After perusing countless listings, your first-time buyers find the perfect fit for their budget, so you call the listing agent, who’s more than happy to accommodate your showing request.
The day of the showing, you arrive with your buyers in tow prepared to answer their many questions, as it usually goes with first-timers.
As you walk up to the house, you notice that the curb appeal is promising, and your buyers look hopeful. At the door, you’re greeted by the listing agent — and her overeager sellers who cannot wait to tell you all about their home.
You’re buyers are too polite to ask what they really want to ask, so they mentally move on to the next question.
Ever had this experience? If so, you can fully appreciate all the issues that arise on the flip side when sellers don’t want to leave during showings.
It’s awkward for the buyer’s agent, it’s uncomfortable for the buyers, and it’s a sticky situation for listing agents because they don’t want to offend their seller clients (but they also don’t want them there). You need full cooperation to do your job, and anything less could compromise the deal.
So how do you politely say “please leave” without offending them and get your sellers to vacate for showings? Here are six strategies that’ll help you work it out with stubborn sellers who insist on being there.
1. Make your sellers part of the process
Sellers are more likely to agree when they know they are being heard and their opinions are respected. Make leaving the house a less troublesome idea for them by including them in the process.
Sellers who insist on participating in an agent’s job often feel like the agent will miss something vital. Reduce their worry by addressing these concerns. Ask them to list their favorite parts of their home and tell the stories about why they love it.
It’ll make them more comfortable letting go of the reins, and as a bonus, it’ll help you sell it.
2. Be honest
People are receptive to honesty. When you offer a clear and earnest explanation of best showing practices, they’ll understand the reasons their presence is a bad idea.
You both have the same goal — selling the house for top dollar — so keep them informed along the way.
You might try giving anecdotal evidence to support what you’re asking, like that time buyers didn’t purchase an otherwise perfect home because the sellers insisted on controlling the showing process with a tight fist.
Remember that being honest doesn’t necessarily mean being rude or too blunt. It’s about sharing your experience and what it takes to sell a house.
3. Set the expectation
Rather than arriving 30 minutes before a showing to prepare, try reserving a block of time to walk your clients through the pitch you’ve prepared. Showing your knowledge of your sellers’ property will imbue that seller with confidence moving forward.
When they know how you are going to market, they will have more trust in you and have fewer qualms with clearing out when the time comes.
4. Bribe them
That sounds worse than it is, but we’re not talking about an all-expense-paid vacation to Fiji. You might try motivating your clients to vacate by giving them a gift card to a restaurant, wine tasting or another fun activity.
It’s a smart persuasion tactic and a small out-of-pocket expense that will pay dividends in the long.
They’ll appreciate the gesture, and you’ll appreciate their absence.
5. Keep them busy
Do your homesellers have dogs, cats, noisy birds or other pets that might make the home look less appealing?
Encourage your sellers to take Fido to the park for a few hours, and make it a win-win for everyone (including the dog, who might be feeling a little neglected with all the packing and cleaning going on).
6. Create and enforce a strict policy
Adjust your personal policy to reflect real estate best practices, including having sellers leave for showings.
By documenting your policy and making it clear to the sellers from the start of your relationship, you’ll remove their temptation to stay.
If the clients push the issue, you can point to the policy you discussed in the beginning. Be professional when explaining the process to clients to reduce conflict. Regardless of the sellers’ hesitance, they will benefit from the end result, so just focus on that as you present your policy.
The ultimate goal is to sell the home. When an agent allows his or her client to interfere, both parties lose — and no one wants that. Use these strategies above, and you’ll find persuading your clients to be less of a task.