— We take our content seriously. This article was written by a real person at BREL.
#1: Leave the House
Despite how tempting it is to want to “help” your sale by being home while Buyers tour your property, it’s actually really uncomfortable for the Buyers if you’re present. Nobody wants to see you making dinner, smell your clothes being laundered or have to awkwardly walk around your teenage son who’s napping on the couch.
Fact: The National Association of Realtors reports that the #1 reason a house stays on the market for a long time is the Seller being home during showings – even if the Seller waits outside or stays in one room.
Serious Buyers will want to explore: they’ll open closets and cabinets, check inside the kitchen appliances and lift your area rugs to check for scratches on your hardwood floor. They’ll want to take their time and not get distracted thinking about you.
The goal of every showing is to make the Buyer connect with your home and that starts with making it comfortable for them to explore. No connection = no offer.
Pro Tip: Trust us, you don’t really want to be home during a showing. Hearing people criticize your choice of paint colours and making plans to renovate the bathroom you renovated two years ago is just plain gross.
So: make it a mission to discover all the coffee shops and parks in your neighbourhood, go to a movie, or consider temporarily moving into a friend or family member’s house during the first week (or weekend) that your home is for sale.
#2: Leave The Lights On
We want to showcase your home at its best, so we will ask that you leave the lights on when you leave the house. Everybody wants to live in a bright space and nobody wants to fumble in an unknown basement for a light switch.
If you’ve left the home for the weekend, make sure to make arrangements to have the lights turned off at the end of each day…nothing tempts thieves like a For Sale sign and a fully lit house at 2 am.
#3: Be Ready for The Unexpected
Despite our best efforts, some agents will be late or miss their appointments. Sometimes it’s for a valid reason and sometimes it’s just plain carelessness. While almost all agents and their clients will remove their shoes, occasionally, they’ll track dirt through your home. Also extremely rare but possible: agents forget to lock a door; something gets broken; they use your toilet and forget to flush (eww); they leave a window open; they let the cat out.
It’s not fun when any of this happens. Make sure to let your agent know if anything out of the ordinary happens right away. Most importantly: take a deep breath and remember the big picture…and that it will all soon be over.
#4: Be Flexible with Showing Times
Most showings happen outside of regular 9-5 work hours, so evenings and weekends will likely be the most common times when people will want to see your home. Restricting showing times means restricting the pool of Buyers.
Fewer Buyers = a lower selling price.
We recommend allowing showings between 10 and 8 pm, 7 days a week, with as little notice required as possible. Many sellers choose to leave town for this entire showing period to allow for unfettered access and cleanliness.
Most showings are scheduled for one hour….but in reality, the average showing lasts 15 minutes. You’ll note that most agents will make a one-hour appointment to see your home. This is less about them wanting to spend an actual hour in your home and more about them accounting for traffic and the other unknowns that come with seeing multiple properties in one day.
Buyers who spend a long time in your home are signaling interest. That’s a good thing!
Some Sellers restrict showings to 30 minutes for their own convenience; while this is your prerogative, keep in mind that you may be unwittingly reducing the number of Buyers who see your home. There’s little good that comes from rushed Buyers or frustrated agents who’ve blown through red lights to make a time slot.
#5: Before Every Showing…
While your home is listed, it’s best to always leave things in top condition at all times! Before you leave, make sure to:
- Make the beds (yes, every day!)
- Clean up the kitchen – no dishes in the sink, items on the counter
- Tidy the bathroom – put away products, hang up towels, no clothes on the floor
- Take the garbage out
- Clean the litter box
- Sweep/vacuum/wash floors
- Put away cash and any valuables
- Leave all lights ON