One of the top reasons that homes do not sell is that the seller is not flexible. What I mean is, they make it difficult to conduct showing appointments or inspections. The easiest set of showing instructions are “go and show.” No appointment needed. Lockbox is on the house. House is vacant.
This is actually more common than you would expect. If you are living in your house, you probably cannot accommodate this; but you can still make it easy to show by allowing appointments on all days of the week from, say, 9 am to 9 pm or 9 am to 7 pm. Ideally, you can require only 1 or 2 hours notice for appointments.
Here are some examples of showing instructions that make it more difficult to show.
- Appointment only lister. No dates and times shown. You would be surprised (or maybe you won’t be) how difficult it can be to reach some agents to book an appointment.
- 24 hour notice. While this doesn’t seem like much to ask, sometimes a buyer sees a house they really love which they want to see immediately and, while they are out, they are going to see another top two houses on their list. If you need more lead time, they won’t be seeing your house.
- Listing agent must accompany. In some cases, this may be necessary. But, for a lot of buyers, this can make the appointment stiff. They feel like they can’t really get a good look at the house because they don’t want to hold up the other agent or they feel like they are being watched. Furthermore, anything you say could be relayed to the seller, which means some buyers won’t ask questions.
- No lockbox on the house. Waiting on another person for a key adds another constraint: Their schedule that has to work with both the buyers’ schedule and their agent’s schedule. It just makes it harder to find a time that works.
- No online showing scheduling. Online showing scheduling is the easiest way to get appointments. The buyer’s agent is scheduling a lot of appointments and you want them to be able to get a whole series of houses booked. Online scheduling makes booking quick and makes sure they get accurate and all the showing instructions.
- No call center for booking appointments. I already mentioned that it can be hard to reach some agents. Using a calling service to schedule showings makes sure there is always someone available to take the buyer’s agent’s phone call.
There are times when more restricted showing appointments make sense – You are having work done on your house and you don’t want showings while the contractors are at your house. New construction homes where there may be safety reasons which require that they accompany you. You want 2-hour notice because you are still living in the home and need to remove pets for a showing or want time to finish eating dinner and clean up before the appointment, etc., but keep in mind you need to be flexible.
This is also why you hear Realtors say, stop thinking about this as your house. You want to sell your house and you want buyers to have an easy time scheduling and a good experience when touring your house. Stopping showing appointments is a great way to not sell your house.