We started off the year by listing a lovely first time buyer home for $799,000. Since the market did not take a breather, even during the holiday season, we expected that it would be an active listing with lots of buyer viewings. What we didn't expect is the LEVEL of activity. In the 27 years Valerie and I have been selling real estate, we have never EVER experienced this kind of craziness. We had 107 appointment requests over a six day period not including public open houses.
You might say "this is great for the sellers" and you are mostly right. However, it can also be stressful and terribly disruptive for the seller. Imagine having 18 different couples, with their advisers tagging along, going through your house dissecting every corner, all day, for six days in a row. It's like a stampede.
Considering that the market is slated to stay this way (unless supply increases significantly), how can we as agents make the process less stressful, less chaotic and more orderly for sellers, buyers and agents?
- Mr. and Mrs. Seller, the best advice we can give you is to make alternate living arrangements for the week your house is on the market. This can be difficult if you have small children or if you don't have close family or friends nearby, but the level of activity will disrupt your life so immensely that you will wish you had made alternate arrangements anyway.
- To ensure a smoother process, please consider providing the buyer with a pre-list home inspection. If you don't, you will have a slew of buyers doing their own and this will make the process even crazier than it already is. Furthermore, not providing the buyer with a pre-list home inspection will definitely ensure that you are leaving money on the table. Read our blog why a pre-list home inspection is so important.
- Make sure you have multiple sets of keys on hand because one of the buyer agents is bound to leave without putting the key back in the lockbox and then you will be scrambling to locate it for the next showing.
- Warn the home inspector that he/she will be getting lots of phone calls from buyers asking questions about the report so he/she should be prepared and available.
- Go by the house regularly to make sure everything is in order: entry doors all locked, key is in the lockbox, house is tidy, main entrance floor is clean, feature sheets are plentiful, etc.
- Request all offers on the property be submitted by the deadline to avoid chaos. Late offers are stressful for the listing agent who is supposed to advise all co-operating brokerages of the number of offers their buyers are competing with.
- Schedule a viewing as quickly as possible after the property hits MLS because bully offers are rampant and it will probably sell before the offer date.
- Make sure you are financially qualified and that you have sufficient funds to include a certified cheque as a deposit with your offer.
- Review the home inspection thoroughly, if the seller has provided one, and contact the home inspector to discuss the details of the house. Alternatively, perform your own home inspection before submitting your offer.
- In this heated market, your agent should be presenting your offer in person, only - unless instructed otherwise - or your chance of getting the house is slim to none. You deserve the best representation possible and you should insist on it. We sell many listings and in competition, a buyer whose agent is not present rarely gets the house mainly because you are not available to make the quick decisions that are necessary in this fast moving market.
- Please be courteous and follow the showing instructions dictated by the listing agent. First, be on time, take off your footwear, leave a business card at the house, turn off lights at the end of your showing and PLEASE put the key back in the lockbox. And most importantly don't leave the house without locking all doors.
- If there are other agents in the house showing the property, then please tell the other agent: you are leaving the house, where the key is located, and that you are entrusting them to lock the door before they leave.
- While you are showing the house, don't let strangers in and assume they are accompanied or that they are agents. When there are so many back to back showings, it may appear to be an open house and people may walk in on their own. Ask them if they are with their agent and/or to see a business card to make sure they are agents.
- Agents should call the listing agent immediately if there's buyer interest. Many times we receive bully offers with a very short irrevocable and, although we contact all agents who have shown the property to inform them, we would call all agents who have asked to be kept abreast first. This may mean the difference between your buyer getting the chance to submit an offer, on time or not, before the property sells.
- Agents should not submit an offer by email without calling the listing agent first, as the listing agent may have their own offer from their own buyer. This happens all the time and is frankly irresponsible on the part of a buyer agent. Now the listing agent, who has their own offer, knows what another agent's buyer is prepared to pay putting that buyer in a disadvantaged position.
In conclusion, the market is extremely fast paced and, as professionals, we should try to do whatever we can to make the process less chaotic and more orderly for all parties, while always acting in the best interest of the client we represent.