What Is The Best Home Showing Tip Our Agent Forgot?

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Question: What is The Best Home Showing Tip Our Agent Forgot?

A reader says: "We have a lousy agent, and I'd like to fire the agent, but she and my wife are on the same bowling team. We put our home up for sale 2 weeks ago, and we haven't heard a word from our agent. When I call to see what's going on, she acts like I am interrupting whatever she is doing. She says when she has something to report, she will let me know. I know agents have been showing our house because I come home and find cards on the dining room table. Is this normal? My wife says our agent's memory is hazy and to ask you: What is the best home showing tip our agent forgot?"

Answer: There is a secret home showing tip that agents often employ early on in their careers and then, for some odd reason, they forget about it. So your wife is right on target. You should buy her something nice, give her a foot massage or take her out to dinner. Your agent, on the other hand, might benefit from more explicit direction from you.

I am betting if you told your agent exactly what you wanted, when you wanted it and how you wanted the news delivered, she would do her best to comply. Sometimes, agents get caught up in their own way of doing business and temporarily space out the fact that future business depends on making existing clients happy.

It also sounds like you have a lockbox on your home because you mention that agents are leaving business cards on your dining room table. Most modern lockboxes are read electronically via a gizmo / gadget. In California and other parts of the country, we use SUPRA lockboxes, and real estate agents use a display key code to connect, or they might have an app on their cellphone that will unlock the box.

The code is exclusive to each agent.

Once the box is opened, SUPRA lockboxes, for example, store all of the information on a website. After the lockbox has been acessed, a report is uploaded to the website, which a listing agent can view. My reports show:

  • The date and time the key was removed from the lockbox.
  • The name of the agent who removed the key.
  • The phone number and email of the agent who removed the key.
  • The agent's employing broker's name and office phone.

Armed with this information, the listing agent can then contact the buyer's agent who showed the home and ask for feedback. This is the best home showing tip that agents tend to forget. An agent can question the showing agent and find out:

  • What did the buyer think of the home?
  • How this particular home compares with other homes the buyer was shown?
  • Which features did the buyer like?
  • Is there anything wrong with the home?
  • What is the buyer's opinion of sales price?

Buyers are an amazing source of information, and their agents can be very helpful, too. A buyer's agent often spends days in the field showing homes. They see all the competing homes up close and personal, and often more than once. A buyer's agent can share thoughts with the listing agent that will help the listing agent to sell your home.

Let's say, for example, that your sales price is too high. I mean, you would never set your sales high on purpose because you're probably smarter than the average bear. But your listing agent could be trying to impress you when she agreed that a price much higher than any other comparable sales in the neighborhood was a good idea.

If you hear from several buyer's agents that your price is too high, maybe you won't be upset with your agent for telling you once again that the price is too high. Maybe if all of your potential buyers tell you over and over that the price needs to be much lower, your agent might suggest a price reduction. Once the price is reduced, you might receive an offer. See how this works?

Your listing agent can call agents directly after a showing, send agents an email, text message or even stop by every few days to pick up business cards, if she doesn't use a lockbox that sends reports. In order for the best home showing tip to work for you, your agent needs to find a method to discuss your listing with the agents who show it.

Apart from price, there could be other things you could change or improve, based on buyer feedback you receive from showings.

Buyers and their agents can tell you if your home has a strange smell, which can quickly turn off buyers. Cigarette smoke or pet urine odors produce the worst complaints. You might not notice a particular odor or be less sensitive to it.

I once worked with a seller who received report after report from buyers who complained about the noise in his back yard. The sellers lived in the house for almost 20 years and never noticed the sound of cars driving by on a busy street behind the home. That's because they had a pool, and when they were in the yard during the summer, the big body of water, coupled with plenty of leaves on the trees, tended to mute traffic noise.

They didn't spend time in the yard during the winter, and they were selling in winter. Without leafy trees and open water, the sound traveled and it was noisy. A water fountain and a sound-barrier fence changed the dynamics and noise level in that back yard.

Sellers like yourself need to hear what buyers and the buyer's agents have to say about your home. Your agent should get this information after each showing and pass it on to you. This best home showing tip has been invaluable to me over the years, and I hope it works well for you, too.

At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, BRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.