Q: I am listing my house and I want to request that the listing agent be present for all showings. Is this a good idea?
A: It depends.
It is common for luxury listings priced over $1,000,000 to require the agent to accompany on all showings. This may be a bit more understandable because these properties can be expansive, and may require a bit more explanation about fancy appliances, hidden features of the home, etc. However, even if your home is a luxury listing and you want your agent present – I still highly recommend a backup plan of having a lockbox in case your listing agent cannot be present for any reason because you never want to miss a showing with a potential buyer due to scheduling conflicts.
For listings priced under $1,000,000, sometimes Sellers want their listing agent to be present for showings as well. Here’s why I feel, in general, that this is a bad idea.
First, it makes scheduling really hard for the Buyer’s agent and may cause you to miss a showing. You never, ever, want to miss a showing if you can help it. That buyer could be THE ONE!
Here’s an example. Let’s say I am the buyer’s agent and I have a buyer who is in town for 2 days only, moving down to Florida as part of a corporate relocation. We are on a tight schedule and have 25 homes to see in 2 days – that means I am showing ALL DAY. The homes run from Clearwater down to St. Pete Beach, and then even over to Tampa. If even one of these listings has an “agent accompany” rule, and the listing agent says “Sorry I can’t do 2pm but I can do 4pm” – I can’t backtrack! Sorry! We are going in a straight line from point A to point B, and we do not have time to double back to your listing. In that case, your home will not get shown if the listing agent’s schedule is inflexible or there’s no lockbox. That buyer might’ve bought your home, but now we’ll never know.
I hate to even mention this one but I happen to know there are agents out there who will just skip right over a listing if it is “agent accompany” – because they know it is going to be a pain in the rear end to coordinate times if they are showing a bunch in one day. Again, this is horrible for the seller because they miss a showing and it could’ve been THE ONE!
As hard as we try to stay on schedule when showing this many homes in a day – flexibility from the seller and listing agent is crucial. Some buyers want to stay longer in one house and really imagine themselves living there, and they might be out of others in 2 minutes if something turns them off or they know it’s not the one for them. If listing agents are allowed to use an electronic lockbox – it provides much more flexibility if we are running late or early. The buyer’s agent will call if they are running early or late, but this way the listing agent doesn’t have to be there and mess up their schedule if we are running behind.
I realize many sellers are fearful something may go wrong or missing and that is why they want their agent present. Something they should realize though is that all agents in Florida have had the same criminal background check and are fingerprinted. With the security of an electronic lockbox, your home really is about as secure as it can be. Today’s electronic lockboxes are pretty neat. Your agent can program your lockbox with what is called a CBS code. That stands for Call Before Showing. This way no one can just come up to your lockbox and open it without calling and scheduling an appointment first. These lockboxes also can tell your listing agent when the lockbox was opened, when the buyer’s agent and buyers left the home, how long they were there. Here’s an example from one of my listings. As you can see, some people were in the house longer than others.
A home purchase isn’t just a financial purchase. It’s an emotional purchase and the buyer needs to be able to connect with your home and be able to envision themselves and their family in the house. They need to be able to sit down on your couch, and look out the picture window at the waterfront and think… “Yes, I could picture myself living here – I’ll be fishing right out on that dock!” But it’s hard to do that when listing agent is hanging over them, trying to give them a hard sell on the home. Then the buyer doesn’t feel comfortable to open drawers and closets and will often feel constrained by the listing agent’s presence.
Most buyers walk in to a home with a checklist of their wants and needs and know what they are looking for and the listing agent talking may actually turn them off. They will know by walking through it if its for them. Sometimes I notice buyers will spend 20 or 30 minutes in a home if no listing agent there, checking things out and getting comfortable. But they will spend only 5 minutes if a listing agent is trying to sell them on features that aren’t even important to them, and then they walk out and say “I feel like I didn’t really get to see the house…” because they were focused on what the listing agent was saying versus their own checklist.
Finally – your listing agent has better things to be doing. It’s not that they don’t want to show your home – but they are busy doing the marketing on your home! No – them saying “Check out these formica countertops” isn’t going to sell it any faster. If the buyer likes it, they like it. No amount of hard selling or “here’s the kitchen, here’s the living room” is going to work. We always point out features of the home in the listing, so that they don’t miss anything when they are there. What your listing agent should be doing is sitting at their office sending out mailers about your home, making calls to their buyer database about it, perhaps preparing an e-blast to other agents about the home, doing a Sponsored Facebook ad or planning your next open house. The less time your listing agent has in the office to focus on the marketing of your home – which is what you hired them for right? – the less likely it will actually sell.
If you really want the best exposure for your home – have your agent install a Supra electronic lockbox with CBS code. Your agent and the buyer’s agents out there will thank you.