Why Accompanied Showings in Real Estate are a Big Mistake

by Bill Gassett on April 21, 2010 · 13 comments

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Why Accompanied Showings in Real Estate are a Big Mistake

Accompanied showings do not sell homes

In the Metrowest Massachusetts area where I am located it is pretty rare to see an accompanied showing. In towards Boston it becomes much more common place. Some areas around the country have them and others don’t.

Why? Who knows but more than likely it has to do with tradition. I am glad the policy has never caught on in my neck of the woods.

Frankly an accompanied showing is a waste of a listing agents time and does nothing to facilitate a sale.

There is a long standing misconception amongst some folks that Realtors “sell homes”. Folks I have rarely ever “sold” a home in this sense of the word to anyone. Homes are an emotional purchase. They are not something a Realtor talks  somebody into buying. Realtors can be guides and give advice but homes sell themselves. Sometimes when a buyer walks into a home you can just feel that it is perfect for them and they will end up purchasing the place. This happens because of human emotion and attachment. It has very little to do with a sales pitch.

In twenty four years I have never talked someone into buying a home! This is where some sellers have misguided thoughts about the purpose of an accompanied showing. For some reason people think if a buyer does not notice some feature about the home and it’s  not pointed out,  it would cause the sale not to happen. Sorry this is not the case. Pointing out the nitty gritty is not a difference maker to most buyers.

The fancy security system, beveled edges on the the granite counters, and cherry inlay on the dining room floor will not be the reason for someone buying a home. Even in million dollar homes that have every conceivable feature and amenity it is not a listing agent waving a red flag in front of a buyers face that is going to seal the deal. Emotion sells, people do not at least not in Real Estate.

While the need for accompanied showings is rare they can actually be a detriment to the seller for a number of reasons. We use lock boxes here in Massachusetts for a reason! A lock box allows a Realtor to easily gain access to a property without hindrance.

When a seller requires an accompanied showing they are now adding the possibility of scheduling conflicts.

Accompanied showings Metrowest Massachusetts

I for one am a very busy Realtor. If I have to try and coordinate my schedule with another Realtors, the possibility exists there will be a missed showing for the seller. A missed showing is a missed opportunity!

There have been times over the years where I have not been able to work my schedule around another agents and the buyer ended up purchasing something else before ever rescheduling to see the missed home.

If more Realtors educated their clients on why accompanied showings are a big mistake, instead of worrying that they won’t get the listing without complying with the sellers demands, sellers would much better off.

I for one would love it if sellers actually placed a recorder in their home to hear what some listing agents say as buyers are walking from room to room.  I am not kidding! Things like “here is the kitchen”. Really? If there was not a dishwasher, stove and cabinets I never would have known. Thanks for being here to guide me. This may sound funny but I am being completely serious. There is no value in this.

I know for a fact based on my experience that most buyers and their Realtors do not want a listing agent at a showing.

It creates an uncomfortable atmosphere where the buyer can not speak freely about the property with their agent.  The situation can actually  become unbearable if the listing agent is giving a hard sell. Buyers absolutely hate this. It is actually only slightly better than the seller being there and following you around like a puppy dog.

As a great compromise to some sellers who really want an accompanied showing, I suggest it is done if there is a 2nd showing and only if the buyer does not mind. A second showing of course is an indicator that there could be more than just casual interest. The interest level can usually be confirmed by speaking with the buyers agent. Some buyers at this point may not have a problem with the listing agent being there especially if they have some unanswered questions.

Remember Real Estate is a numbers game. Don’t let an accompanied showing get in the way of selling your home.

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on why accompanied showings in Real Estate are a big mistake was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at billgassett@remaxexec.com or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 24+ Years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service the following towns in Metrowest MA: Hopkinton, Milford, Southboro, Westboro, Ashland, Holliston, Upton, Mendon, Hopedale, Medway, Franklin, Framingham, Grafton, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Northboro, Bellingham, Uxbridge, and Douglas.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Philippines Real Estate Broker April 21, 2010 at 1:27 pm

We’ve personally been trying to do this in the RP, with most of the properties I try to sell are around an hour or two away from me, it’s a big hassle and waste of time showing them the place when really, there isn’t much I can add to the conversation except as you said.. “here’s the kitchen”. I only accompany the buyer if they are ready to negotiate, but on the first few visits to the property, I rarely go with them.This is a very good article, keep on writing! =)

Kathy Stankard April 21, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Well said Bill!

Marilyn Messenger April 21, 2010 at 8:50 pm

I totally agree – the last person most buyers and their agent want to see is the listing agent. As a buyer agent, the worst is when the listing agent starts talking to my client about how they live in the neighborhood, who all the neighbors are, what they do for work, number of kids and their ages… And, then they tell the buyer to feel free to ask “them” if they need more information. I’ve had more accompanying agents think they were “selling” all the great things about the area, when in fact, they were talking about everything the buyer didn’t want!

Bill Gassett April 21, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Philippines – Thanks for dropping in and sharing your opinion about accompanied showings. It is interesting that in your country you share the same feelings about them.

Kathy – Thanks:)

Marilyn – Getting an agent that has diarrhea of the mouth is the worst. There are times when Realtors can be their own worst enemies. I know exactly what you are talking about when you mention agents talking about things that have no importance to the particular buyer they are talking to. It can be maddening!

Maureen McCabe April 22, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Some parts of the world are so used to it, I think they don’t realize how bad it can be for the buyer depending on the listing agent. Pushy listing agent. Dumb listing agent. Let the buyer hate the property for the kitchen, the colors or anything about the property. Why make the buyer hate the property because of the listing agent’s manner of speaking, a listing agent who is perceived by the buyer as talking down to them, or even something as simple as the after shave or perfume the listing agent wears. I kind of vaguely remember a few high priced “accompanied showings” in the first Ohio market I worked in back in the late, 1980s. We were running around picking up keys, the agent showing the home to a buyer was a sub agent of the seller. I think with buyers agency the practice should have died long ago. A listing agent trying to sell to a buyer can be a total turn off to them. Their job is to market the property to buyers and buyer’s agents.

Mike Giles April 27, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Hi Bill, I’ve enjoyed your writings for some time via other outlets such as Active Rain, but this is my first time here on this site. Great Blog! You raise a great point. Even on the commercial side of the business where unaccompanied showings are the exception and the listing agent’s presence does add value for answering specific questions on occasion, I can tell you that significant amounts of time could be saved and more properties shown, if not for the endless juggling of logistics required in order to sync the client’s schedule with each of the listing agents’! Hmmmnn, wonder who I could speak to about this?
Keep up the great work. ~Mike

Bill Gassett April 27, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Mike thanks for dropping in and presenting your opinion from the commercial side of things. I would imagine that homes are probably much more an emotional decision than someone looking at commercial or business properties. My guess would be that a decision surrounding these kinds of properties would be analytically based. I appreciate the compliments on the article!

Christine Smith January 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I had to click & read this one. It is so much easier for me, as a buyer’s agent, to schedule if I am not working around the listing agent’s schedule. I have had clients who were unable to see one home or another just go on to the next & never go back. Of course, there are often questions that the clients have so the listing agent then does need to be responsive to email or phone questions, but that should be a given. I like the idea of having the listing agent at the second showing if possible just to answer questions.

Eric Johnson February 18, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Thankfully, we rarely see this in the Phoenix area. I’ve only seen it for a couple of high end ($1 Million+) homes. We’re in the business of getting a Buyer to say “YES” and this just adds 2 or more chances for them to say “no” to the house. First, because you now have to get a hold of the listing agent & figure out a workable time & your example of not being able to make it work on one house killed its chance.
Secondly as you mention the agent is an unknown member of the ‘other side’ which intrudes on the Buyer as they see the house. Minor discomfort is the smallest effect of their presence. Bad day/bad personality will chase buyer out the door.

There just isn’t a good reason for a listing agent to be present inside with the buyers and their agent.

Bill Gassett February 18, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Eric some seller’s do not realize how challenging it can be to make two Realtors schedules coordinate. When you are out showing multiple homes in different towns it makes it nearly impossible sometimes to make it work. Beyond the scheduling aspect, homes are not “sold” in the sense that some seller’s think. A home is an emotional purchase. I know I have never talked someone into buying a home and never would!

Marte Cliff August 13, 2011 at 7:24 pm

It IS the custom in some places – but still the wrong thing to do. Sellers who insist are completely misguided.

Loved your comment about “here is the kitchen.” Back when I was still in real estate, I knew an agent who would do that on agent tours.

Uhhh… Yeah Vickie, we can see that!

Bill Gassett August 13, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Marte I often wonder how these Real Estate customs got started and why Realtors in those areas do not change the customs! We both know there is very little gained from someone pointing out the obvious.

Kevin Vitali April 29, 2013 at 5:51 pm

There are so many issues with accompanied showings…. The biggies are having every parties schedules sync and how uncomfortable the buyers can be when you introduce a party they do not know and trust.

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