What to Expect: A Home Seller’s Guide to Showings
Now that all of the hard work of preparing your home for sale is done, staging and photography is complete, and your listing is live, it is time to start showing your home to potential buyers. As a seller, you may have many questions about how showings work, especially if you have never sold a home, or haven’t done so in the last few years, as technology constantly changes the process. Let’s take a look at some of the common questions we get to help you understand what the showing process looks like with our team.
How are showings scheduled?
The Chad Wilson Group is proud to offer our clients ShowingTime, a showing management and feedback service provider available all day, everyday, to make the process of agents scheduling showings and our sellers approving showing appointments simple and efficient. An agent with an interested buyer will submit a showing request through Showingtime specifying the date and time window convenient for their buyers.
How will I be notified when a showing is requested?
When a buyer's agent requests a showing, it is then pushed out to the sellers through text, email, app push notification and/or telephone call (your choice as to which communication method is best for you!), for the seller to approve the showing or perhaps suggest an alternative time. Our sellers love the convenience of the Showingtime app, “MyHome”, which sends push notifications of showing requests and feedback received, and also provides an activity report of upcoming and past showings to help our sellers stay organized.
If you prefer not to download the app, then you may choose to receive a phone call, email, or text message as the initial contact when a showing is requested. If you choose to sign up for Text2Approve, ShowingTime will send a text message to you about upcoming requests for showings. You simply reply back “Y” to confirm the showing. You can add up to three phone numbers in the order they should be contacted if you have multiple people managing the showings for your home. If you choose Text2Approve, ShowingTime will follow up with a phone call after a designated period of time if no response is received. It is that simple!
We encourage our sellers to approve all showings. A missed showing is a missed opportunity, so while it may seem inconvenient, it is to your benefit to try to be as flexible as possible.
When are people able to see my home?
Ideally, sellers would make their home as readily available to buyers as possible. As a seller, you want every ready, willing, and able buyer to be able to see your home so you can secure the best offer for it. Before a listing goes live, our team will ask the sellers how much lead time they want before a showing occurs. Most of our sellers choose one- or two-hour advanced notice, so they have some time to make sure the house is ready for a showing (you should always keep your home as “show ready” as possible). There are circumstances where more lead time is required for a seller, and our team will work to accommodate that need. We encourage our sellers to make showing their home as easy as possible, so all interested buyers can find a time that works for them to view the home.
Can I block out certain times that buyers cannot see the home?
We are often asked about blocking time from showings. More people are working from home now, so it can be a challenge to maintain your work integrity and still allow buyers to see your home. Some families homeschool their children, so maintaining a quiet space without interruption is important during the school day, and some families have small children who need a consistent afternoon nap time and bedtime. How do you continue to manage your life and sell your home?
Our listing team will strategize with you to find a schedule that will work for everyone. Times can be blocked on individual days. Showings could potentially happen from 8AM to 9PM, 7 days a week, but if a family wants to stop showings at 7PM so bath time and bedtime routines can be followed, we will make that happen. Most buyers schedule time to see a home on the weekends or after work on weekdays, so blocking some time during the work day is acceptable.
Should I be home during showings?
We do ask that sellers not be home during showings. You want buyers to be able to see themselves and their families living in your home, and having you present, even if keeping to yourself, will make that difficult. You want buyers to feel comfortable walking around the home without added pressure from the owner being around.
Should I leave my pets home during showings?
As first impressions are so important, we whole-heartedly recommend that you minimize the evidence that a pet lives in the home. We know you love your pets, but having one around when buyers walk through the home can kill a potential sale. Even a dog kenneled in the garage or laundry room can make potential buyers uncomfortable as they walk through your home. Ideally, you should plan to bring your pets with you when you leave for a showing, or arrange for them to stay with a friend or family member while your home is on the market.
Who will be showing my home?
Buyers visiting your home will be accompanied by their real estate agent. Agents request showings through ShowingTime for your approval. If a buyer would like to see your home and they do not have an agent, they can contact our team, and we will send one of our own Buyer Specialists out with them to the showing. We can assure you, no buyers will be able to walk through your home unaccompanied, except for the open house, which is a different situation.
How is my home’s key secured?
In the greater St. Louis area, we are proud to offer SUPRA lockboxes to secure our seller’s home key while the home is listed for sale. A SUPRA electronic key box gives our sellers peace of mind knowing that the electronic box can only be opened by authorized eKEY holders during restricted showing hours. Also, each time the box is opened, our team is provided details as to who opened the box and at what time. It is impossible to open our SUPRA boxes before 7:00 AM and after 11:00 PM, giving sellers peace of mind for their privacy and security while they sleep.
How long do showings last?
Although time will vary, you can expect an interested buyer to spend around 30 minutes to 1 hour in an average-sized home (2500 sq ft or less). You should plan on being away for at least this amount of time.
It is important to note that you will not be notified when an agent and their buyer have left your home. Some people ask a neighbor to keep an eye out for their home to let them know when everyone has left and it is safe to return.
Besides cleaning, is there anything else I should do to prepare for showings?
It is important that during the entire time that your home is listed, you secure your valuables, guns, and prescription drugs. You also want to try to make each room in your home look as much like the professional photos we took of that room as possible. Use those photos as your guide.
In addition, pay close attention to the smell of your home, in general. The best home smell is a neutral one. Our listing team can tell you if your home has a smell that needs to be addressed. If you choose to use something to add a scent to your home, keep it light, fresh, and very subtle. Some buyers can have a reaction to strong perfumes or odors, and you don’t want to turn someone off by having their allergies triggered when viewing your home. A vanilla scent is usually a safe choice. Avoid cooking anything with a strong odor while your home is being shown. Run bathroom fans while bathing and showering to keep humidity levels down. Consider opening windows when the temperatures allow to infuse fresh air into your home, and keep ceiling fans running on low for showings to keep air from getting stale.
What happens after each showing?
Showingtime helps us gather feedback about your showing. As soon as the showing ends, Showingtime automatically sends a request for feedback to the buyer agent. As soon as they provide the feedback, it is automatically forwarded to you and our listing department through email. This feedback can be helpful in directing future showings or address any changes that might make your home more likely to sell.
Helpful Tips and Tricks
Our team has worked with hundreds of sellers and have compiled some tips and tricks that we find helpful for sellers to know when it comes to showing their home for sale.
- Consider writing a letter to your buyers that they can read while viewing your home. Our listing team can provide you with some samples written by our past clients to help you get started. Our team will be writing about the wonderful features of your home, but since we have never lived in your home, we don’t know what it has been like for your family to live there. What do you love about your neighborhood? What are your favorite nearby local spots? What do you love about the schools? What are some of your favorite memories from living in your home? Write from your emotions and it will touch the emotions of your buyer. You want them to be able to visualize what their life might be living there as well.
- Include your neighbors in your home sale. Your neighbors want you to get the best possible price for your home, as that reflects positively on their property as well. Besides the fact that they might know someone who might be interested in buying it, your neighbors should be aware when showings start and when open houses are scheduled so they can consider avoiding mowing the lawn, hosting a big party, or anything else that might detract from a buyer’s experience. They might also be motivated to make sure the exterior of their home is in great condition. If you are uncomfortable approaching your neighbors, our listing team is glad to do that for you.
- Besides turning on all of the lights and opening blinds, playing some soft music makes for a warm and inviting entry for a buyer. Easy listening, soft jazz, or adult contemporary music is universally appealing.
- If you have cats, make sure to keep litter boxes out of sight and impeccably clean. Nothing turns off buyers faster than opening the door to the laundry room and being greeted by a stinky cat box. You should also clean up any doggy evidence in the backyard. Before you list your home, hire professionals to remove the carpet and floor pet stains and stay on top of any new ones that arise. Buyers will spot them and form unfavorable opinions about the rest of the house. For pet odors and smells, try enzyme cleaners such as Simple Solution or Nature's Miracle. Before every showing, put away food and water bowls and pick up all pet toys and cages. You should vacuum, sweep, and mop every single day to reduce pet hair and odors as well. Using the checklist below can be a very helpful way to prepare for every showing. Going through and completing each of the items will help you make the best impression you can on buyers who come through.
Trying to navigate the stress of preparing and showing a home for sale can be difficult. Our team of experienced real estate professionals has worked with hundreds of sellers throughout the years. We have refined the showing process and constantly look for the best ways to make good impressions. The Chad Wilson Group is here to help guide you through the process of selling your home so you can rest assured knowing that you are doing everything you can to get the most of your home sale. If you are thinking about selling your home, we would love to talk to you about how we can help. Feel free to fill out the information below and a member of our team will reach out to you to answer any questions you may have.