Stay or go: Tips for open house and home showings

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Should the sellers and the listing agent stay in the home during showings?

The answers are "no," "yes," and "maybe." Let's consider some scenarios.

No: Most of the showings will be done by buyer agents. That's because, with 1,500-plus agents out there, there's a good chance that some of them will bring their buyers to see your home, and that one or two will bring in the offer.

When buyer agents and prospective buyer clients are looking at homes, they almost never want the seller(s) or the listing agent around.

That's because the buyers want the privacy to say what they like, love, dislike or hate about the home to each other. They want to express their inner-most feelings with each other as they go through the home, which is hard to do with the seller there.

In fact, the seller's presence might make a buyer feel uncomfortable and in a hurry to leave, which is exactly what the seller does not want to happen. The longer the buyer stays in the home the better.

Buyers also want to share their thoughts with their real estate agent and get their agent's perspective. Maybe they even want to talk about making an offer while they are under the spell of this very special home. That won't happen if the sellers or the listing agent is in the home.

Yes: If the listing agent is bringing in the buyer clients, the agent will be with those clients during the entire showing (but the sellers will be out of the house for the reasons stated above).

If the listing agent is holding an open house for Realtors or for the public (or both), that agent will be present for the entire time as well.

Sometimes two agents will hold one open house to be better able to greet, meet and answer all the questions from the many visitors.

Maybe: Now and then a buyer's agent might ask the listing agent or sellers to hang around, just in case their buyers have any questions. But usually the buyer's agent does his or her homework and is able to answer most questions.

On the other hand, if the house is really unique, it might not be a bad idea to have the sellers and-or the listing agent present (maybe at the second showing).

Larry Stoller is the broker-owner and Realtor with Real Estate Five of the Lowcountry.

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