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Local trend: "No Showings Until the Open House" - a step backward for industry professionalism

Real Estate Agent with Prudential Northeast Properties

Lately I've noticed that a huge portion of the new listings coming on my hotsheet contain a note in the internal remarks: "no showings until the open house," which is often a full week away from the list date.

The idea, obviously, is to build anticipation among buyers' agents in the week leading up to the open house and to create a busy open house which makes potential buyers feel like there is competition and thus a sense of urgency to buy.

I've seen the tactic work, and actually had some buyers successfully purchase recently after a first showing at an open house; however, we did not pull it off without a frantic Sunday that started with the early afternoon showing and included a second showing with parents hours later, news that we were competing, a buyer market analysis, doc prep, a meeting to review the contract, processing & presenting to the seller, a little back and forth, and by 9PM, a contract.  There was plenty of activity on the listing on Monday, but those folks who waited to act were too late.

I was, and still am, incredibly excited for my buyer clients, and wouldn't change our course of action.  However, there was no reason why I couldn't have shown the house to these clients during the previous work week and achieved the same outcome.  My husband and I had friends in town that weekend, and I felt awful that I barely got to spend any time with them on Sunday. 

A few years ago, our state association of Realtors decided to change all days within our contracts to business days rather than calendar days.  The idea was that Realtors shouldn't feel pressured to meet deadlines for inspection negotiations, financing, etc. if they happen to fall on a weekend.  With that change, we took a stance as an industry that we are professionals who deserve to have balanced lives.

And now, with the trend toward halting showings until the open house, we seem to be moving backward. 

Bob Zorechak - ABR, GRI, e-PRO
Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan - Morristown, NJ
Sells Homes in Morris/Somerset/Hunterdon Cos., NJ

I agree with comment nos. 31 and 34.  It is simply a marketing technique in a local market.  In addition, if you don't like working weekends, you are in the wrong business.

Mar 30, 2011 01:59 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

That's not a trend that has found it's way into our area, but part of that may be because not many agents want to have open houses. They are, after all too busy for that, and the newbie agents aren't there to host them. The few that do that get disappointed as there is too much inventory in the market, and very few want to chase for multiple offer situations.

Mar 30, 2011 01:59 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Michelle, I can see where this may work in some markets. Properties get the most exposure in the first week. I would think it may keep buyers from waiting a week. Good discussion.

Mar 30, 2011 02:04 AM
Jeanne Gregory, RE/MAX Southwest

There is an agent in our market who lists a home and puts in the remarks "no showings until _______"  I totally believe her purpose is to try to get both sides of the deal.  That is certainly not helpful to the seller.  It can backfire.  Buyers these days have a lot to choose from and the thought of a bidding war doesn't sit well with some.

Mar 30, 2011 02:16 AM
Laurie Mindnich
Centennial, CO

As long as the listing agent is abiding by the same timeframe (and not doing this in order to gain a double end), while inconvenient, if your mls permits it, sounds like you're stuck.

Mar 30, 2011 02:34 AM
Mike Mayer
Mike Mayer, Broker/Owner - i List For Less Realty, LLC - Lafayette, LA

This is not a practice performed in my market. I'd agree with some of the comments as it applies to the effectiveness in a sluggish buyer's market.

Mar 30, 2011 03:32 AM
Donald Stirnweis
RE/Max Beyond - Kings Park, NY
Realtor Kings Park NY, Homes for Sale, Certified Appraiser

I have a friend who has been procrastinating listing there home for sale since December because they need to do some minor cosmetic repairs.  I feel the only way to get them to list this home for sale is to list it this week and not allow any showings until next Sundays open House.  Some people only get things done when they have to meet a deadline.

Mar 30, 2011 03:35 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

If its for sale...show it already.....the place will either sell right away or not. With so many choices in the market today, the main rule of Real Estate still holds.....Get in and out of the market as quick as you can

Mar 30, 2011 03:51 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

It's allowed in our MLS....my team and I are listing agents and we use it often....I sold my home with this method....it gets the job done quickly for the seller and for the highest price....there are usually multiple offers....the more people in the home at one time, the greater the urgency to buy....my own home had 30 showings on the first day of the open house and 5 offers.

Mar 30, 2011 04:03 AM
Andrew Martin
REMAX Accord - San Ramon, CA

In my m arket when agents do that, it usually means that if you are a client with an agent, then no show until the open house, but if you are a buyer on your own, then come on it, and the listing agent will show the home to them in an effort to double end it. The "no show until...." shows up in the confidential remarks that the public doesnt see, so buyers on their own will call to see the home.

Mar 30, 2011 04:13 AM
Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ
Weichert - Lopatcong, NJ


My MLS provides a form for "delayed showings."  It stipulates NO views at all - the office cannot caravan, the list agent can't shouldn't bring folks to see, no agent previews. 

I find it an interesting concept and might just use it on my next new listing.  Of course, the seller will need to sign that special form - and I'll play by the rules.

Mar 30, 2011 05:45 AM
Mary Stewart
HomeTrust Real Estate, LLC, Homes for Everyone - Wilsonville, OR
Wilsonville and Surrounding Portland Metro Areas

In our area we are required to submit the listing within 4 days of signature.  However, all active listings shall be available for showing immediately upon entry into the MLS system, excluding listings which require all offers to be contingent on interior inspection.  Listings can not restrict showing until a future date.  My feeling has always been if the home is not ready to be shown then wait to list it until it is. Lots of interesting conversation.

Mar 30, 2011 06:21 AM

As a former house seller, I will admit to throwing in the towel and demanding no showings before an open house. I did this to save my sanity. We tried very hard to be compliant, obedient sellers. I found todays or 2009 buyers, to be rude and demanding with very few buyers agents willing to reel them in. As God is my witness, we had people wanting to schedule a viewing at 9,10 and 11am the day of the 1 to 5 open house. We had agents wanting to show the house at 6,7,8,and 9pm the night before an open house. I loved to show my home clean and sparkling. It's diificult to prepare for an open house if you can't be in the home to clean. Oh, I sold, full list without concessions and I was on the markett approximately 6 months with every type of intrusion you can imagine. I even had people show up on Sundays when I didn't have an open house, people parking out front taking pictures, spotlighted at mid-night. So there you go. Not all requests are to build anticipation or get low baller buyers frothing. Its self preservation. 

Mar 30, 2011 06:54 AM

It's the seller's home. What give you or the MLS the right to decide how they get to handle the sale of their home? Do you think your and your buyer's rights supersede the seller's rights to market the home the way they seem fit?

Mar 30, 2011 07:39 AM
Michelle Flaherty
Prudential Northeast Properties - Portland, ME

WOW, thank you all for the comments!  I am surprised to learn that so many MLSs actually don't allow this practice.

To the candid folks who suggested that I may be in the wrong business if I don't like to work weekends or expect to have balance, I want to clarify that I do work pretty much every weekend, often both days, by choice.  I love my job, but I also love my family and friends, and I think it's entirely possible to make time for both.  The topic at hand is just one minor industry trend that has is benefits (as articulated by many commenters above), but also makes it more difficult for buyer agents (and their clients for that matter) to independently choose how they would like to spend their Sundays.

One thing is for sure - real estate is a business full of emotion and opinons!  Thank you for sharing yours with me.

Mar 30, 2011 09:06 AM
Jeff Payne
The Payne Group at Keller Williams Success Realty - Panama City, FL
Panama City Real Estate

Michelle, not to change the subject but there is no rule that says you can not be in this business if you don't like to work weekends :)  I rarely work weekends because I work primarily with sellers and work by appointment only.

As far as this topic, I would really be interested to see the actual MLS rules that prohibit this and how it can be policed if indeed it is not allowed.  We have www.bidselect.com properties that won't look at any offers on new listings for the first 5 days which in effect does the same thing in my opinion.

Good blog topic for sure

Mar 30, 2011 09:25 AM
Vanessa Helmick
Fiore Interiors - Portland, ME
Interior Designer

I defenitely could not see this working in New England, or in the majority of the Southern California markets I worked in prior to moving here. I work with sellers to get the homes ready to show, and of course for the MLS photos.  Then they want to get moving and get showings underway asap-no waiting around.


Jun 03, 2011 11:20 AM
George Lawson
Moreno Valley, CA

I have to disagree, Vanessa (Cooment #74) -- I use this method very successfully in Southern California for my sellers. And, no, I do not "cheat" the system and show unrepresented buyers in order to double end it easier. All buyer prospects (mine too) abid by the same schedule.

My goal is simple ... promote the home in the most favorable way. And it works!

Jun 02, 2015 04:11 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

That is very interesting that now you use calendar days only since we, realtors, usually work on weekends. 

Apr 24, 2018 01:29 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

We still often have ''no showings before open house'' requests. 

Apr 24, 2018 01:29 PM