What's Old is New Again

Managing Real Estate Broker with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services

No, I'm not talking about me...

But we now have a new reason to get back into the old practice of previewing properties during our work day. Not such a new concept for some of us; I am a big fan of this practice.

Recently in Central PA our multi-list launched the public access side of our multi-list. This isn't such a big deal when we look at it as agents; we have had public IDX access to our listings for years. What is new about it is that when the consumer public hears about it as the "Public side of our whole MLS database" they will flock to it. Even though our own websites have as much and sometimes more data from multiple MLS IDX feeds, for some it might be seen as an unvarnished look into our secret world, unfiltered and untainted by brands. Am I saying I don't like this new development? No I actually love it, I can educate my clients and consumers and they can validate everything I show them.

What I am saying is that we must be better educated on the market inventory and conditions than the public. And here's how I do that. I preview properties as they come on the market and those that have been around a while. Why? If all I do is look at pictures and sit behind my computer all day, I don't have any more insight than my clients. So what do they need me for? I have to be in the homes and in the neighborhoods to be able to talk intelligently and answer the questions that always come up. If you need convincing that the photos don't tell the whole story, think back to the last time you saw or even attended a class on taking better photos to market your home.

So all you list agents out there, please don't be alarmed when you hear from me asking to preview your listing, I'm just doing my job. And please feel free to call to set up a preview of mine. As I write this I am committing to do even more previewing during these cold lonely winter days.

See you out there, go make it a great day!


Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Lenn Harley 12/09/2011 10:53 PM
ActiveRain Community
Pennsylvania Dauphin County Hershey
Coaching and Mentoring
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South Central Pennsylvania Realtors
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Judy Orr
HomeSmart Realty Group - Orland Park, IL
SW & Near West Chicago suburbs

Jim, I saw this mentioned on another post and for a busy agent I don't see how one would have time previewing homes.  I sure can't find the time and unless I have a long distance buyer I wouldn't think of doing it.  Besides the time factor (where do those of you find it - sure, I'm not quite as busy right now but once the market gets busy forget about it), I don't want to judge what my buyers might like, no matter how well I think I know them.  Even if I weren't so busy, I honestly feel it's doing double work, and I like to work as mean as lean as I possibly can.


Dec 11, 2011 08:12 AM #50
Judy Orr
HomeSmart Realty Group - Orland Park, IL
SW & Near West Chicago suburbs

I need to add that I know my areas and many times I have shown a property to another buyer.  And even at those times, I don't know if the buyer cared, either they like the house or they don't.  If you're talking about Broker Opens, we don't have them much around here since no one shows up.


Dec 11, 2011 08:23 AM #51
Liane Thomas -Top Listing Agent
BROKER Allison James Estates & Homes BRE 01885684 - Corona, CA
Bringing you Home!

Good post, and I agree, we need to be professional, and that means knowing the inventory. I cannot tell you how often I am previewing for one client and stumble across a home for a different client. I even picked up a listing one day while out previewing!

Dec 11, 2011 09:38 AM #52
Gary J. Muccio, Associate Broker
RE/MAX Realty Associates, Inc. - Camp Hill, PA
Exceptional Customer Service!

Jim - I'm glad to hear your positive comments about the new consumer website. As incoming president of the CPML, I strongly encourage agents to inform their customers and clients of this site. Consumers do need us to navigate through the process and help them achieve their goals to a successful closing. Thanks again for your positive attitude and you're welcome to preview my listings anytime! 

Dec 11, 2011 09:48 AM #53
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

Jim, I also disagree.  I have a GPS to get me there.  I look at the pictures & read the agent comments, which gives me more insight.  Sometimes it makes sense to call the listing agent & ask more questions.  And, of course, I want to make sure it has no contract on it.  What more do I need to know.  They are buying the house, not me.  I am not trying to sell any of them, but helping them through the process.

Dec 11, 2011 01:03 PM #54
Jacqueline Drake CRS
Jacqueline Drake Realty - Saint David, AZ
Southeast Arizona land, farms & horse properties

There have been a few times when I haven't previewed houses before showing them. Several times I wished that I had because there were things my client didn't like and I probably would not have shown them if I had managed to see them first.

Jacqueline Drake CRS

Cochise County AZ

Dec 11, 2011 03:44 PM #55
Kate Akerly
Halstead Property - Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Residential Sales and New Development

I think previewing new listings (or unfamiliar ones) is a great tool for agents.  That being said, it's not always practical.  In our market, you're really not going to get a listing agent to do a showing for an agent unaccompanied by a prospective purchaser.  We don't have lockboxes.  One can attend open houses, which I try to do.  Unfortunately, it's not always something we're able to do given that we have 10-25 listings that require open houses in any given month.  Perhaps NYC will come around to the lockbox concept sometime this decade!

Dec 11, 2011 04:15 PM #56
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Jim, With 20-30 new ones coming on the market in a County larger than Rhode Island, I don't have time to preview.

Dec 11, 2011 09:53 PM #57
Mike Moffitt
Referral Resource Center, Inc. - Marine on Saint Croix, MN
Unconventional Real Estate Marketing

It's always better to have first hand, visual knowledge of new properties in your marketplace. There are also benefits beyond that as well, such as, helping the listing agent show activity to his/her sellers, getting ideas of how to present your own listings, even leaving a "calling card" for the owner in case the listing expires (did I say that?).

The problem is the TIME it takes. Even if your business is dead and you have lots of time on your hands, there are more productive ways to spend it. By more productive I mean using whatever effective means you have in your arsenal to find new clients.

Like it or not, if you're in RE to feed your family, our business is a numbers game and previewing doesn't increase those numbers. When I started in RE, I previewed homes all the time (as did lots of other agents in my office) but our top producers NEVER previewed and considered our tour day as a time waster as well.

As I got used to prospecting, I realized, at least for myself, that I was touring to AVOID prospecting because it so much easier to do.

Just my two cents.

Dec 12, 2011 12:13 AM #58
Jim Linaburg
Hayes Realty - Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Jim, I too am going to make it a point to preview more homes during the cold months.  I think it will help me gain better knowledge of my market as well as possibly save me some time when a buyer thinks they may be interested, but didn't see all of the mold in the basement because it wasn't in the pictures.

Dec 12, 2011 02:13 AM #59
Michael Sebastian Group
Keller Williams Realty - Orange, CA

When I broke into the industry, I attended several caravan meetings and the previewed each property to get a "lay of the land" for the business.  Now, a few years later, I'm doing the same thing and still learning. It's incredible to note how few "seasoned" agents regularly attend previews but have no problem beefing about how tough it is out there!

Dec 12, 2011 04:19 AM #60
Penny Sargent
Keller Williams Realty - Temecula, CA
Realtor, CDPE,#01180805, Call me with your So Cal

I preview homes so that I know what is out there.  As you said pictures don't always give the whole story.

Dec 12, 2011 05:21 AM #61
Bob Davenport
Realty Central Inc. - Carbondale, IL

Yes it is embarrasing when a client finds a house before you to look at.. And it is the ONE!!  

Dec 12, 2011 04:11 PM #62
Jim Gainer
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Hershey, PA

What a great discussion. Thank you all for taking time to contribute!

In any discussion like this I go back to what my coach used to say; "find one nuggett you can use and it was worth the time spent." So here's what I come away with...

Previewing isn't for everyone, so I won't take it personally when a seller doesn't want me to preview without a buyer, and I'll coach sellers I represent that there might be times when agents ask to preview the house without a buyer and explain the pro's and cons of that for them.

I like many of you get too busy sometimes to keep up the pace of what I call 'business support activities' such as previewing but when I can I feel it's a valuable tool.

Thanks again for all the comments, you are making it a great day!

Dec 12, 2011 10:59 PM #63
Chris Lewis
Gracious Living Realty - Front Royal, VA
I want to SELL your home, not LIST it!

I think previewing is an important part of the agent's responsibilities.  It's not just knowing the neighborhood or being able to find your way there - it's knowing the specific details of the house and how it might suit, or not, your potential buyer.

Dec 13, 2011 11:04 AM #64
Sylvie Stuart
Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765 - Flagstaff, AZ
Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta

Absolutely!! Previewing homes is an important part of what we do. My new business plan has me previewing 25 homes a week. It helps me talk more intelligently to my clients, both buyers and sellers. Have a great 2012!

Dec 15, 2011 12:50 AM #65
Murray Scotton
Royal LePage Benchmark - Calgary, AB

Jim great reminder as I've been hit and miss on previewing properties in my neighbourhood (that I want to be an expert in)!

Dec 15, 2011 02:36 AM #66
Women of Westchester Working Together
Women of Westchester Working Together - West Harrison, NY
Women helping Women get ahead


What you said is so important. I think that is what defines a really good agent. Taking the time to preview or for that matter view your product says alot about your commitment.  You have be know the specifics when showing a property to a prospective buyer. It makes all the difference in the world to a buyer.


Women Of Westchester



Dec 16, 2011 03:09 AM #67
Jayson Holland
Listings.com - Denver, CO
Jay Holland

Previewing is very important! Not only does it help you increase ~ and maintain ~ your product knowledge and market knowledge, it will give you a huge edge when talking to prospects and also on listing appointments. In addition, I can presonally preview a property in about 2-5 minutes, where-as a Buyer would take 15-20 in each one. If I can narrow the field down by 50% from their internet search results, I can save myself hours and hours every time I need to take a buyer out looking in person.


Dec 16, 2011 06:52 AM #68
The Buyers Group Carbondale, I

Talk about embarasing BOB DAVENPORT.  I think it would be emabrasing to find out one the most appealing listings in your area, which you had the listing contract for approxiametly two years, sold soon after your contract was canceled. Yes SOLD! almost immediatly because the owner decided to market the propoerty themselfs.  And, the owner brang it from listing to title company in less than 60 days.erervTh

Apr 23, 2013 06:01 AM #69
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