Over the past few months, even the strongest real estate markets have begun to simmer down and return to a more balanced state. While this is excellent news for buyers and while sellers should still be far from panicking, the new reality does demand a return to a few showing best practices that sellers were able to shed during the hot market of the last few years. If you’re preparing to list your home for sale, here’s what you can expect.
Since the housing market heated up in 2020, sellers have grown used to a streamlined listing process: stage, let your realtor handle marketing, and go out of town for a weekend while the magic happens. In many cases, sellers only had to stage and vacate their homes for a couple of days before seeing multiple offers come in and choosing the best of them.
Now, as balance returns to the market, the median days on market for homes is up to 35 — a far cry from the weekend sales of 2020. This pacing means that sellers need to prepare to show their homes one showing at a time instead of in batches. This longer timeline can easily become stressful and inconvenient, but it’s helpful to remember that this was the norm a few years ago as well. The contrast to the last couple of years may be disheartening, but a balanced market is a good thing, and your home will sell in time with the right strategy.
Keeping Your Home in Showing Condition
One of the largest inconveniences of this longer timeline is that sellers now need to keep their homes in showing condition for a much longer period of time. Of course, if you haven’t already moved, your house will likely still look lived-in, with a full pantry and drawers in use. However, establishing a quick process for shining things up without adding stress to your day will help you sustain a longer showing period.
With less competition among buyers, each and every showing is important. Issues with staging can have serious consequences, especially as buyers have more choices than they used to. Be prepared to spruce up your home for individual showings time after time.
Unforeseen Issues with Showings
While a good listing agent can control many things, controlling showing agents is not one of them. Being aware that the following may occur can help ease the stress and frustration in the moment. Sellers should know that sometimes:
- Showings are canceled at the last minute
- Showing agents just don't show up
- Showing agents arrive before or after the scheduled window
- Showing agents fail to control their clients, leaving a mess in the home
- Showing agents fail to enforce the use of booties, leaving a mess in the home
- Showing agents fail to lock doors as required
- Showing agents lock doors they're not supposed to, like the door from the garage, locking sellers out of the home
- Showing agents fail to give feedback or respond to phone calls requesting it
These can all have unfortunate consequences for you as the seller. Thinking through these possibilities in advance may help you create contingency plans (i.e. extra keys stashed, pets kept at a friend or neighbor’s house during showings, etc.).
It’s normal to feel frustrated as the process drags on week after week, but waiting a month for a great offer is not a reason to lose hope! With the right preparations and with expectations adapted to our current market, sellers can reduce the stress and inconvenience of listing their home in a fluctuating market. Keep your eye on the prize and realize that eventually the right offer will come through and the bigger goal will be achieved. I’d love to help strategize and guide you every step of the way — give me a call if I can help!