There are several issues to consider before showing your home to a potential purchaser.
- Availability – Home showings can be inconvenient to your schedule. However, you must be available at the times buyers want to view property. Clear your calendar for evenings and weekends. It is also a good idea to put a message on your answering machine giving a little information about your home and identifying for callers convenient showing times.
- Safety – Obtain the buyer’s name and phone number prior to the showing. This provides you with some level of security and also provides you with a contact number in the event you need to cancel. When the buyers arrive, have them sign in on your MotonProperties Guest List Form. Set showing times in one-hour intervals and do not conduct showings after 8:00 p.m. Obviously, protect valuables and put any weapons or prescription drugs in a secure location.
- Mood – Do everything you can to create a pleasant environment for the buyer. Play soft music. Turn on exterior lights and at least one light in every room. Remove pets and signs of pets (food/water dishes.) Create a pleasant aroma in the kitchen (make cookies or bread before the showing) and have the children on their best behavior.
- Appearance — Clean your home thoroughly. Need we say more? Make it sparkle. Reduce or remove visible clutter as well as hidden clutter (closets and drawers). Tidy up the garage and attic; make sure exterior entrances are free of debris and that the lawn and landscaping are in good shape.
When the Doorbell Rings
Buyers entering your home may be somewhat anxious. Your job is to put them at ease by establishing rapport. Simple conversation starters such as, “Thank you for coming,” “Did you travel far?” “Are you new to the area?” will get them talking and make them feel at home.
Invite them to tour your home, and then leave them alone. You must let the buyers discover the home on their own. Refrain from giving the tour, i.e. “This is the kitchen,” “This is the bathroom.” Make yourself available for questions and point out any not-so-obvious amenities. Also, have your MotonProperties printable flyers available. If the buyer seems uninterested, let them go. The best salesperson in the world will not be able to sell your home to someone who is not interested.
If the buyers express interest, now is the time to go to work. Learn all you can about the buyers. The buyers will want to learn more about your house.
- “Have you seen many homes in this neighborhood?” This will tell you whether they are really hunting for a home. If they indicate that they’re just starting, they’re probably not ready to buy. If they’ve been looking for an extended period of time, they could be professional house hunters who may never buy. If they volunteer critical information, “We love this neighborhood and want to live here!” Bingo. You’re moving in the right direction.
- “Do you have a home to sell, before you buy?” Avoid a “subject to sale offer,” if possible. Ask your participating attorney for advice on this.
- “I have financing information from HomeBuyer Funding, have you been prequalified/preapproved for a mortgage?” Depending on their answer, this will give you an idea where they are in the process and whether they are serious, organized buyers.
- “How soon would you like to move?” This will give you their motivation level.
- “We are working with a buyer’s agent from XYZ Realty and would like her to see the house. When can we arrange to see it?” You have to make the decision whether to pay a commission or not. If so, how much are you willing to pay, and how can the payment be structured, in the offer to purchase, to be generous to your bottom line.
Any time buyers call and want to see your home a second time – you have serious buyers. If they are not represented by an agent, suggest that they contact an attorney for help in drafting their Offer to Purchase. If not, your MotonProperties attorney can prepare the proposed contract. You may suggest that they meet with your attorney to put their offer on paper, as all real estate contracts must be in writing.
Work with the buyers to generate a written offer to purchase, as they may not know where to turn for help. Avoid verbal discussions about specific details of the transaction. Tell the buyer that you would prefer the negotiations to be done in writing so you can review all the terms and conditions in the offer. Call your member attorney, they are ready to help you.