Oh won’t you stay… Just a little bit longer?
Linger. It’s not very often you want strangers to linger longer in your home. In fact, most people who don’t understand the art of showing a home actually kill potential deals, because the buyer feels so uncomfortable they don’t want to spend another minute in the home, let alone live there.
Once upon a time, when I started in real estate, I was showing a property to my first set of buyers, and my father (who happened to be my broker) was observing. As we walked through the home I proudly announced: “this is the kitchen, this is the living room, this is the…” you get the point. The whole time I got the distinct feeling they wanted to run, while I (being so green) wanted to prolong this twisted agony so I could win them over. I remember wishing I had more rooms to show them, but alas we ran out of rooms, and true to my instincts they bolted out of the home. To make matters worse, my father who was hanging back almost like he wasn’t there, was chortling with a smug grin.
At this point he gave me some very sage advice, which I protested that I did not need but found it extremely valuable over the years. He said to me: “if they cant figure out it’s the kitchen then they shouldn’t be buying a house.” No words were truer but like the kid from “A Christmas Story” I still internalized that I was right. “No,” I thought to myself, “I am there to show the home.” Sensing my quandary he added that my job was to help them find what they are looking for, to or help educate them on what was available.Instead of showing them the kitchen, I should have been asking if the kitchen would work for them, or if they had something else in mind. In the end I knew he was right, and it was an epiphany of sorts into the psychology of selling.
I often show homes to clients when the sellers are home, and they frequently crowd my clients like merchants in a Mexican bizzare shouting “look at my store,” “come in amigo I have the best stuff.” Or sometimes they hover, like a helicopter mom making sure we don’t break anything, or get anything dirty. If I can run interference and distract the seller I will, but it doesn’t always work. Very often the seller will proudly display the hand installed tile or some other “masterpiece” they are so proud of. What they don’t notice is the look of horror, queasiness, embarrassment on my clients’ faces – similar to the one on the young couple I helped chase out of a home many years ago.
It all boils down to this… If you want to sell your home the details are important, and one of the most important is to make buyers feel comfortable when viewing your home.
About Sheldon Johnston
Sheldon is very familiar with the ins and outs of real estate; he has been licensed to sell Real Estate in Alberta for over 20 years. Sheldon has served on the Real Estate Council of Alberta, the Real Estate Insurance Exchange and the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. Find Sheldon on Twitter @edmontonsheldon.