Avoid the home showing blues by creating honest expectations that help you sell

Pictures and videos are great marketing tools. And if you have created the best first impression then these images are going to look amazing. Your house is ready to show anyone that is ready to buy.
Yet, some sellers make it difficult for buyers to show the home.

Set your expectations

The truth is, buyers must be able to see your home in person. If they can’t do it themselves, they will send a representative to look the property over. Rarely do homes sell unseen.
Your marketing has convinced buyers to walk through your door. Now you need to open it.
If you want to get the most money for your home, you must be willing to let buyers in on their schedule. They are the ones with the money. Let’s calibrate our expectations and be realistic about how showings work. 
To be clear, I am not suggesting that sellers should make their homes available 24 hours per day. And it is acceptable to have a day here and there when it can’t be shown (such as a family gathering or holiday).
However, you do need to make the home available during reasonable hours.
Real estate showings are mostly done on the weekends and the evenings. That is when buyers are available to visit homes.
I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to schedule a showing during reasonable hours but I’m told that the home is not available. Some buyers are from out of town. Other buyers have a very busy schedule. If they can’t see your home now, you may not get another shot.

Making your home available

Here are my suggestions on making your home available for showings:
  • Commit to making the home available during reasonable hours, for example, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. It is acceptable to ask for at least 1 hours of notice before a showing.
  • Be flexible with showing times. If buyers are working with an agent, they may be visiting several other homes, including yours. If the visits before yours go shorter or longer than they anticipated, it may throw off the expected time of arrival at your home. Most agents will call or text you with an update. But expect the unexpected.
  • Be ready for your showing to take longer than expected. Most showings take 10-20 minutes on their first viewing. But, if buyers like a home, it may take longer. I once had a showing take two hours. It can be frustrating, but a long showing is usually a good sign. If you have kids or pets, be ready to be out of your home.
  • Make it easy to schedule showings. If you are doing the scheduling yourself, respond to requests promptly. There are also some online scheduling apps available. I use ShowingTime for real estate agents. But if you are doing For Sale By Owner (FSBO), you could use a solution like Calendly to set appointments.

Note to For Sale By Owners

If you do not have a lock box set up and do not feel comfortable giving out a lock or key code to strangers, you will need to be present at the home to let the buyers in.
PLEASE BE SAFE! Unlike using a lockbox, there will be no record of who is entering your home. Take the necessary precautions.
If you are away during the day or weekend, you will need a plan to allow people into your home while you are gone.
Selling your home is not easy and it comes with some inconveniences. But, when you think of it as an investment, it becomes clear that this is another part of the process.

What if the home is a rental with tenants?

This scenario poses some challenges. Especially if you are using a property management company and do not have any kind of a relationship with the tenants.
Your first step will be to check your lease. Make sure that you have the right to show the home while your tenants are under contract. Most of the time there is a clause to get in, but you may need to give 24 hours of notice or some other restriction. This is not a deal killer. But you need to be aware.
Much like home preparation, sellers need to consider the tenant’s motivations. Why would they want or not want you to sell the home they live in?
Respect for the tenant is always the best place to start. Do the best you can and you will be successful.

Buyers and sellers work together

The important thing when showing your home is that you and the buyer will need to figure out showings. With flexibility and a commitment to regular hours, you will get the right buyer through your door.