Arlington, VA home sellers: Just say Yes to showings

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Redwood Realty, Arlington Virginia

Although the interwebs are great for searching for Arlington, VA homes for sale, homes cannot actually get sold on the internet.  People need to go into houses to buy them.   I work with as many buyers as sellers, actually more buyers this year than sellers.  I have had sellers turn me down for showings, when I give plenty of time, notice and options, every time I've gone out with buyers lately.  Maybe it's just my bad luck?  Doubt it.  I think in any market there are sellers who are not told unequivocally the importance of not turning down showings.  

When I first meet with prospective sellers, I explain these "truths of showing" to them if I agree to take the listing: 

Say Yes to home showingsShowings will come at the worst time.  Buyers often want to see your house at dinner time, Saturday and Sunday mornings and maybe even when your kid is sick.  They don't mean to inconvenience you, but when you are living in a product for sale on an open market, life as you know it will be different.  They have many houses to see and only a few ours to do so.

Don't turn them down.  That is if you really want to sell.  Truly, I have kids, and I know it is awful when they are sick.  And while you are living in a pretty lousy day of temperature checks, regular motrins and fluids and endless kid movies, you get a call for a showing. It's tempting to say "no."   But unless they are incapacitated, bundle them up and take him/her to get a milkshake.   It might even make them feel better.

You might want to think about not having dinner parties or extended houseguests who make leaving for a showing impossible.  Or if you do have such things, let the buyer come over while you are there.   Yes, it's a good idea to always be gone, but a showing with owners is better than none at all.

Why is this so important?  You think - Surely if they want to see my house, they will come back.   Yes that makes sense, but really, it's not how buyers work.  They are dismissed, they are rejected - you've set a bad first impression.  But more importantly, there is probably another house out there that they will get to see today, because that seller said yes, and they will buy it.  It's that simple.  The power of a buyer walking into a house and having it say "Home" to  cannot be replaced by all the fancy internet marketing in the world.   They have to walk in to buy it and if they do, they will completely forget about yours that they could not see today.

The good news is, if you let your self be inconvenienced for the first several showing requests, you will probably get an offer and move on with your life!

If you are thinking of selling your home in Arlington, VA or surrounding areas, and want a Realtor who will give you solid advice and will get the job done, give me a call.   I'd love to chat about how I can help you.


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Kathryn Maguire (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

It amazes me that we need to continue to stress the importance of access when selling your home but it is so true!  Serious sellers realize this.

Aug 16, 2012 08:20 AM #1
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Sellers who turn down showing might as well take a loaded gun to their own foot.  As you point out, showings will always seem to happen at the worst moments.  Deal with it!  Be inconvenienced now for the sake of getting your house off the market.  

Aug 16, 2012 08:37 AM #2
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Featured in the group:  BARTENDER, MAKE IT A DOUBLE.

Aug 16, 2012 08:38 AM #3
Elva Branson-Lee
Solid Source Realty GA - Atlanta, GA
CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent

Won't show, can't show, and what about Secret Sellers!? In the short sale niche, we sometimes come across sellers who don't want a sign or lockbox either. We can eventually get them sold, of course, but with a little more help from the sellers, we could certainly get the offers flowing quicker.

Congrats on your feature, Coral

Aug 17, 2012 11:04 AM #4
Coral Gundlach
Century 21 Redwood Realty, Arlington Virginia - Arlington, VA

Kathryn:  I know. These are the basics.  But really, I don't blame the sellers.  The agents have to lay down the ground rules for success.

Chris Ann:  Exactly.  I question their true desire to sell if they expect to sell without changing a thing in their life.

Elva:  That must be tough!  I've never had a no lockbox seller.  No sign before, but that's workable with the internet.   

Aug 17, 2012 11:08 AM #5
Tamara Inzunza
RE/MAX Executives / / 703-623-8759 - Alexandria, VA
Potomac Yard, Del Ray, Old Town Top Listing Agent

You're right, when buyers make an appointment, they are on a mission.  When they can't see the house, they do feel dismissed and immediately get the impression that the seller doesn't want to sell.

Aug 19, 2012 06:49 PM #6
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hi Carol,

You are so right on this one...and I've never quite seen it like this before.

And imho to make it even worse it seems to me like too many agents are "getting in the way" of showings we see it all the time. Call agent to show, i.e. can show only on Mondays & Wed. 1:00-3:00 p.m. for example! Absolutely ludicrous!

Aug 19, 2012 07:15 PM #7
Sharon Vest
Century 21 JC Jones American Dream - Grants Pass, OR

I am always amazed when a seller says "oh no, this is not a good day for me."  Now I do understand that there are circumstances.  Serious illness, death in the family, plumbing ruptured and water everywhere.......

My personal story is none of the ablve:  A seller who is very cooperative for short notice showings but insists that I be there for every one!  OK, it is only a few blocks from my office so I can coordinate that.  Uh, oh, we have 10 people and one dog visiting this week so no showings please!  Well, stuff happens and we deal with it.  This is a pretty hot property and shows like a dream and I have had to soothe a couple of buyer's agents over the delay but we all worked it out.  Nothing is impossible if you really want a solution. 

Bottom line though, we need to find ways to educate those sellers in advance of the importance of being ready any minute because your buyer may be waiting at the curb!

Aug 19, 2012 09:45 PM #8
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(808) 226-1095 or (831) 626-4000
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

Coral: You would think that sellers would make showings their first priority but, yes, life gets in the way. At least owners are motivated; just don't have tenants in there, then chances are you have a horror show.

Aug 21, 2012 02:45 PM #9
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