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.