Who knew that opening your home to strangers meant you had to follow a few simple rules? While there may not be a Miss Manners etiquette book printed for how to show your home, an experienced REALTOR® can help with the bits of protocol that will make your house present its best image.
Think of getting your house ready to show to meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time. Or prepping to advocate for yourself with the boss for a raise. Or meeting a neighbor for the first time. First impressions are everything. Once you think the house is as ready as it can be, it’s time to open it up to the interested public.
Prep Your Home
Your REALTOR®’s job is to show your house. And the word show is essential. As is the word job. No one–well, almost no one–buys a house without seeing it first. Your REALTOR® will list the home and then, after making sure you and the house are ready, open it up to be seen by others. Maybe the first step will be to have an open house. Normally, these occur on a Saturday or Sunday for several hours. Spruce up the pillows, turn the lights on in all of the rooms, make sure the dirty laundry and wet towels are tucked away, and put the pet in its kennel.
Giving Space to Potential Buyers
Go away. Seriously. While you know all of the ins and outs of your house–after all, it’s yours–you are not the best person to sell it. This is a financial transaction, and you really want to take the emotional rollercoaster out of it. You do not want to hear that the guest bath is not to the potential owner’s taste, and they want to rip it all out. It doesn’t matter that you spent hours hand placing the tile and bought the sink at a boutique renovation store that specializes in turn of the century plumbing in Charleston, SC when you were on your honeymoon. Potential new owners don’t care. And the last thing you want is for them to hurry out of the house because your stories are not interesting to them.
Give the Open House Time
Stay gone. For a while. Open Houses take at least four hours, start to finish–maybe even longer if there is high traffic volume. A good REALTOR® knows that the best way for a potential new owner to feel at home is to, well, feel at home. They want to envision how they will live in the house. Maybe they want to sit at your kitchen table and consider how they will take their morning coffee or discuss which wall is optimal for their king-sized mattress in your bedroom. Maybe they want to consider ripping out your cherry floors. Whatever it is, you have decided it is time to move on, and you need to allow someone else the time to consider moving in. Oftentimes, a REALTOR® will have a survey to ask the Open House visitors what they thought of the house. Be objective with this; new visitors might see things you had not thought of and listening to this advice can be helpful in the long run.
Tips and Etiquette
When an Open House does not fit in the potential new owner’s schedule or when they want to see it without other people around, their REALTOR® will talk with your REALTOR®. This is one way to keep the whole event less emotional. Most houses will have a lock box on a door so that a REALTOR® can get access when you are not at home. That means two things: 1) your house needs to generally be showing-ready most of the time and 2) you need to not be at home. If it’s a planned private showing, straighten up, turn the lights on, and leave. Maybe all you can do is sit at the end of your street in your car until the clients leave. Or maybe you can run an errand. Or maybe you have a relative or friend you can go spend time with. Whatever the solution, leave the house. And if you have pets, try to take them with you. The last thing you want is to have a client scared off because of a pet that won’t be staying with the house. Most private showings may take between fifteen minutes and an hour. You have some flexibility when a showing can occur–naptime is sacred–but you cannot indicate who can see your house. Again, it is all about the potential new owner seeing how they will live in the house–not how you currently live in it.
Selling a house is a tricky time. You want the very best outcome and you want the very best price. But in order to get the best of everything, you need to trust your REALTOR®. The Yoshi-Snyder Group is the best at doing the job of showing your house.