St Augustine, St Johns County Real Estate & Home Staging


How long will it take for my home to sell? Showing Anxiety Syndrome

As part of being a Jacksonville Realtor and home stager, my job is to set appropriate expectations for my sellers. when we sit down at the table to discuss listing their home, we discuss important aspects like price, neighborhood comps, condition, and staging recommendations. One of the biggest questions I'm asked is, "How long will it take to sell my home?" 

Breaking down the comps, we can always see a trend. While there will always be homes that sit for an extended period of time, a market trend for their neighborhood will emerge. I've found, however, that no matter how you break this down the vast majority of sellers will end up with what I call SAS, or Showing Anxiety Syndrome. 

What is Showing Anxiety Syndrome? 

Let's say that the comps show that your neighborhood's average days on market is 30 days. We let the seller know that professional staging and photography along with proper pricing should help them beat the market comps, but that they should expect the time from listed to offer will probably take 2 or 3 weeks. 

Suddenly after about 2 or 3 showings, probably by the end of the first week, the seller inevidably will come back asking us, "Why haven't we received an offer yet?" and "How much longer?"

You see, SAS always comes down to the fact that sellers never think that they'll be on par with market comps. It's much the same way that they feel that their home is worth more than any other home in the neighborhood. 

home staging jacksonville

home staging by Rave ReViews Home Staging

Creating appropriate seller expectations

Going back to that moment at the listing table, when they begin asking the question, "How long will it take me to sell my home?" I take a few moments to set appropriate expectations. I not only tell them what the market says, I tell them about Showing Anxiety Syndrome. 

"Just to let you know, no matter how many days I tell you the average is, you'll ignore it. Every seller feels the same way. After each showing, you'll anxiously await the feedback from the buyer's agent. I can tell you that it will take 30 days to sell, but after only a few showings you'll begin to wonder what you need to do to make the home sell. Why hasn't it sold yet?"

By acknowledging SAS upfront, at the listing table, it gives me more room later into the listing period... and when I say later, I really mean a week or two from list date... to remind the seller that this will take time and that we are doing everything we can to create a beautiful, welcoming home for potential buyers. 

I remind them of the steps that we've taken, doing all of the preparation prior to listing, including professional staging and photography. I remind them that we are priced correctly and reassert how long the market says it will take. 

When the offer comes.... 

The beautiful thing is that when we do everything that we were supposed to do to get the home ready prior to listing, about 98% of the time we statistically beat the market. When the offer finally does come, the seller has been told that they will have to wait x number of days and now we are significantly less than that. I call this the Scotty effect. 

In Star Trek (that's right, I'm a trekkie and not afraid to admit it), Scotty always told Jim that it would take significantly longer than it was really going to take. This created the sense that he was a miracle worker when he managed to accomplish the task ahead of schedule. (Which is great because in Star Trek the time he quoted means that either the ship, or the universe would meet with dire consequences.) 

Managing expectations up front always reduces Seller SAS, creating a much smoother transaction, and ultimately a glowing review of your services.


 Author Bio: Melissa Marro, Home Staging Industry leader, Realtor, and entrepreneur offers a unique perspective on New Home Construction, Resale Residential Real Estate, and Home Staging

For more information on buying or selling in the Fleming Island, Orange Park, or Jacksonville, area, visit or call Melissa Marro (marro.melissa at, Keller Williams First Coast Realty, for more information (904-466-2093).


Comment balloon 58 commentsMelissa Marro • May 21 2014 08:45PM


I think you just have to go do it. There's no better way to get over doing something than by doing something

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 6 years ago


Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 6 years ago

Deal with it up front is a great strategy and like you said, managing those expectations upfront creates a smoother transaction.  Might have to use the SAS acronym in the future.  

Posted by Jeff Fisher, PUREWEST REAL ESTATE/Christies (PureWest Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Goor morning, Melissa.... I think preparing a seller of a variety of scenarios that to come in the future is a smart move.... there will always be some anxiety but it can be reduced with the proper advanced information....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired ) over 6 years ago

Yes, I do think it's better to underpromise and overdeliver. 

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 6 years ago

Great post Melissa. I do the same thing but now I have a name and acronym to use so I'm better understood. Thanks!

Posted by Tina Parker, CNE, REDM, SRES, CSP Home Staging REALTOR, Halifax (Keller Williams Select Realty) over 6 years ago

Mellissa,  a nice read today to explain many points helpful to this industry. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Winston Heverly, GRI, ABR, SFR, CDPE, CIAS, PA (Winston Realty, Inc.) over 6 years ago

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Posted by marti garaughty, a highly caffeinated creative type... ( over 6 years ago

Good idea to just set the stage up front to give them appropriate expectations. 

Posted by Marc McMaster, Putting my clients before myself (RE/MAX Centre Realty) over 6 years ago

Congrats, Melissa, on the featured blog!  I have been doing just that, setting upfront expectations, and it makes good sense!  Thanks for sharing...

Posted by Carol Tunis, Carol Tunis...a "HouseSold" name! (Florida Homes Realty & Mortgage) over 6 years ago

It all comes back to communication. Informing and keeping your clients up to date is so important. I like your approach.

Posted by Steven Murray, Broker, SRES® IRES SRS Toronto Real Estate Board, Your Durham Region Real Estate Broker (Right At Home Realty Inc. Brokerage) over 6 years ago

great post.  I know it's always hard to manage my seller's anxiety and concerns, but you put a great name on it: Showing Anxiety Syndrome. 

Posted by Tom Esposito (Alpharetta Home Solutions) over 6 years ago

Sometimes the only thing to reduce Showing Anxiety Syndrome is to make sure you get feedback from every agent that shows the property.  We live in an area where agents do not routinely give the feedback after showing without calling, begging or constant auto feedback requests.  The assumption can only be that the buyer is not going to make an offer so why bother giving feedback.  I have actually heard this when I have called for feedback... "If the buyer was interested, you would have heard from me."   This is such a disservice to listing agents and just rude.  Please help all of your colleagues by providing your constructive feedback even if the buyer has no interest. Let's help each other sell! 

Posted by Kathleen Floryan, Broker Associate, Experience a Difference in Selling or Buying Homes (Ponte Vedra Club Realty, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Great Post and observations.  I am also trekkie and proud of it.


Posted by Mary Diaz, Tampa's Real Estate Matchmaker over 6 years ago
Great blog Melissa! I think they all have this fear.
Posted by Vera Gonzalez, Gonzo For Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Marc, #9 sums it best, the good, bad and ugly that might occur but based upon historical analytical information probably won't occur. The factors to determine a fast sale is the desirability of the neighborhood, schools, community amenities, transportation corridors and area demographics.

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) over 6 years ago

SAS-love the acronym, Melissa! Getting ready to put my own home on the market next week and have PSAS (pre-showing anxiety syndrome) so I know of what you speak. Your blog helped to ease my pain. Thanks!

Posted by Ann Steinemann, REALTOR, GRI, PPS (Russell Realty,Westlake, Ohio 419-602-0339) over 6 years ago

In our crazy market, they don't have time to ask.  I sold one this week before the ink was dry on the listing agreement.

Posted by Jeanne Gregory, The most important home I sell is YOURS! (RE/MAX Southwest) over 6 years ago

Love the SAS acronym! Its going to be a part of all my listing presentations from now on. With the market as hot as it is, I find clients falling into that syndrome sooner than ever. And heaven forbid three days go by between listing and the first showing!

Posted by Shelly Hendry (Keller Williams Realty Cityside) over 6 years ago

SAS that is a new one. Will remember that one. We sell lots of vacation rentals here so really the biggest issue is the price.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max By The Sea) over 6 years ago

 I agree that feedback is helpful, even if it's bland and non-committal. I have a listing for sale at the moment in a troubled part of a Northern city, and all we ever hear is things like "well, the police incident didn't help and the people in #2's dog had just had a bowel malfunction so the whole thing wasn't much of a success, really."  I would so much prefer, "they liked it. They liked a lot of things. We'll let you know." This way, I'd have hope.

Your people never need "hope", Melissa.  You stage beautifully, photograph right and market the heck out of things. Unless they too have regular police incidents and erupting pets, they will indeed beat the market, handily!!

Posted by Juliet Johnson, Jacksonville Photography & Digital Marketing (Vizzitopia) over 6 years ago

Thank you  ! Great post and great points!!

Posted by Chris B Johnson REALTOR®, 5 Star Rated REALTOR® Quality, Not Quantity (Allison James Elite) over 6 years ago

I always tell my sellers that it only takes 1, just 1 buyer to love the home. We do our part and they come when they come. 

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 6 years ago

Sell it the first day to the first looker for more than full price...then get second guessed forever that it was priced to low!!!

Posted by Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker, Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940 (Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska) over 6 years ago

I would never guarantee a time frame, but I would give a range that they should expect to sell in.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 6 years ago your SAS analogy.  I agree, most sellers think they have the best home and we cannot guarantee what will happen.  Setting up the sellers in advance for preparing their home as well as pricing is the best way to start.  I add taking them around to see what the competition looks like if at all possible which helps them prepare as well.  I add that listing comparables are not the best to price by as well since they have not closed. All we can do is our best and never guarantee a time frame to sell.  

Posted by Teri Pacitto, Real Estate, Your Style...Your Home...My Specialty (Compass) over 6 years ago

this goes to show that being a seller versus being a buyer have different pressure points. Fortunately many of us will be on either side of the fence about every 5-10 years.

Posted by Ron Aguilar, Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995 (Continental Mortgage) over 6 years ago

I had a family, and I'm sure other have had the same type, who were moving and in a hurry. After each showing, they were full of questions. DOM here is about 5-6 months, and then when I got a good offer in less than 3 weeks, they were like "maybe we should leave it for a better offer....". I got it sold and at a very good price & GREAT timing for them, but they still seemed miffed.

Posted by Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Broker/Owner, email: / cell: 334-494-7846 (Travis Realty) over 6 years ago

I have had similar experiences to Travis. Patience and trust don't come easy with clients.  Managing expectations upfront is the key to most sellers, but there's always the one that doesn't "get it".  Thanks for the post.

Posted by Terry Blocher (Village Realty OBX) over 6 years ago

Upfront Expectations are very important.  I see agents sometimes take listings that are way overpriced rather than turn them down with the Listing agent's expecations being they will get a price reduction.  It doesn't always happen, and the property sits.

Posted by Geoff ONeill (John L. Scott Medford) over 6 years ago

Great post!  Managing expectation upfront is key.  I always do the Scottie effect as well. :)

Posted by Dawn Welch (The Real Estate Consultants) over 6 years ago

Great information.  Managing sellers' expectations on the front end is important and keeping them reminded of what you previously discussed, hopefully, eases the SAS in some way until the home is sold. 

Posted by Diana White-Pettis, GRI, CDPE, CNE, WHC Upper Marlboro Homes for Sale (Bennett Realty Solutions) over 6 years ago

Great post Melissa and good advice. There are so many sellers out there that suffer from SAS and it's our job to minimize their discomfort!

Posted by Donna Foerster, Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant (HomeSmart Realty Group) over 6 years ago

If everything is lined up like you mentioned it should sell in a reasonable of time. Price, how the home shows and photos are on the top of the list to sell. Great post

Posted by Mike Baltierra, Full Service at Your Service Realtor-Eastvale CA (Rise Realty ) over 6 years ago

Melissa - There isn't much to add that hasn't already been posted, but I will say that "SAS" is alive and well in this market and most likely all markets across this nation.  Good post!

Posted by Greg Mona, Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU! (eXp Realty) over 6 years ago

You are so right when you say sellers always think their home is somehow better than all the other comparable homes on the market, so of course it should sell faster and for more money.

Posted by Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807, Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor (Good Company Real Estate over 6 years ago

Also, the time it will take to sell your house depends on the type of marketing you do. I actually wrote about creative ways to market your property that are working right now entitled How To Sell Your House Fast in 2014 . In it, I go into details about using facebook graph search, and contacting or going to your local REIA clubs to market your house.

Posted by David Saba over 6 years ago

Hi Melissa,

It is always good to read your posts. I remember one from years ago that was titled. What  Are We Trying To Sell Here? It was about taking mls pics of mainly furniture and not showing the full room. I still think of that today when taking pics.

My daughter is a new realtor here in CA so I am going to share your latest post with her. Very good advice.

Posted by Linda Thompson (Selling By Design-Staging) over 6 years ago

Seller's Anxiety is a very common ailment but it still only takes the right buyer to relieve all that stress. Unless of course it's the first buyer on the first day then a different stress takes over.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 6 years ago

Love that term SAS! 

Posted by Kathy Booth, Setting the Stage, Home Staging and ReDesign Professional (Setting the Stage) over 6 years ago

I tell my sellers: when your home is on the market for a week, to you it will feel like it's been on the market a month.  Enjoyed this post very much

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) over 6 years ago

Thank you for the post.

Posted by Nora Sims, helping folks like you since 1978! (Northern Shadows Realty, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Other than an accurate Crystal Ball, Timing and Positioning is the key ingredient to an expedient RE transaction.

Posted by John DL Arendsen, Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & Contractor (CREST BACKYARD HOMES, ON THE LEVEL GENERAL & FACTORY BUILT HOME CONTRACTOR, TAG REAL ESTATE SALES & INVESTMENTS) over 6 years ago

Melissa, what an excellent and engaging post!  You had me laughing with the SAS and the Scottie effect.  I totally get it, and experience both here in Charlotte.  The main thing to remember is that sellers should do all the work BEFORE the home goes on the market - and 9 times out of 10 their hard work will be rewarded with a good offer!

Posted by Melissa Brown, Realtor - South Charlotte NC Homes for Sale (Helen Adams Realty) over 6 years ago

My previous home sold two years ago....I still get butterflies in my stomach when the phone rings now because every time the phone rang while the house was listed my husband would yell "Marion!!!"  (our realtor's name)  in hope that is was an offer!

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) over 6 years ago

Good listing presentation strategy... the flip side is if the offer is too quick they sometimes wonder if they should have listed higher! ;o)

Posted by Roseanne Campagna, Kent/DesMoines/Blk Diamond/Renton/Maple Valley, WA (John L. Scott RE Maple Valley, WA ) over 6 years ago

Melissa, I'm assuming that the photo is from one of your listings that you have staged.  If so, your staging is very impressive!  Any seller can count on a quick sale with this staging. 

Posted by Laura Andersen, A HomeSOLD Name (678)462-1191 Woodstock, Georgia (Keller Williams Realty Partners ~ 678.462.1191 over 6 years ago

Great, helpful blog post, Melissa.  Thanks for sharing this . . . and great points from other's comments!

Posted by Virginia Youngblood, DO-STAGE! LLC - Home Stager - ASPM® (DO-STAGE! LLC - an ASPM® Home Staging Company) over 6 years ago

Your blog post reminds me of the book I authored which discusses the syndrome called "HSB" or Home Seller's Blues. It is true -- home sellers do get SAS and HSB because they have so much emotionally, financially and logistically riding upon a sale. Many people consider their home a personal statement about themselves, so when their house doesn't sell quickly, they take it personally. I talk about an assortment of remedies for HSB and SAS in the book, "Home Seller's Blues", which is available on the Kindle or as a paperback. This book can be a Realtors' or home sellers best friend!

Posted by Joan Gale Frank (Big Mouth Communications, LLC) over 6 years ago

I like the perspective Melissa. SAS will now be part of the listing presentation for me.  Thank you for the post.

Posted by Dan Derito (Success! Real Estate) over 6 years ago

I listed a property $10K higher than I wanted to recently and they got three showings the first two days.  They wanted to raise the price!  I said no, showings are not offers.  On day 16, I suggested a reduction.  They would only reduce $5,000 yesterday.  They wanted to know when it would sell, of course.  I have tried managing their SAS but they are divorcing and not on the same page.  It's like pulling teeth!  We'll get there.....

Posted by Dee Toohey, Broker, ABR, AHWD, CIPS, FMS, ePro (Innovative Realty Solutions Group) over 6 years ago

This is very interesting info, I will have to keep this in mind for the future.  Looking forward to more from you.

Posted by American Brokers Realty Group (American Brokers Realty Group, Inc) over 6 years ago

When the reason your house does not sell is a combination of traffic noise from a nearby boulevard AND needing $ 8000 worth of new windows, it simply comes down to price. That's the hardest pill to swallow for the seller.


Posted by Sylvia Jonathan, Broker Associate, SFR (Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties) over 6 years ago

Hi Melissa,

Your recommendations are noted. Always looking for ways to reduce SAS for sure. Setting your clients expectations too hight to start out with sets everyone up for a failed process.

Posted by Les & Sarah Oswald, Broker, Realtor and Investor (Realty One Group) over 6 years ago

Great post, Melissa. Talking about it all upfront honestly and sharing experiences that others have had and why their properties sold slowly or quickly often helps. It does depend on  the price, condition, style, etc. as well as the particular neighborhood, community, city, state, and what  is happening in the market, It is difficutlt for the buyers to understand when they have tales of experiences their friends have had in other areas and different times. Staying in regular contact is one of the best ways to ease their concerns so they know you care and can tell them what is going on and answer their many questions.

Posted by Nancy Middleton, Nancy Middleton, Counselor Realty, Minnetonka, MN (Counselor Realty, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Well, I know my childhood dog was the best dog that ever lived so I can see how some people might think their home is better than everything else in the neighborhood. Setting expectations upfront helps in some cases, but I imagine some personalities are more prone to SAS than others. 

Posted by Dana Hollish Hill, REALTOR and Productivity Coach (Hollish Hill Group, KW Capital Properties) almost 6 years ago

No doubt that selling a house, is an extremely difficult process.  However, I can't agree with you more about setting expectations upfrontwi th the seller.  I always do this when buying houses from sellers in my market (San Antonio, TX).  This way, the seller is expecting a call from you "should" problems arise in the closing process.

Posted by James Vasquez (James Vasquez, REALTOR | Real Estate Agent) over 5 years ago

Melissa Marro, This was a great blog. I started my real estate career with Watson Realty Corp in Fernandina Beach!

Posted by Sybil Campbell, REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia (Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia) over 4 years ago

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