This may sound like someone just complaining but it actually is more serious than that. Our home has been listed with a reputable firm for four months. Whether or not our house has sold by mid‑July, we will be relocating to Denver to start new jobs. The concern we have is that after leaving the house during a showing, we frequently come back to find a door unlocked, lights left on and occasionally our bathroom used. With us no longer in town, can we require our listing agent to inspect our house after each showing? Unfortunately, we do not have a relative or a friend nearby that we feel comfortable asking to oversee or burdening them with our property. This issue becomes even more concerning if our house continues to linger on the market. How do you deal with these problems?
Gayle and Tom, Grand Junction
Gayle and Tom,
This is a common problem and a very real concern as it is too often for our sellers that they come home after a showing and find exactly what you describe. The simple answer is to sell your home, but I fully appreciate that sometimes it is easier said than done.
First, I must point out that from time to time all showing agents make mistakes and overlook details like locking doors and turning off lights after they leave a showing. I will admit that one time, as careful as I try to be when showing a house, we went in through the front door and out through the back door and I forgot to lock the front door and actually left the key in the front door lock!! Luckily the showing agent was extremely forgiving and showed me quite a bit of grace, but as good as my intentions were that day, I failed to show the attention to detail and respect for the seller’s home that I should have. My point is, it happens to the best of us, but will not happen to me again! Should it happen? No, but does it happen more often than it should? Yes. That being said, you have hit on a couple of points that could help alleviate your concerns.
It is very reasonable to request your agent check up on the house after showings. This may be difficult for your agent to manage, depending on how busy he/she is and the frequency of showings. If you are getting 3-4 showings a week, this can be more difficult, but if it is 1-2, then it becomes much more manageable. Most agents want to make the selling experience as trouble free for their sellers as possible and thus are typically very quick to accommodate their seller’s needs, if at all possible. Do not be afraid to ask your agent for their help, that is what they are there for.
You mentioned, you did not have any friends or family nearby that you felt comfortable asking for help, but I would consider a reassessment of your friends and family and re-think who might be able or willing to help. I understand you may not have close neighbors, but any neighbor or friend who has kids (teenagers) who would like to pick up a few extra bucks each week for checking in on your house, may be just the ticket. As I recall, teenagers are eager to earn a few extra bucks, but I must admit there may be a generational gap between then and now. : ) Young people today do not seem as money motivated as I was when I was younger! You might even check around at church, as many times the youth group has folks who are looking for odd jobs and extra sources of income. As I have mentioned in this column before, you may see this as a burden to your friends or family, but believe it or not, there are many people who love to help. There are also two types of house sitters, those who would live there while you are gone and watch over the property and those who you can hire to come out once or twice a week to check things over.
You have options, explore them. First and foremost, ask your agent and his/her company to help you solve the problem and alleviate your concerns, as I am sure you will find them very resourceful and helpful in finding a solution you are comfortable with. Here’s to praying for a worry-free move and your home selling soon!
The Kimbrough Team