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Showing a buyer too many homes unproductive

February 18, 2011
By MARIO D'ARTAGNAN, Real Estate in Perspective

This topic has been haunting me for years, and no matter how I try to dismiss it, it keeps creeping back into my head. There are some real estate agents that for one reason or another have propensities to show 15-20 houses in one day to one buyer. When I try to rationalize the logic for showing so many homes, I am unsuccessful. If for no other reason, the price of gasoline should be a deterrent!

Let's examine this exercise of showing 15 homes to a potential buyer. Unless you are Albert Einstein, it is virtually impossible to remember all of the details once you get past house number four in the rotation. I have been in this business for a long time, and frankly, I can barely remember any details after showing only four homes. And four homes is exactly my maximum limit on any given day with any given buyer. Anything after that just creates confusion and starts diminishing the buyer's confidence in you.

I'd like to use the following analogy. If you went into a car dealership and test drove 15 models, could you really remember the color of one car and its accessories and features, to that of another? Then, how could you possibly remember one house you saw at 9 a.m., to the one you saw at 2 p.m.? You could not, even if you took great notes. And if you think the buyer is capable of remembering every detail, you are mistaken. Everything just runs together after house number four. The brain gets distracted. This is why eye witness accounts are weak at best.

Now, if Realtors were doing their jobs correctly, they would know to show the absolute, best four homes that meet the buyer's needs, and tell the buyer that these are indeed, the best homes. And then, before they put the prospective buyer in their car, they would have asked if the buyer was prepared to write an offer on one of the homes they were about to see.

And if the buyer says no, then that should be the end of the meeting. Why would you show property when you already know the prospect is not ready to make an offer? It seems that agents are so afraid of losing the buyer, that they do anything the buyers asks them to do, including wasting their time. Somehow we have forgotten what the words ready, willing and able mean.

From a seller's perspective, it must sound frightening when their agent tells them that their house is being shown today, but it is number 12 on someone's list. You might as well not even have a showing because there is little probability that this house is going to stand out from the previous 11. Showing so many homes does no justice to the sellers.

I cringe when an agent calls and tells me that their customers are only in town for one day and they must look at as many houses as possible while there is still daylight! Some agents need to learn the important skill of qualifying EVERYONE. If you are showing 15 houses in one day, then you have not asked the right questions.

It takes an incredible amount of time to make 15 appointments with the various brokerage firms that own the listings. And then there's always that possibility of the buyers not showing up, or cancelling. That means more wasted time spent on calling every one of those offices a second time to cancel the showings.

By getting your showings down to a small number, you will be more productive.

Mario D'Artagnan is a broker associate with Miloff Aubuchon Realty Group, Inc. Mario is a former investigator for the Florida Real Estate Commission. Mario is also a former real estate instructor and keynote speaker on the topic of agency law. Mr. D'Artagnan is a published author and veteran of the U.S. Air Force. For questions or comments contact Mario at: or 239-565-4445.



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