Should Sellers Stay for Showings?

Sellers know their house better than anyone, so it makes sense why they might think it is a good idea for them to be at the showings, along with potential buyers.

In our experience with showing thousands of homes to buyers over the years, we have found the first showing of a home is a more emotional experience and the second showing is more mechanically focused. Understanding these dynamics helps us guide our sellers to create the best environment possible for a buyer to appreciate their home.


Why should a seller leave for showings?

The first showing for a buyer at a home is what we call the emotional visit. Buyers need privacy to dream and imagine themselves living in the home, and not feel like they are intruding on someone else’s personal space. Buyers need to be able to talk about what they like and don’t like about the house without having to be careful with their comments so they don’t offend the seller. When a seller is present, the buyer will feel awkward, and not be able to get a detailed look at the house. Imagine how it feels as a buyer to open someone’s kitchen cabinets while the owner is watching or hovering nearby.

If the buyer quickly decides they don’t like the house, they also need to be able to leave and not waste anyone’s time, instead of feeling obligated to look so they don’t hurt the seller’s feelings.


Why not have the seller stay nearby to answer questions?

Sometimes a seller will want to sit on a deck or wait in another room, with the goal of being available to answer questions. This approach still makes a buyer feel awkward and not able to fully enjoy looking at the home. The buyer won’t feel comfortable openly discussing the home because they worry the seller is able to hear their conversation.


Is there ever a time when the seller should be at a showing?

While the first visit is known as the emotional visit, the second showing is known as the mechanical visit. At this showing, the buyer typically looks more deeply at major systems like HVAC, construction quality, and whether maintenance has been kept up to date. At this visit, buyers sometimes measure room sizes, walk the property boundaries, or look in the attic.


In some cases, a buyer’s agent will ask the listing agent if they or the seller can be available in person or on standby via phone for questions during a second visit. If the home has unique features that need to be demonstrated or the home has acreage and the buyer wants someone to show them the property lines, it can make sense for the seller and listing agent to be at the second showing. If the buyer’s agent makes this request, we always accommodate them.


What if the seller has valuables in their home?

We recommend sellers remove or secure items prior to any showings, including anything valuable, fragile or sentimental. The obvious items like jewelry, guns, and prescriptions should be secured, as well as items at eye level for a child to touch. While we have never had an issue with theft or damage from a showing, we believe preventing any problems prior to showings is smart.


Is it ok for the seller to watch the showing via security cameras?

With today’s smart homes, sellers can remotely watch and listen to buyers viewing their home. Because of the potential backlash from buyers who may feel their privacy is violated, we recommend disclosing the presence of security cameras with remote monitoring to agents prior to showings.


What if the buyer or agent has questions?

We do numbers of follow ups after showings via email, call and text to request feedback and see if the buyer or their agent has any questions. Our experience in navigating follow up questions and managing offer negotiations helps our sellers have the best opportunity for a successful sale and closing.


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