Listing Agents – Are You Preparing Your Sellers Appropriately?
Several recent incidents, a couple as early as yesterday, reminded me of the importance of properly preparing sellers when their homes are coming on the market.
Sellers don’t know the stuff we do, nor should they necessarily understand the business the way we do.
Keep in mind they are paying us to represent their interests in the sale of their most expensive possession.
We owe it to our sellers to prepare them appropriately at the time their home is coming on the market so the property looks it’s best and is readily available to show.
At a home preview yesterday the seller let me in the house. Upon leaving I told her I would run my lockbox card through the lockbox so there would be an electronic record of my being there. Her comment? “That was just put on – I have no idea how it works!”
At another showing with a client for a home that came on the market the day before, the homeowners were very apologetic about how the home looked. Their comment? “We were not expecting to have anyone coming to see the home today. Sorry we did not get it cleaned up!”
Proper preparation for bringing a home on the market is essential so homeowners know what to expect. No doubt many listing agents do a great job of this, but the above examples, and others I have experiences, indicate that this preparation is not always the case.
Here are my thoughts on matters listing agents should prepare their sellers for:
How the lockbox works and why it’s there
Buyers and their agents WILL want to see the home as soon as it hits the market, even more so when inventory is low – so you need to be ready as soon as it goes live on the MLS
De-cluttering, de-personalizing and cleaning – before you go live, not 2 days later
Things to not leave out in public view – bank and credit card statements, check books, any documents with personal information, jewelry, collectibles that are easy to pocket, offers you may already have received, your offer on another houses, your credit report, any computer screen where you are logged on, cat litter boxes, etc. (I use a checklist)
Things not to leave out at open houses, similar to the above (checklist)
How to respond to unaccompanied buyers and/or agents stopping by without following MLS showing instructions
Lights may be left on or turned off, windows or doors may be left open or not locked
Agents may show early or late for appointments, or may not show at all and might not call
ALWAYS be prepared for showings, whether you are home, off at work, or elsewhere - this include tips like have the lights on, blinds, open, toilet seats down, beds made, clothes put away, no appliances running (checklist)
The list goes on and no doubt you can think of many other important issues to address.
The important thing is that proper preparation will enable the seller to feel comfortable, deal with problems that might arise, and have their home looking its best when buyers come to view it. And so the showings will be better.
Sellers deserve this as part of our representation, don’t you think?
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