1. Flexibility – Be as flexible as possible with showing times. Evenings and weekends are the most popular times for buyers to view houses. Even though this is a seller’s market you’ll want to get as many people through in as short a time as possible to minimize the disruption. In this market it’s probably not a bad idea to plan to be away for the weekend.
2. Automated showing service – Be sure your broker is using an online, automated showing service to expedite scheduling showings and communicating with potential buyers.
3. Virtual showings (3-D Virtual Walk-Through) – As a professional, I no longer suggest open houses to my clients. I pay for professional photography PLUS a 3-D virtual walk-through for every one of my clients. I do this to protect my clients and their possessions from some of the dangers of open houses. (See my article on why I no longer recommend open houses to my clients)
4. Cleanliness matters – Keep your house as clean as possible. Have a closet, bin or other convenient location to hide things if you need to make a quick exit. Do your best to have your home ‘show ready’ at all times.
5. Protect your pets – Have plans for your pets during showings. Some people are uncomfortable around animals. You’ll need to put dogs into crates, take them to doggie day care or ask friends or neighbors to care for them. Cats that cannot go outdoors should be placed in carriers. Most people are conscientious, but they cannot guarantee your pet won’t escape during a showing. Your pets are your responsibility.
6. Secure valuable items – Put valuable items in a secure location. Most people are trustworthy but it is best not to leave valuable items in plain view for example: car keys, jewelry, money, collectibles, and personal electronics, etc.
7. Secure all prescription drugs – This is critically important, although a licensed broker will be with anyone showing your home, it is difficult for them to keep track of everyone. Another reason to no longer consider open houses.
8. Leave your home during showings – Don’t stay in your home during showings. It is very important that buyers have the time, privacy and freedom to thoroughly view your home. Most buyers are not comfortable if the seller is present. If you cannot leave consider going outside, go for a walk, or visit a neighbor’s house.
9. Silence is Golden – Be careful about talking to potential buyers or the buyer’s agent. It is too easy to give away information to the buyer or their agent that could negatively affect you during negotiations.
10. Contact your agent with any problems – Call your agent immediately if you find any problems in your home after a showing. Your agent has a record of every broker that has toured your home.