Asking for Advance Notice of Showings?

maurenemmMarch 16, 2011

While I'm pretty sure it is common for sellers to ask for advanced notice before showing their home...I'm not sure how much advanced notice they usually ask for. What is common? What is ideal?

When I sold my first home, I think my realtor asked for 1 hour. (I had a buyer within 2 weeks.) But I was single with no kids then, so getting advanced notice wasn't a big deal. This time I have kids and it'd be helpful to get some advance notice but at the same time I don't want to ask for too much advance notice so as to not discourage potential buyers from looking.

How often to buyers actually give the requested advance notice?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know when I was actively looking at houses (before I realized it would take forever to sell mine) we scheduled anywhere from a few days to the day before showing. But, we are looking at houses an hour away and started compiling our list several days ahead. I did request to see a couple of houses that we passed while driving around and they were able to show at that moment.

As a seller, I'd like a little notice, but we did not specify we needed it. So far, I'm getting requests the day before, but I'm trying to be prepared to show on short notice. I homeschool my two kids and we're home most of the time...which means the house isn't always perfect. I keep some extra laundry baskets and storage containers handy to throw stuff in and I pile it up in my van. My van looks like we live in it half the time, but it's worth it to have the house spotless.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 7:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I always encourage my lookers to at least give me a day. We work from home and I want the place to be pristine if I'm showing it. I've never had anyone protest. If they did, I would let them see it anyway. I would never say no. But I get different kinds of buyers because I live out in the country and someone wouldn't just happen to be in the neighborhood. They usually have to plan to come see my places.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 11:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think we asked for an hour notice when we sold. My kids were at home because it was summer. We had a routine we followed to keep the house looking nice. I had decluttered and cleaned to the point where we just basically had essentials in toys, clothing, towels, and dishes. Every night before we went to bed, I cleared the counters and put all of the dishes in the dishwasher and put them on to wash so if buyers looked in the dishwasher, they would at least find clean dishes. Dirty towels and clothes were put in the wash machine and washed each night so they wouldn't be smelling up the rooms. I kept the 'good' towels out at all times so the bathrooms looked neat. No one was allowed to touch them. I sort of herded everyone to one bathroom so I only had to keep one bathroom and shower/bath clean. We picked up whatever was on the floor at night before going to bed. Beds were made the first thing in the morning. I swept the floors then too. My crew is really messy so I had to be really strict. The most important thing was to get out all of the extra stuff we didn't need so it couldn't end up in the floor. It helped that we were able to go on vacation for the first couple of weeks while a good neighbor watched the house.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 12:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When we were recently relisting our house, I talked to agents about this. The general feedback I received was that in our area it depends upon price range. I was told that for higher end houses it is very common to require 24 hours notice and agents didn't typically have buyers that required to see a house faster than that. They usually research houses in advance and schedule in advance.

For more mid-range and lower range houses there are a lot more listed and buyers are more likely to see a house while out and about and want to see it right then. There are so many listed that most buyers typically don't research in advance everything in the price range.

We ended up not putting a specific notice requirement on the listing but the showing service had to call us and speak to us about the showing and we took it on a case by case basis. After we listed the house we had 4 showings. The first was with about 12 hours notice. The other 3 were all scheduled a little over 24 hours in advance and were all overlapping.

We did keep the house where it could easily be put in show ready condition within an hour. The things that would have caused us not to be able to show were mostly schedule conflicts (that is if DH and I were not at home and they wanted to show within an hour, for example, and our teenage, not yet driving, kids were at home).

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 1:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We did not ask for notice but instead kept the house as good as we could. I passed up a few houses because we couldn't get in; didn't want that to happen to me.

As a buyer; I didn't expect pristine if there was no notice given.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 8:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have four kids, so I NEED advance warning. My house doesn't live in a 'nearly clean' state! LOL. Plus its a very large house and I leave my house VERY clean for showings.

I have requested 24 hours. When I've been out looking at homes, I always asked at least 2-3 days in advance so the realtor had time to give notice.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 10:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

its a personal thing, I wouldnt't put any undue restrictions on seeing the house. in my area lockboxes are generally not used, so basically either the seller has to let someone in or the RE listing agent.

shortest notice I had was someone saying they are outside the house. We weren't home, were on our way actually. I requested 20 minutes to get home and clean up, they went away for 20 min.

24hrs is nice, but you may turn away people. I actually preferred the people with an hour or so notice, we didn't have kids when selling, but we kept the house neat. 24hrs-3 days of notice really built up the showing when some are completely underwhelming 10 min showings.

not that you shouldn't put your best foot forward, but remember sometimes if you're cleaning for 2 hrs beforehand, the showing may only be 10 minutes and the house not for them. Not saying don't clean or keep neat, but be aware it may not be as big a deal for them as it is for you.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 11:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Do a forum search; this forum was busier at one time; there are posts with all sorts of input.

Some areas don't get drop ins; some do. Some areas you have to be spotless. What I found of being on the market for a year was keeping the house up; whether it's doing things at night or morning then as was mentioned; use baskets that you can quickly load into a car. I had 2 wicker trunks from Marshall's- bought them just for showings; anything left out; easily got thrown into them & closed. I find it's easier to keep a white wash cloth on the sink to wipe up every day; make sure toilets are at least flushed before leaving.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 1:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In this market I would not limit any buyers in any way. Ask for one hour if you must, but always be ready.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 9:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Roselvr, what you do with the baskets reminds me of what I do with the big dog bed. I put that out in the car.

You guys are right when you say a serious buyer is not going to pass up a house because it's messy, but when I'm showing my house, I want the people to get a FEELING. I'm trying to turn on their emotions so that if they have any hesitation whatsoever, it doesn't matter, they are crazy about the place and so it has to look like you could live the perfect life here--Hazel the maid is in the closet, there's a pie on the counter but that pie has a slice taken out because I don't want any of it to LOOK staged. I even sent my daughter out to ride her horse in the riding arena when I had a horse person looking. I want them to think, "This place is home-sweet-home!" That's why I try to get 24 hours. (It really is like this--we really do make pies and ride horses--it's just messier, lol.)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 10:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you, everyone!

After reading the replies here and elsewhere, I feel better that it is reasonable to REQUEST advanced notice and even 24 hours might not be out of line. (Although I'll need to ask what is common in our area.) At the same time I should expect some last minute requests and I'll try to accomodate them as best I can.

I thought one raaltor had a good suggestion of making a note in the MLS listing requesting advanced notice as the "seller has young children" (but perhaps not listing a specific number of hours for advanced notice).

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 9:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The more notice you need, the less likely your home is to be shown. The less likely it is to be shown, the less likely it is to be sold. It's a buyers market. There's PLENTY of homes to choose from, so why make it any harder to sell your house? 24 hours is fine for an estate type home, but for the rest of us, asking for anything beyond an hour means that the buyer goes on to the next house on the list and doesn't come back to your house.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 11:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When recently looking at homes in the Charleston, SC area, our buyers agent said it always HAD to be 24 hours notice; that that was standard and expected in the area. I think that seems like a good idea for any home. After all, unless the house just came one the market in the last 24 hours, why can't the buyers and and their agents decide what houses they want to see and call and arrage to see them a day in advance?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 12:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

After all, unless the house just came one the market in the last 24 hours, why can't the buyers and and their agents decide what houses they want to see and call and arrage to see them a day in advance?

People from out of town that are just there for a few days often need to see homes with much less than 24 hours notice. Even if they had made appointments to see several homes, they might drive by one not on their list and decide to see it right away.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 1:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We request a 2 hour minimum notice and ask that the buyers be quailified. There is no need to waste anyone's time if they cannot afford our house in the first place. 2 hours barely gives me enough time to properly get the house in show order. Vacuuming alone takes alot of time! We had a call for a showing, just last Thursday. This is what the appointment take told me, "They were looking in the neighborhood and asked if they could be there in less than an hour." A lesson I learned last time I was told, "We are looking at other houses in your neighborood," and I worked like crazy, yelled and screamed at the kids to start picking things up,for nothing is 1) they can't afford my house, and 2) if they really wanted to see the inside of my house, they would make an appointment for the following day or later in the weekend. They didn't. We broke one of the main rules in building in this neighborhood-never build the biggest house. The other homes for sale are almost $200k less than ours and are either distressed or in foreclosure. That is what people are looking for when they come into mine, which isn't the case. If only I could give the house away, but I can't...yet.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 1:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So here is the million dollar question...are you better off showing your house at short notice even if it won't be perfect?

That said, my neighbor went several months showing her house. She works full time so she'd call me to turn on lights, take thawing meat out of her sink, etc. She kept the house immaculate. One Sunday morning her husband literally answered the door in his boxers for a drive by showing and let the people in (after donning a robe). The newspaper was spread all over the floor, breakfast dishes were in the kitchen, and the beds weren't made. She was furious he let the people in, until they made an offer!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 9:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I must admit that unless I was selling something that extremely high value (I mean several million, not just one) I would never require that buyers be prequalified. Personally as a buyer last year I would have felt that was a hassle (particularly when I was a cash buyer and didn't want to give information as to my funds to someone just to see the house).

As for how much notice -- the best advice I got on this was that in the, say, top 5% price range, 24 hours notice is standard and people are more sophisticated and rarely expect to see a house on short notice. They don't usually see a house while out driving that didn't turn up on their searching already.

But people in the mid to lower price ranges are more likely to be more impulsive and have so many houses in their price range on the market that they could easily see a house while out driving and want to see it on short notice.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 10:33PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
what do you do with mail that comes for previous occupants?
I always get mail that is meant for previous occupants...
Home Buyers Please Vote: Would you rather ...
1. A $2,000 kitchen appliance allowance or any stainless...
pros/cons of first floor master
I've looked at several newish (1990s or newer) homes...
Best time to List a House
Is there a best time to list a house for sale? We have...
Relocating and Finding New Services/People/Businesses
If you are moving or have moved to an unfamiliar town...
Sponsored Products
Alvin Architects Drafting Kit - BDK-1A
$51.99 | Hayneedle
Modern Fan Company | Cloud Ceiling Fan
$384.00 | YLighting
Welles Sofa - Key Largo Grape Purple
Joybird Furniture
Mykonos Octopus Table
Grandin Road
Green 5050 Single Row CC LED Strip Light 60/m 12mm wide 6m Reel
Dueling Piano Elves
$99.00 | FRONTGATE
Curlicue Bookends
$39.99 | Dot & Bo
Whitehaus WHLX78559 Single Hole Kitchen Faucet with Two Control Levers
$769.00 | Blue Bath
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™