I enjoy working with homebuyers.  A motivated homebuyer is a wonderful thing because they are really making an effort to buy.  As my job is to help buyers find the home of their dreams, I’m always ready to help.  Said another way, when I am going to show a home to a prospective buyer, I am working.  I don’t just show houses to random people for fun.  I am always making an effort to buy when I am out with my people.

A Typical Home Showing Request

This is 2019.  Scheduling a home showing for the modern real estate agent is usually as simple as pressing two or three buttons on your phone or computer and waiting for confirmation.  Things get tricky when you have multiple showings in different parts of town.  That is a scheduling issue though, and a large portion of that is under your control.

Because the real estate market is fluid, there will be times when a house your buyers want to see has already gone under contract between the time of your showing and the current time.  There are also times where home sellers will take their house off the market for cleaning or a “refresh”

There can be a slight annoyance when you make a request to show a home and the seller agent takes a long time to reply.  This can be managed for the most part.  For example, if you know you want to show a house at 6 p.m., your request to show can come in early, say 9 a.m. that morning.  The longer you wait to schedule a showing in the day, the more stress you put on yourself because you end up waiting on a showing confirmation.

Home Is Marketed For Sale, But You Can’t Schedule An Appointment To Show

As a buyer’s agent, one annoyance that we’re sort of conditioned to now is this practice of putting a home for sale in our St. Louis based Multiple Listing Service only to have it “no show” until an open house.  Many seller’s agents are convinced that this is the best way to sell a house in St. Louis.  I’m not convinced, and I think it does a bit of a disservice to your seller.  As an example, I have home buyers who are not ever going to play that game…we call it “last one holding the bag is a loser.”

Recently, I’ve run into a different scenario, and it’s quite the annoyance.  Here’s my story.

On Thursday of last week a home came up for sale in our MLS.  My buyers called soon after because it was a home that made a lot of sense for them.  I set an appointment for 6 p.m. that evening.  About 15 minutes later, my appointment was canceled.  No explanation was given.  Because my buyers were going out of town the next day, I called the listing agent.  The voicemail indicated that the agent only responds to phone calls between 4 and 6 p.m. daily.  That’s a little silly, but whatever.

I texted the agent and I got a response that the key was not at the house in the lockbox, but it would be in after 6 p.m.  I told my buyers that they were better off leaving for their trip.  Reason being, this agent doesn’t have his stuff together.

My buyers asked if we could set an appointment for Sunday night.  I agreed to set a new appointment for Sunday evening.  I put in the request on Friday.  By Sunday morning, I’d still not gotten a confirmation, so I sent another text.  I got one back that said that the seller was having problems and that they would not be able to schedule showings until Wednesday.

My buyers want to see this house.  I have attempted two appointments already.  Obviously, it’s hindsight, but the seller would have been better off not listing the property for sale until the following week, if what I am getting is actually true.  I suspect that even with a motivated buyer, they aren’t too keen on scheduling a 4th appointment to see a house.  There are always other homes available.

No one cares about my time spent wasted on this endeavor.  That’s because it is my job to schedule showings.  What could be a simple 5 minute task has now dragged into a minimum of one hour wasted so far, and we still haven’t gotten an approval to see the house.  I know that a loss of an hour also seems like no big deal, but these lost hours add up daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.

What Should The Listing Agent Do?

The listing agent is not doing himself any favors in getting this house sold for his client.  First, don’t list a house until you have keys.  That would prevent the original issue.  Second, explain to your seller that postponing or canceling showings is a bad plan for selling the home.  As an example, I have some buyers that won’t put up with cancelled showings.  They will simply move on to another house and not return.  Third, make a better effort to communicate that the house isn’t available until a certain date.  We have agent only remarks in our MLS that can indicate if there are issues with scheduling home showings.  Use them.

What Will Happen Next?  Will I Get To Show The House To My Buyers?

That’s a question I just can’t answer now.  My buyers have asked to set an appointment to show the house on Wednesday.  I told them that I would set an appointment for Wednesday that morning, because we really don’t know what is going on.  I suspect that this effort for Wednesday will be the last one for this particular house.  If we don’t get a confirmed appointment we’ll simply move on.

As much as this story is about homebuyers, you should take note when you are thinking about listing your home for sale and what real estate agent you choose.  This agent is not benefitting his seller.  The longer that house sits on the market, the worse the offers to purchase will be that come in for the home.  Some agents work really hard to get the listing, but then don’t do any work to provide service to cooperating agents when the home is for sale.  It ultimately hurts the seller when the agent doesn’t provide timely follow up, doesn’t confirm appointments, and provides listing advice that hurts the seller’s chances to actually sell their home.