Monday, December 12, 2011

For Safety's Sake #7: Safe Showings in the Holiday Season

The “safety” this month deals mostly with ensuring that your relationships with your sellers and buyers are safe.

As you are hanging tinsel and spinning dreidels, munching cookies, humming carols and lighting candles keep in mind the extra precautions with the intangibles that should be taken in this festive holiday season.

Your sellers have entrusted you with the marketing of their home. This is a precious thing. It means a great deal to them, and they have many emotional as well as monetary attachments to it.

The holidays are particularly stressful times as all the thoughts of good times and sweet memories of days gone by are flooding back coupled with the mixed emotions concerning the future and the hopes that buyers will love and appreciate the home as much as the present owners have. It is a difficult time. Please bear with your sellers.

Many homeowners suspend showings during the holidays for just this reason. It might not be a bad idea.

If they insist that they’re ok with continuing to show, fine. Don’t ever let them think you suggested it because you haven’t finished your shopping or you want to sneak away to Aruba for a week.

If you do find yourself showing property, remember that in houses, as in relationships, decorations may be covering up flaws and that the aroma from a freshly-baked plate of gingersnaps is not a satisfying remedy for mold in the basement.

Watch out for icy sidewalks, blocked entrances, and unexpected delays. Families which have not suspended showings during the holidays may need some special handling during this time.

They will need to be comforted and reassured that their privacy and possessions are being safeguarded. Advise them accordingly.

Council them, when scheduling a showing, to keep money, jewelry, and expensive gifts out of sight. This is probably not the time for an open house either.

Make sure they keep track of gifts, wrapped and unwrapped, that are under the tree or elsewhere. It’s easy to forget that new Kindle Fire that Uncle Bob sent, and that the sapphire ring hasn’t been added to the insurance policy yet. Have them secure packages when they return from shopping and encourage them to keep a list of items purchased. With six showings in one weekend in late December, it doesn’t do to vaguely recall in March that Cousin Sylvia send Larry a set of antique fishing lures. Didn’t she?

Added precautions should be in place when your sellers attend holiday activities and services away from the home. There’s that FOR SALE sign out front, and extra presents + extra money + extra busy people=less attention to security.

Your sellers will have hectic schedules, many visitors, and unplanned interruptions to juggle along with your arriving with a client who is on vacation from Memphis and who thought this would be a good time to look for property in the northeast.

“It’s so picturesque!”
“A real New England Christmas!”

It may very well be. Certainly not a more quaint time could be found. But try to take care to see that everyone has a safe and happy holiday.

If a property is empty, see that it is plowed out and winterized, or that is has a carefully monitored heating plan.

Do your part.

Try to see that furnaces and fireplaces and chimneys have been cleaned and serviced. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in place. Firewood, kindling and other combustibles stored safely.

Encourage your sellers to check all electric appliances and decorative lights for signs of wear and to use them according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Snow and ice removal, lighted entryways and a minimum of unidentified objects hidden under the snow will go a long way towards a happy buyer and a successful sale.

Stay warm and safe.

You can go to Aruba in February once you’ve closed the deal.

Submitted by Mary Kuykendall. Mary is a REALTOR in Bangor and the Greater Bangor Association's 2011 REALTOR of the Year.


John Herrigel said...

As a Realtor in Portland Maine.. great to have these posts as good reminders of what to keep an eye out for. Thanks!

Andrew Mooers said...

Lucky to live in Maine, the 4th lowest crime state. 46th lowest for FSSR (foreclosure, short sale, repossession tainted real estate sales)