Buyers have been calling me right and left to view homes in Carmel Valley and I try to accommodate them even on short notice.
Yesterday was one of those days. I was meeting a buyer at a home listed by someone else, it was empty, so we could go in any time. Which was good because I was meeting another buyer deeper in the valley and they got stuck in traffic at Highway 1. You see, the Big Sur Marathon is happening today, Sunday, and thousands of people come for the weekend clogging up streets. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and that brings many additional people to the coast. All those and our normal visitors and residents. You get the picture.
So for this first showing of a house also listed by someone else, I was meeting the buyer during an "open house". As it turned out, because of the delays, we ended up having the home to ourselves. Lucky for us, the sellers showed up to "reclaim" their house after the open house, and answered a lot of my clients questions.
But all the while I sneaked peeks at my phone to check on the time because of my other viewing. I am nothing but mindful of others' time. On the other hand, I absolutely did not want to rush this showing. The buyers loved the property!
After we left, I texted buyer #2 that I was on my way, all the while rethinking future scheduling of more than one buyer in an afternoon. But the market is hot right now, listing agents are holding open houses, and I want to be with my clients whenever possible when they view the homes.
So how do other agents handle it?
Well, I found out with buyer #2. They came down from San Francisco, viewing homes all along the Monterey Bay area. When they stopped off in Santa Cruz, they came across an agent who gave them a bunch of business cards and advised them to show one to me (and others along the way, I presume), and to tell me "WE HAVE AN AGENT". This agent is part of a franchise that also has an office on Monterey County - for what that is worth.
How did this unfold?
Having gone from "no agent" that morning when they called me for a last minute viewing of a home, to "we have an agent" standing in the home I was showing them, put me in a quandary of "ethics" we REALTORS live by. And which I explained to them.
First and foremost, I did not answer any questions about the property that was not on the MLS. For example, I did not answer any questions about the development or what the HOA "pet policies" were. In fact, it became somewhat awkward, but I had to explain that for "liability" purposes I could not treat them as I would a client.
But it was a learning experience for me and I am still thinking about how I would handle this in the future. And, although I let the buyers walk around the property on their own this time, I am not sure I would do this in the future. Or would I? This is one that I am going to check out with my insurance company as well as my lawyer.
It is pretty common in our business to give cards to OUR CLIENTS if they are going to "open houses" on their own. But not to call buyers agents for viewings and pull out that card.
Yes, in many areas you, the agent, meets the clients first, talk about their criteria, etc.
But in our market, buyers come for weekends and are looking around on their own quite a bit. We have "open houses" galore. Buyers might take a chance to see those, but how about buyers who have done research and want to see specific homes? Those homes that do not have an "open house" the weekend they are there? These buyers, like this couple, often reach out to agents like me.
PS. Our market is upscale, you can hardly find anything between $500,000 and $1,000,000 so the question "are you pre approved for a loan" is not a question I would normally ask either. Although I do have a way of getting financial information out of them during our discussion before I will "open the door".
One thing I will continue to ask is "are you working with an agent" -- and I will probably reaffirm this just before opening the door for the showing!!