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Limiting Showings to Open Houses Could Cost You

Open house Sign-01Sellers become overconfident very quickly in every strong seller’s market, but they should be careful because it could cost them.  There are still many more buyers than sellers as it stands here in early May, but it won’t last forever.  Sellers should be careful not to exclude anyone from seeing their home even when the market is this strong. When a seller lists their home on a Thursday, for example, and insists that all buyers must come to see it on Sunday from 1-3 during their only open house, they are undoubtedly costing themselves some buyers. Not every buyer who is interested in the home can possibly be available to see it at that time. Buyers may have an important family event they cannot miss, they may have two other homes to see at that time or any other number of things could stop them from attending that one open house.

What sellers need to remember is more buyers equal more money and fewer buyers equal less money.  Many sellers don’t realize this if their home sells for over asking price, however, it still could be costing them.  Here is an example.   Let’s say you limit showings to the open house and at that open house you get 50 people in and five of them make offers.  If you also allow private showings from when the home is listed to the open house, you may be able to get another 10-20 people through the home. Those additional people who come in through private scheduled showings tend to be more serious than open house attendees, so you could get two to three strong offers.  The more offers you get, the more you will sell for in the end.  This is how it works every time.

Sellers should try not to get too caught up in dictating showing times and should be as accommodating as possible so that more potential buyers can see the home.  After all, it wasn’t too long ago that sellers were begging for buyers to see their home and were allowing them in at almost any time of the day. Those days will return when the market eventually slows down again. The reality is the strength of the current seller’s market won’t stay this strong through the rest of the year as described in our recent blog Don’t Worry Homebuyers, This Won’t Last Forever.

Open Houses

When a homeowner decides to sell their home, it is still their home and allowing droves of people into a private space can be uncomfortable for some.  Some don’t even like open houses because visitors also tend to include nosy neighbors.  Some sellers do prefer them and insist on buyers coming in at that one time for their own convenience instead of allowing various private showings. Open houses help homes gain exposure and attract those interested enough to potentially make an offer.  The more offers, the merrier.  The more you receive, the higher the chance of a bidding war and selling your home for well over asking price.

Private Showings

Private showings occur when the buyer’s agent sets up a specific time with the seller’s agent for their clients to view the home.  Not every seller wants to accommodate this and demand that people come in during the open house timeframe.  Sellers may require a 24-hour notice for private showings.  Buyers also tend to prefer private showings over open houses so they can go through the house with their agent without so many other people there.

Private showings tend to bring the most serious buyers because no one would set up a private showing just out of curiosity.  Getting as many people to view the home as possible, from the moment a home is listed on the market to the offer deadline (if one exists), will help generate more offers. Sellers should keep this in mind and be flexible for their potential buyers and allow showings beyond an open house timeframe.  Not every buyer has the luxury of Saturdays and Sundays off from work.  Lots of buyers are parents with kids who have athletics and other activities during the weekends, and some just have a scheduling conflict that prevents them from attending a particular open house.  This is where private showings come into play.

Accompanied Showings

It is in the best interest of the seller to be as accommodating as possible and allow buyers into their home.  It’s not recommended that the sellers or the listing agent be present.  Accompanied showings can be awkward for buyers.  Buyers feel less comfortable in the home discussing the pros and cons of the property when the listing agent is present.  They also tend to move through the home much faster making it less likely that they’ll connect with it.  It can also be difficult to find a time where the listing agent, the buyer’s agent and the buyers can all be there at a particular time.

A lock box is used in this situation.  Lock boxes have combinations or infrared keys that are put on a door of the home in an inconspicuous place.  Only licensed real estate agents who are MLS members that request a showing are given the credentials to open the lock box when they are representing an interested party.  This makes it possible for interested buyers to get into a home with their agent to determine if they want to make an offer.

It’s not uncommon that buyers attend open houses without their buyer’s agent.  Agents likely have multiple clients and they may already be booked for showings on any given day.  Buyers then opt to attend open houses without their agents and then potentially return for a private showing with their agents to the home they want to make an offer on.

Whether you’re selling, buying or in the process of doing both, the most significant way to advocate for your success is to have an experienced agent representing you.  The right agent has a team behind them consisting of preferred lenders, recommended real estate attorneys and other trusted agents ready and waiting to provide support and immediate action if necessary.  Property transactions are rigorous, sometimes even demanding endeavors, but with the right agent you’ll be in good hands with your best interests at the forefront of their mind.