"Don't Show My Home While I'm Gone:" How To Kill Your Home's Sale

Education & Training with Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group

How to kill your home sale“Don’t show my home while I’m gone.”  ...and other silly things home sellers say and do to kill the sale of their home.

You know the drill.  You’ve got ready, willing, and able buyers viewing homes and anxious to strike a deal.  They have narrowed down their choices and plan to make a decision this week.  ...then you try to view the homes, the candidates in line for a deal, the soon to be under contract properties...if all goes well.

Many sellers do everything within their power to make their home rise to the top.  We love those sellers!  Some however, seem to do everything they can to kill the potential sale of their home.  Do they subconsciously not want to sell?  Or do they perhaps just really not get it?

Here are the top 3 things that sellers said and did this past week that killed their home sale for my buyers.  Sellers take note!  Please learn from the mistakes of others and do not put yourself in this position.

“Don’t show my home while I’m gone.”  Really?  In order to sell your home, you do need to actually make it available to buyers on THEIR schedule.  Some day I’d love to meet these folks and find out what on earth they were thinking.  Why not leave your home in show ready condition and encourage your agent to show it as much as possible while you are gone.  That way your days and evenings are not interrupted with showings.  My buyers skipped this home since they did not want to wait another week.

“I’ve rented my home out until it sells.”  Ugh!  That extra money you are collecting may help pay your mortgage now, but will end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run and may prevent a sale entirely.  I hope you enjoy being a landlord, because you will be one for quite some time.  A tenant NEVER has the same motivation as the homeowner to make the home shine.  It is not in their best interest for the home to sell.  If it sells, they will have to find a new place to live.  My buyers spent about 5 minutes viewing this home before running out the door.  The tenants were home and having their lunch.  It was very sad to see what looked like a once lovely home in such an incredibly messy state.

“My home has potential.”  That’s nice, but you don’t get paid for potential.  You only get paid for the realities of the property.  The new buyer who does the work to make that potential a reality is the one that can get paid for it.  You don’t get to add to the list price for things you have not completed.  The fact that there is a lovely view from the spot where a nice deck would go does not add value when the sliding doors are blocked by a wooden beam to keep people from falling out of the back of the home.  The fact that the “bonus room” over the garage COULD be finished and made into living space does not mean that you get to call it that now and consider that when pricing your home.   If you want buyers to see the “potential” you are actually going to have to show it to them.  My buyers and I laughed as we left this home.  It certainly did not live up to it’s advertising and was overpriced by about $50,000.

Do you have anything to add to the list?

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The Maine Real Estate Network - Kristen Wheatley - Lewiston-Auburn Maine Real Estate

Maine Realtor Kristen Wheatley  

Kristen Wheatley is a Maine Realtor working and living in Central Maine.  She specializes in the sale of residential and investment property in the Lewiston-Auburn area and surrounding towns.  Kristen uses the latest tools and mobile technology to provide a superior experience and results for her clients and enjoys sharing these technology skills and teaching other real estate professionals and local small business owners.

The Maine Real Estate NetworkKristen Wheatley, Associate Broker
The Maine Real Estate Network
34 Center Street - Auburn ME 04210
207-240-2250     www.lamainerealestate.com

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  1. Fred Griffin 01/29/2013 11:11 AM
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Dan Tabit
Northstone Real Estate Inc. - Sammamish, WA

Great post Kristen.  Poorly coached home owners can be their own worst enemy.  I had one who didn't like leaving, and we sold it anyway, but it wasn't easy.

Jan 28, 2013 08:01 AM #14
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Kristen, And #4 on my list is turning down showing appointments the first week a home is on market.  You need to have ebola variant #47 or equivalent if you put your home on the market and turn away buyers who have been WAITING for new inventory.

Jan 28, 2013 08:02 AM #15
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Making your home difficult to show is another way not to sell your home.  Recently I ran across a listing that said showings only M-F between 9am to 5 PM no weekend showings.  When I mentioned to the agent that most people would be working during those hours her reply was if they are serious buyers they'll take off work to show it.  Oh and there weren't any photos either.

Jan 28, 2013 08:13 AM #16
Marc McMaster
RE/MAX Centre Realty - State College, PA
Putting my clients before myself

My favorite was a builder client we had that decided he was going to rent his brand new units for a year or two and then try to resell them for more money.  He couldn't understand that people pay a premium for "new" and they don't pay a premium for "former rental."

Jan 28, 2013 08:24 AM #17
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer
Kristen. Really... When the house is rented it becomes almost unmarketable. Our laws kick in for how much advance notice and renter rights. It is a nightmare.
Jan 28, 2013 08:31 AM #18
Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!

That is another great one Gina.  In my area, agressively priced homes are seeing multiple offers, very short days on market, and sometimes sell above list price.

That is priceless Michelle.  Definitely a well thought out and executed plan!

It is so hard to see Peggy, especially when a home owner has poured their heart and soul into improving and maintaining a property.

Thanks Dan. It can be a challenge.  I like how you mentioned "poorly coached sellers,"  since the listing agents are really the ones at fault here.

A great addition BLiz!  AND if they have ebola variant #47, they should be in the hospital so we'd be free to show the home.  :-)  Our MLS just changed the rules so that you are not allowed to put a listing into the system until it can be shown.  If it is not available to be shown, it cannot be in the MLS.  Previously, agents would submit them and there would be a little note in the internal remarks stating that it can't be shown for 2 weeks.

Yes Cindy!  I just LOVE (insert sarcasm here) when agents or their sellers make judgements about what they think "serious" buyers should or should not do.  A serious buyer is the one with the money and the credit to buy your home silly!  These people tend to have JOBS.  They can be a serious employee or business owner AND a serious buyer.  I guess these sellers and agents don't realize that those same buyers are saying "If they were serious about selling their home, they would allow showings."  Go figure.

Oy!  I hear you Marc.  "Near New" just doesn't bring them in like "New." 

That is another whole area of concern Valerie.  Great point.  Do the sellers know for sure that the tenants will vacate the property?  Any decent buyers agent is going to include a contingency for the seller to deliver the home free from tenants...and their belongings.  That can get pretty sticky depending on your state laws.





Jan 28, 2013 08:48 AM #19
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Beautifully written post - so deserving of a feature. Could not have made the points any better.

Jan 28, 2013 09:04 AM #20
Mike Cooper
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro

Perfect, Kristen.  I can't imagine why a seller would think there was even a chance they could sell their home when they make it nearly impossible to show.  I do the same thing you did.  NEXT. 

Jan 28, 2013 09:55 AM #21
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

I find this post very informative and very true.  It is sometimes difficult to get sellers to see REALITY!  :)

Jan 28, 2013 11:18 AM #22
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Wow! That's a paranoid mentality not helpful to good sales demeanor.


Good luck regardless and love and light,


Jan 28, 2013 12:36 PM #23
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Kristen - Keep the home clean.  Buyers do not like other people's dirt, unless they're looking for a deal.

Jan 28, 2013 01:57 PM #24
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Kristen, true, at times we have to deal with difficult sellers who are not willing to cooperate with showings.

And at times, some agents do kill the showings -- by mentioning that we are negotiating an offer right now - just to show the demand for the listing......(even when they are not!)

Jan 28, 2013 02:00 PM #25
Steve Warrene
Your Town Realty - Lower Burrell, PA
Pittsburgh Real Estate Investment Specialists

"Don't show my home while I'm gone" we were just down that road a few days ago. The buyers waited but were not happy (doing from out of town) but we got in, yet they started off with a negative attitude towards the home.

Jan 28, 2013 07:30 PM #26
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

Aren't sellers always gone during showings?  That just doesn't make sense to me.  Good post.  Congrats on the feature.  

Jan 28, 2013 09:22 PM #27
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

Possible house sales is the only example where "the hard to get approach "does not work. .

Jan 28, 2013 09:48 PM #28
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I had a call in regards to a listing where the seller wants to rent it out while he is selling it to OFFSET expenses...Why complicate a very large purchase?

Jan 28, 2013 11:00 PM #29
Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!

Thanks Jill.

Exactly Mike.  Go figure.

Hi Joan.  I'm not sure I would keep sellers like these.  They make me feel very thankful for my sellers.

True Laura.  I'm not sure what they are afraid of.

Good point Christine!  Super cleaning is the #1 thing sellers can do to impress buyers.

A great point Praful.  Disclosing the existence of other offers does not always spur buyers on to jump in.  Sometimes it scares them away.  Here in Maine, sellers have to give permission for their listing agent to do that.  We have that exact conversation before they decide.

Exactly Steve.  It starts everything off on the wrong foot and puts the sellers at a disadvantage during negotiations...even if the buyers decide to hang in there and wait.

Thanks Christiansen Team.  I know.  Things thaqt make you go huh?

So true Fernando!

Oy!  I know Richie.  Sometimes they just haven't thought these things through.


Jan 29, 2013 12:36 AM #30
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Hi Kristen - Great post! Even at times of low inventory like now, there are still plenty of homes so see and sellers need to make theirs as easy to show as possible!

Jan 29, 2013 05:32 AM #31
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Renting your home while you are selling at the same time rarely works for the reasons you mention. If renting your home is your only option, take it off the market until you can afford to out it on the market and be aggressive with the price and without tenants.
Jan 29, 2013 09:35 AM #32
Pat & Steve Pribisko
Keller Williams Greater Cleveland West - Westlake, OH

Kristen, great post!  My favorite is no showings on the weekends and during a limited time frame Monday through Friday, meaning that our client needs to take time off from work to see the home.

Jan 29, 2013 10:28 PM #33
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