"May I Assist You?" Oh Please No! Why Assisted Showings May Not Be A Good Thing For Buyers or Sellers

Services for Real Estate Pros with Stowe Meadows Lodge, Stowe VT Romantic and Luxurious Inn

Assistance is a good thing, by definition. But when sellers insist on Assisted Showings, can that extra "help" actually backfire?

Help WantedYes, it can.  

Just a few days ago, I took buyer clients out to look at three houses.  They had previewed the houses on line and had learned a lot about the properties before deciding to see them.  They had mapped locations, had driven through the neighborhoods and narrowed down to these key properties.  These are qualified buyers ready to pull the trigger on the "right" house.  

One of their requested listings required "assisted showings".  No big deal right?  Wrong.

Coordinating this showing was quite difficult.  Assisted showings add another dimension of complexity to the mix. One more schedule to coordinate can lead to delayed showings, missed opportunities and buyers who'd rather just move on than deal with a complicated house showing.  Early complications can sometimes even be harbingers of things to come.  Complications in the early stages usually spell complications later on.

What's worse than an Assisted Showing?  A seller's agent who doesn't want to "assist" in the first place.

Lets be honest, if your seller insists on Assisted Showings, and you don't want to provide that service, don't take the listing, or outsource or co-list with someone who does want it.   

When I reached the seller's agent by phone, I was asked 25 questions before the agent agreed that my answers were suitable to warrant an appointment.  I understand wanting to be certain the buyers are qualified, aren't just kicking tires and have genuine interest.  But listen to these questions:

- Why are you showing houses at 3:30 on a Saturday afternoon, I wouldn't do that for buyers.

- My seller doesn't like late showing appointments, she has plans for the evening.  (remember, this is 3:30 in the afternoon!  Not 8:00pm on Saturday night).

- A mid-week showing is much better for me.  Howabout Monday or Tuesday.

- Where do your clients live?  Are they local? Which other houses are you showing them? Why do they want to see this house? Do they have family in the area? 

And my favorite:

- I have three other listings in that area that don't require my assistance to show, why don't you start with those first.

WHAT!?  Are you dishing me off onto other listings that my buyers have NO INTEREST IN, just so you don't have to show this house on Saturday afternoon at 3:30?  

My response, "I have two other houses to schedule that are unassisted.  I'm trying to start with your house so that this is the most predicatable time and we don't waste your time.   If this doesn't work for you,  I understanding and will only show them the other properites.  We can skip this house and try to see if another time....it is your call."

Yes, we saw the house.  We were on time, prepared and appreciative of everyone's time.  My clients liked the house and put it in the #2 slot on their list of houses to consider. 

To me, the moral of this story is:

For Sellers - Understand the pros and cons of requiring an Assisted Showing.  Then, make sure the Agent you hire to represent you and your property "get it" and will be available.

For Buyers - If houses are difficult to schedule for showings, can this be a harbinger of things to come.


Just food for thought,

Cheers!  Caroline

Photo Credit: Flickr - bgottsab


Posted by

Caroline DeVore Caroline DeVore - Stowe Meadows Lodge - Realtor
Tel: 802.888.0002 |  Mbl: 617-803-7222 
Web: StoweMeadows.com
Email: Caroline@StoweMeadows.com

The information contained in this blog is believed to be reliable and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about it's accuracy, completeness or appropriateness for any particular purpose.

Caroline DeVore ©2010-2013   Stowe Meadows ©2010-2013


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Lorinda Ward
Keffer Realty - Norfolk, VA
Serving, Hampton Roads Virginia. Norfolk, Chesapeake, Va Beach

I can't believe it.  It sounds like they are not really that interested on selling the property. 

May 17, 2011 04:20 PM #1
Mary Sitton
Mary Sitton Real Estate Team - - Hendersonville, NC
Realtor® - Hendersonville, NC and WNC Area

Caroline - I've found buyers to be apprehensive of having the seller's agent present.  You might as well have the seller sitting right in the home.  It's who they are suppose to work for anyway.

This Sellers agent sounded very unprofessional and violated her fiduciary duty to her seller by suggesting you start with her other listings.  What a treat she must have been.

May 17, 2011 04:24 PM #2
Tamara Schuster
Naperville Glen Ellyn Lisle Plainfield Wheaton Illinois - Naperville, IL
Realtor Broker - Naperville

Sellers really should think this over. They coud lose a sale because of this and the agent..... 3:30?  wow.

May 17, 2011 04:28 PM #3
Scott Silverstone
William Raveis Real Estate - New Haven, CT
www.CTProperty.com, Connecticut Luxury & Waterfront Realty

Agents should strive to make things easier. Some make it harder - most often through attitude, scheduling problems or carelessness.

May 17, 2011 04:36 PM #4
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
"Franklin MA Homes"

Good morning, Caroline....the path of least resistance works best for all agents.....if it's too difficult, it won't happen.

May 17, 2011 10:40 PM #5
Caroline DeVore, Stowe Vermont Lodging, VT Bed and Breakfast Inn, Vacation Homes
Stowe Meadows Lodge, Stowe VT Romantic and Luxurious Inn - Stowe, VT
Caroline DeVore | Stowe Meadows Lodge, Stowe VT

Lorinda,  I agree with you. These things happen often, and I hope sellers will weigh the pros/cons of both the type of showing they want....and the agent providing the services.

Hey Mary,  That's a great point!  Having the seller's agent walk with you through the house is one thing, having them attached to you during the showing is another thing.  It even made me uncomfortable...I felt like I needed to run interferrance....hum, zone defense or man-to-man.  I feel a blog post coming on.

Tamara- Agreed.  You gotta show houses to sell houses.

Scott- Yes, and this was even a co-list...there were two agents who could have scheduled this, but it was still amazingly difficult.

Hey Barbara!  Very true.  Doesn't that apply to so many things....real estate is no different.  Sometimes I share stories from RE with my teens as examples of "life lessons".  Names and details changed, the underlying stories are great "this happens in real life" stories.  I need to write a book!  You just can't make this stuff up!



May 18, 2011 01:49 AM #6
Ellie Penaranda
239.776.5077 Downing-Frye Realty - Naples, FL
Naples Florida Real Estate - Waterfront & Beach Co

Caroline, it seems the higher the price the more the assisted showings... Because most of our sellers are part time in Naples, they seem to be attracted to the idea of an assisted showing and the agents are using it as a tool to get the listing.  If a property is not available for showing regardless of the reason, it will take long to sell.  Great post, sellers need to weigh the pros/cons.

May 18, 2011 06:54 AM #7
Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

Caroline, I have never heard questions like that. How exhausting and over done.

May 18, 2011 10:26 AM #8
Brin Realty Associates Team At Bean Group
Bean Group | Brin Realty Associates - Amherst, NH
Amherst NH homes and Southern NH real estate

Hi Caroline, Some of these questions were out of line and "none of your business" Mr or Mrs Listing Agent.  And I agree, scheduling can be difficult with assisted showings.  I tell sellers when I'm on a listing appt, I want buyers to stay in the property a long time, I want them to sit down and imagine the snow gently falling or sit by the pool and imagine "their" family enjoying the day.  When the listing agent is there, it might as well be the seller themselves, buyers will not linger, they won't open the cabinets and see those fancy pull outs and organizers...

We all know there are circumstances where assisted showings just have to be done, a complicated security system, pets that need to be secured, etc, but in those cases, listing agent, please open the door, and get our of the way; if it looks like something the buyer is interested in, we will start asking questions.

When an assisted showing agent starts to show us "and this is the kitchen"...ooooh you think?

AND they often try to show us every single nook and cranny whether the buyer is displaying interest or not.

Can you tell I am not a fan of assisted showings either?

May 18, 2011 11:04 PM #9
Caroline DeVore, Stowe Vermont Lodging, VT Bed and Breakfast Inn, Vacation Homes
Stowe Meadows Lodge, Stowe VT Romantic and Luxurious Inn - Stowe, VT
Caroline DeVore | Stowe Meadows Lodge, Stowe VT

Hi Ellie,  Agreed.  The majority of sellers have less than 5 real estate transactions every 15 years.  They don't see the potential impacts of some of the "choices" they think they have when they list their house for sale.  A great agent will help them understand that pros and cons.....and a great agent will try clear the way for a smooth selling process as all of you have noted.

Hey Ellen,  As an advocate for me clients, I try to work through the muck to get to the gems.  Maybe the agent isn't a reflection of the seller....but what a first impression!

Rene - you are so right.  This wouldn't have been a complicated property to show.  I believe that I know why the agent wanted to be there....but using an assisted showing as a way to accomplish the objective wasn't the right approach (my opinion) in this case.

May 19, 2011 02:28 AM #10
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