Jim Valentine: Showing procedures and protocols
Residential buyers typically want to look at the home they are buying before making an offer. As such, the showing is a most important step in the process. It is a seemingly simple process to set up and show a home, but there are actually quite a few components that contribute to a successful showing.
The first step is to get the cooperation of the occupants. Whether tenant or owner, they still have personal lives that you are intruding on as you enter their private space, their home. Tenants have the right to a 24-hour notice by law, but with that there are still parameters of acceptable showing times. If they work late shifts, a showing at 8 in the morning is not reasonable. Likewise, if they have a graveyard shift, they might prefer an early showing versus an early afternoon showing. It depends on the circumstances of the occupant as to what a good showing time will be.
Buyers are best off cooperating with an occupant regarding showing time as they will likely get a better product to view. If forced to get up and moving before their comfort level, occupants might not have time or energy enough to put away the dirty dishes and laundry, pick up life’s debris that might be strewn about the house by children and careless adults from the night before. If you work with them, they will make the effort to present the home in its best light, which includes opening drapes and blinds.
Many people live in cavernous conditions, i.e. drapes and blinds tightly drawn. Whether for privacy or energy savings during hot and cold weather, it creates a dark, dismal environment. Sometimes we go in homes that have the drapes pulled and the lights out. It is very hard to see anything. It takes a bold buyer to buy what they can’t see when they are looking at it. Occupants should open the place up and turn on the lights for a showing. People like bright homes, kind of how they like to buy cars that sparkle.
Agents should keep the viewing party together. Don’t let the children wander, make sure nobody is alone in a room where valuables are exposed, don’t let the animals out, no touching of personal property and leave it like you found it. If the lights were all on, leave them on unless instructed otherwise by the listing agent. They might have another showing following yours so don’t change the atmosphere they’ve created. Leave the doors and windows as you found them — usually that is locked and closed.
If an occupant is in the front yard and an agent shows up, make sure they open the lockbox to record their entry to the house. You might have the front door open, but you will want them to open the lockbox so you have proof of their being there. Agents should also leave a business card. Even if they are coming back to open for an appraiser or inspector, they should leave a business card when they are in your home.
Conversation with occupants can be interesting. Be advised that both parties are looking for “tells,” signs that will help them negotiate if an offer is written. Be cordial and informative, but don’t give away information that pertains to your motivation. In this day and age, you should also be aware that you could well be on video or your conversation being recorded. Keep your comments quiet until you exit the property or you may give away negotiating leverage.
Our advice: The showing is a critical part of the process. Surprisingly, most buyers only look at a home once before they make an offer. Make every showing count — it could be the one.
Use common courtesies when showing a home and you will be just fine. If the home isn’t for you, it will be for somebody else so no need to disparage it. Decide if you are buying a house or a home and your showing will develop accordingly.
When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704. firstname.lastname@example.org