Nov 4, 2010

Agent To Meet

... these are the words that a buyer's agent hates to hear. It means the seller's agent for a property must meet all showings. What it really means is that we often skip a very nice property because the hassle with scheduling showings around your and your agent's convenience.

Like most Realtors in Dallas, I use a showing service to book the homes I want to see in a day. The service contacts the sellers and confirms my appointments. But when a property is 'agent to meet', I must call each agent, often wait for their return call, ask for the appointment (working around their schedule), wait for the agent to call the seller, and then hope the agent confirms the appointment.

Here is the typical 'agent to meet' scenario:
  • I'm showing my highly motivated and qualified buyer 9 properties. I've narrowed it down to 12 homes that would be a good fit for this client.
  • Six of the 12 ideal homes are 'agent to meet'. So I scratch 3 of those due to the hassle factor. We'll be seeing 6 homes on keybox and also 3 homes that are scattered across our map and are 'agent to meet'.
  • I set up appointments going from east to west or north to south - whatever makes sense. Each 'window' of time is 1 hour to allow for flexibility. I typically plan 30 minutes per showing to allow enough time to see the property and drive the short distance between homes. For example, we start at home #1 at 12 noon. Our appointment for home #2 is 12:30 to 1:30. For home #3, we are scheduled from 1:00 to 2:00.
  • In my experience, I know that some homes will take 10 minutes to see and others will take 45 minutes. If the buyer likes the house, we want to allow them enough time to really check it out. Many sellers request that the 'window' of time for our appointment not exceed 1 hour.
  • Houses #1, #5 and #7 are agent to meet, and it takes ten times as long to make appointments because I have to go back and forth with the agents and their replies to set up the appointments. Every agent/homeowner has their own set of criteria such as "no showings before 10:00" or "4 hour notice required".
  • Then just when I've got the schedule all set, agent for house #1 calls to say he needs to meet us 30 minutes earlier. Agent for house #5 calls two hours before the showing to say she's had an emergency and needs to meet us an hour later. Agent for house #7 never called me back, so I don't know if we can get in or not. And of course, each agent wants to know exactly what time we'll be at their listing. They are not about to wait around 30 or 45 minutes.
This scene is not at all unusual in Dallas - which is why buyer agents are often more likely to take their clients to homes with a keybox entry and listed with a showing service. I won't even go into some of the many reasons that buyer clients don't like the seller's agent present for the showing.

The reason homes are usually listed with the agent to meet the showings is at the insistence of the sellers. Unless your property is listed for over $2 million, there is no reason to put this restriction on the showings. I think the reason most sellers want it is because they are either afraid someone will steal their stuff or because they want their agent to point out the features of the property. Neither is a valid reason. Nothing you own is worth losing my license and if the features matter to us, we'll see them.

If you want to sell your home, do yourself a favor and do not insist that your agent meet the showings. In this buyer's market, you want to make it easy for buyers to view your property. If you make it difficult to see, they'll skip your property and move on to the next home.  [where: 75230]