Home selling tips
Yogi Berra once said "If the world were a perfect place, it wouldn't be". When a homeowner lists their home for sale, the perfect world would be for one showing, resulting in a full price offer and go to closing. Reality is that the phone rings while you are preparing dinner and the agent who is marketing the property might get a message that the showing was declined by the home owner. Here are a few tips that might make the process a little bit easier to bear.
1. Use the agent standard lockbox (Supra in St. Louis) that tracks showings. The only people with access to these boxes are agents/vendors (building inspectors etc) whose information is registered with the St Louis Association of Realtors. Any time the box is opened the agent will get a notification that the property has been shown and by whom.
2. If you have showing restrictions, make sure they are spelled out in the MLS. For example, if you have an elderly parent or small children, ask your agent to put this type of remark in the agent comments: One year old twins live here. Mother would prefer to be notified the day before but if this is not possible, please call the listing agent. The owner will try to work it out because they really want you to see the home.
3. Allow a sizable window for the appointment. A 2 hour window is definitely an inconvenience to a home owner but it can remove a lot of stress off the buyer and possibly result in the sale of your home. For example, when a buyer sees a home they like and it is number 3 out of 5 or 6, most buyers are conscientious about the remaining sellers and don't want to be late yet they need just a little more time in your home.
Here is the scenario for scheduling a buyer tour: First the buyer's choices are mapped to determine the ideal route. Generally speaking buyer's like to fit in 5 to 6 home viewings at a time. The agent calls for an appointment on property A which requires leaving a message. B and C say okay, D also needs verification, E is okay to show at the requested time and F needs verification. Uhoh, A calls back that the home cannot be shown at the time requested, could the agent come an hour later. F wants to change the time to a little earlier. Oops. These types of responses can lose a showing.
This is how I personally set up the tour on my iPad. Then I email the map and the times to the buyer so that they are aware of the schedule.
My personal instruction sheet (below) for the tour has all of the information I am going to need to get inside each house. The example "showing instruction" given here is the bane of an agents tour...
...because I could be standing at the door with either my iPad (or some agents have several pieces of paper) outlining the instructions. Sometimes it is raining or snowing. The buyers are standing there with me while I get the key out of the lockbox. Sometimes they have a child with them who is getting anxious or hungry.
4. Crate or remove pets.
To avoid friendly dog Murray letting out a loud bark and pushing his nose through the open door scaring the living daylights out of everyone.
5. Make sure the front door is painted, the door lock opens easily and there is no sign of deferred maintenance. The buyers are generally scoping the home as I am working with a hard to open door which has not been painted for the last 10 years. The buyer's comment "I hope this isn't an indication of what we are going to find inside."
This is certainly a stressful and frustrating time for the seller who definitely wants to sell their home and yet have a life and also for the agent who is spending a lot of time marketing the home to get the showings. The bottom line is that the potential buyer has to see it to buy it.
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