Chairman’s Message: Tips for Working with the Absent Seller

Quincy Virgilio: MLSListings Inc 2018 Chairman

Quincy Virgilio
2018 Chairman, MLSListings

Summer means travel and often a more “checked out” lifestyle for most people, which can prove problematic for the agent or broker trying to work with a seller – particularly in high season where buyers are frantically trying to get into a home before fall. From negotiating to closings, the absent seller can make life difficult for all parties involved.

Company’s coming.
For the seller who has a revolving door of visiting guests, it can be difficult to show their property – both from the standpoint of people being in the home and the property not being presentable, to the seller who doesn’t want prospective buyers coming through the home when they have company.

It’s important to have a conversation to calibrate expectations: if the seller is seeking a certain price for their home but they are restricting your ability to show it, they need to understand that not showing their home is counterintuitive to getting it sold. One option is to wait to put it on the market until their company is gone, or setting restrictions on when it will be shown. For example, two hours’ notice is given to the seller before showing the property, or establishing set days and times when the home can be shown.

The condition of the home during showings should also be discussed. With houseguests, the home may not be in the pristine condition that is required, and precautions about leaving valuables and medications accessible may not be adhered to by guests. Again, you may want to advise the seller to keep the home off the market while they are entertaining visitors.

The Traveler.
Thankfully, technology has greatly simplified the problem of inaccessibility by making it easy to transact business from anywhere in the world. This is true for all aspects of the real estate transaction. Tools like Docu-Sign make it easy to handle listing agreements, disclosure documents, offer letters and contracts, while Skype and Zoom afford the ability to have face-to-face conversations with a seller, no matter where they are. For closings, you can use a mobile notary – even in the office of the American Consulate of a foreign country.

The key with the traveling seller is to discuss their plans and itinerary in advance, and how you will handle anticipated scenarios where they will need to be reachable and involved. Equally important is knowing what tools you have at your disposal for these types of long-distance actions, and being familiar with how to use them. There is nothing worse than trying to communicate with a client through video-conferencing and running into connectivity issues because you are unfamiliar with the technology or you don’t have the proper account set up.

Making it work.
Summer will always be peak selling season so it is important to think through the barriers to transacting business, and the absent or distracted seller can be the number one challenge. However, planning and determining how to stay connected with your client can make these sales seamless.



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