I recently spent a few days with clients being transferred to San Diego. They had never been to San Diego so we toured several areas and homes that seemed to fit their needs. My clients were here for a very short period of time, just a few days, and had limited time available to view homes each day.
I never expected to experience such difficulty in showing homes. Only two of the homes I showed had a seller’s phone number available for scheduling appointments. The others required an appointment made through the listing agent or their assistants. I have no problem with calling the listing agent for an appointment. What I do mind is the lack of cooperation we experienced for about half of the appointments.
When I show six to eight homes in a day, during a specific time period (usually two to four hours), I provide the seller, or their agent, an hour window of time when we expect to be there. I always call if we are running early or late, but that window usually works out. Being told that I need to “narrow it to a 15-minute time period” so the listing agent can meet us is an impossibility. Being told that “1 pm doesn’t work, can you be there at 5 pm” doesn’t either. So, there were several homes we were not able to view, and my clients are well-qualified and motivated.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a listing agent also. I know what it is like to have agents who have made appointments to view a home and then they do not show up; I have received those phone calls from irate clients. I have had clients who had a situation that prevented the use of a lock box – an elderly client, an illness, when children are at home alone after school, a newborn, and other extenuating circumstances. But, the number of instances I encountered this past week makes me wonder if the industry is creating an illusion for sellers. That we, as the listing agent, need to be present at all showings; that we are somehow “protecting” them.
The new lock boxes actually track who has been in a home, the date and time. By making a home difficult to show it significantly reduces the number of buyers who can see your home. One of the buyers who can’t view your home may be the perfect buyer, but you will never know it. And, while we are experiencing a “Seller’s Market” in most areas of San Diego County, there were plenty of homes to view this last week, even though we were unable to view many.
Is this trend actually preventing buyers from being able to view the homes? We all know that we want as many buyers as possible through a home. It will bring the best price and best buyer. Making a home difficult to show is like opening a new store in town and then have it open only an hour a day, and not at a time when most customers will be able to visit.
I recently sold a home in an area in which I was showing homes this past week. We had multiple offers within a week and sold the property for the full list price, much to the amazement of the “area expert”. The home was priced well, but I wonder if the fact that it was on lock box and I had a very cooperative seller who let the home be shown at the convenience of the buyers and their agents made the difference?
Should we do a better job of educating our sellers about the importance of having their homes shown? Are we playing into our own egos when placing ourselves at every showing appointment?
And, don’t get me started on only being able to communicate with a listing agent via texting….