From the Ask the Broker Inbox:
I currently live in Idaho Falls, ID. Until 3 years ago I lived in Mesa for 20 years. I’m looking to sell my house in ID and return to the Phoenix area. The realtors in Idaho Falls require my wife and I leave our house each time we have a scheduled showing by any agent or when we have an open house. I have asked the question of my local realtors as to why I have to leave and they all say so the client can feel free to critique the house without my being there.
I am 67 years young, have lived in many cities and bought and sold many houses. I have never been asked to leave my home during the showing or open house, including the house I sold in Mesa.
I have a real problem with that issue now for many reasons but the 2 that are predominant are: I pay your salary why am I the one inconvenienced?; No realtor knows my house as well as I do and is not in a position to answer question beyond what’s in the listing. I have already seen where a realtor was asked a question about an aspect of my house and didn’t know the answer. He also never got to me to ask the question and provide the answer to the client.
I had a mistrust of realtors before, these past dealings don’t endear me to the real estate community any more. I would appreciate your input into the question of the homeowner leaving during a showing or open house.
Well, you’re probably not gong to like my answer either. I think your agent is giving you very sound advice. We *always* advise our sellers to vacate the home any and every time a buyer or their representative is present. This includes initial showings, repeat showings, open houses, inspections and final walk-throughs.
Never, ever make your buyers feel uncomfortable in your home
Yes, it is an inconvenience to have to leave your home. Selling a home is a big giant hassle all the way around. I can assure you that buyers will spend longer in your home if you aren’t there, and they will talk about it more — both the good and the bad.
And that is exactly what you want. You want buyers to spend time in your home. You want them to talk about it — the good, the bad and the ugly. The longer they spend and the more they talk the more emotionally vested they become in the home. And the more they are likely to want it.
Of course no agent will ever know as much about the home or the neighborhood as the person that lives there. But you can certainly educate your agent. Work with your agent to put together a “showing package” for your home and leave it in a prominent place (a kitchen island / counter works well). You can place photos, neighborhood demographics and info, photos, even a letter from the seller talking about your home.
I’ve shown homes to buyers with owners present and without fail the buyers feel uncomfortable in the home. You are trying to sell your home. Making potential buyers feel uncomfortable in it is the last thing you want to do.