After the murder of the agent in Arkansas, this topic has been very prolific on our local board's email system. The following is what I suggest/believe is the best way to handle the situation.
If we would ALL stop ‘dropping everything’ and running to show a random person properties we would all be safer and have more time and money in our pockets.
I ask potential buyers if they are pre-approved and I hear “What’s that?” followed by “I have looked for the last 2 months with X agents and no one has asked me for that.” (Of course, this tells me they have no loyalty or are simply a looky-loo. This also tells me that, as professionals, we are doing a poor job explaining the process and the benefits to potential buyers of getting pre-approved.)
In the old days we pre-approved buyers ourselves (26+ years selling RE.) The buyer had to go to the mortgage office, fill out all the paperwork and sign everything. The process could take several days or much longer, since a meeting had to take place. The 'drop everything and run' mentality is a hold over from this era.
Today, a pre-qual (which is worthless IMO, but another topic entirely) can be done in 15 minutes and a pre-approval in much less than 24 hours.
We are professionals, but we don’t give that impression at times. If we make ourselves available at the 'drop of a hat' we are giving theimpression that we DON'T do anything, but sit around waiting for the phone to ring. Also, it shows a lack of respect/professionalism to a seller when we call to schedule an appointment in 15 minutes. (I am guilty of this one, too.)
Make a pre-approval a requirement before showing. It is so easy to do: Blame your broker, blame the seller, blame the listing agent. Say to the potential buyer, “It says in Realtor remarks that buyers must be pre-qualified before showing” or “It is company policy that buyers be pre-qualified before showing”.
If we all request/require pre-approvals it will eventually become the norm and be expected by buyers and sellers. We have to educate (train) the public and establish the way things are done.
If we don’t run every time the phone rings we are perceived as more professional and perception is more than half the battle. You can’t simply show up at the doctor’s office, lawyer’s office, mechanic, CPA, etc.
What does this have to do with safety? Simple. If it is no longer the norm to show unapproved (thus unknown) buyers homes we will all be safer. The calls of “I am sitting in front of 1234 Main St can I see it right now?” will stop.
We must act professional to be perceived as professional.
Simply my thoughts on the situation.