Andrew Wetzel's Musings

March 23, 2019

The Courtesies of Showing Properties to Clients

Filed under: Buying,Ethics — awetzel @ 4:57 PM

The preamble of the REALTOR Code of Ethics states that REALTORS “are zealous to maintain and improve the standards of their calling and share with their fellow REALTORS a common responsibility for its integrity and honor….  They identify and take steps, through enforcement of this Code of Ethics…, to eliminate practices which may damage the public or which might discredit or bring dishonor to the real estate profession”.

Our most basic purpose is to bring sellers and buyers together.  We are matchmakers.  Typically the formal process starts with showing a prospective buyer properties that interest them.  Most showings require scheduling and confirming a specific appointment before entering a property.  Whether occupied or not, regardless of the type of property or its usage, someone owns it and our profession requires that we respect the private ownership of Real Estate.

The concept of showing properties should be simple:  a listing agent shares the instructions for accessing the property, a buyer learns about a property and expresses interest in seeing inside to see if it matches their wants and needs, they meet an agent for the tour and evaluate what they saw compared to other possibilities.

While a listing agent and seller have no idea whether a buyer is serious about buying or can even qualify to offer the seller what they want or need to complete a sale, the minimum expectation should be that the agent and buyer show up within the scheduled time frame, that the property be entered in accordance with the seller and listing agent’s instructions, that the people respect the ownership of the property as well as any personal property inside it and that, when they leave, they leave the house as they found it which typically means that they turn off the lights and lock the doors.  Unfortunately, some of this seems difficult for some agents and buyers.

For whatever reason, one of the constants in listing Real Estate for sale is that some agents either fail to show up within their scheduled time frame or they do not come at all.  There are going to be times when showings run longer than planned which may affect arriving on time for the remainder of the scheduled tour or when there are problems with traffic.  The remedy is to call to see if it is possible to change the scheduled time so that the seller knows what is going on.  It is not acceptable to just assume that you can enter someone’s property whenever you get there.  The owner may have thought you were not coming and was not prepared to welcome you at your convenience.

The larger issue is when an agent and buyer do not show up at all.  It should be assumed that a courtesy call will be placed to advise the seller that the showing has been canceled.  The showing may or may not be rescheduled but, at the very least, the seller should be told if you are not coming as scheduled that day.

Common sense dictates that selling Real Estate is going to be quite different from simply living in it.  Showings are not always convenient no matter how much a seller wants or needs to sell, even if the property is vacant.  Sellers do not know whether they are having their time wasted but they generally endure even if it means delaying a meal, changing their plans or doing something that accommodates someone they do not know.  Inconvenience is one thing, it is expected, but failing to show up for an appointment without canceling is rude, unprofessional and shows a lack of courtesy and respect for others and their property.  Again, there may be a perfectly valid reason but this happens too often and most agents will never call to apologize or explain what happened.  This reflects badly on our profession and causes some members of the public to think poorly of us.  We are collectively responsible for upholding the image of our profession and any individual can damage it.

I take the time to explain to my clients what can happen with showings.  It is part of my role but I find it embarrassing to need to do that and too many of my clients know all too well why I have to do this.

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations!

Remember:  HIRE WISELY!  We are not all the same!

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