Why Should Sellers Be Absent During Showings?

If only there were a way to sell your home without letting all those people come through. Unfortunately, the reality is that homes must be shown in order to be sold. Also, few buyers commit to purchasing a home without first spending some time there. Some buyers need to spend a lot of time in a home before they decide to buy it.

Most experienced agents recommend that sellers vacate their home when it's shown to prospective buyers. This is usually inconvenient for sellers, but there are reasons why it's best for sellers to be gone when their home is shown.

Ambivalence, or the approach-avoidance syndrome, is a major theme in many home buying sagas. Here's how the scenario often plays out: A great listing comes on the market. A buyer sees it, falls in love with it and seriously considers buying it. Then the buyer get nervous about making a commitment, has second thoughts, decides against it and moves on to other listings.

Before deciding to buy a home, buyers often must go through the process of picking the place apart. They need to look in every closet, nook and cranny. They need to discover everything they don't like about a home before they can make a decision to go ahead and buy it.

Most buyers won't scrutinize a home in the presence of the sellers. Buyers are often too embarrassed to look inside closets if the sellers are home. They may hate your green carpet, but they'll smile and tell you how much they love your place if you are there.

Accomplished agents can help buyers get past their objections to a home. But to do this agents need to have the opportunity to analyze the home with the buyers in private--outside of the seller's ear-shot. Green carpet can be changed. It may even cover beautiful hardwood floors.

It's natural for sellers to want to know what buyers think about their home. You probably won't get a straight answer from the buyers themselves. Nor is it appropriate to call the buyers' agent and ask him or her for feedback.

Your own agent should follow-up on each and every showing of your home and report back to you with feedback from the buyers. Often useful information can be gleaned from your agent's follow-ups. You may discover a common complaint, and it may be something that you can remedy. For example, if every buyer that looks at your home likes it but can't stand the green carpet, you have the option of changing the carpet if the home isn't selling.

Not all agents routinely follow-up on showings and report back to their sellers. Let your agent know that this is something you expect as part of your marketing plan. Also, don't blame your agent if the reports are not 100 percent positive.

First-Time Tip: Some sellers never leave when their home is shown. This may be due to the sellers' natural curiosity, or perhaps their agent didn't counsel them properly. If you are going back to see a home you're interested in, and the sellers have always been home, have your agent request that the sellers leave this time. This will give you the opportunity to evaluate the home without being inhibited by the sellers' presence.

The Closing: Sellers who can't leave during a showing should make themselves scarce. Sit in the garden, or hide-out in your home office. Greet the buyers courteously, then disappear. Under no circumstances should you follow the buyers around your home, hovering while they look.

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Realities of Real Estate: A look at how the real estate market is doing
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There are a variety of indices, or metrics if you will, that we follow to measure where we've been, and where we might be going, in the world of real estate. The performance of real estate locally might be different, but for the big picture, here are ...


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