Understanding the Selling Process/Feeling a Bit More Comfortable…
In my many years of real estate sales, I can honestly say that I’ve never heard a home seller exclaim that they enjoyed the process of marketing their home. It is a disruptive process to normal home life, with outsiders making judgments about good taste or not so good taste in your home decor, the asking price, the condition and level of housekeeping and similar items, and this can often lead to bruised egos and lots of discomfort over time. There’s not much we can do about the foibles of human nature in this process, but to reduce the overall frustration level at least a little bit while your home is on the market, you should be aware of the following points regarding the process of agents previewing and showing your home.
An agent may show up with client in hand (a “showing”) or may be by themselves (a “preview”), viewing the property for a potential client/buyer or in advance of a listing possibility in the neighborhood. Both of these are, of course, acceptable activities, and you will be told which applies with each agent visit.
All appointments are coordinated by the RE/MAX Results appointment desk person who will call you, leave a message, and confirm the appointment with the showing agent (a “call and leave message confirmation”) or call you until they talk to you in person to find out if the appointment is OK (a “must reach confirmation”). To maximize agent exposure to your home, the first method of confirming an appointment is best, but you are certainly free to choose which method makes you feel the most comfortable.
Appointments are typically confirmed in one hour intervals, (i.e., “Joe Smith of XYZ Realty would like to show/preview your home between 1:00-2:00 this afternoon…”). This means that the agent can show up at 1:00 or at 1:55 and still be “on time”. Technically, the agent and client(s) should have finished their viewing by 2:00, but if they arrived at 1:55 and there is some interest on the part of the buyers and the time goes beyond 2:00, it is hard to be critical. It is possible that appointments made by a couple of agents may be for the same time period. This is generally OK, because agents will work around each other courteously most of the time. Agents will generally be instructed to “remove shoes” especially in nasty weather, leave a business card, make sure doors are locked, and not allow the cat/dog outside, if applicable. Agents are usually pretty good about following these instructions, but obedience is far from 100%.
The one hour time frame discussed above can be a real test for homeowners, especially when I mention that it is best for you not to be present during showings. My best advice in this context is to wait for the agent and client to show up, greet them and allow them entry, then depart or lose yourself somewhere else in the house. You do not have to leave when the agent is only previewing. Agents do try to be on time, but sometimes that is not the case, so try to be as understanding as possible if they show up early or late. I usually suggest that lights be left on after previews and showings, because there could be additional appointments set up for later on in the day.
If you cannot help being present for showings or previews, be courteous and welcoming, but, above all, do not act like a tour guide – let agents/clients tour your home on their own, because otherwise they will feel very ill at ease, and will not feel free to discuss the merits and demerits of your home with each other. Besides all of that, you will not have a clue as to what features are of interest (or not) to the agent/client, and your efforts to guide may be counterproductive. Avoid conversations about your future plans, reasons for moving, length of time on the market, showing activity, price, or similar topics – refer these questions to me as your representative. Other types of questions like the proximity to shopping, trails and parks, schools, and the like are fair game if you know the answers, but try to keep discourse to a minimum.
If I have the honor of listing your home for sale, you can expect me to send personalized e-mail requests for feedback to showing and previewing agents and to transmit their responses back to you in an unvarnished way. You can then get a glimpse of what the market is saying about your price, and the condition of your home vis-a-vis others on the market. This additional information may lead us to do a bit of extra work around the house or to think about a price adjustment. These points are entirely in your court, and my job is to add a degree of wisdom to the situation, then carry out your wishes to the letter. In you initial discussion with me, you will be provided with a flavor for the average time it has taken to sell similar homes in your neighborhood. You will also learn more about “market value” and why the ultimate price you receive accurately reflects this number. You will also learn about some activities “behind the scenes” that I’ll carry out to increase the exposure of your home to potential buyers, and you will be provided with information about staging your home and preparing it for the very important photography session.