After a few days of showing, I think back on what my clients and I saw and how it reflects on the real estate market. Many homes are beautifully presented and competitively priced...these homes make it hard for a buyer to make a decision.
On the other hand, an awful lot of houses are listed but are just sitting. Maybe the seller isn't really aware of how much competition there is, or maybe she is tired, or maybe too beat up by too many negative comments for months. Or at a vacant listing, maybe the agent has turned on lights and swept the front porch so many times that she, too, is tired of making an effort and not getting results.
I understand...even for the nicest homes in the nicest neighborhoods, there just aren't enough active buyers. Nevertheless, if a house is listed for sale, the homeowner and the agent really should make an effort for every single showing.
Here's a few thoughts after seeing some sort-of-sad houses this weekend.
Current Remarks: Please make sure your MLS remarks are current. "Free Spring Break trip to St. Croix for contract by February 1" is probably not a current incentive.
Real Buyer? I am not entertaining my family and friends by showing houses. I am working and, yes, I believe it's a real buyer. I am NOT sharing client information to get the listing agent to get his seller to clean the place up. You'll just have to trust me...if I'm showing, it's a real buyer.
Schedule Changes: Despite my best efforts, the schedule can change a little as we go through the day. Little kids get car sick, husbands get distracted by their blackberries, teenagers insist on another Diet Coke every hour. If I call in a slight schedule change, either the showing service or the listing agent should be able to reach the seller.
Brochures, feature sheets, something written has to be in the house to highlight the important features of the home. After about the fourth house, the houses start to blur together. And by the way, I think the mini CDs are a waste of money. If someone has to use a computer to see the photos and be reminded of the details, they can just as easily go online.
Community information in the house can be valuable for an out of area buyer. There are hundreds of subdivisions in the western suburbs of Chicago, and I can't possible know every detail of every neighborhood. Community centers, church programs, recycling information, library information: these are all important and and might make a difference in a buyer's decision.
Kids and Dogs: Now that the kids are home for summer, they probably need to be reminded of a few basic rules if someone is there to see the house. Even a 10 year old can clean up his dishes and spritz some Febreze. Teenagers need to get out of bed and let us see the room if it's after, say 11:00 am. And, please, the family dog needs to be taken for a walk when we get there.
I know it's tough market, but if I'm showing your house, I might sell it....help me do the best for all of our clients.