The property has been properly prepared, it's priced according to your strategy, and now it's time to open the doors and bring in the buyers.


A lot of work has gone into progressing the sale of the home to this point. Every person that views the home could be the buyer, and the time and money spent to generate each showing should not be taken lightly. As the seller, you need to do whatever you have to do to make the home available for the showings. I repeat: ACCEPT ALL SHOWINGS! Obviously things come up occasionally, but denying showings is literally like advertising other seller's listings. You and your agent are not in the business of selling other people's homes for free, so don't send willing and able buyers shopping elsewhere. 

Open houses provide an opportunity for advertising and marketing the home, but they typically don't generate a serious buyer. Any serious buyer would view the home with or without an open house, and research has shown that open houses attract "lookers," not buyers. Open house lookers are statistically 6-9 months from ultimately making a home purchase. Agents use these open houses as an opportunity to convert lookers into future clients, and also as a way to convince their seller that they are worth their commission. Either way, open houses are an antiquated way for an agent to find a serious buyer and a somewhat weak way of establishing their own value. That doesn't mean that an open house is of no use to the seller. An experienced agent, that is well worth their commission, will use the open house as leverage with serious buyers to secure an offer. The open house will be vigorously advertised and will be strategically scheduled to create a sense of urgency. Any buyer that has any interest will know about the impending open house, and won't want to have 30-40+ people walking through and writing up offers on the home they want. They will come in with a strong offer in an attempt to get it under contract before they lose out to the buyers from the open house.


The value of any item is usually set at how much a buyer is willing to pay for it. As mentioned in my previous Buyer Series #4- Contingencies, the appraisal doesn't establish the value of the property. In real estate, the appraisal will determine exactly how much a financial institution will lend a buyer to pay for the property, no matter how much the buyer is willing to pay. The estimated appraised value should be taken into consideration when pricing the home because a low appraisal can terminate the transaction, which wastes time and money for both the buyer and the seller. The appraiser will use comparable properties that have sold within 180 days. A comparable property will be similar in square footage, bedroom/bathroom numbers, lot size, location, school district, condition, and other details specific to each individual home. Apples to apples. If you get a high offer and a low appraisal, your buyer will not be approved for financing. You will have to drop the price, have the buyer pay cash for the difference, meet in the middle, or lose the buyer and start all over. Starting over will leave you with the same appraisal problem. Even if you get a second offer that your'e happy with, your second buyer will still need to be approved for financing unless it's a rare cash deal. Your best bet as a seller is to price it appropriately to avoid an appraisal issue, but to do your very best to work with your first offer in the case that the property doesn't appraise for the agreed upon price. 


Your home will need to pass a home inspection for the sale to make it to the closing. Your inspection can uncover all kinds of scary information that you never knew about your property. As a seller, it's best for you to know these details before the buyer finds out with a pre-sale inspection. Considering how much you have to lose if a sale falls through, it's a small price to pay to have a professional complete an inspection before you list. You can get most of those dirty details cleaned up before they ever raise an issue from your buyer. In the event that your inspection comes back with problems, many buyers will be willing to work with you on rectifying those issues. Even big problems can be professionally corrected to the buyer's satisfaction and the sale can continue, but you will have to be prepared to write the check to have the work done or drop the price. Without a pre-sale inspection, you can expect to have numerous items that the buyer will want to re-negotiate, ask for a price reduction, demand concessions, or worse...walk away. 

For more information on appraisals, inspections, and a summary of title insurance, please read Buyer Series #4 - Contingencies Part 1, and Part 2, or keep reading Seller Series #5- Closing.