Expect the Unexpected – Unannounced Showings

AvatarThat all real estate is local was hammered home about a year ago when there was a debate on an online e-mail listserv about setting showing appointments. In several areas of the country, most notably the east coast, lockboxes aren’t used to provide access. Rather, buyers agents need to set appointments with listing appointments to view a given property, usually with 24 hours notice.

Given that it’s virtually impossible to extract the key from one of Supra’s electronic lockboxes without using an electronic eKey, the scenario sounds like something ripped from the pages of 1978. But if it works for them, no reason for me to argue.

In the Phoenix real estate market, lockboxes are the rule of thumb. And 99 percent of the time, the lockbox in use is the Supra iBox. There are exceptions – some agents still have combination locks which date back to the hey day of Athens – but the advantages of the electronic lockbox, including a record of everyone to enter the home, are hard to top.

Lockboxes, however, do come with a price for someone selling their home – a reduction in privacy. While I do everything I can to provide notice to my clients that someone is going to go see their home, I also tell them that they need to expect the unexpected. No matter what I do, there will be unannounced showings as some agents just don’t want to place the requested courtesy call.

Having walked in on sleeping individuals myself, I generally won’t show a home unless I’ve been able to touch base with the listing agent. While it seems a bit extreme to expect the listing agent to attend every showing, it’s far more reasonable to expect them to answer the phone. And it’s the very least sellers should expect of their agent.

(I’m still awaiting a call back from an agent with a listing in Westbrook Village my clients would have liked to have seen back around June 1. They’ve since closed on another home, but a return call still would be delightful.)

The reality is these unannounced showings rarely are ideal, since most people tend not to have everything put away 24/7 while their home is on the market. Hopefully, the agents barging in understand this up front. (Of course, they also didn’t understand the meaning of the phrase “please give courtesy call.)

Still, I encourage my sellers to allow these agents to show the home even when they come without prior notice. Why? Because you never know if this buyer could be the one who really wants the property. Send them away when they’re on your doorstep and you will almost certainly never see them again.

Is that a chance worth taking for a few minutes’ inconvenience? If you’re in no hurry to sell, probably. But for the vast majority of sellers, the best bet is to let the buyers in … and perhaps lock them in the garage until they write an offer.

Okay, scratch that last part.

[tags]Phoenix real estate, real estate marketing[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.


  • Jay Thompson 11 years ago

    Agreed. It’s staggering to me how few agents provide a courtesy call, or pick up the phone when I’m making one.

    I walked in on a guy in the shower one time. We’d set the appointment earlier in the day, he said “Come on over, no one will be home!” We arrived right on time and he comes out of the shower dripping wet, nothing on but a towel (thank God). I don’t know who was more embarrassed, him, or my client. Turns out he forgot about the showing.