Friday, December 7, 2007

Why Isn't My Agent Showing My House to More Buyers?!

There's a big misconception out there about how Realtors work. Well, actually, there's TONS of misconceptions floating around about how Realtors work. Here, I'll address one of them.

Many people expect the agent they hire will spend a lot of time personally showing their house to prospective buyers. After all, the Realtor you hired asked for a tour of your abode, and spent a lot of time making "ooooh!" and "aaaah!" noises in each room, right?

(As an aside, I hope you didn't hire the agent who ooooh'd and aaah'd in every room. He or she was just doing that because they didn't know what else to say about your orange shag carpeting and beer can collection arranged in the shape of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. She hoped that you'd hire the person who seemed to really love your house just like you do, so she made lots of approving noises.  BTW, this isn't the most effective way to hire an agent.)

Monosyllabic grunting aside, most Realtors will not actually show your house to very many prospective buyers at all. Why? Most consumers think, "I hired that agent to sell my house. Of course she or he is going to have to show it to people! How can she sell it if she doesn't show it?!?!?"

True. To a point. Your agent will show it to prospective buyers. But she will accomplish that by cooperating with other area Realtors. If your individual Realtor had to conduct every Buyer showing personally, she would have to be in your house pretty much 24-7, because you never know when a prospective buyer will be interested and available. It might be at 9am on a Friday morning, or 12:17pm on a Wednesday. And even if you like your Realtor a whole bunch, you're not going to want him or her living in your spare bedroom for 3 months, just so she's available for every potential buyer.

Besides that, the potential buyers your Realtor is working with might not be interested in your type of house. If you've got 3 bedrooms and 1400 square feet, and your Realtor's buyer clients are seeking 5 bedrooms and 2100 square feet, it's a complete waste of time to show them your house.

So we Realtors rely on other agents to show your house for sale most of the time. We use lockboxes and commission splits advertised through the MLS to help make it easy for other Realtors to show your house to prospective buyers. There are about 90,000 active Realtors licensed in the Valley just now. Letting each of those folks have a shot at showing your house to 1 or more potential buyers -- who are looking for what your house is offering -- is way more efficient than relying your 1 individual Realtor to show it to only the 3 or 4 buyers she's working with.  (Edited - there might be 90,000 licensed Realtors, but the number who are actively working at the business every day is plummeting. But even if only 50% of the licensees are working on deals, the math in my argument holds up.)

So don't sweat it if your Realtor isn't showing your house to lots of her clients. Now, if you're not getting a decent number of showings at all, from anybody, or if the feedback you're getting after showings isn't mostly positive. . . then sweat it. And read my (future) entry about "What If My Showing Feedback Isn't Positive?"