Saturday, January 27, 2007

Stick to business when conducting real estate showings

I had an unproductive real estate showing today, and my first draft of this post came off more like a rant than anything useful to our readers. Here's the second try with some helpful hints to keep you focused on the business at hand - namely: finding a new home for yourself (if you're the buyer) or your client (if you're an agent.)

Earlier today, Saturday, I met a broker who brought her client with to view our loft in St. Ben's. In tow, she brought her real estate partner/husband, and their 3 year old toddler.

I just can't imagine what these agents were thinking - I don't think anything was accomplished with this client today. When showing real estate to clients, an agent's objective should be to:

  • Present the features and amenities of the property you are viewing.
  • Afterwards, determine whether the property meets the needs of the buyer.
  • If at first pass, the property does meet the client's needs, try to establish a ranking of preference of the acceptable properties.
  • At the end of the discussion and ranking, see if the client would like to move forward by writing a contract offer on the highest ranked property.

For each of the points listed above, the client and the brokers were distracted:

  • I was interrupted frequently by the toddler during my presentation of the property as he wanted to press the buttons in the elevator, play with all the light switches in the home and run around in the home.
  • As the brokers were in their family minivan, the client followed in her own car. Time spent in the car right after a showing is invaluable to gauge a client's level of interest and focus him or her on prioritizing what they just saw.
  • Struggling with the car seat and keeping track of lost hat & gloves pushed the brokers further and further behind schedule. It was clear everyone was distracted and anxious.
  • Without coming across too much like a "salesman," the time in the car at the end of a tour is the perfect opportunity to question the buyer as to whether they might be ready to put an offer together on a property. Since the agents and the buyer were in separate cars, the buyer simply shook hands with the agents, promised to call later, and went off on her own. This was a huge missed opportunity.

If the buyer's objective was to tour some nice properties, but isn't in the market, then they accomplished their goal today. The problem here is that no consideration was given to the listing agents who also had to accompany these appointments.

My goal is quite clear: I am showing property today in order to sell it to someone.

Buyers, it's perfectly reasonable to let your agent know if he or she is not productively using your time if you're actively in the market for a new home. Agents, don't let opportunities to move your clients along the decision-making process go by, and show consideration for your fellow agents out in the field.