What's a 'reasonable' period of time?

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential

"You're approved to show my property" the listing agent responded.

"The sellers may be home, so ring the doorbell first...  wait five minutes... and then use the lockbox..."

"Wait", I asked "you want me to wait for FIVE minutes?"

"Yes, wait five minutes, and then use the lockbox."

"Seriously??  You want me to ring the doorbell, and stand outside for five minutes before using the lockbox to enter the house?!?"


"Five minutes is a very long time to be standing out front waiting to see if anyone is going to answer the door."

"Okay... well, give them a 'reasonable' period of time to answer the door."

"That I can do".

What's a reasonable period of time to wait for someone to come to the door after ringing the doorbell? Personally, I think a minute is plenty of time.


Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, 1710 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
847.425.3779      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email: Almay@aol.com

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



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Susie Kay
Ultima Real Estate - Plano, TX
North Dallas Specialist

Ring the doorbell and wait in your car that you park right in front of the house. 5 minutes under the Texas summer heat can burn your skin!

May 26, 2017 01:50 PM #1
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I walk up ring the door bell and then work on the lock box.  When open, I open the door and announce mysef and then go in.

May 26, 2017 02:01 PM #2
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad


Jeez, that's a new one. I would wait 30 - 45 seconds, and normally ring and/or knock a second time. Then I am heading in, yelling HELLO as I do.


May 26, 2017 02:04 PM #3
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Alan - It all depends on what's going on in there, doesn't it? Have a great weekend!

May 26, 2017 04:04 PM #4
Nina Hollander
RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Here's my response to showing instructions like this... thanks, but cancel the appointment request. To me this does not smack of motivated sellers, only those who need to be in control. Can you imagine what the contract period would be like?

May 26, 2017 04:07 PM #5
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I would have thought six minutes, or seven.  Unless it was raining. 

In the rain, gee, 13 minutes?  Yeah, that's it.


Actually, five minutes is impolite to say the least.  Ring twice, enter once.  Sort of like measure twice, cut once.  See how easy that is?

May 26, 2017 04:12 PM #6
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Holy Gads ... 5 minutes?  If they know you are coming a minute should be more than enough time. 

May 26, 2017 04:41 PM #7
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Some people would react quicker to someone in the house shouting hello than they might the doorbell

May 26, 2017 07:10 PM #8
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Alan. I agree that this is absurd. I never heard anything like this.

May 27, 2017 05:17 AM #9
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Alan- unless they live in a 10,000 square foot home, I'd imagine that if someone rings the doorbell, the resident should be able to respond in a minute, even if it's to shout out "just a minute!"

May 30, 2017 06:21 PM #10
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