Is Your Agent Prepared When He/She Shows You Homes?

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA RS134746A

Is Your Agent Prepared When He/She Shows You Homes?

Many agents are all too willing to jump into their car and show listings to a prospect without any delay.  But is that the way to provide the optimum value to a potential Lancaster County home buyer?  In many cases, the best agents will take the time to preview the homes for themselves before they take buyers there.

Previewing a listing definitely gives both the agent and the buyer several advantages.

1)  Your agent knows exactly where the properties are relative to each other, so there's no hunting around  when you are seeing several properties in an unfamiliar area.  The most efficient route can be chosen, saving time and fuel.

2)  Your agent can answer questions with more depth than if he/she had just reviewed it on the MLS - such as what else is surrounding the immediate property.

3)  There won't be any embarassing moments trying to find lockboxes in odd places, or fighting with unfamiliar door locks.

4)  You may be able to cross off a property from the tour altogether due to the condition it is in (some homes have overly "optimistic" descriptions posted; some homes have deteriorated since the original listing date) or a location that makes it inappropriate for the particular search.

Previewing properties before a showing is just one of the little things that a good agent can do behind the scenes that make the home buying process go more smoothly.

 

 

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Brian Schulman offers expert real estate representation for buyers and sellers of homes in Lancaster County, PA.  To learn more, visit http://www.FindLancasterHomes.com/

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Comments (124)

Debora Nichols
Residential Sales, Purchases, Investors, Vacation Homes - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor Anthem,Phoenix,Scottsdale,Glendale,Peoria

Hi Brian,  It certainly depends on how busy I am, but it also depends on the client.  I have some that only want to see the best and I definitely preview for them.  Then there are those that want to see everything even if you are sure they won't like it.  I don't preview for them until they get more serious.  Nice post.

Dec 12, 2011 02:33 AM
Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

With my rural market covering more than 1500sq miles - previewing is not always feasible.  However, I always come prepared, with a well thought out route (including stops for food) and full details on each property.

Dec 12, 2011 02:51 AM
Martin Kalisker
Greater Boston Association of REALTORS - Boston, MA
Professional Standards & Legal Assistant

Better yet, the listing agent should accompany all showings to not only ensure that a consistent message on behalf of the seller is being conveyed, but to also educate both buyers agent and prospective buyers.

Dec 12, 2011 03:17 AM
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

Jim, I don't know about you, but my experience with new buyers who demand to see a property within the hour never buy that property.

Bill, you do have to take the cost of gasoline into consideration.  It's a balancing act.

Debora, we difinitely have to take the personalities of our prospects and clients into consideration when we decide how much detail to prepare in advance.

Jeanne, we all have to make our own decisions based on our areas and markets.

Synergy - I'm not sure I like the idea of the listing agent being along in most cases.  They tend to inhibit conversation between buyer and BA.  However, in some cases where the property is unique or complex, it's nice to have the LA as a guide.

Dec 12, 2011 05:15 AM
Bruce & Sandy Soli
Sierra Sotheby's International Realty - Incline Village, NV
Tahoe Lifestyle Experts

When practical it totally makes sense.  We are in a second home market and if a hot property hits the market that is an exceptional value then by all means, preview it within a day of when it lists, because most of our buyers are out of town and if they want a chance to buy they may need to write sight unseen. (This only works with clients who you've toured with previously.)  We will preview with video for these serious clients and make them come up before the inspections happen.  In regards to previewing specific homes for a first outing with clients, it is not time well spent because they are just learning the market and you must educate them on the area, the market and the liefstyle of second home ownership.  Often times the direction they request changes in that outing.  Having a good sense of the market is an everyday job and not one you do just for showing property.  You must be prepared to educate clients on every occaision whether it is on the phone or in person.  If a property is a dog and a propsective client calls about that one, tell them it's a dog and why it's a dog.  If they call about a hot property be bold and ask them how soon they will be coming up to look at homes and if it's a few weeks out, tell them that they will miss this one and that you'll be happy to share the sold statistics about that home when it sells.  Be honest and relevant.  Be the expert!

Dec 12, 2011 05:40 AM
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

Bruce & Sandy, well stated.  My area of Lancaster County PA is probably a medium area when it comes to "hotness" these days - neither a depressed market nor a boom market.  In a hot market, buyers and agents may have to move quickly without taking extra steps.

Dec 12, 2011 06:08 AM
Rocky Dole
Revelation Real Estate - Maricopa, AZ

It is definitely a plus if you are able to view properties.  However, it is very time consuming and depending on how far apart the homes are it can be very costly on fuel.

Dec 12, 2011 08:59 AM
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

Rocky, I totally agree on both the plusses and the minuses.

Dec 12, 2011 01:57 PM
Sylvie Stuart
Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765 - Flagstaff, AZ
Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta

Previewing homes is an important service for a Buyer's agent. I strongly agree, great post!

Dec 14, 2011 12:46 AM
Sheila Lawrence
Coldwell Banker, Sebastopol, CA - Sebastopol, CA
Love where you live!

Being "directionally challenged", it helps to preview, plus I don't have to beat the bushes for the lockbox.  If it's a hot property though, best to not to let the moss grow under your feet.  

Dec 14, 2011 09:25 AM
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

Sylvie, thanks for stopping by!

Sheila, I agree on both your points.

Dec 14, 2011 10:52 PM
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL
GRI, ABR, SFR, CDPE, CIAS, PA

Brian, great points which I do about 50% of the time. Coordination is the key and the route is very important to save embarrassment. We have a great system which you may have as well where you can map your listings on one sheet. They are numbered and/or labeled for easy navigation.

Dec 20, 2011 02:42 PM
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

Winston, your program sounds handy.  I use a combination of GPS & GoogleMaps as necessary.

Dec 21, 2011 12:01 AM
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

Buyers often wonder why I can't just "pick them up on the strip in an hour" without any warning.  I carefully plan and research my showings so I don't work with unprepared buyers ever!

Dec 24, 2011 10:07 AM
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

Renee, that's a good way to describe them - "unprepared buyers" - with no consideration for the time and value of the agent they are calling without sufficient notice.

Dec 25, 2011 02:26 AM
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

There is no way to do that on most properties here, nor a reason too - especially since we have so many distressed properties that get a bunch of offers at once.  It's better to get to the house quickly for a better chance to get into it.  Many of my buyers drive by the house first to decide if they like it.  But my market area is not large enough that I am unfamiliar with areas.  -Kasey

Jan 10, 2012 04:53 PM
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

Kasey & John, as we know, all real estate is local.  There is no solution that fits all markets.

Jan 10, 2012 11:57 PM
Dale Taylor
Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois - Frankfort, IL
Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos

good advice

Jan 14, 2012 05:07 PM
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL
www.professionalinvestorsguild.com

It's certainly a great idea to preview homes before showings, but it's unrealistic for most top producing agents unless they specialize in luxury homes.  I'm a very busy agent, and barely have time to squeeze in everything else I need to do, much less looking at every home BEFORE I show it to the buyer.  It's also unnecessary in most cases in the lower end (under $200k) as every house is almost identical.  After 10 years of showing houses, when they ask me what is behind "this door" I always know based on the location in the house...broom closet, half bath, linen closet, laundry room, etc.

If it's over $500k or so, I will usually try and preview.  Otherwise, it's just too time consuming, and usually not necessary.  If a buyer's agent is so inept that they would lose a buyer over needing to look around for the lockbox on a water spiggot or fence post, they need to work on their people skills a little bit.

Jul 11, 2012 02:46 AM
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

Matt, apparently you are fortunate to be a busy agent in a market above $200k homes.  Your point is well taken.   However, I happen to have been in this business for 30 years and my people skills are just fine.  In the lower priced older homes in my area (below $100k) it's not only a question of finding lockboxes - you can't always count on ancient locks to function as they should.

Nonetheless, I never said all agents need to previow homes.  I said there are advantages to doing so.

Jul 11, 2012 04:10 AM