For the better part of my career I have used a third party showing service to schedule showings on my listings.
The pro's of the service are creating an easy seamless way for agents to easily schedule showings and for home owners to easily confirm showings. A showing can be confirmed as easily as texting Y to the texted request. It's fast, it's simple and helps secure showings.
Scheduling Accompanied Showings Can Be A Problem
I recently brought around a new client, that had traveled some distance to view homes for two days. We had identified 13 properties to view over two days.
Out of the thirteen showings, 5 were accompanied by the listing agent, the other 8 were handled by the ShowingTime. I mapped everything out in ShowingTime and requested showings for 8 properties by the puch of a button. Immediately 5 of the 8 were scheduled and within 4 hours all 8 sheduled thru showing time were scheduled.
I then proceeded to call the 5 agents accompanying their showings. I left meassages for four of them, got in touch with the 5th. The fifth one could not accommodate either request on either day.
So we skipped that one.
Over the next 48 hours with multiple phone calls, emails and text I finally reached all but one agent and was only successful in securing one out of five accompanied appointments. All the others could not accommodate my request to show.
Scheduling the accompanied showing took a massive amount of time as opposed to ShowingTime, where in most cases they almost scheduled themselves.
Multiple phone calls, emails and text before some of the agents even responded. Add trying to accommodate your agents schedule and you will have missed showings.
This begs some questions, is your listing agent calling you and saying a buyer called wanting to see your home but I couldn't accommodate them? How many other showings have they missed? Or in the case of one agent.... I couldn't be bothered to respond to a request to view your home.
Alternately, ShowingTime is transparent. You will know about every inquiry, showing or even missed showing.
Why are you requesting accompanied showings? or is your agent suggesting accompanied showings?
While there is a time and place for accompanied showings it is rare.
I can find a basement, I know what a walk in closet looks like, I can find the kitchen, I even know what stainless steel looks like, etc... but more importantly I know my clients and I know how to show a house in a way that caters to their specific needs. If there is special information about your home it can be pointed out in marketing materials or in a phone call by your agent. And, if a question arises, believe me I'll call your listing agent. I want to find my clients a home sooner rather than later and it might as well be yours.
The important thing is to get buyer's into your home. A saleable home stands on it's own merits and your listing agent isn't going to "sell" your home to my clients.
In the scenario layed out above my client missed 4 possible homes. They had a limited schedule to view homes and the listing agents couldn't accommodate them. My requests were not crazy either they were for roughly around noon time on a Thursday or Wednesday.
Showings = Offers
This begs some questions, is your listing agent calling you and saying a buyer called wanting to see your home but I couldn't accommodate them? How many other showings have they missed?
My Clients Aren't Comfortable With Your Agent
The one accompanied showing we did have was awkward. The listing agent wanted to control the showing and felt they needed to open every door saying this is the pantry.... duh!! The listing agent also proceeded to ask personal questions of my clients that were not pertinent to the showing. All my clients wanted to do was get out of there!!
First words out their mouth was "that was awkward!"
Secondly, we did not have time to discuss the home as we viewed it together. As their buyer's agent, I know what areas of the home are most important to them. And because we couldn't speak we were not able to discuss the rooms as we went thru them. The listing agent had her agenda which did not match ours.
My clients just rushed thru your home not paying full attention and were put off by the listing agent. Not a great lasting impression.
Accompanied Showings Can Hurt The Sale Of Your Home
- Scheduling- Scheduling accompanied showings can be a challenge in some cases. A good agent can't pick up every phone call as they come in. Not all agents respond immediately to requests causing buyers and agents to give up seeing a home. Lastly, your agent needs to be available to meet the request.
- Ease of Showing- As an agent I don't want to have to chase down showing appointments. If I have plenty of homes to show and I know your agent doesn't get back in a timely manner, I will skip it or not make it a priority to show.
- Buyers may have limited time. You must realize everyone has different schedules. I have clients who works nights, I have clients coming in to see homes from far away, I have clients who can onl see homes on weekends, etc... they all should be accommodated.
- Accompanied showing adds an additional person that buyers may not be comfortable with. Most of my clients I have built a relationship with. I understand their needs after multiple conversations. I have earned their trust. We walk thru a home taking our time discussing the merits of each room and how it suits their needs. A chatty third person controlling the showing hinders us from doing showings in a manner my buyers are used to. Often buyers walk away feeling uncomfortable during an accompannied showing and will comment that it made them uncomfortable. Do you want them to remember how great your house was or how uncomfortable they felt?
So why do you are your agent want accompanied showings?
You need to ask yourself why you or your agent is requiring accompannied showings?
Do you feel your agent must "sell" the house? Well it could very well backfire as a matter of fact it can be a turn off. As I stated before a home will stand on it's own merits. Have you ever gone to a car dealership and have that hovering salesperson pester you? That's how buyers feel many times when a listing agent accompanies home showings. Let the buyer view your home and at their pace and liesure. Allow them to take ownership on their terms.
I hate to tell you this but your house isn't so special we can't figure it out in most cases. I there are some special features that may not be obvious there are other ways to handle it. A quick phone call from the listing agent or an agent cheat sheet highlighting a homes features emailed prior to the showing can point out those features to the showing agent.
Is security a factor? Well you should discuss with your agent how to best secure your homes for showings. Valuables should be removed prior to listing your home. A buyer's agent showing your home will generally know who they have been working with and keep an eye on your home as well.
Before you or your agent insist on accompanied showings, realize accompanied showing can hurt the sale of your home. You want to get a buyer into your home while they are interested and excited. One missed showing they may come back, tow missed showings they are most likely gone.
What Are The Alternatives To Accompanied Showings?
Most showings occur in my area with a lockbox being secured to the home and the code given only to licensed real estate agents to access your home for showings. This eliminates the need to have to accommodate another person's schedule.
Not only are most showings done with a lock box, many agents use a third party scheduling service to expedite and manage the showings of your home. It makes it quick and simple for both the showing agent and the home seller.
Still insist on accompanied showings? Maybe allow your agent to put a lockbox on for those times they cannot make a showing. All it takes is one buyer to get your house sold. Maybe that one buyer you turned away was the buyer for your home!
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This article was written by Kevin Vitali a Massachusetts Real Estate Agent covering Essex and Northern Middlesex Counties.