The standard provisions of our listing agreement obligate the seller to help sell the property, not only in a general sense, but specifically by preparing the home for showings, allowing access for required inspections, securing belongings and allowing a lockbox to be installed While we encourage seller assistance and cooperation, it’s sometimes counter-productive for sellers to actually walk potential buyers through the property. Here’s why. I spend a good amount of time with buyers prior to showings. Discovering their preferences is a large part of my preparation. While a house with a steep driveway may be a problem for one buyer, it may excite another with a teen-aged skateboarder.
Buyers see features differently. An astute agent will be able to direct the buyer’s focus to the features that interest them. It’s understandably difficult for sellers to stand-by and let the agent direct the showing especially if the agent has never visited the property. Remember, a buyer probably does not need to initially consider every feature of the house. They only need to get a general sense of the property. Of all the reasons a seller may wish to leave the property during showings, none is more important than avoiding what could be the basis for an awkward relationship later on.
Often an innocent inquiry escalates into negotiations or worse; it opens the door to a casual friendship that may easily be side-tracked. Here’s a classic example. Buyer stops by occasionally. Eventually Buyer asks Seller’s permission to start making repairs to a vacant home. Closing is delayed. Buyer continues working, each day more vigorously. Repairs are now major. Just before closing, the lender re-verifies employment and discovers buyer no longer has a job, hence, no longer qualifies for a loan! Get the picture? It is tough for a seller who has become friendly with the buyer to refuse their requests. This situation would likely never have developed had Seller not been around during the initial showing. So, while I dearly love all my Sellers, this is one situation where I have to ask them nicely to “take a hike”!