“Is Anyone Home?”
Imagine the expression on everyone’s face as they discover that the supposedly unoccupied house being shown actually did have a visiting couple who were enjoying the spa or the fright resulting from the sudden appearance of a German Shepherd that no one knew a tenant had left in the house that day.
Most long-time agents have experienced the awful feeling of opening the front door and realizing that an alarm was activated which no one expected to be set. Or the immediate arrival of an armed guard at the door following the triggering of a silent alarm.
Pets are Fun
Then there are endless stories about people’s pets, such as the “escape artist” cat that manages to leap out the door when open just a bit. One of my most exhausting experiences came at the expense of a client’s dog that bolted through my legs just as I was locking up after a showing. He thought my chasing him was a great sport, and it took nearly 30-minutes to catch up to him and haul him back home.
Some agents have had the sinking feeling when the door blew closed while they were showing the backyard or a deck, and keys were on a table inside the house. Others may have discovered that the unpleasant odor following them inside the house was coming from something they had inadvertently stepped-in out in the yard.
Unexpected Noises or Smells
Agents showing the property may have the experience of expecting the quiet neighborhood just before a hot-rodder came blasting down the street or motorcycle speeding through the area just a block away. Occasionally an agent cannot easily disengage from a loud-talking critic of the owner’s taste in design or features of the house, and the comments can impact a potential buyer’s feelings about the property’s suitability for them as a new home.
Owners’ or tenants’ lifestyles can also be a source of showing mishaps. For example, a teenager may have a racy or provocative poster in their room, or prospective buyers may be “creeped out” by someone’s large snake even if in a glass enclosure. People who are highly sensitive to animals may be especially turned off during a showing when the cats or dogs show up.
Some homes have a pungent aroma from animals, others have an oppressive feeling from being closed up all the time, and of course, in today’s market, any home with smokers can be difficult for people to appreciate.
Stay Away from Your Own Open House
It is highly inadvisable for owners to be at home during showings or buyer inspections. If they do remain, the risk of conversations may be high – either because they may say too much, or because they might react emotionally to comments being made about the house or changes being envisioned by the buyer.