As sellers- Should we expect 'the selling agent' to be showing a house?

Asked by Dd, 98332 Mon Mar 10, 2008

Everywhere else, I’ve ever lived and when I’ve been involved in selling our homes; the prospective buyers and their agents would make an appointment to view a property, the Seller’s Agent would meet for at least the initial showing so as to highlight the features of the property and answer questions.

However, I'm being told that in WA- Selling Agents don't sell that way. I'm wondering how Buyer's Agents that may have come from neighboring communities or further away (like Seattle) can be expected to know what the property has to offer if the Selling Agent isn’t there to SELL IT? It’s doesn’t make sense that the Buyer’s Agent has to advise on a listing with only the benefit of a multiple listing for reference.

Is this something new or just a practice here in Washington? I haven’t experienced this over the years in New York, Delaware, Florida or California- Now with the threat of recession and the housing market being so tenuous is this really the way it is?

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23
Joshua Jarvis, Agent, Duluth, GA
Mon Mar 10, 2008
Dd,

This is the practice in Georgia and it works marevellously. First of all, buyer's don't really "look" at the home the same way when they are being "SOLD" too. They are nervous and distracted.

Secondly, buyers are not going to buy the home because of the small upgrades a homeowner has added. It may add to the appeal, might even win when all things are equal, but it's rare for it to be the deciding factor. As a buyer agent, you get all the information from the listing sheets, so hopefully your listing agent does a good job of "SELLING" it to the buyer's agent, because they're the ones that actually sell it.

As a side note, being in control and being able to leave a home immediately if it's not right, is a huge plus as well for buyers, and Realtors.

Finally, in Georgia, we coach all of our sellers to be GONE from the home and the listing agent certainly wouldn't help. Statistically speaking, sellers that stay home sit on the market longer... in Georgia.

Every place is different, but that's my perspective.

GOOD LUCK!
2 votes
voices member, , University Place, WA
Mon Mar 10, 2008
The listing agent is the agent who works for the Seller and has a signed listing for the property. The listing agent offers the opportunity to all agents to show and sell via the multiple listing. For some time now, buyers have been using buyer agents to represent them in the purchase of a property. The buyer's agent is understood to be the selling agent.
There is no need for the listing agent to be present at all showings and in fact, most buyers and selling (buyers' agents) would prefer that they not be present.
Buyer's agents use the mls printout, however, they also have experience and knowledge of the real estate business to draw on when they are showing a property. If the buyers have questions, the listing agent and the selling agent will talk to answer them.
In a nutshell, yes, that is the way that the real estate business works in the Puget Sound Area.
Hope this helps.
2 votes
Don Dutton, Agent, Puyallup, WA
Tue Mar 11, 2008
It's nearly impossible to deliver an effective sales presentation to an individual or group unless you have a good understanding of their needs, wants, true motivation and their market understanding. These are things a seller's agent usually doesn't have. You end up trying to sell benefits you perceive based on past experience, but all buyers are different. That big back yard turns into a negative for someone coming from a condo. A quiet neighborhood isn't a plus for a big family whose mom and dad are looking for playmates for their kids. That neat floorplan that separates the master bedroom from the others doesn't work for the couple who want to be close to their kids at night. You can see what I mean. Only the buyer's agent, who has spent considerable time with the buyers knows what's important to them and what features are truly benefits that can be "sold."
1 vote
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Mon Mar 10, 2008
There are times when the presence of a listing agent is helpful. In more instances than not, it is harmful.

Most buyers do not want to be "sold"....but rather look on their own without pressure or a sales pitch. A buyers agent is not working on behalf of the seller, but rather to find the best home for the buyer. While you as seller, want someone to "sell", that "selling" may push away your best buyer. Buyers often react quickly and know if they want more info or not. If the house does not suit them, all the "pitch" about your upgraded central vac, and imported tile does not matter. If the buyers have a positive response, their buyer agent will know that and begin discussing more details. What the buyer agent does not know, he/she will ask of the listing agent.

When a listing agent is present, a buyer will often rush through and actually lose interest. If there is a second showing, the presence of the lisitng agent can be helpful. That is the time when buyers do have more questions and want to know more.

The buyer has to develop an initial interest before they are interested in the details. Buyers who are held captive by a listing agent when they know the property is not a match feel coerced.

Compare to the purchasing process for any product........large or small.

Buyer does not like color, size, or style of automobile..........Buyer does not care about crash test, safety, engine size, horsepower, or consumer ratings. Forcing this info upon them is offensive.

Buyer doesn't like color, style or overall appearance of a clothing item. Buyer does not care about label, where it was made, fabric, or price. If it does not fit the buyer need or desire, those details are of no interest. Forcing the buyer to listed to the pitch and details is offensive.

Buyers want info on their terms and do not want to be force fed information. Having answers when buyers want more info is important.
1 vote
Katy Crofts, Agent, Olympia, WA
Mon Mar 10, 2008
Most qualified buyers are going to be working with buyer's agents to find their home.
The selling agent must do everything to provide the most information possible to any buyer seeing your home. This could be in the form of a binder with detailed information about the home, the community, utilities, etc. Color fliers for buyers to take with them should also be available. Ask the agent if their direct phone number will be listed on your yard sign and any other marketing. That way phone inquiries will go directly to them and not the receptionist at their office. If it is important to you that your agent be present at initial showings, you should discuss this point also. My concern with this point is that you do not want to put any barriers that might prevent a showing of the home. If your agent is not able to meet a prospective buyer and the buyer's agent at a certain time, the buyer may not look at your home.
Web Reference:  http://www.katystansifer.com
1 vote
Shannon Drew, , Yakima County, WA
Mon Mar 10, 2008
This is something that should be negotiated before hiring an agent to list your property; it is not common practice in Washington. But just because it's uncommon, doesn't mean it isn't a great way to market your home. It would work best with an agent that has a team working with him/her. An individual agent may not have the time to accomodate all requested showings and you may miss some potential buyers that way. A showing with just the buyer's agent would be better than no showing at all.
Web Reference:  http://www.shannondrew.com
1 vote
Julie Hall, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Mon Mar 10, 2008
I want to confirm that there are 2 agents involved in a real estate transaction and the names are often confusing to people. There is the listing agent (the agent who has a signed listing contract with a seller and represents the seller) and/or the selling agent (the agent who represents the buyer).

I understand your frustration with the selling agent showing a property to prospective buyer's with only a reference to the MLS. It is not common for the listing agent to be present when the selling agent is showing the property. I had a very unique property that had a complicated location and many liabilities possible, so I was present at all showings for safety and to answer questions that arose because it was such a distinctive property.

The marketing that your listing agent does should be as comprehensive as possible so that the agent that is "relying" on MLS data is as informed as possible and has all the tools to sell your home -- because the MLS limits the amount of marketing remarks, there are several resources to make sure that each feature in your home is highlighted.

The details are important and I'm happy to hear that you have a great pride of homeownership and realize that a comprehensive marketing plan is essential to properly showcasing a property.

Overall, I don't think that there is a practice, it just depends on what your client requests and what their expectations are -- I would make sure that your agent totally understands each selling point in your mind and that there is a marketing piece in place to educate potential buyers on those items. Let your client know this is what you expect.

Good luck!
1 vote
Shannon M. K…, , Tacoma, WA
Thu Mar 27, 2008
Hi Dd,

Yes, this is the way it is here, and has been for at least the 25 years I've been working here. It was also the same way in Hawaii, where I worked previously.

A good listing agent works to market the property. They should work with the seller to get the home showing well, priced right, and then market it effectively to agents and buyers. They should also follow up on all showings, be available for answering questions and then negotiate on all offers and follow up through the inspection and closing process.

Most home buyers want to work with one agent whom they know and trust. As they view homes together, they discuss the pros, cons and possibilities of each. A seller can request that their agent be present at all showings, but that will usually inhibits this free flow of comment, just as when the seller himself is present. In this situation, most smart listing agents briefly introduce themselves, point out a few positve features that may not be self-evident and then make themselves scarce. The vast majority of buyers buy on emotion, hopefully guided by logic, so it is important to let the buyer "try on" the house, like trying on a coat, to see if it feels comfortable and good to them. Anything or anyone that interferes with that process will likely do a better un-selling job than make the sale.

If do understand your concern about whether or not the buyer's agent has the necessary knowledge to represent your home well to buyers, as experience varies greatly in this business. There are a couple ways to help improve matters in that situation, since of course, you can't pick the buyer's agent for them!
A Home Book, as described by one agent herein, is a good tool, as are the little cd's, but the most important tool, without doubt, is a carefully detailed MLS entry, with excellent and honest descriptors and photos. Beyond that, for higher end homes, a fully fledged individual web site containing pertinant links to the local neighborhood and school, city and recreational amenties may be very beneficial.
You can also request, when an agent calls for an appointment, or through the agent-only remarks in the MLS, that the buyer's agent call and talk with your agent prior to showing your home, if you seriously feel that certain amenities in your home are likely to be overlooked. I would recommend this strategy over having your agent present, unless there are also security issues that would require making sure the home is carefully locked and alarms reset, and you would like to have your agent do that for you.

I hope this helps. I would not be concerned about this selling practice as it has worked here very effectively for years. Right now, our market is in a transitional stage, after the staggering inflation of the last few years. I believe it is unfortunate that the Fed did not step in to curb the wild housing appreciation going on here and in so much of the country in '04-06, but honestly, 20% per year appreciation is not the norm here! We are now giving back some paper equity if we've owned our homes for several years, but the situation is dire indeed for people who bought at the peak of the market and do not have the opportunity to ride the market back out again. Appreciation will return to our market, just as it has to the stock market after it's dips and dives. As excess inventory is absorbed, I would expect to see a return to our more normal 3-5% per year appreciation. We are not San Francisco, San Diego or even Seattle and I don't think we'll see double digit yearly inflation returning just any day now.

Best wishes, Shannon
0 votes
Robin Austin…, , Puyallup, WA
Wed Mar 26, 2008
A great tool is a presentation book at your property with all the details one can think of ~ This can be as simple as a notebook with flyers and information in plastic sleeve ~ for instance it could have plat maps, particulars about the property, sellers disclosure, As-built information if its on a septic ~ information about the well if its on a well ~ photos of things that are improved or seasonal, school information, demographic and a community profile of the area just whatever is pertinent. This presentation booklet also makes a very good gift for the new buyer.

Another good tool to have available at the listing is an informational CD, your agent can put everything I just mentioned on that CD and have it there for prospective buyers to take with them ~ how cool is that! Because after viewing several homes buyers forget what they seen so when they get a moment they can sit down and pop the CD into their computer and revisit your listing ~ Sounds like a lot of work but once the system is down its relatively simple. I hope this helps best of luck to you and yours!
0 votes
Roger Park, , Chicago, IL
Fri Mar 21, 2008
I show at least 95% of my listings, it is better to have someone that can answer questions about the property on the spot. This is a sad trend that has started in the last decade out of the laziness of many Realtors.
0 votes
J.D. "Dan" &…, Agent, Orange Park, FL
Fri Mar 21, 2008
Dd

The only time I am present at a showing for one of my listings is when the owner has requested I be present. When this happens I stay out on the porch in in the back yard and I am available for questions. This is rare. I prefer and the normal practice is for the other agent and the buyers to look at the property without me. Even when I show a property, after I let them in and show them the obvious i step far enough away to allow the buyers to have some space, to talk freely and most importantly, visualize their own stuff in the house. We call that emotional possession. Once they take emotional possession - they've bought the house and i don't have to sell anything except maybe a home warranty upgrade.

JD "Dan" Weisenburger,GRI
Broker-Associate
Vanguard Realty, Inc. GMAC Real Estate
Jacksonville/Orange Park/Ponte Vedra Florida
Web Reference:  http://www.neflahomes.com
0 votes
Karen Wenzel,…, Agent, Brookfield, WI
Fri Mar 21, 2008
Dd,
Here in Wisconsin it is also normal practice that the Buyer's agent is the one that is present for the showing- without the Listing agent present. One thing that I have started to do for my listings is create a detailed sheet about the features of the house- especially if it has unique or special features, or the Seller has made significant improvements that another agent would not be aware of. I refer to it as a "descriptive walk-through". This is downloaded into the MLS as another document which the agents have access to.
You could also have something like this prepared and attached to the data sheets at your home- so agents and the Buyer's can have it handy. This has been really helpful when Buyers have seen many homes, and can't remember the details about all of them.
Good luck in your sale.
Web Reference:  http://www.GoPackerUp.com
0 votes
Hi, , Virginia
Fri Mar 21, 2008
nope, selling agent is chatting on trulia right now.

no buyers, maybe next year

anyways

good luck
0 votes
Thu Mar 20, 2008
Great question Dd!

Something I explain to my clients is that the 'selling agent' is actually the 'buyer's agent'. As a 'listing agent', I consider myself a marketing specialist.
I work my fanny off to market my listings to attract the eye of prospective buyers so they tug at the arm of their Realtor and point our way. If they do not have an agent, they call me directly and I show my listing.

What other Realtors already explained is accurate. The thing is, as a buyer's agent, I like to give my clients time to come up with objections to things in the home - that means they are taking the time to actually consider it. If the sellers or listing agent are in the home, the buyers tend to shy away and not look long, and not mention any objections....

Think of it this way: if you owned a restaurant, and someone HATED a dish, wouldn't you want them to feel comfortable telling their server? If they don't, they usually just don't return. But if they DO, the server finds a solution!

As listing agents, we want to allow the other professional to do their job. That is what you, as a seller, are paying them for. If a buyer's agent has any questions, they will certainly contact the listing agent.


P.S.
Here, if we are unfamiliar with an area, we tend to refer clients to a professional in the sought after area. That is in the best interest of our clients, which is to be our #1 goal.
0 votes
Hale Redmond, , Marketing, Sales and Buyer's Agency
Thu Mar 13, 2008
What you are experiencing is typical for our area. The Buyer's agent, if this isn't the initial meeting, usually has developed a rapport and trust with the Buyer and is the best person to show the home, particularly due to the "trust" factor. We ask our Seller's to be absent from the home when it is shown because their presence will inhibit the potential Buyers from taking their time and being able to express their opinions freely. The same, I believe, would be true of the Listing Agent being present. After the showing the LIsting Agent should be checking back with the Buyer's Agent and getting feedback and answering any questions they may have.
0 votes
C Tann-Starr, , 11354
Mon Mar 10, 2008
Hello Ute,

I removed the post because I decided relatively soon after posting it that it may not be in the best interest of the conversation. Thank you for taking the time to comment on it. I appreciate your views. Kindest regards, C.
Web Reference:  http://www.TannStarr.com
0 votes
Ute Ferdig, Agent, Newcastle, CA
Mon Mar 10, 2008
Hello Dd. I have never had the seller's agent present at any of my showings. I think it's the buyer's obligation to get the needed information for the buyer. Most buyers don't want to listen to the seller's agent sales pitch. The reality is that a buyer's agent should only sell homes in his/her market or refer the client to an agent who is familiar with the area in which the home is located. In the event that the buyer's agent does not have the necessary information at the first showing, the agent can always ask the listing agent to be present at a follow up showing. After all, it's not likely in today's market that a buyer will make an offer on a house after the first showing. If the listing agent had to be present for every showing of each listing, the agent would not get anything else done. Try to imagine an agent who has 5 or more listings. The agent would spend most of his/her day assisting showings. That's not a productive use of the agent's time.
0 votes
Tiffany Elmo…, , Gig Harbor, WA
Mon Mar 10, 2008
Having a showing on your home should be a comfortable situation for all parties involved. If you feel your agent isn't doing the job you have contracted them to do and you want your agent at the house when ever it is shown that may be something you should negotiate. Perhaps a happy medium could be found... Your agent could have specific remarks in the listing stating that you as the home owner would like the agents to preview your home prior to showing it to their clients. That way the "buyers agent" isn't walking into your home blindly.
0 votes
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Mon Mar 10, 2008
Dear Dd
The primary job of the listing agent is to expose the property's best features to the market. If this is done properly, then the listing agent (L/A) doest not and should not be present at showings if the buyer is represented by their own Realtor.

Here is why this is important to you:
1. You goal is to sel the home.
2. The buyer KNOWS that the L/A is there to sell the home.
3. So it is usually BETTER for a buyer to meet with their own representative, either their own Realtor or a Realtor from the L/A's office.
If the listing information is properly documented (for example, I was in a house it there was a big note :"Please see basement workshop and laundry area, outside, to the right" so I could not miss it.

That is why it is the L/A's job to promote the property (including interior signage like "Negotiable" or "included in the sale " or " please see patio BBQ incluced" to help the buyers see everything...and of course listings lfyers. I had a listing with a TWO PAGE addedum of EVERYTHING that the seller had done since they purchased the hone.

Hope this is helpful.
0 votes
Darlene Cher…, , Gig Harbor, WA ABR,GRI,SRES
Mon Mar 10, 2008
The listing agent represents the seller. The buyer absolutely should have an agent they are contracted with. The reason is that a buyers agent (I suggest you request a real estate professional who holds a Accredited Buyers Representative Designation ABR) repersents the buyer. The listing agent is required by the State Of Wa to disclose any material fact, however they owe total confidentiality and loyality to their sellers so if they advise a buyer it is going to favor the seller. If you are represented by a buyers agent that agent has the respondsibility to represent you. That means this agent should research all properties that are comparable. They need to tell you what the competition is and what similiar houses have sold for in order to help you make a responsibile offer. Then in the inspection process you find any issues that need to be addressed. You should work with an agent who specializes in the area that you are interested in, and you should be working with an agent who holds an ABR Designation. Please refer to my website for more information.
Web Reference:  http://www.darlenecherry.com
0 votes
C Tann-Starr, , 11354
Mon Mar 10, 2008
Dear D,

Your agent works for you and should be looking out for your best interests. I'm sure if you requested to schedule an Open House the arrangements can be made. I've used RSVP Open Houses for my sellers who work within tight time constrictions, advertising that brokers RSVP a specific time on the same day I'm inviting the general public. I just did one with brokers responding between 12-1:30 PM and the general public from 2-5PM on the same date. I've actually remained on location until as late as 7PM to accomodate people coming straight from work. When you stipulate you are setting specific time aside for a person to view your home, you can stipulate that you wish all showings to be on a set schedule (e.g. Wed 6-7PM and Sat 10-12PM, 4-6PM only). Doing so covers morning, afternoon and evening buyers. The goal is to get the home sold and it is okay to request every tool and option be explored to benefit that end. Good luck with your sale. Warmest regards, C.
Web Reference:  http://www.TannStarr.com
0 votes
Kimmie Hauver, , Myrtle Beach, SC
Mon Mar 10, 2008
I would first check my own client base first to see if your house fits anyones criteria. But, then my main job as your listings agent would be to market your house and make sure it gets out there to all the prospective buyers and the other agents thats have clients that your house may suit. As your listing agent I might not ever be the one to show your house unless a prospective buyer calls me directly from the sign. I hope that helps you.
Web Reference:  http://www.KimmieHauver.com
0 votes
Mikem, , 01803
Mon Mar 10, 2008
It's up to an agent (and you) to decide if they want to be showing a house or to let the buyer's agent show it. Depends on a house, on a buyer's agent, and on a seller's agent.

If as a seller you want seller's agent to personally show the house (even if only for the initial showing) then when you have agents give you their listing presentation ask them. If they say no, tell them you feel it's important and see if they will be willing to do it then. If you want an agent who will be present on every showing, then just find one that will do so.
0 votes
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