The real estate market in Northeast PA around Lake Wallenpaupack is primarily a vacation home market. While there are, naturally, sales of year round homes, first time home buyers, etc., the majority of our sales are for second homes. Many times the buyers make a trip here to Wayne or Pike County to see several homes in one day before heading back home – which could be two or three hours away – or more.
Needless to say, when you have your home on the market, you really need to have it ready to show. You can’t say “Can you come back tomorrow?” because chances are, the answer is…no.
Have had some frustrating experiences recently, and as a listing agent, I caution my sellers that they need to be ready to show their home at any time – it’s not unheard of for a buyer to stop outside a house, in front of the sign, and call their agent and ask to see the home ASAP.
I don’t want to call it a buyer’s market, because it really isn’t. It’s not really a seller’s market either. It’s an interesting market. Both sides, buyers and sellers, need to be flexible but sellers especially – if you want your home sold, it needs to be available.
Last year (this one still annoys the heck out of me) I had buyers coming on the weekend, and they wanted to see a particular home. I saw that the home was owner occupied, and called the listing agent three days in advance. “No, sorry, you can’t see the house this weekend. Can they come on Monday night instead?”
HELLO, no they can not. They live over an hour away, and they work. The agent actually said “They must not want to see it all that badly, then.”
Um…or the seller doesn’t want to sell all that badly, right?
Here’s the most recent adventures:
- Buyer contacts me and wants to see 5 houses later that afternoon, a Friday. No problem – I look at the listings. Only one indicates that it’s owner occupied. I call that one first. Nope, sorry, can’t see that one. The owner evidently wants at least 2 days notice. Can’t see it today. Maybe the day after tomorrow? My buyers aren’t planning to come up again for at least a month. Oh well.
- House #2 & 3. They are OK to show.
- House#4: Listing says it’s vacant, receptionist says there are tenants. I said “Oh, the MLS says it’s vacant.” She said “Well it is vacant. They just rented it out for the summer.” WTH? Receptionist promises to call me back to see if we can see it.
- House #5. Got the green light from the listing office. Good to go.
Well….the last two homes are about 35 to 40 minutes away from the office. After looking at houses 2 & 3, I call the office again about the tenants, as the receptionist neglected to call me back as she promised. It is about 1:30 -2:00. We are on our way to houses 4 & 5, where I will not have cell signal. The receptionist informed me that the tenant at #4 will not allow anyone in before 5pm. My buyers are not willing to hang around 3 hours to see a house. Oh well. That’s 2 down of the 5. There’s still hope for house #5.
We arrive at house #5. Buyers are anxious to see *this* one. What’s this? Someone put a note on the door. “Dogs inside. Do not enter.” And there the little darlin’s were, barking their heads off telling us to keep out of this house we had an appointment to see. Nobody around. There’s a cell phone number on the note, but that’s no help as there is no cell signal out here in the boonies.
So my buyers traveled all that way to see the 5 houses they REALLY wanted to see after picking through hundreds of listings online, only to find out the sellers did not want them to see them after all. To say they were disappointed is an understatement.
I had a bright idea. All was not lost….there was a lovely home on a cul-de-sac nearby, that I knew was vacant, as I saw the sellers moving out the last time I was there. I knew it was still available. I told my buyers to come on, there’s a great house we can see while we’re here. We get to the house only to find this empty home has no lockbox. (I later find out the agent had the key. The lockbox was going to be put on sometime in the future, but as of yet had not been done…) Oy. What a strike out day for my clients, and me.
If you are going to have your home on the market, then make it available.
If you are going to rent it, then rent it and keep it off the market, unless the tenants are going to allow showings.
A huge amount of time and gas was wasted – the house with the dogs was the furthest one away and the “tenant” house was near it. We could have spent that time and energy looking at different homes with serious sellers, not time wasters.
There have been numerous blogs over the past few weeks complaining about how buyers are rude and inconvenience sellers by not showing up for appointments or by coming too early or too late. The basic respect works both ways.
Don’t put your home on the MLS if you’re not going to allow access to it. It’s reasonable for buyers to expect to be able to SEE homes that are listed as “For Sale.” Especially if they are listed as “Vacant” or if the listing office says “Sure, go ahead and show it!”