Today, I participated in an old fashioned "caravan" where a group of agents travel from one listing to another and "preview" the properties at a fast clip. For example, within 2 hours this morning, I saw 10 listings. Most of them are new on the market, so it is a very efficient way to show them to a large number of agents for their potential buyers.
For example, there were 3 listings that I would probably not have recommended to my clients but after seeing them this morning, I can. In fact, I can tell my buyers what I liked about it and why they should go view it.
Previewing is not so much in favor in this market where listings sell pretty quickly. Agents tend to go over the photos and information that is on the MLS and base their decision whether to see them or not on what they see. That's too bad, because many homes don't "translate" well by just these means.
These caravans have fallen by the wayside in larger communities with hundreds of agents where now "brokers open" is the norm. This works, for example, in Honolulu where there are many different areas with high rises. These condos have stringent rules as to when and how condominiums can be shown; most of them need to have the listing agent buzz the potential buyer and his agent in and actually guide them to the condo for sale. Plus, lock boxes are not the norm with luxury condos, so the listing agent will actually take the buyer and his agent inside and give the tour of the premises.
These broker's opens are very well orchestrated with different days of the week going to the different buildings. Then, to attract other brokers or agents to attend, some pretty good food needs to be part of the offering. Because of the expense, many listing agents co-sponsor this event with their favorite escrow officer or lender. Meeting the escrow officer is actually a very good idea because in Honolulu it is common that the seller dictates which title company and escrow officer needs to be used.
BUT BACK TO THE CARAVAN AND THIS NIFTY IDEA THAT I FOUND OUT ABOUT THIS MORNING:
First let me mention that during the "preview" a form is normally given out to agents asking for their "feedback". This includes what they think the listing price should be! This price can be all over the lot based on some whim of the agent.
This particular seller came up with a great idea to make them really THINK about it:
On your agent's business card, put down what you think the property will sell for!
The agent who comes closest to that closing price will get a $100 gift certificate to a vendor of their choice. I think they even mentioned giving one to their broker, which would make this a legal payment.
Let me tell you, all of a sudden every agent in the room looked a lot more closely at the listing!!
What do you think?