Unrestricted house showings and open houses are back in action!

COVID19 put open houses on hold and limited house showings with rigid rules and regulations. Now that the health restrictions have finally lifted, agents are openly booking face-to-face showings and having open houses again.

During the pandemic, technology pushed sellers and buyers to show and view homes virtually. When a buyer found a home that met their interests, they’d mask up and set out to view the home in person, complete with loads of hand sanitizer and a limited entourage. However, some buyers opted to go completely virtual—they viewed, offered, negotiated, and completed the final paperwork remotely.

Whatever your preference, many people are excited to get back to in-person home showings and open houses. If you’re unsure what happens during a house showing, read on to learn the difference between showings and open houses and what happens when potential buyers want a peek inside your home.

House Showing vs. Open Houses

A house showing is a private viewing carried out by a local real estate agent. The agent books a one-hour time slot with the seller and shows the buyer the house.

During an open house, your door is open to the public, and anyone can take a look inside. Open houses are a trendy weekend event for many home buyers—and for those nosy neighbors who’ve always wanted to see what it looks like inside your home.

What’s Involved in a House Showing?

Here’s everything a seller should expect during their house showing and what they can do to get better offers and a quicker sale.

Step #1: Scheduling a Showing

When a buyer is interested in a home, they want to see what it looks like inside before putting in an offer. The buyer’s agent then schedules a viewing time with the seller’s agent.

As the seller, you need a plan in place during your selling period. This means you can leave the house to accommodate viewing on short notice. Prospective buyers feel uncomfortable when homeowners are present. It’s hard for them to speak freely and honestly about their opinions, and the awkwardness makes it hard for them to picture their lives in your home.

So, what does that mean for you?

  • Keep the house clean and in tip-top condition
  • Share the exit strategy with everyone in the home
  • Ensure everyone in the home knows when a viewing is scheduled
  • Any pets and all signs of pets should be taken with you when you leave
  • Have a “go bag” ready for smaller kids to save time

When the real estate market is hot for sellers, buyers want to see your house as quickly as possible so they don’t miss out on a potential opportunity. Avoid asking your agent for advanced notice of a viewing—this can impact the buyer’s schedule and lose the showing altogether.

Step #2: Communicate About Showings

How will you know when a showing is scheduled? First, discuss the best form of communication for accessibility and quick response with your realtor. Then, make a plan and stick to it— phone calls, emails, text messages, messenger, scheduling apps, or calendar invites—anything reliable and readily available.

Step #3: Timing the Showing

The prospective buyer’s agent gives your potential buyer the tour of your home. If the buyer doesn’t have a real estate agent representing them, they need to contact the listing agent directly, who would guide them through your home and property.

The agent needs anywhere from 15-45 minutes but have a plan in place to be away for at least an hour. This allows the prospective buyer and their agent to arrive, view the home and property, and leave within the designated time.

Step #4: During the Showing

Good home showing etiquette includes taking off shoes before walking through your home and, if you’ve requested, hand sanitizing at the door. The buyer’s agent will answer any questions they may have, and if the agent doesn’t know the answer, they should contact your realtor.

Expect buyers to look in your closets, cupboards, and cabinets—anything built-in is fair game to assess quality, condition, and storage capacity. They won’t look inside your furniture drawers or cabinets since they won’t be staying.

Your home in its entirety, from attic to basement, including crawl spaces and the garage, will be looked at. Don’t forget about utility sheds or other outbuildings on the property. Testing light switches, electrical outlets, flushing toilets, running the taps, and checking the garburator are common checkpoints for buyers.

When buyers are especially interested in the house from what they saw in your listing, they may bring a home inspector to the showing. Having a home inspector there allows them to put in an immediate offer on the property if they so choose. When a home inspector attends a showing, it’s common courtesy to let the listing agent know ahead of time.

Step #5: After The House Showing

After the showing, the buyer’s agent must ensure the home is in the same condition as when they first arrived and lock the door.

If the buyer has any unanswered questions or conditions, they’ll discuss them between the buyer’s agent and your listing agent. If the potential buyer isn’t interested in making an offer, your realtor should try to get some feedback from the buyer’s agent as to why:

  • Price?
  • House condition?
  • Missing features?
  • Yard size?
  • Neighborhood?

This feedback is essential because if the prospective buyers keep saying the same things and the home isn’t selling—you need to change your strategy.

Sell Your Home Faster With Experience and Advice From Joel Cooper

House showings can be a pretty intimidating process. You not only have to prepare to leave your home at a moment’s notice, but you must allow strangers inside your place of comfort to assess, critique, and the best outcome of all—fall in love with your home.

When a house showing goes well, you can expect a quick offer, potentially over your asking price. Partner with a trusted realtor in the Toronto or GTA area to help you get your home in the best condition possible for a successful showing which equates to a quicker sale at top dollar.

Get in touch with Joel Cooper today.

Let’s Chat

Hi, I’m Joel, a real estate professional based in Toronto.

My approach is simple—I put you first. I believe in open communication, total transparency, and meaningful results. I’ll guide you through the real estate process, market values, and always keep the focus on you—and your needs.