Selecting the Right Homes to Show Your Buyer (or not, as the case may be!)

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

(excerpted from the not-yet-titled sequel to Sell with Soul coming... sometime!)

... Before I tell you all about how to select the right homes to show your buyer, let me put your mind at ease about something.

Do some of your buyers seem to be doing most of the legwork finding the houses they want to look at? About half of mine are; they email me every day with their new list of houses they want to look at... and with every emailed list, I feel just a little bit more guilty. Isn't that MY job - to peruse the MLS searching for Just the Right Home for them? But they beat me to it and, between you and me, I'm happy to let them, guilt & all.

And you know what? They're happy to do it! Buyers have always wanted direct access to our precious MLS database and now that they have it, they're tickled. When I bought my first house back in 1994, I remember actually stealing borrowing my agent's MLS book when she wasn't looking and poring through it for hours. I hated waiting for her daily phone call with the details of new listings and always wondered if she was screening out The Right One for me!

So don't fret about proving your worth to a buyer by beating him to the MLS every day. Let him take control of that part of the buying process; there's plenty more value you bring to the table that he can't possibly do himself.

That said, I must confess that I miss the intimacy I used to have with the MLS when I was solely responsible for choosing the properties my buyers saw. Before the days of a public MLS or automated email notifications, I was in my MLS several times a day searching for new listings, which, by default, kept my finger on the pulse of my local market. While I still keep up on the comings and goings of my market area, I'm much less conversant on the specifics of it than I used to be.

Ah well...


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Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

Jennifer, my buyers these days are mostly twenty-somethings.  They do enjoy that part of the process, and, like you, I felt very guilty.  But, they like the hunt so why deny them?  I got over it.  And, as you put it, I have the experience to bring to the table, so its a win-win! 

Apr 01, 2009 01:04 AM #1
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Buyers often like to feel as they have some control...and should. Sending them listings on an automated e-mail produces all kinds of results...often ending up with something entirely different...I am all for letting THEIR fingers do the walking...we can suggest but the trigger trippers are sometimes where you would least expect to find them !

Apr 01, 2009 01:13 AM #2
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

Perfect example...I was out all day yesterday with a buyer looking at houses - 9 total. She LOVES spending hours on the internet, looking at the photos and virtual tours, sorting, mapping, etc. She sent me a list Monday city...of the houses she wanted to see yesterday. I made the phone calls, and we set off at 9am yesterday.

I've been looking for houses for these folks for over a year, and I'm confident we WILL find them their perfect house!! But the first words out of their mouths when we met in November of 2007? "We're very picky".  lol  So I was pleased as punch that she put together the list for us. Maybe I've been missing something all these months? Well...2 of the houses on the list, I'd actually seen on tour and thought of them. One of them we'll be taking a 2nd look at this afternoon. Yay!

But I know what you mean. I like to think that I'LL be the hero, finding my buyers the house of their dreams. I guess that's one of the double-edged swords of our new reality.


Apr 01, 2009 01:13 AM #3
Alexis Muegge
EXIT Homeplace Realty - Jacksonville, NC

I do think that you are right. Alot of people do enjoy the freedom and knowledge of looking through the MLS and knowing that we(the real estate agents)are not missing something that they may want to look at. I think that could give buyers more trust in their agents.

Apr 01, 2009 01:20 AM #4
Stephanie Davis
The Boulevard Company - Charleston, SC
Broker Associate and REALTOR®

One of my buyers accused me yesterday of not working hard enough to find her house. I've been sending her e-mails and scouring the MLS FOR MONTHS. So has she. She sends me listings she thinks I missed. I finally asked her, why would I withhold listings from you? It's not in your best interest OR mine!

Apr 01, 2009 01:27 AM #5
Michael Delp
Mortgage Pro - Telford, PA

Most buyers know what they are looking for and can spot it more quickly than an agent can. Every buyer is different but most do enjoy the hunt!

Apr 01, 2009 02:52 AM #6
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

I remember the days of the books... big phone book sized MLS that came out every 2 weeks.  Hard to believe we put up with that stone age technology, isnt it? 

Apr 01, 2009 02:59 AM #7
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Jennifer, our buyers pick out their homes. If we feel they are overlooking something, we will email to them and tell them why we think it is a good opportunity but ultimately the choice is theres.

I personally like it this way.

Apr 01, 2009 06:17 AM #8
Harrison K. Long
HomeSmart, Evergreen Realty - Irvine, CA
REALTOR , GRI, Broker associate, Attorney

Jennifer ... thanks for this article.  I agree that we as Realtors and agents shouldn't worry too much about proving value for our customers.

We should be moving forward every day, studying the markets, learning from others, and providing the best customer service  .. for our friends and clients.  

Apr 01, 2009 07:33 AM #9
Linda Jandura
Raleigh Cary Realty - Apex, NC
Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist

Jennifer- we lost control over which houses to show our buyers when the Internet came along. It's almost the same as your mother picking out which clothes you should buy!  Everyone wants to shop, especially us women. 

We have enough to feel guilty about, don't add on more things just because you're not picking out the houses to see. You have a ton of other things to worry about that weren't around in 1994!  (disclosures, 10 page long Offers to Purchase, Radon, the list goes on and on).

When you spent the day looking at the MLS book I bet you only had one or 2 buyers at a time. How could you ever have handled more than that ?

 The real estate world is changing, there'll always be something else for us to do.

Apr 01, 2009 08:09 AM #10
Erik Hitzelberger
RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes - Louisville, KY
Louisville - Middletown Real Estate

If the buyers don't mind, I certainly don't.  That being said, you are correct that it takes a little more discipline to check the MLS constantly and truly pay attention to the updates when you aren't looking for someone specifically

Apr 01, 2009 11:00 AM #11
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

LOL...a lot of buyers these days seem to want to do their own research. Of course, most of them insist on using, only to be told repeatedly when they find one "perfect" house after another, "it's under contract."  "But it's showing active."  "Uh, sorry, it went under contract 2 weeks ago."  Eventually they figure out having access to the MLS isn't the entire game.

I don't think I have EVER had a buyer buy a house he or she "found" on their own.  Usually they end up buying something different from what they tell me they want...and generally it's a property - including FSBOs who co-op - I previewed and thought might be something they would like.

Apr 02, 2009 01:08 AM #12
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

It sure gives you some extra time with them looking for themselves doesn't it?  You can't be accused of steering or redlining or anything either!

Apr 02, 2009 03:37 AM #13

Great post! 

Buyer's do love to search like Agents! 

With Roost and the VOW's coming along we should learn to handle more than ever the shear volume of working with 100's or 1000's at a time!  I just spoke to an agent who puts over 400 a month on her MLS feed.  The new generation may already be here, Jennifer! 

Best wishes on the certainly have a flair for learning trends in real estate!

Best wishes!

Apr 03, 2009 03:43 PM #14
I love it when I meet someone (interviewing me to list their preoprty) and they ask me what websites we use to advertise. I tell them, Every website that you can search for Realtor listings. Then; I ask them to randomly name another real estate company. With that in mine, we go onto the (our competitors') website and low and behold we find Better Buy's listing right on their website. They can't believe it! That's the power of the MLS we all have each others listings! We are all equal no matter how big of an office, how many agents employed or what you pay in commission to list your home you get exactly the same MLS coverage! I can't express this enough; Why pay more for the same thing?
Aug 10, 2012 07:16 AM #15
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Aug 12, 2012 03:58 PM #16
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Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn

Author of Sell with Soul
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