So the question for today is, should a seller request that their listing agent be present for all showings? These are called accompanied showings, and some listing agents suggest this as a matter of course.
My answer to this question is a resounding, NO. Accompanied showings do not help sell your home. In fact, they can have the opposite effect. Let me give you an example. Last week I had buyers fly in from Washington D.C. They gave me very little notice but they wanted to see a cross section of homes in Ross, Kentfield and Santa Rosa. I printed out a list of ten homes that I thought would’ve been a great fit for these buyers. Two of those home required 48 hours notice, which we didn’t have so I just deleted them from the list altogether. Had there been less really great properties to choose from, I would have certainly called those agents back, or called those agents and asked if we could get in anyway. But because I still had eight great homes to show, and these homes were spread out over a number of cities, one of which was quite far from the other two, I didn’t.
So for two of those remaining eight properties, the listing agent had to be there.
So I was now working around my buyer’s schedule, my schedule, the seller’s schedule, and now the listing agent’s schedule.
One of those two listing agents was great. She was totally accommodating. We were able to schedule our showing during the time frame that we were in that particular neighborhood. So it all worked out. The other listing agent, however, took a day to call me back, couldn’t accommodate our schedule so that I could show her listing right after or before I was showing another home in that neighborhood. I tentatively scheduled an appointment to show that property on our way back to Marin. At the end of the day, when we were driving back down to Marin, guess what happened?
Well, it takes a lot of time to show property, especially large homes. We went over. By the time we were ready to go to that property, it was dark, everyone was exhausted, my buyer was excited about another home, and she asked me, “Could we just cancel?” So we never saw that second home that required an accompanied showing.
So this is my point. You as a seller can do everything right. You can make sure that your property shows beautifully. You can price it right.
You can be totally flexible and require little if no notice, and still your home may not be shown because you didn’t make it as easy to show as possible.
It’s not your agent’s fault. He may be closing 20 to 25 deals a year. They’re already over-scheduled with their own buyer showings, listing appointments, inspections, signings etc. And, I guarantee you that they’re not always going to be available when a buyer is available. And this is the thing, you won’t even know about it.
So given all this, why do sellers request accompanied showings? Well, I guess sometimes their listing agents tell them that that’s the thing to do. Perhaps they feel that it makes their home appear more exclusive? But I think often sellers believe that by having the listing agent at the showing, they’re going to help sell the property.
Now, I’ve never seen this to be true.
As a listing agent, I do everything in my power to market a property, to show it off in its best light, but I’ve never been able to talk someone into buying a home that they didn’t want to buy. Ever.
In 14 years, I’ve never been able to do this. So a seller may believe that pointing out the features of the home to the buyer, – the intricate milled woodwork, the French marble fireplace, the countertops – will convince the buyer to buy a home that they’re not interested in buying simply because they didn’t know about these features. This is just not true. Real estate is an emotional purchase. Buyers walk in and they just know. They don’t care about specific details. They care about the overall impression.
They care about the way a home makes them feel.
Beyond the scheduling problems, I also find that the more people in a home with the buyer(s) during a showing, the more difficult it is for that buyer to imagine themselves living there. After giving my buyers the lay of the land, I just leave them alone. I give them space. I want them to talk to each other about how their family will live in this home, what their kids will like about it, how they’ll entertain. I’ll be there in the wings to answer any questions they may have, but I’m just not into the hard sell. Why? Because it doesn’t work, and I can’t stand when it’s done to me.
Look, if your home is a palace, if you have a crazy, confusing floor plan, if you have many buildings spread out over dozens of acres or dobermans at every entrance, then maybe there’s a reason for an accompanied showing. Or if you’re William Paley and you have a Picasso hanging in your living room, then by all means insist on accompanied showings. In fact, insist on an armed guard because your real estate broker won’t be of any value in protecting such an asset. On second thought, if you have a Picasso hanging in your living room, please take it down.
So I’m curious what you think. I’d love to hear your comments and feedback.You can reach me at tracy@tracyotsuka·com or on all the social media sites,Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+.