Showing the house
by Frank Verni
While the home seller is actively getting the house ready to show, the listing broker is actively spreading the word that the property is available. Generally speaking, the listing is promoted to two groups: the real estate community and the buying public.
Many home sellers are surprised to learn that approximately 43% of all buyers come from referrals between brokers and their vast network of contacts or from a real estate professional that was used previously. Approximately 32% of buyers come from inquiries stimulated from internet websites. The remaining 26% of buyers come from a combination of the real estate company’s reputation and image, open houses, “for sale” signs, and advertising or other promotional efforts. Obviously, the most productive source of buyers is working closely with other brokers, and this is where your listing broker begins.
The listing broker enters a profile of your house in the Multiple Listing Service computer. This profile includes everything from location and price, to available financing and number of baths, from house style and heating system to special features and showing instructions. Now your house description is instantly available to the entire MLS membership. (MLS is a membership service available exclusively to brokers belonging to the Board/Association of REALTORS®.)
In addition, your listing broker announces the listing at regular office sales meetings, and points out noteworthy features. The agents from the listing office may “tour” the property. In addition, other real estate companies may also ask to tour your home. (Without the lockbox, your house is inaccessible to this large network when you are not home.)
The “For Sale” yard sign provides additional exposure to the neighborhood and prospects touring the area. Signs often create high-quality inquiries because prospects like the area and the house and want to get a closer look inside. Your home, as well as homes similar to yours, may be advertised from time to time in major metropolitan and community newspapers and on the Internet for mass reach. Direct mail cards are used to target specific neighborhoods.
When It’s “Show Time”
With all this activity, your listing broker and other selling brokers will be bringing prospective brokers to see your house. Brokers will make an appointment with the home seller, and will give you as much advance notice as possible. That will give you time to tidy up, make beds, light dark areas, perhaps pop something in the oven, like a spicy cake, pie, bread, or even a pan of cinnamon. Make every effort to accept all appointments — you never know when your buyer will walk through the front door. Also, have the property brochure available with utility bills, MLS profile, house location survey, etc.
If You’re Home
If you’re home, greet the prospects at the door and politely excuse yourself and leave the selling to us. (Perhaps check the baking or take the dog for a walk.)
Buying a home may be the largest single purchase a family will make in a lifetime. It is a serious matter for them; therefore, too many distractions could spoil the sale. We have found over the years that a number of pointers make things a little easier for your Sales Associate and the buyers.
Too many people present during inspection may make the potential buyer feel like an intruder, which makes it difficult for the selling broker and buyer to be at ease.
It’s better that you and your children busy yourselves in one part of the house or outside, rather than tagging along. The broker knows the buyer’s desires and can better emphasize your home’s features.
Quiet is the ideal environment. Noise is distracting, so don’t have the radio or TV on — the broker and the buyer need to hear each other!
It’s better to keep pets out of the house. Buyers may be timid around an unfamiliar animal.
Chatting with a potential buyer may dilute the broker’s ability to present your home’s features in the best light. If asked a question, respond honestly, but diplomatically refer questions to the broker.
The lived-in appearance makes it a home. There’s no need to apologize for its appearance. Let the trained broker answer any objections.
Many sales have been lost by trying to dispose of furniture and furnishings to the potential buyer. Wait until after the sale is made.
Your listing broker is most qualified to bring negotiations to a favorable conclusion.
Do not discuss price, terms, possession, or other factors with the potential buyer.
If You’re Not Home
Have the house ready and enclose pets in the basement, garage or back yard. Selling brokers may leave their business cards or register at the listing broker’s office, depending on local custom. Be sure to keep any cards and give them to your listing broker as soon as possible for follow-up. When an open house is scheduled, plan to be away for the afternoon. Make the house accessible to the listing broker and be sure to leave word on how to contact you.
Seller And Broker Team
During the listing period, the listing broker will periodically update the home seller on the mortgage market, new competitive listings and sales in the area, and progress in selling the home. The feedback between broker and seller is vital to exchange selling suggestions and maintain maximum marketability. The listing broker will follow-up with the other selling brokers and provide feedback to the home seller. This mutual teamwork becomes especially important later when negotiating offers to purchase.
Questions and Answers
Should I let anyone in to see the house? If a prospective buyer calls or comes by unexpectedly without a broker, get their name and phone number. Do not show the home. Explain that it is not a convenient time. Call your listing broker so that the buyer can be qualified and identified prior to showing. This is for your benefit and protection.
If an offer is imminent, should we still show the house? A property is either sold or available — there is no in between. However, if there is an accepted contract that contains a contingency, and backup contracts are invited, then this must be made clear, and the house should be shown. Refer the selling agent to your listing agent for details.