Syndicated — It's 2 pm on a Wednesday. A listing agent receives a call from a buyer's agent. The buyer's agent wants to show one of the listing agent's properties to a "very motivated" client - four hours from now.
However, the home's listing states that the sellers have a newborn baby at home and need 24 hours notice for a private showing. The listing agent reminds the buyer's agent of this, requests more advance notice, and suggests that the buyer attend Sunday's open house. The buyer's agent doesn't respond, and this "serious" buyer is a no-show on Sunday. In short: If the listing agent hadn't been down this road before, he'd have sent his clients scrambling just to accommodate a pushy agent.
Showing property is essential to the home selling process, of course. But there are things that buyers, sellers, and agents should be aware of regarding open houses, private showings, and lock boxes.
The Open House
Most people making their first foray into the real estate market usually pick up the local paper or launch the Zillow iPad app on Sunday morning and decide to check out open houses that afternoon. Open houses, which are typically held Sunday afternoons but sometimes also on Saturdays, are ideal for that. Attending open houses helps buyers get a feel for the market without committing to an agent or the process.
Open houses are great for sellers, too, because they can be assured that, within a two- or three-hour time slot, a good number of buyers can get in to see the property.
But open houses are truly open to anyone - and yes, that includes some nosy neighbors. Many agents throw up sandwich boards on nearby street corners to encourage as many people to come as possible.