Home Selling in New Jersey>Question Details

Ellen Johnson, Home Buyer in New Providence, NJ

We have problems with realtors not showing up for appointments or arriving several hours late. What can we do to curb this behavior? Is this common?

Asked by Ellen Johnson, New Providence, NJ Mon Aug 16, 2010

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Ellen, I understand that it can be very frustrating - I agree with Jon that Don hit the nail on the head. I do my best to alert sellers along the way if I will be late or if the buyer has decided against seeing the home - which can happen. I will say that the reaction I get when I call is a cross between surprise and gratitude, so I suspect that what you are experiencing is not uncommon.

I think it is a very good suggestion to voice your concern with your agent and request that she asks agents to keep the appointments or alert you with a change or cancellation. I also suggest to my sellers that they can be home and carry on and when they see the buyers arriving, leave. That way, you are as inconvenienced by a no-show or late arrival. Incidentally, however you manage it, good to leave the home so that the buyer can take their time seeing it. I find that when the seller is present, buyers tend to feel uncomfortable and rush through.

You mention that you have a lockbox on your home, which is great - because ease of access is important.

Good luck selling your home!

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 19, 2010
Ellen, of all the posts Don Tepper hit the nail on the head.

As agents, we are on the fence 99% of the time.. our clients drive the business. I usually try to get my people to see the homes they asked about out of courtesy to the homeowner and the listing agent.

The other side of the coin is that it is the responsibility of the Realtor to call someone ad let them know why you are late or not coming at all, But, as I have found in this business that about 85% of Realtors out there do not handle their business as professional as they should, do not call or answer requests for feedback on properties they have shown to potential clients.

I am one of the very few that will call the agent / listing office / or homeowner if I am going to be crazy late or my clients decide not to see the property. I also respond to feedback requests.

So, it is probably not your realtors fault, What you can do is make sure you Realtor is following up with people that do not show for appointments and your feelings be known.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 17, 2010
I'm not sure why so many other agents here have difficulty wrapping their heads around your problem. However . . .

Yes, your situation is fairly common. And usually the decision not to view your property is made by the potential buyers, not the agents. What happens is that the buyers and the agent head out with a list of 5 or 10 houses to see. (Hopefully more like 5!). But then it takes longer than the agent had anticipated. Instead of spending 10 minutes at each house, the buyers spend 30-45 minutes. So, after 4 or 5 hours, they feel like they've put in a whole day. If your house is 6th or 7th on the list, at best they'll show up hours late. At worst, they don't show up at all.

Also, sometimes what'll happen is that the buyers may be looking at several types of homes. Let's say colonials, ramblers, and Capes. But they see a couple of colonials, and aren't overwhelmed. So they tell their agent: "Hey, take us to see some Capes." So you might get bumped to the end of the list, or off of it.

Up to this point, it's the buyers who are at fault. But the agent should be calling ahead to let sellers know if the schedule's changed, or if they're no longer on it. Some do. Most don't. And, really, there isn't too much your agent can do to improve the communication from the buyer's agents.

One other thing that can cause lots of agents simply not showing up is: Poor curb appeal of your home. If you notice a real pattern of agents just not showing up at all, what might be happening is that the agent drives up with the buyers. The buyers take a look at your home from the agent's car, and then say, "Ummm. No. I don't think we'll bother looking at this one. Let's go on to the next house." Or, sometimes, it's not the poor curb appeal of YOUR home, but rather of surrounding homes.

It's a bit time-consuming, but keep an eye out from about 10 minutes before a scheduled appointment. See if a car drives up, slows down, maybe even stops for a few moments, then drives off. (I did that on a condo I was selling, and saw a disappointing number of such "drive-bys.")

And one idea: Offer some small bonus or drawing. Agents do this for brokers' opens. Offer perhaps a $25 gas card to 1 agent and 1 buyer every week or every two weeks. (It doesn't have to be the agent representing that buyer.) You just have a bowl on your kitchen counter. The agents toss in their cards. The buyers just fill out a slip of paper and toss it in. That might be enough to get people to keep their appointments. But--and this is important, too--it shouldn't be so high that it attracts unqualified buyers.

Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 16, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
I am shocked at how many people are blaming the buyers! It is ALWAYS the realtor's responsibility to apprise the seller what the status is. In other words if the buyer "decides to look at caps and not colonials" .. so what? The realtor can then text or call the seller. EASY. Today it is incredibly easy to communicate quickly and efficiently. If the buyer drives by and doesnt want to see it... AGAIN>>> the Realtor needs to convey this to the seller.
Today we have three showings scheduled. 10 am, 11am, 12 noon. It is Sunday morning. Raining, three kids. We rush out of bed early to make them, clean, not eat so the house doesnt smell like cooking... and then sit here like plastic people until they arrive. Well, it's after 11 and no one is here. It's incredibly rude.
We have instructed the agency to text or call us regarding cancellations etc.. there is NO reason.. again.. a text is FAST.. to let the buyer know! Stop blaming the buyers.. the professionals on this house stand to gain approximately 60k in commissions. They need to work for it
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 28, 2015

What you could do is, 1. address the Agent and disclose your issues, or get a new agent. Even if you signed a binding contract with the agent, he/she should disclose there obligations toward you, the client, and I'm sure showing up hours late to showings is not in there.

All the best,

Daniel D'Amico
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 1, 2014
A respectable agent showing your home will give a window of 30 minutes to an hour for appointments. Communicate with your agent and find a solution to remedy the situation. You may want to consider a lockbox on your property. Each professional agent is licensed with their own identification code, and would gain access to your home without you needing to be there. This would eliminate your time and frustration. Buyers sometimes have a change of heart when they may pull up to a property and not like if for whatever reason, the location, style, etc, and decide on the spot not to see the property. This happens frequently. The Buyers agent should call on the spot and cancel the appointment. This frustrates Sellers however it is common. Selling your home takes patience. Be prepared for all types of scenarios.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 1, 2014
From the sounds of it this is not your realtor you're talking about it is other realtors that are showing your home to potential buyers. If that is the case, I'd suggest you mention this to your realtor that has the listing. And maybe they can make it more clear to the buyers agents to be more courteous. I always have a lock box on my listings so that the customer doesn't need to be home. But if you are insisting on being home for the showings you're doing yourself, the buyers and realtors a huge disservice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2014
I am having the same problem trying to sell my condo - had it happen again today and my realtor is mad at me. I am sorry but if you are going to be late then call. I need an answer to this problem as well
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 27, 2014

So sorry to hear about your discontent. Unfortuantley in today's market we Realtors often find ourselves with buyers who are enamored by the location and pics only to pull up to a location and say "we are longer interested". We are then faced with getting the buyers to understand that they must keep the appointment out of sheer respect for the seller's time an effort, which is often difficult.

Arriving "several hours late", in my view, is just poor planning on the part of the agent as it is our obligation to move things along in an effort to keep appointment as is often indicative of a new/part time agent who has yet to understand the business.

Unfortunately, "curbing this hehavior" is most difficult as one never knows when/if a buyer will become most motivated. Having said that, if your price point is above $500k, then I would ask that only buyer "preapprved" buyers in that price range view the prrioerty and require the listing agent to assure same.

Love and Peace,
Francesca Patrizio, ePro, SRES
Colwell Banker
Web Reference: http://www.PatrizioRE.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 21, 2010

I know it is hard to have your home on the market, it disruptive to your schedule and most agents know that and don't want to make things hard. Most likely either the buyer did not want to see the home or they ran very late. Either way, if it is me, I do call the sellers and let them know.

I would suggest, when the agent calls to set something up, you let them know that you are rearranging your schedule to accommodate them and if things change if they could please give you a call it would be appreciated. I know that when seller's let me know that they have adjusted their schedule, they are the first ones I call if things change.

Good luck selling your home.
Web Reference: http://www.FolsomCorner.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 17, 2010
This should not be common behavior. It is rude and unacceptable. Sometimes, it is not the Realtor's fault when their clients show up late, but all it takes is a phone call to either the listing agent or the owner to advise of the situation.
The only way to curb this type of behavior is to put a note in the showing instructions that if the agent will be late to the appointment to call. Of course if they are so rude as to be late and not know to call anyway, you might not get them to call just because you ask!
Web Reference: http://www.dianeglander.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 17, 2010
Edith, we have a lock box on the door, so realtors can access the box to let themselves in.

Thank you for the responses.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 16, 2010
Hi Ellen, if I understand you right, you are listed with a local Agent/ local brokerage company, but when another agent wants to show your home that showing agents calls YOU directly, you confirm the showing with that showing agent, and you have to be home to let them in?

I am not sure how they can show without an appointment....

Normally the office takes the info, and confirms the showing with the Seller (you!) and then confirms it with the showing agent.... if the showing agent cannot make it it is easier to call the office back or the listing agent to say they cannot make it that day and then the office or you listing agent would let you know.....

If you on the other hand take all the direct calls from showing agents, they may just feel awkward to call the
seller back to let them know that they are not coming.... when I have to call the sellers directly, I always make
sure to let them know if I am running late with my buyers or cannot make it at all.... Not sure ..... you should really not have problems, although all of us occasionally forget something, and when really busy with
buyer clients, sometimes a call slips through, should not happen, but once in a while it could be forgiven, but if it happens a lot to you, then you should discuss with your Realtor and find a different way of arranging showings and confirming them.

Take care
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 16, 2010
Does your REALTOR schedule a showing window? When I call to make buyer appointments I give a one to two hour window depending on how many homes we're seeing, and where they are on the list.

Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 16, 2010
Our home is listed with a local realtor. The listing instructions are that the agent contacts me directly to schedule an appointment. I only had one occurence where the agent went in the home without calling. So, the details are clearly there. They just aren't coming back to let me know that their plans have changed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 16, 2010
Question back to you.... Is your home listed with a Real Estate brokerage/Listing agent?
or are you selling your home BY Owner....

If you are listed with a Real Estate Company, then you must have discussed with your agent the rules of how showings are arranged, confirmed with the showing agents and with you and there should not be a problem.
If an agent for any reason runs late, they should call the listing office/listing agent, whatever the rules are and
either ask for permission to still show at a later time, and if they cannot make it because of their clients or
because they were delayed at other showings, then also the showing agents should call the listing office, or agent to let them know and who then in turn would let you know.

things happen, but there should be professional courtesy and behavior that keeps all parties involved and if times change a confirmation has to be received before showing up....

If you can let us know what your showing arrangement with your listing office/ Listing agent is... we may be more helpful...

good Luck to you
Edith YourRealtor4Life
YourChicago and Northern Illinois Expert
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 16, 2010
Dear Ellen,
I would curb it, by not hiring those agents to do business with. There are so may professional and excellent Realtors available, there's no need to work with a poor one. I suggest you interview with one of the larger brokerages who have a reputation to maintain.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 16, 2010
I'm assuming you are referring to showings on your home. Unfortunately, this is more common than it should be. You are not tested on courtesy for the NJ licensure exam. Here is how I handle the issue on my properties. I simply stress with the showing agent that they be on time and call to cancel. You'd be amazed at what setting that expectation can do. In addition, in your MLS area you can have your agent set a CBS code on the box. That means "call before showing." This way an agent can only get in if they know the code. This can prevent agents from just showing up unexpected and getting in the home. Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 16, 2010
I can appreciate you annoyance with this...I say it is just rude. I always try to call if I am not going to show. Many times when I am showing houses time does get away from me especially if there is a lot of homes to show. Showing homes varies by client...some are in and out in no time, others take a long time in each home. I try to prep my buyers that if they do not like the area or location please do not feel obligated to look. In those situations I will usually call the home owner let them know. I may also go to the door if we have arrived at the home and the buyers decide the property is not for them. You could ask the agent to call you when they are within a half hour. Scheduling is a tricky thing. Good Luck with the sale of your home.

Denise Gueterman Weichert Realtors 142 Main Street Chester, NJ 07930
908-303-2472 Mobile 908-879-7010 Office denisegueterman@hotmail.com EMAIL
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 16, 2010
I should clarify. The realtors behaving this way are the ones with buying clients. It's not my listing realtor. We're very accommodating to showings whenever they present themselves, but it's such an inconvenience when they don't respect our schedule.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 16, 2010
Is this common? Yes, but only with lazy no good realtors. Possible Remedies? Don't work with them. I can assure you there are 100s of other real estate professionals that would love to help you with much better service. Apparently the realtors you are working with don't like getting paid. Drop them like an ex-boyfriend and move on to better ones. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 16, 2010
WOW, can't imagine agents DON'T get paid till you close.

Guess when you interview agents locate true professionals have them understand issue. Won't be 1st call I have received by a client stating the same.

Are you qualified for a loan

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 16, 2010
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