Assistance is a good thing, by definition. But when sellers insist on Assisted Showings, can that extra "help" actually backfire?
Yes, 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,
Photo Credit: Flickr - bgottsab