How to Avoid Showing Buyers an Endless Number of Homes

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Fine Properties

When was the last time you showed buyers what felt like an endless number of homes?  Showing property after property to indecisive buyers consumes a huge amount of time and energy.


The key to avoiding this nightmare scenario is helping buyers pinpoint exactly what they want before showing them homes.  Here’s a four-step process for doing just that.


Step #1: Set Expectations


Many buyers don’t understand the buying process.  They might feel they’re supposed to see as many homes as possible.  Or, they might not understand seeing tons of homes makes choosing one more difficult.


When you first meet with your buyers, set expectations about the buying process.  Explain how your job is to help them narrow their criteria so they don’t waste time viewing homes that won’t work for them.


Step #2: Ask What They Don’t Want


Buyers are often terrible at knowing what they want (especially first-timers).  But, they’re excellent at knowing what they don’t want.


After you’ve had the expectations conversation from step #1, ask your buyers what they don’t want in the neighborhood, home, lot, etc.  Take detailed notes and ask follow-up questions as necessary.


You’ll be surprised how much you learn about your buyers’ preferences when they tell you everything they don’t want.


Step #3: Review Listings With Them


Most agents send listings via email and never take the time to review those listings with the buyers either in-person or by phone.


Once you run your initial MLS search, schedule time with the buyers to talk through the listings.  Ask them the things they like and don’t like about what they see in the pictures, comments, and property details.


This step is critical because it either confirms or denies the information you gathered in step #2.  Only when buyers are looking at actual listings do you get the full picture of their preferences.


Step #4: Invest 5 Minutes


One of the reasons agents get stuck showing too many properties is they don’t invest five minutes to eyeball listings before scheduling showings.


In step #3, you reviewed the initial MLS search results with your buyers.  But, if you run a new search or set up an automated search, you might not have the chance to review the listings before your buyers receive them.


The problem is, no MLS search can capture every buyer preference.  And, few buyers look at all the details of a listing before deciding whether to see it.


That’s why you want to invest five minutes eyeballing each listing your buyers want to see before setting up the showing.  In many cases, homes that appear perfect for the buyers at first blush will end up rejected upon closer inspection of the details and remarks.


P.S. – If the four steps above seem like a lot of work, consider how much time they could save you.  A showing on a home that doesn’t meet your buyers’ criteria wastes at least an hour of your time and frustrates your buyers.


P.P.S. - We are a top team in the South East Valley as ranked by Top Agents Magazine and RealTrends. We are currently hiring. The ideal Realtor® candidate is serious, motivated, and has integrity and drive. Please call us today!

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Marte Cliff 07/24/2017 02:37 PM
  2. Dale Taylor 07/26/2017 09:02 PM
  3. Debbie Reynolds 08/25/2017 05:00 AM
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Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Good advice, in my market this is not a problem, because we do not have a lot of inventory to choose from... on the other hand when we deal with nice people we are willing to go out of our way like Dick Greenberg  said, I have a client turned out in the past five years he bought four properties through me, because I took my time and showed him properties he did not need to see but wanted to see...Endre

P.S.: Total value of the properties around $4 million....

Jul 25, 2017 07:02 PM #7
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

These days there aren't that many homes to show!!  However, you make good points.  I can usually tell by the online photos if my buyer will like th ehome or not. Too often we hear 'we are just curious about that one' and I cringe!

Jul 25, 2017 08:32 PM #8
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

I seem to average 5 showings per client.  However, I once worked in an office where an agent worked nearly a year showing homes to a buyer, before selling them one.  She normally didn't do that.  But, she was persistent and patient with this one!

Jul 26, 2017 02:17 AM #9
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I'm a potential buyer....looking and not finding "the one" as of yet. I don't want to waste anyone's time. My agent set up a notification of new listings for me and when I see something I may be interested in, my husband and I do a driveby. So many of the homes I thought were great from the listing photos turned out to be flops when we saw the neighborhood or the lack of space between homes, or the home's true condition, etc. 

I could have wasted my time, the sellers' time and my agents time by requesting a showing without doing those drive by views first.

Jul 26, 2017 04:42 AM #10
Thomas McCombs
Century 21 HomeStar - Akron, OH

In my market there are many houses to choose from, and buyers sometimes  buy something that did not meet their original - or subsequent --  specifications. 

If you are able to limit the homes you show them, without risking the loss of those buyers, you have an effective system. I myself am always working toward perfecting such a system, but I'm not there yet. 



Jul 26, 2017 04:42 AM #11
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Gina - with our extreme shortage of inventory, it's rare that I show more than 1 home at any given time. I'll often preview homes on broker tour to eliminate any that don't warrant an appointment to show; yesterday I had only 2 homes to look at for one of my buyers; neither will work.

Jul 26, 2017 07:09 AM #12
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Great list of tips to cut down on the number of homes to show.

I really like the "ask what they do not want".

I like to get them into the office and talk areas of interest and show a few of those on the big screen. We often eliminate whole areas when they see what they get for their price point.

Asking questions is key to helping buyers focus.

Thanks for sharing.

Jul 26, 2017 02:48 PM #13
Dale Taylor
Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois - Frankfort, IL
Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos

Like your message so much I am reblogging with an important spin you might find fastening.

Jul 26, 2017 08:56 PM #14
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Great advice.  It took me a long time to learn to drill down to the keys!

Jul 27, 2017 05:06 AM #15
Anna Hatridge
Goodson Realty - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with Goodson Realty

I found having them hand write a list of what is a need , what is a want, and what is a deal breaker works well.  They tend to get very focused then.  

Jul 27, 2017 07:13 AM #16
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Gina,

Possibly, I show more homes than necessary, but I like for buyers to see for themselves, so they can make an informed decision. I see houses every day & know the neighborhoods pretty well, but for each buyer, it is a brand-new process. I try to pick examples that show a story & lead to the neighborhood that I believe, they would enjoy most. Occasionally, people buy a home, I would never have expected them to, but they know, it was the best one available for their needs at the time they were looking.

Jul 27, 2017 10:58 AM #17
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

Never thought of step two but that's a great suggestion. I need to add that one. I do all the rest. Reviewing the listings that buyers are interested in is so important. There may be private notes in Realtor remarks that makes a particular home not suitable for the buyer. Great post. 

Jul 28, 2017 10:27 PM #18
Ben DeHaven
Haven Realty & Investments - Winter Haven, FL
Proudly serving Winter Haven & Lakeland, Florida

Great pointers. When I first started I think I showed one guy ~30 homes only to find out he couldnt qualify. Ouch!

Aug 24, 2017 07:40 AM #19
Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Atlanta, GA

We must find ways to target and reduce buyer showings. Showing the same buyer home after home gets to be a drag and brings everyone down.

Aug 24, 2017 08:13 AM #20
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal

I find it easier just to show them everything they want.  If they only see the best ones, then they are thinking that there might be another one out there that is better.  Also, if there is one home that they didn't see but they think it has possibilities, that one will sometimes hold them back from really trying their best to make an offer work.  They imagine that they have a good plan B when they actually might not.

If they only see five homes, the chances of buyer's remorse goes up.  If they see 20 homes, they are more appreciative of what a great home that they found.  They know first hand the condition of the other alternatives.

Aug 24, 2017 11:17 AM #21
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I do all those things Gina and make sure they know we are a team working together on finding a home. My goal is for them to get a home they want and love.

Aug 24, 2017 06:14 PM #22
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Gina. This is soooo good, wise and on the money. Well done. Have a great day.

Aug 25, 2017 07:00 AM #23
Shahar Hillel
Augusta Financial Inc. - Stevenson Ranch, CA
Mortgage Consultant, Loan Officer.

Gina hello.

Great post.

Thank you.


Aug 25, 2017 09:59 AM #24
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Gina

Love this post!! It's an issue that comes up from time to time, although in recent years with the low inventory there just isn't that much to see. These are some key matters to deal with for all buyers!


Aug 25, 2017 10:28 PM #25
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Smart post - glad I saved it to come back to read.     What people really don't want is just as valuable as what they say they want!

Sep 11, 2017 11:28 AM #26
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