Selling your home is stressful, no doubt about it. Selling your home while you’re still living in it just adds a couple more layers to that stress! And when children and/or pets are involved, add on a few more layers!
Now for the good news–there are ways to handle the stress and make it all work for you, your family, and your prospective buyers! But flexibility is key! And patience and understanding from all parties.
Rule #1–if you want to sell your house, you have to let people in to see it! In my 16 years as a Realtor, I’ve sold one house sight unseen to a buyer. 99.9% of buyers want to see a house before they make a decision on whether or not to consider purchasing that house. So you, as the homeowner/seller, must be willing to let people come into your home and see it for themselves. Is it inconvenient? Sometimes. Is it required? Only if you’re serious about selling. And, frankly, if you’re not serious, then why are you even listing your house?
Rule #2–when you let people in to see your house, let them see it without your being there. Leave!
I have been on 4 sides of this–as a seller, as a buyer (both before becoming a realtor), as a buyer’s agent, and as a listing agent.
When I was the seller, I wish I had understood the situation from a buyer’s side better. My realtor tried to explain, but she did not convince me very well. I think it took longer to sell my house because I was so stubborn about leaving the house.
When I became a buyer, it all started to make sense–all the things she had told me to do that were inconvenient, annoying, and just a pain to put up with! Now, seeing it with different eyes, I understood what a difference those little inconveniences made to a prospective buyer. I “got” it! Better late than never!
As a buyer’s agent, I’ve had to deal with sellers being present while I was showing, or trying to schedule a showing at all with sellers who put in lots of restrictions on showing times, access, etc.
As a listing agent, I’ve had to work with sellers who just “don’t feel like cleaning up today” and declined showings, and then get upset because they haven’t received an offer on their house.
So, homesellers, please understand that when you live in a home you’re trying to sell, patience and flexibility will be required. You will need to keep you home presentable most all the time. You will need to be prepared to leave your home at times that may be inconvenient so that buyers can come in and see it. And you will need to allow those buyers to come into your home at reasonable times. If you’re willing to do that, then the right buyer will come along and you will be able to put a SOLD sign on the house!