Why I Seldom Show My Own Listings

Sellers often ask me how often I’ll show their listings. The answer is “seldom”.

  • Most buyers wish to be represented by a buyer’s agent. They want someone who is looking out for their interests, not the seller’s interests. I would say that 80% of the calls I get on my listings are from buyers who already have an agent, they’re just doing a little legwork on their own. If I know that they are represented by an agent or that they wish to be represented by a buyer’s agent, I may not show them my own listings. Maryland agency law says I must determine this at our first face-to-face meeting.
  • The other 20% of the calls that I get are from buyers who are trying to rule the house out of their search — in other words, they’re narrowing the selection. So I’ll get a call asking if there is a bathroom in the master bedroom or if there is a garage. If not, they’ll move on to the next property. If it does meet their criteria, then I usually find out that they fall back under #1 and already have an agent.
  • There are some buyers who think that they’ll get a better deal if they work directly with the listing agent. They think that they can make a low offer and that the agent will be so eager to made both sides of the commission that they’ll do whatever they can to convince the seller to take the offer. The last three times that I worked both sides of a transaction were with buyers who had an inside track with the seller and generally got a better-than-average deal.
  • Some agents promise the seller that they’ll do special marketing to the agents in their own office before marketing to the rest of the world. This generally benefits the company that is listing the property, not the seller. The biggest benefit to the seller is for the house to be marketed to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

So don’t be surprised if your agent doesn’t show your house very often — our most important function in the early stages is to market it as broadly as possible to as many qualified buyers are possible.

© 2006 Susan Pruden.

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