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Listing Agent who attends all their showings - Asset or pain in the former?

Real Estate Agent with Prudential Northeast Properties


Does anyone else feel guilty when this happens to them?  Yesterday I showed a few condos in one complex to some of my favorite entry-level buyers.  I called to set up the showings with the listing agent, and she set "ok, you're good to go - see you there!"

These listings were outside of my market area - within which, listing agents never attend showings unless the property is extremely high end.  These were $85,000 condos, and it was Sunday.

I guess on some level, the fact that the agent got dressed up and took time out of her weekend to meet us at an entry level condo did introduce some level of pressure/urgency to produce an offer; but in a lot of ways it broke up the process that would lead to that exact thing.  And don't get me wrong - she was great - really professional, knowledgable, etc.

The problem is, when a listing agent is present, the buyers don't feel like they can talk candidly about the listing.  in order to be ready to write an offer, they often need to stand in the space and pick it apart, rave about it, deliberate, and repeat.

Also, the listing agent can steal the buyer agent's thunder on showings - they are obviously going to know more about the listing, and unless you have smart, savvy buyers who love you (thankfully I do :)), they might begin to see you just as the opener of the lockbox.

Finally - and this is where I feel bad - it's often just a waste of time for them.  To come out on a Sunday to show a vacant, low-end condo to buyers who are just beginning their search just seems like a waste of time to me, and the perfect example of the "available all the time" mentality we're trying so hard as an industry of Professionals to get away from. 



Martin E. Kalisker, Esq.
Natick, MA
Real Estate Law From A Practical Perspective

All I can say is OMG!!!  I got into real estate for the very reason that I HATED it when the listing agent opened the door, sat her perfumed butt on the kitchen stool and told my buyers agent to show me the property!  NO - this is the listing agent's job!  This is what they are hired for.  If I want to see the home a second time, my buyer's agent can accompany me, but the first time it is essential that the listing agent be present to educate the prospective buyer about the home, its features, the neighborhood, shops, etc.

Sure, as a buyer, I could go through the house on a Sunday during an open house, but there is no one showing me the property, I come up with my own opinions (right or wrong, but no one is there to correct them).

As a broker/owner, I insist on accompanied showings on all of our listings.  Lockboxes are rarely used.  And from what I've seen of late, with lights left on, doors left unlocked, keys taken from lockboxes, etc.  I'm glad that I have this policy in place.

Feb 01, 2010 11:15 PM
Mindy Kaye
MindyK Photographer - Charleston, SC
Real Estate Photography by MindyK

Martin, thanks for the posts. Your initial post in this thread is exactly what prompted me to partake to this thread in the first place.

If I am paying an excess of $5,000 commission to my agent, she had best be marketing my property!  I am not paying her to put a lockbox on my unit, only to have Buyer Agents do exactly what you stated which they have done just that (i.e. leave lights on, doors open, doors unlocked, etc.) 

I have been in commercial real estate for most of my career but obtaining my license in 2006 was the best thing I could have done for myself.  I market my own property more than my agent with education, creative writing, staying knowledgeable in the trends of the business, and doing all that is possible of me as a seller. 

My agent is lucky to have a listing with someone like myself.  I am certain her other clients don't work with her in their properies and rely on her solely for the effort.


Feb 01, 2010 11:50 PM
Home Loan Search.Online
Home Loan Search Online - Newnan, GA

I guess the agent just wants to control the situation. I hear of realtors that do not receive feedback so this agent may be getting feedback for the client, even if it wouldn't be completely honest. 

Feb 02, 2010 12:23 AM
Jenna Dixon
Momentum Real Estate Group LLC - Marietta, GA
55 & Over | New Constructions | Horse Farms

It's as though if the listing agent is the type to be present at showiings, they are almost exclusively the type to follow the buyer and buyer's agent around.  YIKES!  Back off people, these are my clients and your listing is NOT the first property I have shown.

The caveat is mentioned above, a VERY high end property or commercial situation.

Feb 02, 2010 01:26 AM
Hans Ziegenbein
@properties - Chicago, IL
Illinois Realtor, Chicago Residential Real Estate


Thank you for posting this to your blog.  It has been a very interesting read.

Feb 02, 2010 01:48 AM
Jackie Connelly-Fornuff
Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY - Babylon, NY
"Moving at The Speed of YOU!"

Hi Michelle, sometimes it's the homeowner that wants the listing agent there. If it were me, I would make sure to be out of the way and out of earshot. That would be the fair thing to do. Great post!

Feb 02, 2010 01:56 AM
Lee Ann Obenauer

I have encountered this many times in higher end neighborhoods where agents tend to be snobby and overbearing.  I allow them to give their speach and then ask them to step outside so we may have some privacy.  Once we left the listing without viewing the entire home because the agent was overbearing and would not shut up.


Feb 02, 2010 02:11 AM
Sedruola Maruska
Exit First Choice Professional Realty - Worcester, MA

I have to agree that a listing agent does not need to be present at all showings. It does hinder the buyers in their candid talk and makes everyone feel they need to tiptoe around the property. Unless it's a high end deal, I think letting the buyers roam with their agents is crucial to a comfortable showing.

Feb 02, 2010 02:23 AM
Sajy Mathew
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Lancaster, PA
Making your real estate dreams become a reality!

I do not think a listing agent needs to be there in this range.  I believe it hinders the buyers being candid ad may deter an offer.  Now I am seeing this in higher end homes but again I think it is awkward for the buyers.  I have had one agent try to make me look incompetent at the appointment and that is not appreciated or very professional.

Feb 02, 2010 02:41 AM
Chip Jefferson
Gibbs Realty and Auction Company - Columbia, SC

I dont run across this in my area hardly ever. I agree that Im more comfortable showing with just my clients. I wont hesitate telling a LA that.

Feb 02, 2010 03:02 AM
Mindy Kaye
MindyK Photographer - Charleston, SC
Real Estate Photography by MindyK

I beg to differ on the high end and commercial versus the lower price.  My condo is not selling for 24K nor is it selling for 250K, however, that does not negate my needs or warrant any less committment from my agent on behalf of my interests. 

I think this subject will always be debateable depending on who you ask.  Personally I don't feel my agent is doing all she can in her best efforts to procure a buyer and I have had over 40 showings from buyer agents and don't believe they have necessarily done all they can in showing my property to their clients.  As a referral agent and as a Seller, I can see both points of view and can agree to disagree to a certain extent.

Feb 02, 2010 03:16 AM
Richard Glick
Kingsway Realty - Lancaster, PA

good post, listing agent being present does put pressure on the buyers, but that is not necessarily what you want.

Feb 02, 2010 07:21 AM
Justin Quinn
Windwalker Real Estate - Nantucket, MA

I have no problem showing anytime . I prefer to show my listings as I have done alot of homework on the property. I always want to inform the buyers of all the pros and cons. Many times another agent has given buyers the wrong information and not necessarily on purpose.

Feb 02, 2010 07:29 AM
Jim Curry
Re/ Max Achievers - Hagerstown, MD

I'd have to agree.  I would have told the lister that I'd really prefer that she not attend.  Sounds like she's trying too hard ... which usually helps reverse the end result.

Feb 02, 2010 10:07 AM
Michelle Flaherty
Prudential Northeast Properties - Portland, ME

WOW - Thanks for all the comments!!  I expected maybe 3 or 4.  And I'm loving the passion out of Chicago!  In general, it seems like commenters are pretty split on the issue, which I expected.  It seems like most would agree that it's helpful to have listing agents attend showings in some cases, but the way LAs conduct themselves when present is what determines whether they're an asset or... the opposite :).  Thanks again for the great conversation!

Feb 03, 2010 02:44 AM
Rob D. Shepherd
RETIRED - Florence, OR

Most of the time when its Listing agent must be present, I find something else to show. If listing agents must be there for the alarm code or Dogs, they need to stay in their car while we show it.

Feb 03, 2010 06:25 AM
Scott Bader (Coldwell Banker Door County Horizons)

I think the it depends on the listing agent and on the property.  If you are at the showing (I always offer to do so sometimes I am required to be there) it is important not to be overbearing and to make it clear that you do not own the home and their comments are not going to offend you.  This usually opens up dialoge and makes the buyer feel more comfortable.

Feb 05, 2010 02:18 AM
Christianne O'Malley
Dickson Realty - Reno, NV
Exceptional Service - Delivering Results in Reno!

I have had a few listings in my career where it has been a request of the seller that I be present for all showings. Typically they are higher end homes where questions often arose of property lines, adjacent property uses, etc.

I have also had several listing agents attend my showings. When we leave the property and are in my car, we 'digest' the listing. Or, we ask for a few moments alone in the family room to discuss the house while we're there. Don't be shy about asking for a moment alone with your clients to confer and find out of they have any other questions.

Often, any objections can be covered while you're there and you just might write a contract because of it. As long as the listing agent is not overbearing and doesn't try to steal your thunder or interrupt you - or come in between you and your clients - look at their presence in a positive way. They are there to help you make a sale. And you are there to help them as well.

Feb 05, 2010 04:03 AM
Barbara Hensley
RE/MAX Properties - Rockwall, TX
Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas

I have not ran into this situation in a lower priced property.  I often see it in properties that are in the million and multi-millon price range.  I, personally, do not know how a busy agent would have time to meet every showing on lower end properties.   

Sellers in the luxury market are a different animal.  Most are concerned with privacy and security.  Often the sellers are high profile in the community.  I do have properties that require this arrangement, and completely agree that it is necessary to make these sellers feel comfortable as well as to assure that all the amenities are seen.

I arrive early and get the lights turned on and am waiting at the door for the agent and clients.  I say hello to everyone but address any comments to the agent.  I NEVER ask any questions of the prospective buyer.  I have a package that I give, not to the client, to the agent which includes the seller disclosure, amentity list, brochure and area information.

Usually sellers are concerned that all parties stay together during a showing.  Many times a group will split up and go off in different directions.  This makes proper security difficult and results in missing many of the features of the home. 

I state at the beginning, that seller has requested that we please all stay together.  I say that I will be along to be sure they do not miss anything, and that I will immediatelsy allow them plenty of time to go back through the home with their agent.  I tell the agent that I will be seated in a central location if there are any questions.  I tell them to take as much time as needed and assure them that their privacy will be respected.  I always take a book, magazine, or laptop with me and say something like, "Take your time, I am looking forward to a break and have plenty to do."

Since the appointment for this type of showing has to be made through me, I explain to the agent on the telephone.  I assure the agent that I will be in the background, and that they will have plenty of time for a privacy.

Agents usually appreciate this approaceh.  Most of these large listings have many amenties that can not be readily seen and the agent wants to be sure that they see everything.  They also appreciate the fact that I then leave them so that they can have privacy and time to talk.

 This type of arrangement pleases my sellers and is not threating to the agent.  I have had agents call me and tell me that they appreciated the way this was handled.  

On second showings, I do meet the showing, but stay completely out of hearing from the other parties.     


Sep 27, 2010 05:09 AM
Richard and Jean Murphy
Harborview Properties - Portland, ME
(207) 712-4796

We insist the listing agent not be present. If they need to be there to open the door or remove a pet, we will wait till the agent leaves. We know our Buyer Clients motivation to see this particular property and this motivation is confidential. If the listing agent hears our client say, "this is the perfect house for us", it would certainly play to the sellers' favor during negotiations.

Further, we have had listing agents attempt to hand our clients a brochure with their contact information printed on the bottom. We have also had listing agents attempt to hand our clients their business card and say, "if you have any questions, give me a call". It is difficult to be graceful when this occurs and can become embarrassing for all concerned.

May 24, 2011 12:09 AM