Do I Have to Leave the Property If My House Is Being Shown?

Technically speaking, there is no definite rule in most listing contracts that states a seller can be forced to leave the home during a showing. Although most real estate agents will expect a seller to leave, and demand that they do so, legally neither an agent nor a buyer can make a homeowner leave his own dwelling. Sellers should, however, make a good faith effort to cooperate in marketing the property, and there are some points to consider when deciding to leave or stay at home during a property viewing.

Uncomfortable Buyers

Persistent sellers who resist leaving the home during a showing might not be aware of how the buyer feels when a seller is present. Many buyers feel uncomfortable when viewing a home while the owner is lurking around behind the scenes. Buyers like to open closets and peek into cupboards, and they feel conflicted doing so with a seller present. Often buyers like to critique a home, or to discuss aspects and selling points with either a spouse or their agent, and they do not want to do so in the seller’s presence.

Conflict of Interest

Yes, it’s true that a homeowner knows more details about a property than anyone else. No matter how educated the real estate agent is, a homeowner is always more affiliated with the home. A seller might believe that talking to a prospective buyer is the best way to get accurate information across. But many sellers do not understand that giving a buyer too much information can be counterproductive. Often a seller will discuss confidential information such as his bottom line, or disclose info that could actually bring him a lower offer.

Desperate to Sell

Buyers might view a clingy seller as “desperate to sell.” The presence of a pesky seller who insists on overstating all the home’s positive benefits can appear too overpowering for a potential purchaser. Not only that, sellers who are present during a showing might give off the impression that they are difficult to work with or are untrusting. This can cause a purchaser to assume that any future transaction with the seller might become too complicated and select a different home to buy.


Many homeowners with homes on the market have a checklist of items to complete prior to showings. These items can include removing clutter or personal belongings, cleaning dishes, lighting scented candles, turning lights on or playing soft music. Sellers who plan on remaining an attached fixture during a showing often don’t take into consideration this checklist of things to do, leaving the home looking unkempt while a potential buyer is viewing it.


People who are renting a property and have been notified that the home is up for sale can often get confused as to what the protocol is. Most states mandate that a landlord give 24 hours notice prior to coming into the home, whether to make repairs or show to a potential purchaser. Although the tenant cannot be forced to leave the dwelling during a property viewing, any interference with a landlord’s or agent’s ability to show the home might result in a termination of lease or other uncomfortable situation.

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