Special offer

Mistakes Sellers Make: Buyers Need Access to Your Home in Order to Buy

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Madeline Island Realty 50317-90


Mistakes Sellers Make: Buyers Need Access to Your Home in Order to Buy


This is one of the most frequent and common mistakes made by sellers that I've encountered in my years as a real estate broker.  If buyers can't get in to see your home, there's no chance they will be buying it.

This sounds like such a simple concept, but you might be surprised how many sellers make it difficult, sometimes even impossible, for a buyer to arrange a showing of the seller's property.

My first case in point was a lovely Madeline Island home on Lake Superior which I was attempting to show my client a few years ago.  The prospect flew up to the Island for the weekend with his family and they wanted to see every four-season waterfront home in inventory.  At the time, his list amounted to five homes and we spent Saturday of that weekend looking at one home after another, with a second showing of the prevailing choice on Sunday.

A lakeshore home priced in the upper-600,000s was at the top of his list.  This home was listed with another local real estate company, and I called the listing agent to schedule a showing.  To my astonishment, he replied that the seller "doesn't want the home shown this weekend, because she might be coming up from Minneapolis and she wants to be able to stay there and not be disturbed".  This home had been on the market for well over a year with no results.  The owner had padlocked a heavy chain across the driveway, close to the "Home For Sale" sign, and she had also placed a couple of makeshift sawhorse barricades in front of the chain, with a large "Private Property" warning sign.

I did my best to plead with the listing agent that this prospective buyer had expressed the desire to see the place repeatedly, and the prospects told me they were "ninety per cent sure" they'd buy the place if they could just tour the home's interior for a few minutes. The agent sounded distressed about possibly losing a sale, but told me his hands were tied.  The owner simply wanted to assert her authority and she wouldn't budge.

To make a long (and painful) story short, my buyers were irritated, big time.  Early in the morning on day two, they walked down this woman's driveway past the barricades and strolled around the house and yard, even peered in the windows.  The husband came back to our office and spoke his mind. "Tell this woman's agent that she just lost a buyer" he said, and they drove off to look at their second choice, which they purchased later the same day in the mid-$700,000s.

I won't go into the details, but the house later sold for well over $100,000 less than my buyers were willing to pay. 

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

Sellers, showing access is crucial to your success.  In addition to making sure the place is in good condition, clean and tidy, free of odors and signs of deferred maintenance, you have to make it available for showings.



Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Eric You are so right .I always tell my sellers That one buyer that you say NO to may be the person that was going to buy your home. Make you house available to preview .If Buyers cannot see your home they cannot buy it .

Jan 15, 2014 04:34 AM
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

Thanks, Hannah!  I've had other sellers who did similar things to interfere with showings, like requiring twelve hours advance notice of any showing or preview.  I even had a seller once who told me she wouldn't allow any showings before 11 am because she said "I like to watch 'Ellen' in the morning".

Jan 15, 2014 05:01 AM
Debbie Holmes
John L. Scott - Boise, ID
Gets the job done!

Yes you only sell properties that can be shown.  

I will confess when one of my clients had a sick baby I told her just tell the agents that the baby is sick and you will have to come tomorrow.

Jan 15, 2014 05:07 AM
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Good morning Eric. Unfortunately many seller have made errors when it comes to make sure their properties can easily be shown.

Make it a great day!

Jan 16, 2014 10:36 PM
Tni LeBlanc, Realtor®, J.D.
Mint Properties, Lic. #01871795 - Santa Maria, CA
Tenacious Tni (805) 878-9879

Great blog and how many times do we see this as agents... too often.  What were they thinking.  If you don't want to sell your home, do us all a favor and remove it from the market.  Serious buyers do not want to play games about showings. 


Feb 02, 2014 09:39 PM