Living in a home on the market that must always be ready at a moments notice for a showing can be unnerving for home owners. And as homes linger on the market for months upon months, begging children to keep their rooms tidy, keeping pets hidden, and maintaining sparkling clean sinks and tubs can take its toll, according to a recent article in The Washington Post, which chronicled four families trying to sell a home and how they’ve coped with the wait for buyers.

Some of the buyers expressed frustration with real estate professionals for not better preparing them for the wait. Here are a few things these sellers mentioned they wanted from real estate professionals:

1. Be courteous during showings.
Liz Dordal of Haymarket, Va., says she wishes real estate professionals would always be sure to contact her in advance of showings. She has a security system that she needs to disarm and a cat to hide. Angie Howard of Fort Washington, Md., agrees. She says real estate professionals don’t always call before a showing, which doesn’t give her enough time to get the dog caged and the house ready.

Dordal also says visitors don’t always remove their shoes to protect her carpets and cherry wood floors when they visit.

2. Offer constructive advice about making the home more competitive.
Scott Laisney of Kensington, Md., is trying to sell a 1958 four-bedroom, split level and wishes his agent would have recommended to him on how to get his house in better showing shape. He now realizes that his house needs to be decluttered and repainted in a neutral color. The kitchen counters were all scratched, and we asked if we should fix that . . . and the [agent] said no, that people will see that it can be done. We asked about painting, and she said no, Laisney said.

But after 60 days the couple had no showings and dropped the price by $10,000, which still made no difference.

With no action at all, we realized, 'we're doing something wrong here,' Laisney said.
They took the home off the market and consulted a stager and another agent.

3. Don’t treat all sellers like they're desperate.
Dordal says real estate professionals need to educate buyers more about how different seller situations can be. For the past five months, Dordal has been trying to sell a three-bedroom, luxury townhome, and she’s frustrated that real estate professionals treat all sellers like they are desperate to sell.

“People assume that you're in distress if you have a place for sale and that you'll take a lot less,” Dordal says. “I just look at them and say, 'No, I'm not.'

Source: “Home Sellers Cope With Houses in Limbo,” The Washington Post (Jan. 21, 2011)