Should we be charging for showings?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

Last Saturday morning just before 9am I got a call from somone I didn't recognize. The caller wanted to know if we had any agents available who could show a house at 11:30 that morning. I said "no, all of our team had already made arrangements to be working people".

Saturday morning, this is often true for our team but even if it had't been that day, we don't show homes to buyers until we have a buyer's broker agreement with them.

The caller was a bit impatient and when I suggested we schedule a meeting in our office Monday so she could start working with one of our agents she had no interest in that.

I want to see this home today she explained, "you don't have anyone who could meet me there?" the caller persisted.

No, I appologized, and explained that we are available for showings for buyers we represent and can usually make arrangements with 24 hours notice.

"Fine!" the caller said in frustration, "I'll just keep trying to get ahold of MY agent" at which point she hung up on me.

Really? I thought. The caller apparently thought we had some obligation to show her a house even though she had an agent. Once again, I was reaffirmed that our choice of not spending time with people who have not officially hired us is beneficial. See we love showing homes and love helping people buy homes even more. If we are splitting our time between our clients and people who are not our clients but just want a "showing" we cannot be doing the very best job for those people who have hired us.

I get calls like this periodically. I hate to tell people "no" without giving them an alternative. Then I wondered, instead of frustrating people by saying "no, I will not show you homes unless you have decided to hire us to represent you and that is that" maybe I should come up with a script which explains something like... "For clients who have signed a buyer's broker agreement with us we are available for showings at no additional cost. For clients who who have not we charge $50 per home showing fee, I have an agent available at this time or that time, which would work best for you?"

On the other hand, if someone was determined to be frustrated with me maybe this would just set them off worse.

Jeff Craig
Hang Me Up Photos - Jamestown, NC
Greensboro Area Real Estate Photography

Hmm, interesting thought.  I like it, but don't think it would fly.

Apr 13, 2011 09:51 AM
Carla Wade
Charlotte, NC

I love it!  How do we that started?  Or maybe a $50 per home showing fee, with a refund of the $50 of the home you close on!  Maybe that would make people serious.  Let's make it happen!! 

Apr 13, 2011 09:58 AM
Victor Zuniga
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties - San Diego, CA

I'm often surprised by people that think they can just call any agent to get a showing. If you have an agent then why aren't you calling him? Would any of these people work for free? I don't think so!

Apr 13, 2011 10:13 AM
Scott Freedle
Metro Brokers Freedle and Associates - Centennial, CO

Maybe if we did charge by the hour, they may respect us more?

Apr 13, 2011 10:15 AM
Sarasota & Manatee Counties FL
SaraMana Properties - - Bradenton, FL - Listings In Paradise

I liked your blog post! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Apr 13, 2011 10:41 AM