Vacant Homes in the Snow

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX United Real Estate

SnowmageddonIn a recent blog post about shoveling snow in front of a vacant listing, I took a little time to toot my own horn and shoot a little video. Yeah it was a pain in the patootie and it took about 2 and half hours to shovel a path from the road to the front door. It was worth it, though, because people wanted to see it.  They were calling the showing service and even with unflattering photos online they saw the price was right.

Recently, the tables were turned when a buyer client wanted to go house hunting.  They had picked out a few homes from their Internet search and they were available to be shown...because they were empty.  Now, in my area there are a lot of foreclosures and short sales that are vacant but there are also "plain vanilla" homes that are vacant, too.  It's these homes that should have been shoveled but weren't.  Either the listing agent was too lazy or was above shoveling or, maybe, the owner of the house was too cheap to have the listing agent hire a contractor (the two teenagers down the street or some day laborers) to shovel the snow so people could get in to see the house.

It was a real shame to drive up to a house only to see a lockbox on the railing or front door knob and so much snow that there was no way I was going to wade through it to try and open the door.

I look at it this way.  If I can shovel a driveway in order to allow access to potential buyers and their agents, others can, too.  I might be wrong about this and I might be expecting too much but in this current housing environment, if you want to make any money and sell some houses you might have to shovel some driveways.

Oh by the way, I got an offer on the house.  If all goes well I might just get paid before all the snow melts in the Spring.

Comments (6)

Richard Strahm
American Foursquare Realty - Lansdale, PA
Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate

I just saw a listing in the MLS -- Active/No Showings.  Too bad, it would have been perfect for one of my clients.  In the comments it said, "This home is vacant.  There will be no showings until the snow melts and we can get to the house."

Sounds like that agent's Get Up and Go got up and went . . .

I applaud you for you great customer service!

Feb 25, 2010 09:35 AM
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Ken, I've shoveled paths to the front door for empty listings I've had, and even arranged for plowing for homes closed on by my buyers, before they move in so that they won't come to an iced over driveway on moving day.  It's small things like that that make you an agent for life to your client. 

It amazes me that some homeowners don't bother to make their homes accessable after snow.  It's being penny wise and pound foolish.

Feb 25, 2010 09:38 AM
Ken Montville
RE/MAX United Real Estate - College Park, MD
The MD Suburbs of DC

Richard and Lora -  I love my clients and all but what I really want to do is sell the house.  When buyer's agents and the buyers can't get to it, nothing happens. Clearing the driveway for your buyer clients is a wonderful idea.  It's something they'll remember, I'm sure.

Feb 25, 2010 02:18 PM
Regina P. Brown
MBA Broker Consultants - Carlsbad, CA
M.B.A., Broker, Instructor

Hey Ken, isn't shoveling snow a great workout?  I wouldn't know since we're buried knee-deep here in SUNSHINE!!   He he...

Your blog is now featured here at

Feb 25, 2010 04:49 PM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Ken-is't it a B*&%$ when you do the right thing and other agents take the easy way out.  Of course your listing has an offer and the others don't.  Your hard work will be rewarded.

Feb 25, 2010 10:38 PM
Ken Montville
RE/MAX United Real Estate - College Park, MD
The MD Suburbs of DC

Regina -- Thank you so much for the feature and the kind words.  I only wish I could find some sunshine.

Cindy -- It's just amazing to me that people don't "service" their listings.  I need them to sell.  The seller needs them to sell.  I guess the banks (REOs) don't really care one way or the other.

Feb 26, 2010 03:25 AM