Here’s what you need to know about showings and how they affect your home sale:
I was working with an out-of-state buyer recently; we’ll call her Florence. Florence was sharing with me her frustrations about her New Jersey listing agent. She was upset because she felt that the agent should be the one to personally bring buyers to see her house, but that wasn’t happening. Instead there was a constant stream of strangers in her home, escorted by strange realtors, and it was making her anxious.
I do understand Florence’s frustration and anxiety. Having your home on the market is disruptive to your daily routines. And in Florence’s case, she had decided that she didn’t want to leave the property during showings. (I wrote another post recently explaining how and why this can negatively affect your sale) Because she didn’t understand how the system really worked, she eventually insisted that only buyers working with her agent view the home. It never sold that season and she eventually removed it from the market. When she re-listed with the agent I recommended, marketed as I’ve outlined below, it sold very quickly the next season.
What you need to know:
Your Marketing Manager
First, I think it is helpful if you think of your Listing Agent as the Marketing Manager of your home sale, rather than the Showing Agent. Marketing isn’t the agent’s only job, but considering how showings happen, it is a good description for that portion of their responsibilities. Imagine that the Marketing Manager’s/Listing Agent’s job is to entice buyers to your property rather than to lead them there by the hand.
Does that make sense? Okay, now we’ll address the logistics of how showings happen.
Once your property has been listed in the MLS and your agent has completed all the pre-marketing work, s/he will then list the property in Centralized Showing Service or CSS. CSS is both a database and a switchboard. The database stores all the information pertinent to showing the home, including guidelines such as black-out times and dates that the seller doesn’t want the home to be shown, lockbox codes, instructions regarding pets, etc. The only people who can be members of CSS are Realtors, Appraisers and Inspectors who have submitted to a criminal background check and taken the appropriate licensure classes.
Not only is membership in CSS limited to licensed and verified people, but those people can only gain the showing code if they have scheduled an appointment through the switchboard either over the phone or online. That way, CSS knows every person who has been in your home. With the new digital lockboxes, security has gotten even tighter and we digital record of who accessed the lockbox on your home and what time they were there.
Through this system, the Listing Agent and the Buyer’s Agents work together to bring the highest number of qualified buyers to view your home. A buyer’s agent usually can only comfortably handle about 6 buyer clients at one time. If your Listing Agent does also happen to be working with buyers (almost all agents do both listings and buyers), the odds of any of those 6 buyers looking for a home like yours is slim, but it does happen sometimes.
So if the listing agent doesn’t bring a buyer from her personal buyer clients, how will they get buyers to view it?
- Marketing to Unrepresented Buyers – The most common way that Listing Agents bring buyers to your home is when they market your home and receive calls about your home from unrepresented buyers. These buyers might find the property online on websites where your property is marketed, from Facebook ads sending buyers to your personal property website or simply from driving by the property and calling the number on the sign.
[A Word About Dual Agency . . .When an agent brings a buyer to your property and decides to represent both parties, the buyer and the seller, they are acting as a dual agent. Because of the laws that govern agents acting as a dual agent, your listing agent (whom you contracted to sell your home) will not be allowed to help you (the seller) get the best deal during any part of the transaction, including price negotiations and repair negotiations. Any information that s/he shares with you, she must also share with the buyer. In essence, the dual agent acts as a facilitator rather than a consultant. Because I don’t believe this is in the best interest of either party, I don’t normally engage in dual agency in my real estate practice. If I bring a buyer and they wish to make an offer, I will refer them to a Buyer’s Agent to submit and negotiate the offer.]
- Marketing to Buyers Agents – The best use of the Listing Agent’s time is not to attempt to personally bring buyers for your home. The best use of the Listing Agent’s time is to use marketing to inform everyone in her Buyer’s Agent network that your home is available. Using the relationships she has established with hundreds of agents, each of whom have buyer clients, your home’s availability becomes widely known.
But won’t the Buyer’s Agent just see it in the MLS?
Yes, and no. Many Buyer’s Agents and buyers do see properties first in the MLS, but surprisingly, only about 60% of buyers for your home will find it in the MLS. There are many reasons for this:
- Sometimes your home is the perfect fit, but it wasn’t in exactly the area the buyer was primarily interested. So, it didn’t show up on the automated search the agent had set up for the buyer. The buyer’s agent becomes aware of it when the listing agent communicates it to her. She thinks her buyer might be willing to go a little outside her range (in price or location) to get the perfect house, and they come to view the property.
- Sometimes buyers and agents are simply so busy with life that they miss certain listings as they come up because they weren’t paying attention.
- Sometimes a buyer has given up looking. Because the perfect house never came up, they never bought a house. Their agent sees this one and knows it absolutely is perfect for that buyer and brings them for a showing.
All the marketing your agent does outside of the MLS, increases the number showings, thereby increasing competition and making an offer or offers much more likely.
Would you like to schedule a free consultation to discuss your particular situation? Call (919) 725-1885 to schedule an appointment and we’ll be glad to help you with anything you need!