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An Open Letter: I Understand Why Your Home Has Been on the Market So Long

Dear Home Seller,

I've been helping some friends look for a home this past month. We managed to find a great place for them, and we even got multiple offers on their home, which sold in less than two weeks, thankfully. We looked at a cross-section of neighborhoods in Round Rock, and we saw a number of places that were vacant. From the properties that were occupied, the vast majority were exceptionally flexible with showing times, and a couple of them allowed us to take a look even though we hadn't arranged anything in advance and spotted the home while driving around.

And then there was your house.

At first glance, I was looking forward to showing your home. It was well-priced for the area, and it appeared to have a spacious, open back yard and nice upgrades inside.

I only have one question: Why did you make it so darn hard to show the place?

The first weekend that I attempted to bring my buyers, I gave 13 hours notice. When we arrived at 10am Saturday morning, it was clear that we woke you up. You said it wasn't a good time because your son had a sleepover the night before, and they were all asleep upstairs. I certainly understand that - I have four kids myself. After awkwardly standing at the door with my buyers for a few more seconds, I simply said, "Well, thanks." You didn't offer any alternative times for us.

I called later that same day (1:20pm) and asked if we could come see it in an hour or so.

"Today just really isn't a good day", you replied. 

Um.....okay. it's a Saturday afternoon in March, which is the heart of the spring selling season here in Austin. This is one of the heaviest traffic times of the year. Godspeed.

The following weekend, I found myself in your neighborhood again with my buyers. They asked about your house. Despite my mental resistance to do so, I called again, on the off chance that we could see it. Ironically, you said, "I can't do it right now. If I only had some notice..." 

I couldn't help myself. I said, "Well, last week I gave you 13 hours notice." Once again, you offered no alternative times or plans or days that we could possibly see the house.

So, I did what I felt was the right thing to do. I told your listing agent. I don't like to tattle, but I felt that she deserved to know that you were unwilling/unable to show the house on two consecutive Saturdays.

Amazingly, she was able to arrange a showing 3 hours later for us, and we did come by to take a look. The buyers weren't interested, and I have a feeling that part of this was the hassle of showing in the first place.

I'm not Kreskin (Google it), but I understand why your house is sitting with no offers. I understand why you've reduced it multiple times, and why you are offering a commission bonus to try to entice agents to show it. Here's the thing: commission bonuses can certainly help ensure that all of the qualified buyers looking in the area will see your home, but they have to be ABLE TO SEE YOUR HOME.

I apologize for waking you up, but give some thought to checking your cell phone messages before you go to bed. I wish you well with your sale. Unfortunately, I have another set of buyers looking in your subdivision soon. 

I think I'll just call your agent to set things up for us next time.


(EDITED AFTER READING SOME OF THE COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS BELOW: In Austin, Texas, it's customary to call the seller directly for any and all showings, unless there are instructions to the contrary. It's a "Call 1st - Then Go" field in the MLS for showings. If you leave a message and don't hear back, it's okay to proceed, assuming it's a reasonable amount of time (i.e. over an hour or two). If the MLS listing field said, "Appointment with Agent" or "Appointment with Occupant", then I would have proceeded differently. Truly, most agents here will give a much shorter notice than I gave during our initial attempt to see the house described above. Since I like to be organized with I'm meeting clients, I called all of the homes the night before. Trust me when I say that this is likely above and beyond the norm here. I am a broker and owner of a company with 16 agents. I have been training others on the sales process in Austin for many years. I understand our local protocol. )


Photo credit: Via from Eli R Brown

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