How I Prepare For A First Showing Appointment: By Previewing

Real Estate Agent with RLAH Real Estate AB95346

This weekend, I'll be showing property to a new client.  We met a few weeks ago at an Open House, and I have a pretty good idea of what will work for her.  Between the two of us, there are about thirty houses that are on the Perhaps List, judging solely from the MRIS informaiton.

And I should mention that, while this is a pretty close-in neighborhood, I don't really know it like the back of my hand. 

So this week, I'll be doing a bunch of high energy previewing, which makes sense because I'm actually getting a couple of more possibilities for the same area and price range.

Today, I began my aerobic previewing, blasting through a bunch of houses.  And at one of them, I ran into another agent who was sitting on a chair in the living room waiting for buyers to show up.

When he saw my come in without an entourage, he looked puzzled.

"Oh, I'm alone right now.  I'm just previewing the place."

"Huh?  Previewing?  Um, I'm new.  What's that?  Why would you look at a place without your buyers with you?"

OK, call me old-fashioned. 

I'm going to have about four hours with the buyer, and I want to show her stuff that is the best of.  I completely ruled out four of the eight places I looked at.  They were some combination of too thin at the elbows, too small, too big, or bathroom impaired. 

But can't you just look  at the photos on MRIS?  Sure you can!  And Google Earth while you're at it. 

The four places I ruled out had extensive deferred maintenance that was Photoshopped out of the tour photos.  One was sitting between two Hoarder Houses that probably had bedbugs.  One had a basement with a ceiling height of about four and a half feet. 

If a buyer expresses clearly very definite criterea, and if you then show her a bunch of places that don't come close, you create a credibility gap.  This woman was very clear about what she wanted, and I'm very clear that that's what I want to show her. 

In the opening scene of Meridith Wilson's The Music Man they sing "Rock Island", a song about salesmen.  There is this one line, where they are talking about Professor Harold Hill, the infamous traveling musical instrument salesman, and throughout the song, one of the guys keeps repeating, "He doesn't know the territory!" 

So, I guess my question is, can you really know the territory if you are seeing the houses you show for the first time - with your buyers?



Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Miriam Bernstein, CRS 12/13/2010 11:09 PM
  2. Cindy Jones 12/16/2010 12:36 AM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
31 Days of December Challenge
previewing properties for buyers

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Pam Sitterly
CRS Magnolia-Tomball Texas

Pat- I do the same thing, whenever practical. I also preview for listing appointments. However, don't think I'll ever do the aerobic preview.... but I get what you mean!

Dec 14, 2010 03:34 AM #28
Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

I think this is a great idea especially for those clients who come from out of town and have limited time.  Weeds out the crud before hand.

Dec 14, 2010 03:50 AM #29
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Reading the book, watching the tutorial always a good idea before the test. It is neat to have a broker representing a buyer who actually knows more than the broker/agent in so many cases.

Dec 14, 2010 07:44 AM #30
Renée Montgomery
Century 21 New Millennium - Warrenton, VA
Northern Virginia Real Estate

I can count on one hand, how many times my listings have been previewed in the last year. There is no excuse not to "know your Territory".

Dec 14, 2010 11:27 AM #31
Dawn A Fabiszak
Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado - Aurora, CO
The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience!

Pat ~ sometimes previewing needs to be done.  I don't do it all the time, though.

Dec 14, 2010 02:23 PM #32
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Pat -- I agree in theory, but I think the buyer has to have pretty rigid criteria in order for this to work, but for buyers pressed for time, especially relo buyers, this can help.

Dec 14, 2010 04:09 PM #33
Toronto, ON

Hi Pat - Previewing is a great way to learn the local inventory, even if the particular property is ruled out for not meeting a particular client's requirements.

Dec 14, 2010 04:55 PM #34

interesting post and a lot of rad. I really enjoyed the video and thanks for sharing it.

Drivers Ed | Adult Driver Education

Dec 14, 2010 05:49 PM #35
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

Previewing empty homes that have a lockbox is easy. It's harder for listing agents to get their sellers ready for innumerable "previews" where there is not a specific buyer in mind. Staging a brokers open or including it in a caravan is helpful in this case. Usually I have found that agents will bring their first buyer without previewing it, then bring other buyers later if they, the agent liked the property.

Dec 14, 2010 05:51 PM #36
Robin Risley
Kamali Sotheby's International Realty - Cannon Beach, OR
CRS, GRI, Principal Broker

Previewing is a good practice. You can not only pick out the ones that fit the buyers criteria but you can choose the way you would like to take your tour. If they have children you can figure out bus stops , etc. I also appreciate getting the listing agent's opinion of the home and  to point out anything that might not be obvious.

Dec 14, 2010 06:36 PM #37
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

That's interesting and creates credibility. We do House Tour on Tuesdays to view all the new Office listings. This goes a long way, too.

Dec 14, 2010 06:38 PM #38
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

Can you truthfully say “The four places I ruled out had extensive deferred maintenance that was Photoshopped out of the tour photos”? I think that would be fraudulent, and I hope that FOUR AGENTS in your area would not be up to being fraudulent. Of course, we are talking about an area inhabited by politicians…., but still that would be a lot of agents! Maybe the properties have simply deteriorated between when the photos were taken and now. That happens quite often here. Fortunately we don't also have winter snow photos that show spring flowers.  ☺♪♫♫♪

Dec 14, 2010 07:16 PM #39
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Previewing is nearly a lost art, but those of us who learned the business before online listings with 30 photos DO remember the importance.  Throughout most of my career, I spent at least two mornings of my week previewing new listings in my target market, even when I didn't have a "now" client for them.  It really helped me to learn and know my available inventory and made showing "on target"when I had a client.

Dec 14, 2010 10:18 PM #40
Aaron Seekford
Arlington Realty, Inc. - Arlington, VA
Ranked Top 1% Nationwide 703-836-6116

Previewing is an excellent practice. It's kind of like studying before a test.

Dec 15, 2010 01:28 AM #41
Jeanne Gregory, RE/MAX Southwest

Previewing is the only way to go, especially if you are in an area where you don't regularly show.  It saves time and prevents those awkward moments when you can't find the lockbox because the agent hung it in the tree, or the sticky front door lock or the Doberman in the backyard.  Know what you are showing.

Dec 15, 2010 07:15 AM #43
Larry Atkins
State Wide Realty Co. - Farmville, VA

Pat - this is defiantely the way to go with out of town clients that have a limited time to look at the multitude of houses on the market right now. Hope your showings go well...and end with an offer.

Dec 15, 2010 10:24 AM #44
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

This is an excellent case in point supporting previewing!  As agents we naturally "photoshop" out the flawed portions of the home to get buyers in the door.  We are very good at that....and you are right about your credibility points!  Showing only the houses that truly meet the buyer's criteria shows that you are respecting their time and shows that you are listening to what they are telling you.  Great discussion!

Dec 15, 2010 10:30 AM #45
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.

I rarely show a property without previewing it first.  I like to know the territory, the neighborhood and the comps.

Dec 15, 2010 11:08 AM #46
John MacArthur
Century 21 Redwood - Washington, DC
Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes

Go ahead...share our secrets.......maybe the rest of the folks will catch on that it is our job to know the homes we for sale or rent...i should tell you the story about the preview i did out in frederick county.....empty nipping at my heels....sound of round being chambered in shotgun...that was a preview i wont forget

Dec 15, 2010 02:44 PM #47
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Pat - excellent advice. I try to preview as much as possible, even more importantly when I am less familiar with the area and where there are certain specific ocean views (which can vary tremendously).And how embarassing to take a buyer to a home you have not seen only to be totally dismayed and feel it was a waste  of time.

Of course it's a good way to build up a list of things to talk about or to share with other new buyers who come along. And how nice to tell a new buyer about a house or two you think could work for them. It shows you know the market.


Dec 16, 2010 04:11 AM #48
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Patricia Kennedy

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