The Invisible Homeowner—the Key to Good Showings

December 3, 2015

Posted by in News

The National Association of Realtors, in its publication, “Realtor Mag”, recently outlined the top 10 worst home-showing offenses. The list includes some obvious items—from bad-tempered and/or barking dogs, unfriendly cats, attendant pet odors, to other items such as smells from cooking and smoking, etc. Amongst the most frequently cited concerns, however, is one that is a surprise to some and may seem innocuous on first blush—a homeowner who is present for showings.

The reasons for this are various. One of the big goals for any agent showing property is for the buyer to feel comfortable in the home. We watch for signs of this. Does the customer walk completely into a room or hover at the entranceway? If they walk right in, exclaim that it’s lovely, and sit themselves down in a chair to fully take in the surroundings, the agent can be fairly certain that they are giving the home serious contemplation. If they breeze down a hallway and barely pause, it is likely that they are disinterested. If the homeowner is nearby, it is highly unlikely that a potential buyer would make himself at home.

This goal of depersonalizing the space is exemplified when the listing agent requests that the owner stage the home for sale by putting away collections of things, family photos, and the like, all things that turn a house into a home. The emphasis for selling is the exact opposite goal of house decorating for the family that will live there. Buyers want to be able to imagine themselves in the space without sellers’ personal belongings interfering with that. The same reasoning holds true for having homeowners in the house during showings. This unintentionally sends the signal that the house hunters are visiting, and that the space belongs to someone else.

One of my favorite things to do when previewing a home is to check out the closets and even occasionally the kitchen cabinets and refrigerator also. Lots of curious folks do this. Potential buyers want to feel that they know as much as possible about the home if it is to be a contender. Most would not fully explore however if the owner was in the room watching.

The agent of course wants to be able to ask what their customer thinks, but this conversation would have to be whispered or discussed later if the owner is there. No one will be completely comfortable, most assuredly. I recently showed a home to two different buyers with the homeowners and their dog sitting on a screened porch, which was open and adjacent to the kitchen, family and living rooms. We felt obliged to include them in our remarks from time to time so as not to appear rude. Not coincidentally, perhaps, their home had been on the market longer than is dictated by the current real estate trends. Their Realtor mentioned that they are home for all showings. A better idea might be for them to take the dog for a quick walk around the neighborhood. Most showings don’t take long.

Lastly, as the person selling their home, who has goals of relocation, downsizing, upgrading or whatever their home sale hopes may be, they should be aware that by remaining home during showings they may be inadvertently sabotaging the home sale process. Allow the Realtors to create an evocative experience for the buyer and before you know it, there will be a sold sign in the front yard.

For more information on home selling tips, please give Davidson Realtor Gail George a call at (904) 940-5000.

Comments are closed.

Davidson Realty