A Case for Showing Services

Education & Training

Rich Jacobson recently wrote a post titled, Sabotage Your Listing: "How to Create Showing Obstacles". In it he discusses some different methods that are used to show homes in the markets near him.  Primarily Rich is discussing his belief that it is better to have the buyer's agent contact the seller directly, compared to making the buyer's agent go through the listing agent's office.  Much discussion ensued.

Lockbox PictureOne comment mentioned using our local Centralized Showing Service,a nd Rich said he would love for someone to make the case that it's better to pay a third party.  Well, I'm willing to give it a try.

First, let me state that this is the only method I know, as it was in place when I became a real estate agent.  For those that are unfamiliar, Centralized Showing Service is a thrid party that is contracted by our MLS to provide showing service to agents in our MLS. Here's my take on the benefits.

Value to buyers agents:

  • It's a one stop shop.  If you need to show 10 properties, you call ONE number. Once you give them the homes and times you want to show they let youknow which showings are immediately approved, and THEY follow up with the sellers to get approval for the rest.  You can do other things while they call, and call, and call.
  • If, while you are showing properties, you need to reschedule a showing it is easy to do with ONE phone call, and they always answer.  CSS then tracks down the seller and calls you back, leaving you to focus your attention on your buyer.
  • You receive both phone and email confirmations on your showings.
  • They provide an easy mechanism for you to provide feedback to the sellers and the listing agent.
  • CSS is persistent in trying to reach the sellers, if they don't answer right away.
  • CSS provides MLS wide showing statistics to see what price points are showing, and is the showing trend going up or down.  Very valuable information.

Value to listing agents:

  • You know longer have to be available to schedule showings for your listings.  This means fewer interruptions to focus on more important activities than scheduling.
  • CSS automatically emails buyer's agents after a showing to ask for feedback, and will send them multiple reminders.  That feedback is then forwarded to the listing agent and seller, or just the listing agent if that is how the agent prefers it.
  • CSS can generate showing weekly or monthly showing reports to provide your sellers.
  • CSS keeps a history of all showings.
  • CSS provides MLS wide showing statistics to see what price points are showing, and is the showing trend going up or down.  Very valuable information.

Value to sellers:

  • If the seller chooses to approve appointments it means there is ONE group that calls them, providing them some security in not having to give out their contact info to the whole world. 
  • If something comes up and they need to change a showing, they have one number to call.
  • CSS has screened all requests so it's an actual agent requesting to see their home.
  • CSS can provide the sellers with feedback from the showings in a convenient mechanism selected by the listing agent.

From a buyer's agent perspective I don't consider it a "hoop" to jump through, and in fact because I call ONE number for all showings it makes it trivially easy and saves time.  From a listing agent perspective I know I have someone on call 7 days a week to make appointments for me, to protect my sellers, and to do the legwork of gathering follow up.

Personally, I'm very happy with the service that CSS provides, and I don't mind paying for it.

Posted by


Ken Gramley
Fonville Morisey Realty
1149 Kildaire Farm Rd
Cary, NC 27511

(919) 414-1961

Try the most innovative subdivision search around!

Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Okay, so before we begin the debate/discussion, what does this service cost?

And just for the record, the point of my article wasn't to say that the methods/practices we employ here in Kitsap County WA are any better than what other markets do. Bottom line, we need to evaluate what we do, why we do it, and what value does it offer our clients...

Sep 30, 2010 09:51 AM
Ken Gramley
Cary, NC

Well, and this is a bit embarrasing... I don't exactly know.  It is wrapped up as part of our monthly MLS fees, and those aren't broken down.  It's not like I have a choice, if I join our MLS I get the service.

I certainly didn't take it that you thought your ways were better, and I doubt anyone else did either.  However you did ask in a comment why should we be willing to pay, which is what I tried to answer.

Thanks for commenting!

Sep 30, 2010 10:00 AM
Alex Morris - Austin Real Estate Agent
Austin, TX

I really wish we had that here in Austin.  Truly, one of my least favorite parts of the job is trying to schedule 8+ showings in a day, waiting for sellers to call me back, having them change their minds, etc.  In this day and age of web sites, we should all migrate to some kind of streamlined solution. 

Oct 18, 2010 05:02 PM