that's ok. It's best to make yourself scarce. Step out back while they're in the house, give them some space, get the kids out of bed (yes, I've actually shown houses with teenagers sleeping), and stay outside of earshot if possible.  A lengthy visit can often be a good sign, so let them feel at home to talk and explore. If there are features you're worried they will miss, ask your agent to create a detailed flyer with tent cards showcasing the features you want buyers to notice.  

And of course with every rule of thumb, there are exceptions. I've had sellers tour buyers through the home and it worked out well, but that really is the exception to the rule. Following showings, your agent is likely following up with the buyer's agents to elicit feedback and share with you. This feedback can be invaluable to the process, and there sometimes are things inhibiting the sale that can be changed. It's important to take this feedback in the constructive spirit it is intended, change what you can as necessary, but some may well just have to be chalked up to personal preference. Happy Selling!

Catherine Myers is a Real Estate Broker with Windermere Bay Area Properties. DRE license number 01337828. Catherine has resided in the Concord and Clayton areas since 1995.

Search Concord CA Real Estate | Concord Homes for sale | Clayton homes

You can reach Catherine at her Contra Costa Real Estate | Diablo Valley Homes website, or call 925-683-2125.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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