Friday, February 09, 2007

Appointments or Disappointments? Why I Make My Own

Every once in a while, when I'm talking with another real estate agent, the subject of appointments comes up. When I say that I always – yes, always – make my own appointments, I can almost predict what will happen. The eyes widen, the brow furrows, there's a quick intake of breath, and then, "You're kidding!"

No, I'm not. "But doesn't it waste your time?" they ask.

Showing the wrong house to the wrong buyer, that wastes my time. Making my own appointments saves time and aggravation for me and my listing clients. How can this one task make a big difference? Here are just a few of the issues that I can and do clear up before I show a listing to a potential buyer. And yes, I've actually had all of these and more:


  • The condo restricts pets; they have a dog and a cat. No, you can't sneak them in.
  • The prospective buyer is 93 years old, and the unit I have listed is on the top floor. There are no elevators.
  • A condo with no balcony – not a good match for someone with claustrophobia.
  • A penthouse unit – a bad idea for someone afraid of heights.
  • The buyer is restricted to a wheel chair. Would you show them a split-level house?
  • The family wants all bedrooms on the same level. Why would I show them a Cape Cod?

Missing Information:

  • The buyers haven't talked to a lender yet because they want to wait until they find something they like. What's the chance I could be showing them houses they can't afford?
  • My listing is a co-op. The by-laws require the unit must be purchased for cash – there can be no mortgage. If we haven't discussed this first, it would be no surprise when the buyer asks if the monthly fee "includes the mortgage payment."
  • My client's condo has high monthly fees. The prospective buyer didn't ask before seeing the property (and his agent didn't tell, obviously). Then he asks if we can negotiate the fees down along with the price. Um…sure, right along with the property taxes.

And then there are the "must haves":

  • Attached garage – it's safer that way. No – that's too dangerous, the garage has to be separate.
  • The fireplace must be wood burning. The fireplace must be gas. No fireplace – it's not safe.
  • Must have a swimming pool. Absolutely no swimming pool!
  • The house must be on a main road with sidewalks and nearby neighbors. No, the house must be secluded, away from prying neighbors.
  • The townhouse kitchen has to be at the front so I don't have to schlep groceries through the house. Who wants a kitchen at the front? We need a kitchen in the back so we can walk out on the deck.

And on and on. You get the idea. There are so many ways that well-meaning home sellers and prospective buyers can waste their time and energy. Over the years I've learned that the one best way to eliminate these issues is to make my own appointments and ask the questions up front. That way I can assure my sellers that I will only bring qualified buyers into their home.


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