So you're selling a house and you get a showing request - Yeah! But wait, they want to come in an hour. What? How can I get ready? But that's when the kids get home... Put all these worries aside! Say yes! Let me explain why.
Given the current buyers market, you should do everything in your power to accommodate a showing request (we'll assume that the agent making that request has prequalified this buyer as one ready, willing and able to afford your home.) You never know when this could be the Buyer for your home and many times a buyer who is turned down for a showing never reschedules. Even if they do reschedule, the relationship has started off on the wrong foot, which could come into play later in the transaction. Often times transferees, who are some of the best ready, willing and able buyers in any market, can't reschedule for 3 days later. By then they will be on a plane back home, with an accepted offer in their carry-on.
So why would a buyer wait until the last minute to request to see your home? Maybe they just walked into the real estate office 30 minutes ago and they need to buy a home this afternoon. Maybe a 70 hour work week just had a cancellation and your house is the one they have been trying for three weeks to find time to see. We could come up with all kinds of reason why they could have called earlier, but should you really care? After all, it's the showing that counts.
My family moved 6 times before I graduated high school, so I have a little experience in this arena. In the 70's there were no cell phones, so if while driving a neighborhood with their agent, a buyer would request to see an additional home, the Realtor would knock on the door and ask if they could come back in 15 minutes. I, along with my 3 siblings, all had a job to do when that happened. If it was during dinner, the dinner dishes went into a large canner and into the car trunk. Someone shined up the sinks, someone ran the vacuum and someone stuffed any dirty clothes into the washer and/or dryer. One of the biggest reasons I hear from agents for restrictive showing instructions is that the sellers have small children, sometimes with a spouse already moved on to the new location. While I truly empathize with those parents, I also know the challenges this market presents and it is imperative that no showings be turned down unless absolutely necessary. While I would always encourage sellers to leave their home during a showing (see Pat Tasker's great post on that subject: Would you try on that swimsuit if the clerk came in the dressing room?) I can even remember people looking at our house while my siblings and I were in bed!
Of course, I encourage all agents and buyers to be as considerate as possible when requesting showings, giving the seller as much advance notice as possible. I would also caution sellers from letting in buyers who knock on their door without an agent for security reasons. Nevertheless, while there are many legitimate reasons for you as a seller to turn down a showing, please reconsider before doing so. It can mean the difference between a buyer now and no buyer!