If an agent can't show your property, they won't be able to sell it!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Madeline Island Realty 50317-90

The title of this post sounds so very simple.  Yet this is a concept that seems to elude some sellers.

Nearly two years ago, my office scheduled a visit with a qualified buyer and his family who came to our area to look at property.  The buyers were looking at upper-bracket homes and they had definite ideas about what they were looking for.

I called the listing agent of one home they wanted to see.  The agent rather sheepishly informed me that the seller hadn't given him a key yet and he couldn't provide access to the home's interior until the seller arrived the following week.  I informed him that my buyers were here for a weekend and they wanted to view the home as soon as possible.  The listing agent tried in vain, but he couldn't reach his client. 

I told my buyers they would have to wait perhaps five or six days and maybe make another 300 mile trip back to Madeline Island to see the property.  They were, to put it mildly, displeased.  They walked away from that first home and bought another one just a few miles away, priced at over $750,000.

That day, the seller of the first home missed out on a huge opportunity.  The seller waited nearly two years for a serious buyer to come along again.  And that seller's home recently received an offer considerably lower than if the home had been made available for showing in the first place.

This wasn't the only time I've encountered such a situation.  The story bears repeating.  Make your property available for showing or don't bother to put it on the market.  Buyers (and agents) find it irritating and frustrating when they cannot view a listing that is supposed to be available for purchase. 



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Linsey Ehle
M Realty - Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

I love this post and would love to repost it on my outside blog Why Didn't My Home Sell?  So well said!  Can I do that?  I don't now the rePost rules that well. 

There is nothing like a real life story to illustrate the points we try to make every day!

Aug 17, 2008 12:51 AM #1
Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Hi Eric...Like you we are in an area that most of our buyers have to travel to and for many it is at least about a 180 mile round trip.  When we cannot show a house to them when they want to see it, it can really make the difference in a sale or no sale just as in your case.

We are fortunate that we do not often have appointment only listings or ones where the lisitng agent has to accompany us.  That is the case in many areas and makes it very difficult at times.

Good reminder.


Aug 17, 2008 12:52 AM #2
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

Linsey, I certainly don't mind if you "re-blog" this post or link to it.  I'm new to the re-blogging rules as well, but I plan to check them out.

I keep running into clients who overlook this very simple principle.  How are we supposed to sell a property if it's not available for showing??

Aug 17, 2008 12:54 AM #3
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, Broker, Tacoma Washington
RE/MAX Professionals. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & area authority!

Great post, Eric. I ask this question all the time. Mostly when the home expires. The other agent is usually a relative...

Aug 17, 2008 12:58 AM #4
Claudia Efthimos
Signature Homes & Estates - Morgan Hill, CA

Ditto, Ditto, DITTO!!   Be happy at least you reached the agent. It is also totally embarassing when you can't get a reply from the agent. Maybe if they deducted $50. from their Connission for each offense & they ended up with a $10. commission, they would WAKE UP. This business is not just throwing up a sign and going on to the next deal.

Aug 17, 2008 01:00 AM #5
Sherry Scales
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Leander, TX
Realtor, for Austin, TX and surrounding areas

I don't know whether agents are so excited to have a listing they loose all sense of responsibility or what!  I wouldn't put a home active in the system until I had a sign out, lockbox with Key on the door first. (Ask me why I do that?)  I just cringe when I see a listing that the listing agent has to attend. They are usually so busy they just can't make it...Then get another agent in your office, but make an effort! You aren't looking out for your clients best interest by not showing the home... Good post!

Aug 17, 2008 01:05 AM #6
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island


It just made me cringe to have to tell that couple they couldn't see the house they wanted.  Among other things, it's a "standard of practice" issue.  The agent probably should have told his client, "we need a lockbox or a key in our office, or we can't list your property". 

The Wisconsin "Exclusive Right to Sell" contract clearly states that the seller is to cooperate fully with showings.  Maybe the listing agent didn't bother to review that portion of the document with his client at the time it was signed! 

Aug 17, 2008 01:09 AM #7
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island

Paul, I encounter this situation at least a couple of times each year.  Is it "seller remorse" or what?

Aug 17, 2008 01:10 AM #8
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island

Claudia, I'm not sure it was entirely the agent's fault.  Some clients just don't seem to understand that their property is to be available for showings once the listing period commences.

You can fine the agent, but that may not solve the problem of the seller who arbitrarily decides not to cooperate with access to their property.

Aug 17, 2008 01:14 AM #9
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island

Sherry, the seller in my story probably lost well over $100,000 (and two years wasted time) by failing to give access to my buyer clients.  How sad is that?

Aug 17, 2008 01:17 AM #10
Aaron Cullen
Brokers Inc. Residential Real estate - Folsom, CA
Folsom, El Dorado Hills & Sacramento Real Estate &

Eric, this was the story several times while showing homes this week.  It never ceases to amaze me how this can happen over and over again...

Aug 17, 2008 01:26 AM #11
Claudia Efthimos
Signature Homes & Estates - Morgan Hill, CA

ERIC:    I didn't see anything in the Post that said it wasn't officially listed, and assumed it was.

               I have turned down agents BEFORE the listing commences.

Aug 17, 2008 01:33 AM #12
Chris Horton
Horton's Lawn Care L.L.C. - Burton, MI

I guess some people really just don't want to sell, because if you think about it thats basically the path they chose to go down... Make sure the Agent has the key and everything is good to go, or leave town with the keys and sit on it for who knows how long.... Luckily it worked out for you and your clients and they were able to find another home that they ended up purchasing :-D

Aug 17, 2008 01:40 AM #13
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hi Chris,

One of my favorite sayings is "If you can't see it you can't sell it...".The first time I heard that was from Barb Schwarz (the original stager from the mid-80's). She used to walk people out to front of their house overgrown by everything and use that statement.

That's something I still use to educate my sellers today when it comes to restricting showings.

Aug 17, 2008 01:45 AM #14
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

We see this sort of thing happen all the time-- recently we had Canadian buyers in town who would buy on the weekend they were here -- and we tried and tried to show them a home they thought they wants to see -- but there was no way to be able to do that. The seller "wanted the prospective buyer to come back in 3 days". Needless to say the buyer bought something else.

Aug 17, 2008 02:29 AM #15
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Opportunity knocks once and if you aren't ready, it will pass you by as your experience proved. I'm sure the sellers and the agent learned a valuable lesson here.

Aug 17, 2008 09:07 AM #16
Ross Quintana
Real E Smarter - Spokane, WA
Real E Smarter Real Estate Coach - 509-362-1966

Eric, I can appreciate the concept and agree, but also I have had this situation and I had listing paperwork so i had to list it, but the landlord was slow to getting me a key. But yes the seller must realize itw ill cause loss.

Aug 17, 2008 11:34 AM #17
Joan Mirantz
Homequest Real Estate - Concord, NH
Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire

I just don't understand in this Market, how a Seller wouldn't be bending over backwards to accommodate...some still don't get it!

Aug 17, 2008 09:16 PM #18
Greg Dallaire
Dallaire Realty - Green Bay, WI
Green Bay Homes

I see this in Green Bay from time to time it's extremely discouraging.  I had to cancel a listing one time because my seller was not reasonable about showings only wanted them on the weekends after the first two showings didn't result in an offer. 

Hopefully you don't run into that very often.

Aug 21, 2008 08:21 PM #19
Eric Webster
Five Star Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids, MI, Five Star Realty


Great reminder. I cannot tell you how many times over the years, that at the closing table, I've asked the seller if they were glad that I talked them into letting me bring a buyer through when they had one reason or another that it wasn't a great time for a showing.

The other quote that I love is from Barb Schwarz (sp?)... "If you can smell it, you can't sell it".


Sep 07, 2008 02:13 PM #20
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