How To Stop Clients From Wrecking a Seller’s Home
Most agents have a list of things they can comfortably complain about when it comes to their job, and most others in the industry would probably agree. But, more than anything, one thing that all agents can agree upon is how irritating it is when potential clients leave a seller’s home a mess after a showing or open house. Agents are consistently expressing their frustration with clients doing everything from leaving sliding doors ajar, faucets running, trash in the rooms, lights on, or the toilet seat up. A messy home in the eyes of a seller can reflect poorly on the agent, even if it’s not your fault. It can also, of course, look bad when new clients come to see the home. Therefore, there are certain things you can do to fix the mess on your way out (or before it happens).
Set Up Rules
The first thing you can to do make sure clients stop wrecking a home is to set up rules and remind each and every person who walks through the door of these rules. Though it should be obvious to most adults, for some reason, not everyone is aware that they must leave a place looking the same way it was left for them. Before you direct anyone through the rest of the home, remind them to close all doors (if that’s how they are when you arrive), turn lights off, and keep the place tidy. Have a trash can available for their trash and instruct clients to wipe their feet before coming in.
Hire an Assistant
There are many reasons as to why an agent would want to hire the help of an assistant. One reason may be for safety and keeping track of high-qualified leads at an open house or showing. But, another reason is to help make sure the seller’s house is clean at the end of the day. If you don’t have time to clean up after clients before running to your next open house, ask your assistant to briefly check the rooms before you go. Or, ask your assistant to guide clients through the house and discreetly fix any messes that they might leave behind.
Leave Reminders Throughout the Home
Sometimes, these clients are so used to practicing certain habits when they are in their own home, that it’s hard for them to break those habits when they are in someone else’s. This can be upsetting to the seller who is used to having all doors shut when he or she comes home, only to find them all wide open after leaving the keys to the agent all day. Therefore, talk with the seller and see if it’s a good idea to leave several clear reminders throughout the home, whether that means signs on the doors, tape on the light switches, or signs on the back of the toilet.
Note: Telling potential clients that their are security cameras placed throughout the house will certainly help.
Encourage Newcomers to Participate in Cleanup
When a client first walks into an open house or showing, they don’t want to be asked to pick up trash. That could be enough for them to simply turn around and walk away. But, if you can add this little request into your introduction in a fun and lighthearted way, you can get the job done while showing off a bit of your personality. Briefly mention that you would greatly appreciate it newcomers could close a door if they see it open, or pick up any scraps of paper they may find on the floor.
Tell the Seller What to Expect
Unfortunately, although sellers should rightfully expect their homes to be in tip-top shape when they return, those who are trying to sell their home as quickly as possible or those who live in a very desirable neighborhood should also expect that their home won’t be necessarily perfect when they come home. That being said, you should still discuss this with the seller beforehand and ask them what their biggest pet peeves are when it comes to clients potentially leaving the home messy. Explain that you will do everything in your power to keep it tidy, but also make sure they understand that it may not be perfect.
Though “doing nothing” isn’t necessarily the right attitude to have when a seller is trusting you with their home, you have to remember that you’re also not required to babysit all the clients and potential clients that come through the house. And, depending on how busy you are as an agent, you may barely have time to even do a run-through of the house before you leave. Of course, if you can put forth other tactics in the beginning, maintaining the cleanliness of the home shouldn’t be something you need to worry about.
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