I had a seller ask me the other day about what an agent preview is.  Sellers are expecting showings with buyers physically present.  It is highly unusual for agents to bring their buyers during an agent preview.  Below are 5 reasons a real estate agent will use an agent preview.

 

  1. Learning an area. It might be hard to believe, but agents don’t know every part of town because the market is constantly changing.  When agents are just starting out, they don’t have a good sense of where pricing is, or why things are priced the way they are.  These agents need experience, but at the same time, they have much more time on their hands than an experienced real estate agent because those agents are out selling houses.  The newer agents will schedule agent previews so they can get a better idea of the area in which they want to work in the future.

 

  1. Extremely busy buyers. Buyers all have different preferences.  Some buyers ask agents to preview every property before they see it to save time.  I can usually get through a house and see everything the house has to offer in about 10 minutes.  This is because I know what to look for.  When I take buyers through a home, I usually schedule at least a half hour, and maybe even an hour.   It isn’t an easy thing for the buyers to visualize themselves living in a new home.  Some buyers work all day, and in the shorter months of a year, there’s no way to really see the landscaping of the house in the dark.  I can easily go during the day and snap a few pics of the yard, and if it doesn’t meet their criteria, it won’t make it to an actual showing.

 

  1. Out of town buyers. Out of town buyers are special in their own way.  No one wants to buy a house sight unseen.  This is a perfect situation for an agent preview!  It’s especially difficult for out of town buyers to understand the different nuances of different communities.  Therefore, we usually start with figuring out what area someone might like to live and then move to individual houses.  Out of town buyers will defer to the real estate agent to preview properties that don’t fit the criteria that has been set forth.

 

  1. Understanding dramatic differences in pricing. As an example, I look at new listings everyday on my computer first thing in the morning.  Sometimes, I see houses come to the market more than $100,000 higher or lower than what a house usually sells for in that particular neighborhood.  What’s the reason?  Has there been a complete remodel?  Is the house located next to something undesirable?  These factors usually don’t show themselves in the pictures.  That’s when it’s best to go out and physically look at the house.

 

  1. They have a new listing coming soon in the neighborhood. A real estate agent has a new listing coming to market in the same area and they want to get a good understanding of the competition.  An agent preview allows the agent to help their seller make better pricing decisions.  This is a net benefit because if the new property that comes to market sells, you can have a pretty good idea that your house is listed too high in price to attract offers.
The bottom line on agent previews

I’ve heard people who aren’t in the business of selling homes for a living that you should always turn down an agent preview.  With all due respect, these people have no idea what they are talking about.  You want an agent preview.  It means that an agent has taken an interest in your house.  It may not lead to you selling your home that day, but it does go a long way in getting your house sold.  Agents always keep properties in mind for their current buyers and even past buyers who are looking to move.  In closing, you should look at an agent preview as a good thing; it’s not as good as a showing, but it is far better than no activity at all on your property.

John Schink is a real estate broker in the St. Louis metropolitan area who specializes in full service listings and buyer agency.  He is a member of both the Saint Louis and Jefferson County Boards of Real Estate.  If you are looking to buy a home for sale in Saint Louis, Missouri or the surrounding metropolitan area or considering selling your home, or for general real estate related inquiries, he can be reached at 314-707-4821 or [email protected]