Is it weird walking through strangers’ houses?
The pandemic sure shook up what we do and don’t do on showings. In the beginning, there were a few months where showings were not allowed at all. Sellers were recording videos or video calling with buyers and agents. Eventually, when showings resumed, there were many guidelines (no more than three people, masks, hand sanitizer, don’t touch anything) but, aside from the pandemic craziness, what do we normally do and not do on showings? Read on to find out!
So, to answer the question, “is it weird walking through strangers’ houses?” I am not the best person to ask because my answer is “no.” But, I also tell everyone that I am probably way more comfortable in strange houses than I should be. That’s what you get when you grow up with a mom who’s a REALTOR®. From my experience, I would say that for new buyers and even new agents, yes, it can be uncomfortable. I have also watched my reluctant buyers turn into home showing pros by the end of the experience. So, yes, it’s weird, but you get used to it.
We often have to encourage our buyers to do more, touch more, open this, and look in that. The purpose of a showing is to decide if you can see yourself living there. Closet space, cupboard shelf heights, pantry organization and for me personally, how the toilet flushes, make a difference. Speaking of toilets, make sure you go before the showing. That would be on the DON’T list. We hear many horror stories involving toilets, and you do not want to be on the giving or receiving end of a toilet story.
Let’s start at the beginning. DO respect seller’s showing instructions. You are going into someone’s home. Sometimes, that means taking your shoes off, wearing booties, wearing a mask, or doing the hokey pokey and turning yourself around. Their house, their rules!
We DO want all decision makers to come along to a showing, but too many people can make the experience difficult. It is important for the main decision maker(s) to be able to communicate without too much distraction. DON’T let children wander a home unattended. It could be unsafe, or something could accidentally be broken. No one wants to replace great-grandmother Irene’s favorite candy dish.
Speaking of candy, DON’T eat anything! I know this sounds obvious, but I promise this blog has been written from experience. I have trouble turning down a Hershey’s Kiss or Werther’s Original as much as the next person, but we absolutely cannot eat any food in the seller’s home. While in the kitchen, DO open cupboards, drawers, appliances that convey with the property, pantries and any other storage spaces. DON’T let your mother start wiping down the counters.
DO bring a measuring tape. Many buyers have specific large pieces of furniture that must be accommodated in the new home. This could be a king size bed, hutch, dining room table or sectional couch. One of the most common requests we get after making an offer is to go back and measure. Measuring is a great way to know if the home is right for you. DON’T lay in the seller’s bed, stand in the seller’s shower, or lay on the seller’s couch. These are not good ways to decide if the house is right for you. Showings do require a little bit of imagination.
Imagination is often required for more than just room dimensions and layouts. DO imagine the home at your desired paint color, décor and cleanliness level. Houses and sellers have a wide range of décor and housekeeping. DO NOT be distracted by clutter, photos, dirt, dishes, or Steelers/Eagles gear (yours truly has no preference).
This next piece of advice comes in the form of “do as I say, not as I do.” DON’T be distracted by pets that are present for showings. Whether it is a dog in a cage or a cat following you around. We want to make sure all pets stay inside the home and are bothered as little as possible by our tour through the home. This DON’T is especially important when combined with the “DON’T let children wander” rule.
DO give your agent feedback about what you like and don’t like about the property. We never want to bad mouth someone’s décor or housekeeping, but feedback on the property itself is important. This helps us get to know you and your preferences better so we can continue to serve you the best way possible. DON’T be shy with your opinions and DON’T feel like you have wasted our time. We love our job and showing homes is part of the process.
DON’T think our advice on showings is just for the buyers! Sellers, there are plenty of dos and don’ts for you as well. DO tidy up and leave some lights on, DON’T cook sauerkraut right before the showing, and if you are going to be home, please, please wear pants!