Sunday, June 17, 2007

Appointments or Disappointments...Part 2

Last February I talked about how I make my own appointments, and as often as possible, I also do the showings. Recently, in another online community, there's been discussion about this, and some people seem to think that a listing agent who wants to be there for a showing gets in the way of making a sale. Worse, some buyer's agents are afraid that the listing agent is trying to steal their client. I disagree, and here's why.

It's not that I don't have enough to fill up my time – does this calendar look as if I have nothing better to do? And no, I'm not a greedy listing agent wanting to steal buyers; I have all the referrals I can handle and then some. What I do want is to get the house sold!

It all comes down to the level of service that I want for my clients. I choose to limit my clients to special people, people I really want to work with. Taking care of sellers is the most important thing I do, and that means I make the appointments and, if possible, I do the showings. I've had many sellers who wanted and needed me to be there during a showing: elderly people, recent widows and widowers, young families with small children, people with pets, and those with other special needs.

Anyone can put on a lock box, put up a sign, and set a low price, then wait for the contracts. I choose to go for quality first, and that means that having many people trooping through is not necessarily the best way to sell a house. Ask yourself: If you were showing your parents' home, would you want a lock box and uncontrolled showings? Or would you like an agent you trust to be looking out for your Mom and Dad?

Selling a home is stressful. Showings are stressful. My job is to do whatever I can to alleviate the stress for my sellers. To share the frustration when an agent is two hours late or does not show up or call at all. To allay their stress when an agent shows up but doesn’t come in. I am not there to make it easy for agents who are not prepared or who make a bunch of appointments on the spur of the moment.

I explain all this to my sellers. We may have fewer showings – we may even miss an occasional showing. But the buyers and agents who call about the home will talk with me to make the appointments, and then I have an opportunity to share special things about the property. Yes, all the information about the property is in the listing, but not every agent reads past the price and address before taking their buyer out. And some are not aware of the importance of specifics about the property that I can explain. Here's an example: I have saved countless hours of NOT showing a particular property with what looked like a terrific price, because people read "Co-op" and think it means "Condo." But it's not the same. The co-op requires cash contracts only, so there can be no mortgage, and does not allow pets. By talking with prospective buyers or their agents first, I can save everyone a lot of time while saving my clients the extra stress of having showings that should never happen.

I always tell the agents if I will be there for the showing, and always ask if they have a problem with my presence. I have found that 99% of them appreciate my being there to point out features of the home, especially if they have never seen the property. Then I go into another room and allow them to stay as long as they like while I do other work (like commenting on AR posts). But if they don't want me there, they can say so.

Recently I met an agent at one of my new listings. The first thing he said was, "This is just too small. There's no way they will have any interest." He was not even going to let his buyers come in. I asked that since they were already there, would they please come in and take a look around? Then I had the opportunity to say, "Yes it is a small house ...but did you see the family room which can be a third bedroom or guest room? And did you see the size of the yard and the hot tub? Did you notice the pull down stairs with access to attic storage?" The buyers fell in love with the house and wound up writing an over list, non-contingent contract with settlement that closes this week.

At first, the agent was not happy with me, but now he sings my praises for the helpful information I was able to give to him and his buyers. He also got a bit of education in the process. He had never heard of a house built on a slab, had never heard of radiant heat. He was very grateful to have me share this information and help "close" his buyers so he could get a commission.

It does not matter whether the listing is a million dollar mansion or a fixer-upper row house. I give one level of service to all my listings. Yes, I do make all my appointments, and yes, I am there for most showings!


At 3:26 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, Margaret, that's a pretty heavy commitment. I have had some clients that asked me to attend all showings and some I've accomodated. I could not service the rest of my clients and have any kind of a life if I tried to attend all showings.

As the buyers agent, it's ok to have the listing present as long as they stay out of the way. Buyers need an opportunity to self discover a home. They don't want to see it through an agents eyes or the sellers. It can ruin a sale having an entourage of people following the buyers through the home flapping their jaws about this and that feature.

But, at the end of a showing, if there is interest, it's nice to have a resource to discuss features with.

Great post.


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