When I was in high school, my dad got a job offer and our family moved from Wisconsin to the Chicagoland area.  Back then, I was oblivious to the reasons why our house didn’t sell.  But today, as an active real estate agent, I’m acutely aware of how hard it must have been to keep the house in some semblance of order and coordinate showings with five kids and two adults who worked full-time living in it.

Buyers are impulsive and impatient.  When they find a listing they’re interested in seeing, they’re on the phone with their agents requesting an immediate showing.  The easier you make it for agents to schedule showings, the more buyers who will see it, and the greater your chances of getting an offer quickly and for the most money.

Go & Shows, as they’re known in the industry, are the most flexible of all showing statuses.  This means showing requests require no advanced notice and are immediately confirmed.  But, this Go & Show status is rarely assigned unless the property is vacant.

If you’re thinking of selling with small children and / or dogs that can’t be caged, a hectic schedule that doesn’t make it easy to accommodate showings, or you’d simply would prefer not to deal with the pressure of keeping your home in show-ready shape while it’s on the market, you may want to try to move into your new home before you sell your current one.

That’s not always feasible. It certainly wasn’t for my family all those years ago.  My parents needed the money from the sale of our Wisconsin home in order to buy a new one in Oak Park.   

Work with an agent sensitive to your situation who can help you come with creative solutions that will allow buyers the greatest possible access to your home and still allow you and your family to live in it until it’s sold.

Recently, I listed a home for a family that includes 4-year old twins and an 80-pound puppy.  Keeping the house clean and vacating it for showing requests was going to place an undue burden on my sellers.  So, we coordinated the listing going live to coincide with a 2-week vacation they’d planned.  

If coordinating a weekend getaway or a vacation isn’t an option, do the best you can.  Requiring at least two hours’ notice is perfectly reasonable.  It gives you enough time to tidy up, re-route kids or spouses, and either remove the dog from the house or make sure it’s caged for the showing.  Requiring even 3 – 4 hours’ notice may not deter motivated buyers.  But requiring 24-hour notice could reduce showing requests dramatically.  An agent trying to schedule a string of consecutive showings for a Saturday will likely skip your home if your notice requirements are too restrictive – and those buyers may buy someone else’s house instead of yours.

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