Agent

Should listing agents be present for all showings?

They can alienate buyers and agents during home tours, but they can also highlight a property's strengths

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If Marcy Spieker is asked by a seller client to be present for every showing, she’s knows what she’ll say.

“Due to our standards of practice here, that would not be in your best interest,” she said she’ll tell a client, during a discussion on the matter in the real estate Facebook group Lead Gen Scripts and Objections. “It could hamper showings, and you do want the most showings possible, don’t you?”

But not all agents share that view.

Some believe they’re obligated to attend showings, the Facebook conversation revealed. And not everyone who agrees that agents shouldn’t be present for every showing offers their clients the same reasons for why that is.

‘That’s part of what you pay me for’

Kyle Chang says that part of a listing agent’s duty is to attend showings, and that it’s par for the course in his market.

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“You’re right, that’s part of what you’re paying me for,” he tells clients who ask for him to be around for showings. “It’s no problem.”

Turning up for showings is also standard practice in Anne Meczywor’s market, where she says there are no “cookie-cutter developments” and many homes have custom touches.

“It’s great to be able to address and dismiss objections and concerns on the spot, especially when the buyer’s agent may be wet behind the ears,” she said.

Plus, she can can get a read on a buyer’s interest “or emphasize something that is of particular interest to them.”

Bobbie Onderdonk Callahan says she tells clients that one of her team members can give a brief tour and highlight major features for buyers.

After that, Callahan’s team member will “step back for the buyer’s agent to have their own time with their client.”

Deterrent to buyer’s agents, turnoff to buyers?

Other agents tell clients that being on hand during showings isn’t part of their job, and can backfire.

Mike Nielsen tells clients he’s willing to turn out for every showing, but only if they pay him a higher commission.

Many agents tell clients they shouldn’t be present for showings because it can diminish experience for a buyer or the buyer’s agent.

“Most of the time, buyers and buyer agents want the liberty of experiencing your home by themselves so they can talk freely,” Al Wagner tells clients who ask him to be on hand every time buyers pay a visit.

Some agents say listing agents can even scare away buyer’s agents if they’re present for a showing.

Joyce Cornell Papp adds that, “It robs buyer’s agents of the opportunity to ‘sell’ your home through conversation with the buyer while they’re in your house, considering purchasing it.”

Logistical challenges that would arise if a listing agent always had to attend a showing could also potentially cut down on the number of buyers who might tour a home.

“We don’t want to have to make a potential buyer have to wait for my schedule,” Liza Araujo tells clients.

Techniques for putting sellers at ease

Listing agents who aren’t keen on showing up for home tours can also use certain tools to partly compensate for their absence.

One option is to distribute a “self-guided home tour” that buyer’s agents can use to highlight all a home’s stand-out features, said Mark J. Schmidt.

Wagner asks clients if they’d rather have him prepare a card or flier “that the buyers can take with them outlining all the special intricacies of your home.”

If a client is worried about the security of their home, Araujo tells them she can implement a strict showing protocol that documents all agents who visit a home.

Different story with luxury homes?

Luxury homes can be a different animal, some said. Listing agents may need to attend all showings of an upscale home if it has a complicated security system.

Anne Meczywor noted, however, that plenty of modest homes have alarms, too.

“Should they get less service simply because of a price point?” she asked. “Sometimes those homes are exactly the ones that benefit from a little extra attention.”

Zachary McNamee, who started the discussion on Lead Gen Scripts and Objections, says the dialogue in the Facebook group has shown him how to handle a recent request from a seller client to turn up for every showing.

“When I meet with them I am going to explain to them how it can put an awkward taste in both the buyers’ and the buyer’s agent’s mouth,” he said. “We want the buyers to feel comfortable in the home so they fall in love with it rather than the awkwardness they could feel.”

He’ll also add that “in our market it is not a standard practice to do that.”

Email Teke Wiggin.