Why Sellers Should Not Be Present For Showings

zip lip

Selling your house?  We know you want to be there for any showings so you can tell the potential buyers how awesome your house is and get instant feedback.  The problem is, more often than not, it is better (for you and the buyer) if you aren’t there.

Sellers make buyers uncomfortable

If the seller is present, the buyer will feel like a guest in a stranger’s home when what they really want to do is imagine it as their own home.  If a buyer is uncomfortable do you think they will want to walk around the house more than once?  Do you think they will take the time to notice the sliding shelves under the counter in the kitchen or that the garage is over-sized?  No.  They will be cautious and not open closets and cabinet doors because having the seller there makes it feel like snooping.  It’s like opening the hood on a car.  You may not know what you are looking for but you can tell if there is a bad leak or if the owner has taken care of it and you wouldn’t buy a car without at least opening the hood.  The potential buyer of your home needs to feel comfortable poking around all the nooks and crannies if that’s what they want to do.

Sellers need to be conscious of this and let buyers have all the time they need to view the home.  Buyers will spend more time in your home if you aren’t there and that’s what you want.  You want them to talk about it freely with their agent and themselves.  You want them to go back to the living room a second and third time to imagine how their furniture would fit.  The more time they spend in your home the easier it becomes for them to imagine living there.  They will also become more emotionally vested and that means they are more likely to want it.

Sellers tend to talk too much

It is only natural to want to answer a buyer’s question.  Nearly impossible not to.  The problem is, you don’t know what the buyers are looking for other than a house with features similar to yours.  You don’t know if they are looking for a neighborhood full of kids or one with no kids.  You don’t know if they are private people and are looking for a neighborhood where everyone keeps to themselves.  You don’t know if they will feel comfortable with the fact that you remodeled the bathroom yourself instead of having a licensed contractor do it.  You don’t know if they will be turned off by being able to hear the train from your house even though it’s a mile away from the tracks.

Sellers can also compromise their negotiating power if they are present for showings.  Comments such as:  “We tried selling last fall but didn’t get any offers so we took it off the market for the winter” will suggest to buyers that you could be getting desperate to sell.  Even if you aren’t desperate to sell, a buyer who hears that comment will automatically reduce the amount of any offer they might make.  The point is, if you aren’t there then you won’t have the opportunity to say the wrong thing.  Buyers and their agents are always looking for an advantage in a real estate transaction.  Don’t give them a freebie.

Sellers can get their feelings hurt

Most sellers have an emotional attachment to their home.  Simple things like the wall paper in the master bathroom or the light fixture over the dining table can be a point of pride for a home owner.  The problem is, buyers may not feel the same way.  Buyers can and will make derogatory comments about things they don’t like in a house.  Hearing these comments can put a seller on the defensive and even in a position of not being willing to negotiate with that buyer.  A seller who doesn’t hear derogatory comments about their home will have a much easier time keeping their emotions out of the negotiations.

What if you can’t leave?

We understand that it isn’t always possible to leave the home when there is a showing.  The key is to make yourself as scarce as possible.  Take a walk, go out to the back yard and pull weeds or pour yourself a cup of coffee and sit out on the deck.  Some times the weather may not permit being outside comfortably.  In that case grab a book or put on some headphones and find an out-of-the-way place in the house to be.  Somewhere like a window bench in the stairwell or an extra bedroom.  The goal is to be out of sight and out of the minds of the potential buyers.

About Dan Seim

Dan Seim is the primary contributor to Preferred Residential's blog. He has been writing about real estate issues that affect home owners in Bend and Central Oregon since 2011.