The business of real estate sales is a lot more complicated than it looks. Onlookers and bystanders often think it’s an easy job where agents show some properties, write offers, watch the title company do a bunch of work and then collect a commission check. The truth is there are an enormous number of steps that need to be completed from when you first meet a new buyer until the housewarming gift is delivered after the close of escrow.
One of the most important aspects of real estate sales is the art of showing property and doing it in a way that is efficient, effective and educational for the buyer so they can be confident when making a purchase decision. In an area of cookie-cutter houses or uniform condominiums, showing property to buyers is a much simpler process than in a community of custom homes such as Incline Village and Crystal Bay. The enormous variety of houses, condos and freestanding condos for sale in our tiny geographic area requires that agents spend years learning the inventory (not to mention all of the nuances of conducting a real estate transaction on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe). It is absolutely critical that agents develop expertise about our local market and continually increase their knowledge about the wide variety of properties for sale. Before showing property to a new buyer it is very important that agents learn as much as they can about their buyer’s preferences and price range. The qualifying stage does not have to seem like an inquisition. Rather, it is a part of the process where agents get to know their buyers in depth and learn about what features are of greatest importance for their long-term enjoyment.
Every buyer has different wants and needs along with specific budget limitations (except for the wealthiest among us). It makes no sense to show buyers properties that are not affordable for them because in the end they will most likely not purchase anything since their dreams will never mesh with reality. Some buyers are willing to push their price point up a bit for the ideal place. While there is no such thing as a perfect property, occasionally raising your price range by 10% to 25% can open up a number of excellent options for consideration. One of the most important aspects when it comes to showing real estate is for agents to let each buyer make their own decision. The vast majority of buyers in Incline Village and Crystal Bay have purchased and sold real estate several times in the past. They don’t want to be hustled like a used car salesman trying to push a lemon off the lot. Agents who provide excellent information and show a variety of properties that meet a buyer’s primary criteria will make plenty of sales and develop a great reputation among their clientele.
As a general rule of thumb, it is very difficult for a buyer to see more than six to eight properties in one day and remember all of them clearly. It is far better to show properties to a particular buyer on consecutive days if they wish to look at a lot of places instead of trying to cram 10 or more properties into a single viewing session. Very often buyers will want to go back to a place they like for a second or even a third look. So, dividing up showing time over a couple of days gives them a chance to ponder, investigate and ask questions they may not have thought of the first time around. Many agents schedule property showings by making a list of the places they wish to visit with their buyer. They figure it will take two to four hours to see them all, so they call each listing office and specify a very broad time frame during which each property will be shown. This methodology can be very unsettling for property owners who live full-time and find it extremely inconvenient to depart for an entire morning or afternoon. It also makes it difficult for agents who need to accompany showings because they can’t just stand around for a couple of hours waiting for the buyers to arrive. A very practical and efficient way to show property is to set up a spreadsheet in Excel that uses only four columns. In the left-hand column you put down the approximate showing time in 15 or 20 minute increments depending on the property size, location and driving time needed to get from place to place.
In the next column you enter the address, the third column contains the name of the listing office and the last column is titled “Notes”. Now you have a well-defined schedule that contains all the information you need to show properties in an efficient and organized manner. Setting narrower time frames for property showings makes life easier for everyone involved and eliminates the need for sellers to vacate their property any longer than necessary.
When showing houses and condos to prospective buyers it is important to let each buyer have at least a little bit of free time to roam around the property unencumbered. Leading buyers from room to room like a show horse might make an agent feel as though they are in control of the situation. However, whether you are selling TVs or multimillion dollar homes, buyers need to feel that they were given time to contemplate and make their own decisions without undue influence or someone pushing them into a purchase they are not totally committed to making.