We often reference the Code of Ethics, which is an excellent guide for Realtors in how they should interact with clients, customers and fellow Realtors. Yet, we haven’t spent much time talking about behaviors of buyers and sellers during the home search process. A seller recently went on a social media rant in response to certain buyer behaviors that we thought worth sharing.
Unless specifically interested in new construction, buyers should bear in mind that people are living in listed homes. Sellers have kids who still take naps. Sellers are caring for an elderly, live-in parent. Sellers have pets. Sellers have a work schedule different from the main stream. Sellers are single persons and empty-nesters who enjoy community events and amenities. Sellers are retirees who travel and invite grandchildren for sleepovers. Regardless of their personal situation, sellers want to show you their home in its best light. Buyers’ reasonable expectations can help make that possible. So, what’s a buyer to do?
Plan ahead. A sign in the yard and a listing in the MLS mean the home is for sale. It does not mean the home is ready to be shown within minutes of a drive-by or online search. Realtors encourage sellers to keep their home presentable while it is listed. Yet, it is not always possible considering life is being lived in these homes – eating meals as a family, doing homework, preparing for a job interview or work presentation and enjoying retirement. Thinking of it from the sellers’ perspectives might help buyers have a higher level of reasonableness when asking on short notice to preview a home.
Refer to the showing instructions. Many times a seller will provide their Realtor with no-show hours or how much notice is needed to accommodate some of the above-referenced scenarios. Despite the listing agent including such instructions in the showing remarks, sometimes they are ignored. There is only one word to describe this disregard – rude.
Leave the home as you found it. Sellers might leave on specific lights or fans for their own reasons – personal comfort level or security reasons if they will be arriving back home after dark. Buyers should leave a home as they found it from leaving on/off lights and fans to avoiding eating fast food and tracking in mud on a rainy day. Regarding pets, sellers typically provide specific instructions so as to avoid pets getting loose. Alternatively, when given enough notice of a showing, sellers have time to remove the pets during the showing.
Show up on time. It’s not uncommon for sellers to pack the family in the car, including four-legged friends, and drive the neighborhood during the scheduled showing time. When buyers are late for a showing, the seller is even further inconvenienced when they cannot come home as planned. The sellers want to sell their home, but they have lives, too. Also, consider the domino effect if looking at more than one home in the same day. Not only does this disruption affect the current seller, it does the same for all other sellers whose homes are on the docket that day.
Do your homework on location. If a buyer desires to be near specific amenities – shopping, schools, entertainment, churches – do some homework before the showing appointment. A home may be ideal in the photos and online description, yet only a buyer can determine if the neighborhood and area amenities are a right fit. Nothing can be more frustrating to a seller to rearrange their day and prepare their home for showing, only to have a buyer spend no more than five minutes at the home because the location is not a good fit. Map it and drive the neighborhood ahead of time. If the location is not right, give the seller the courtesy of cancelling the appointment ahead of time.
Use a Realtor. A seller lists their home with a Realtor, who guides them through the selling process and coordinates showing requests from buyers. The seller is paying the Realtor to perform these services for them, not the buyer. Thus, it only stands to reason that the buyer would want a Realtor looking out for their best interests and guiding them through the buying process. If the buyer’s Realtor is not available to show a home, chances are they have someone else in their firm who can assist the buyer or taking over their business while they are on vacation. Contacting any Realtor may not get a buyer a showing, as the Realtor may not have a vested interest in showing a home in which they are not the listing or buying agent.
Realtors desire for sellers and buyers to have a positive real estate experience. A little planning and adhering to these common courtesies can go a long in making that goal a reality for both sides of the transaction.
The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors is “The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga.” The Association is a regional organization with more than 1,500 members and is one of more than 1,400 local boards and associations of REALTORS nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net.
By Travis Close, ABR, GREEN, GRI, e-PRO
President, Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors