Yesterday afternoon I took out a client who was referred to me and we previewed a handful of homes which he mentioned in our initial conversation a few days ago.
After previewing the last home he asked me about seeing 2 more homes that were relatively nearby. It isn't my practice to show homes other than by appointment,but I could see he was aggitated and didn't see what the big deal was. For me,at that point the big deal becuse I didn't have a printout of the property information on me,which would have also included the listing agent's telephone number and showing instructions. And the only information that he wrote down on a scratch piece of paper was the addresses.
So,because I am open to revisiting 'the way I do business', to see if there are compelling reasons to change what I do/don't do or to reinforce to myself and others why I do/don't do certain things,and because he was referred to me and I didn't want him to possibly spin it out that I didn't want him to say that I didn't want to show the homes,I reluctantly agreed.
I called a couple of colleagues to get any information on the homes that I could,but they were on other telephone lines,on appointments and said they would get back to me.
We arrived at the first home,which didn't have a sign in the yard indicating it was on the market for sale or rent,so I called back one of my colleagues and got confirmation that the home was on the market and got the listing agent's number. Unfortunately I got the listing agent's voice mail.
So I walked to the door and the key was in a combination lockbox and the number combination number wasn't listed (from the conversation with my colleague).
They still wanted to see the second home and they jotted down an incorrect address. I called my colleague once again to get the correct address and showing information,which fortunately was to show any time. So,we arrived at the home and there was a car in the driveway,which is nothing to be alarmed at. I knocked on the door to see if anybody was home and it was people renting the home. They were gracious and let us tour the home. I could see that my client was uncomfortable walking through a home while people were in the house,but sometimes being uncomfortable is good. People tend to remember why they were uncomfortable and if the next time we meet they ask me to do something which isn't my practice, maybe from this experience they'll remember why I was reluctant.
Here are some reasons why I only show homes by appointment:
a. to find out if home is vacant or occupied
b. to see if showing instructions are by appointment only -- some showing instructions indicate that either the home owner or the listing agent must be present for showings.
c. to have all property information with me,including the listing agent's contact
information, where the keys are and if there is also an alarm code for getting in
d. to make sure the home is still on the market.
e. to know determine the most efficient order and route to show the homes.
It was a productive 3 hours with my client. We got to know each other well and know more of what to expect on both ends the next time we meet. It was good for me also to get uncomfortable and do something I usually don't do (show homes without an appointment),in this case as a refresher for why "I do what I do". I am always open to change,better ways to do things and the next great idea. The good news at the end of the day is that he is considering 2 of the homes that we previewed.