As an Real estate agent in Columbia SC whenever a seller ask me if they can be present during the home showings or the open house I can feel myself pause, then I take a deep breath and all the reasons why this is the worst idea possible start to run through my mind. Having the seller present during an open house or showing of their property is almost always a bad idea.

Why sellers should not be present at the showings

The seller’s presence can make buyers feel awkward.

Home buyers need to feel as comfortable as possible when looking at a potential new home. It’s a big investment, and and life changing decision. Home buyers should feel at ease to open closets, and explore the home. A serious buyer of a property needs to do whatever they can to learn about the home. The presence of a seller may make the buyer feel like a guest in a stranger’s home. The buyer then spends too much time being courteous and not enough time really exploring into the property. When buyers don’t feel completely comfortable to explore, they may miss the intricacies of a property. Or they might not give the home a fair chance. This means a missed opportunity for both the buyer and the seller.

Sellers can get hurt feelings, which can cost them money.

A seller may experience hurt feelings from questions or comments that buyers ask. This could lead to a negotiation that starts off on a bad note.

For example, a buyer touring a home with dark colored walls, floors and heavy window coverings asked his agent what it would cost to refinish the floors and paint the place. The seller, who is proud of the decor and did most of the finish work themselves, may get insulted by the questions and immediately go on the defensive. When the  offer comes in from that buyer, the seller can not help but think that the buyer is trying to discount the price to pay for those cosmetic changes. The seller refused to budge on price.

In this instance, emotions got the best of the seller. Ultimately, the seller lost a buyer and a good offer.

Exceptions to the rule

Every once in a while there is an exception where it may help for the seller to be present during an open house or showing.

For example: After weeks on the market without any offers, or especially with a property that needs serious cosmetic or staging work, it might be helpful for the seller to attend the open house anonymously. This way the seller can hear directly from buyers that the paint job is off-putting, how the place feels crowded, and so on. Because sometimes, independent confirmation is needed before the seller will take action.