denying requests for showing

RoseAbbeyOctober 22, 2013

So far 3 out of the 4 requested showings on our house have been lookers, not serious buyers
I am considering telling our agent to only bring buyers who have sold their house or have conditional offers on theirs and are seriously looking to buy. Am I being unreasonable?

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ineffablespace

No, if you don't want to sell your house, you aren't being unreasonable. Selling a house is an inconvenient process and the potential buyer should be accommodated.

A few people just look to look. Most people don't waste their time randomly looking at property if they aren't going to buy something.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 8:11AM
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LuAnn_in_PA

"Am I being unreasonable?"

Very much so.
Sounds like you really do not want to sell...

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 8:24AM
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ncrealestateguy

How do you know the status of these buyers?
Personally, I do not think it is unreasonable to ask for a pre qualification letter before showing.
Ineffablespace... there are more lookie - loos out there than you may realize. Most of these people are out of town persons wanting to see what the market place has to offer. They are usually a long ways out from buying, if they even ever do buy in your area.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 8:26AM
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c9pilot

It is not unusual in my area to require a pre-qualification letter or proof of funds (for cash buyers) before showing the mid- to higher-end homes.
There are many, many lookie-loos here who think nothing of agents' time and effort (and gas $$$) - snowbirds, foreigners, vacationers especially.
I personally would have no issue with it.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 9:09AM
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adellabedella_usa

We had our house on the market this summer. We had more lookie-loos than potential buyers. Our house was in a very desirable neighborhood. We had people drive through the neighborhood every week just to see what other people had. We moved before the house went on the market just because I didn't want the added stress of those people. The lookie-loos still managed to annoy me from several hundred miles away. Most probably could not have afforded to buy my house, but yet any comments they made were recorded by my realtor and put in the weekly report to the relocation company. I had a good realtor. I think if we had still been living in the house, she would have tried harder to screen out people who were not potential buyers. She was pretty upfront with people who liked the house, but were not in a position to buy.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 9:13AM
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RoseAbbey

I know the status of the people that have come through our home from our agent. He gives us feedback after each showing and I always inquire about the buyers.
Yes LuAnn, I do want to sell our house. Our house is in the million dollar range so I know the buyer pool is smaller but I dont want to waste my time on lookie loos

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 9:28AM
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nightowlrn

How do you know they are not "serious buyers?" We currently have a home on the market in another town and don't want to put an offer on another or buy land and start building until that one sells. But, that doesn't mean we are not "serious." We are looking for a home in your price range. And, if something really is great, we would go ahead and carry two houses for awhile. We requested showings of two homes this weekend. One we might put an offer on if our house sells and it is still on the market. The other made us laugh the moment we entered and I am sure that home will be on the market for a few years - overpriced, outdated, smelled - I don't know what the sellers are thinking and I doubt they have actually toured other homes in the price range that they are asking. So - we may have looked like your "lookie loo" as we only stayed about 5 minutes. The other - we were there over an hour, asked to see the house plans, talked to the owner, etc. Same priced homes, same area. Good luck with your sale - I know selling is stressful. We have bought 8 and sold 7.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 11:11AM
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trilobite

Insisting that someone have already sold or have a conditional offer will seriously limit your options and for no good reason. You don't know if someone can carry two homes or if they've already paid off their existing mortgage or if they're willing to be very aggressive about selling.

It's a bit of effort to look at a house. Honestly, I think it's more likely at least some of these "lookie-lous" realized your house wasn't a good fit for their needs. Saying, "Oh, I'm just looking" is an easy thing to say.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 11:21AM
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RoseAbbey

nighttowirn, at least your house is on the market. A couple of showings we had, they didnt even have their house listed!

trilobite, it may be an effort for me and you to look at houses, but for some it is an afternoon of free entertainment. I have to admit that we have gone to some open houses on nice sunny Sunday afternoons not as buyers but lookie lous, but I would never request a private showing unless I was ready to purchase.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 11:56AM
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chispa

For our previous house we looked without having our house for sale. We weren't going to move till we found the perfect house. We were buying in your price range-plus and had no problem carrying 2 houses. I looked for 2 years till I found the perfect house. We then sold our old house. Closed on new house first, which gave us time to prep the new house for move in.

You are making a lot of very wrong assumptions about some of the people looking at your house.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 12:18PM
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kashka_kat

Hey, I'm a self confessed lookie-loo! BTW, is that a putdown, or a term of endearment?

Yep, been lookie looing for a couple years now as I get ready to sell off my place and getting a sense of what I want, and how much I'll have to pay for it, can best be obtained by looking in person vs. pictures. I always explain where I am in the process and if the agent is the super busy successful type they'll often have an assistant or someone who can accommodate me. Or if they are a newbie agent they usually have the time for a quickie showing knowing that perhaps if I don't buy this time I just might the next time or I might find I have a real rapport with them and want to sign a buyers agent contract.

Most of the ones Ive seen are disappointments and I come back home with new appreciation for my old house. However there is one now I am moving heaven and earth to put in an offer on that can be accepted and if I don't get it - Ill be ready next time. The wheels are in motion and I now have more of a handle on my financial situation and an agent I can work with.

How do you know some of your lookie loos arent possible buyers like me, who don't know they're ready to buy until they see and fall in love with your place? Sure Im a bit disorganized in my life and my timing is a bit off - guilty as charged. However sometimes falling in love is a messy thing. You don 't plan to fall in love, you don't think you're ready, but sometimes it happens anyway and then all you can do is try to make it work!

Also you don't know who of the lookie loos are going to tell their friends or relatives about your place.

So, my suggestion is find a way to organize your life so you aren't so put out by what seems to you to be useless and pointless showings.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 12:28PM
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deee_gw

If you really want to sell, I would just grin and bear it. The "not ready" buyers could make a surprisingly quick sale or their agent may look at your house and know of someone else who might be interested.

Honestly, unless I am really interested in a house I tend to pass on pursuing a showing with lots of contingencies and rules. House buying is hassle enough. I try to avoid the additional stress of picky sellers.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 12:50PM
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nosoccermom

I'd say that you never know how serious people are. I bought two properties where one RA who later contacted me to follow up was totally shocked because she thought that I wasn't "serious." My DH never looked at them. Some people have the money but don't flaunt it. So, deee is right to grin and bear it.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 1:02PM
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palimpsest

I look at houses all the time. At open houses.

I've looked at houses I have no intention of buying on occasion, even by appointment, but my Realtor knows this and there have been houses I have Not looked at because it was required that the seller's agent be there or some other complication for the homeowner and I didn't want to put them out.

However, I had No Intention of buying the house I currently live in until I actually looked at it. The exterior did not promise that it would have anything that I wanted and I looked at it first purely out of curiousity.

How many showings did I turn down on my recent property that I had for sale? Zero. I even let people look if they were hours late or called at the last minute. Did I *like that? No. Did I think if they were looking at a dozen random properties that day that mine would be the one? No. I probably had 50 or more scheduled showings all of which required some interruption to my life, but *I *was *no *longer *interested *in *living *there *so *I *inconvenienced *myself *a *bit.

There were houses that I *would have been interested in looking at and possibly buying but if the buyer was not accommodating about showing it (and I never wanted a weird time), the house was disqualified because I thought they would be a PITA during the negotiations if the couldnt even *show it to me.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 1:30PM
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RoseAbbey

dee, you have convinced me to "grin and bear it" at least for now anyway.

In response to pal, I would never think of booking an appointment to see a house that I was not interested in. If there was a house I was truly interested in, a "weird time" would never keep me from seeing it.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 1:52PM
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chispa

But sometimes you aren't interested in a house until you see it!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 1:56PM
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sylviatexas1

I think it's not only reasonable but prudent to make a pre-qualification letter a requirement before letting someone into your home.

I've been selling real estate for a number of years, & I know that sometimes sellers & Realtors gotta grin & bear it.

but.

*Nobody* wants people looking around to satisfy their curiosiity, to see what the seller has, to get ideas from the seller's decor;
nobody wants people looking at the kids' drawings (or the kids' photos!) on the fridge.

Not only do you not want someone noting what 'stuff' you have, you don't want them to know that your 6-year-old daughter likes My Little Pony.

Selling means just that:
selling.

It does not mean entertaining, hosting guided tours, or allowing *anyone* in your house who cannot buy it.

Can you imagine getting a Realtor to show you a house belonging to a basketball or football player, movie star, singer, just by saying you want to see it?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 1:56PM
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Beemer

We just sold. Would not have an open house because of the looky loos. We had 16 realtor assisted showings in 3 weeks. We also had one middle aged lady drop by aa neighbor's house to ask questions about ours. I happened to be at the neighbors. I let her know I was the seller and after about 15 minutes of chit chat, I gave her a private viewing without a realtor. She told her 70a year old parents about the place, and they bought it. They lived 250 miles away. From listing to move out was exactly 9 weeks.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 1:58PM
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RoseAbbey

chispa, you dont need to arrange for a showing to know if you are interested in a house or not. You should know, read the listing, look at the photos!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 2:30PM
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violetwest

I think open houses should be open to everyone, "serious" or not. I wouldn't consider making an appointment to view a house with my agent without a real interest, though.

Buying a house is a process, and sometimes buyers need to look at a range of options -- style, size, neighborhood, etc. to understand what is realistic and what they like. Sometimes that entails looking at houses above the price range contemplated, or outside their area, or with factors that don't exactly match up with their wish list. You can learn a lot by looking at listings online, but it's no substitute for actually viewing live.

I will say that if I got the idea that the owners were annoyed, or viewing their house is an imposition . . . I'd think twice about buying that house. Maybe not logical, but impressions like that are important.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 3:02PM
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gyr_falcon

I lol @ "You should know, read the listing, look at the photos!"

Houses photos do not tell all of the story. I recently viewed a home listed at over one million dollars. The kitchen looks very nice in the online photos. Too bad you actually have to move the bar counter stools to open the fridge. The fridge is just out of the kitchen photo's inclusion.

Below is a dual photo of a house we viewed. I am sure the listing photos would include living room shots. The shower, and other items, I am sure would not make the cut. During the first round, I viewed this house without my husband. He thought the kitchen looked updated in the listing photos. I showed him the pics I took of the same kitchen, from the same angle but a slightly different height, and he quickly changed his mind.

Other homes work better in person than their read in the listings. We almost discounted one because of square footage. But upon visiting, the floor plan was so usable, the house felt much larger than other homes that were actually larger. Unfortunately, we lost that one to a better offer.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 3:21PM
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RoseAbbey

I am not implying you should buy a house from looking at the photos, but the photos and listing and drive by if possible, should give you an idea whether you have an interest or not in requesting a showing.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 3:37PM
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palimpsest

What I meant by "weird time" is that I never asked to look at a house except during the middle of the day when the HO would likely be out anyway. And I always cancelled in advance and only when absolutely necessary and did Not show up at any time other than the appointed time.

However, I had people ask to look at my house at 8:00 on Sunday morning and at 10:00 at night, during the week. I let the people look at 8:00 on Sunday morning. The Realtor talked the people out of 10:00 at night. We also had people come 4 hours late, and let them look.

I wanted to sell.

I look at properties that I have no intention of buying because sometimes my Realtor wants me to see them, or because they are very close to what I Would buy if I were in the market. I bought this house and had no intention of buying it at first. But,again, I only do it if the Realtor knows it won't be an inconvenience, the other Realtor does not have to be present, and usually if the house completely unoccupied.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 4:46PM
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ncrealestateguy

If buyers are serious about buying "now" then they should not have a problem about spending 10 minutes on the phone getting a pre qualification letter, or to print off a bank statement showing sufficient funds if paying cash.
Especially if they are purchasing in the higher price ranges.
Not only does it limit useless showings for the seller, but it is a good tool to weed out clientel for the agent.
Sellers have been beat up hard the last 5 years or so. I try to respect their time and sanity as much as possible.
OP... just ask your agent to not show the home, unless the buyer is pre qualified.
Buyers that are interested in your home "now" will not have any problem doing so.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 5:03PM
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RoseAbbey

Thanks for the advice (and understanding) ncrealestateguy, I will talk to my agent.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 5:18PM
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chispa

roseabbey said:
chispa, you dont need to arrange for a showing to know if you are interested in a house or not. You should know, read the listing, look at the photos!"

Roseabbey,
Really! You have no clue what you are talking about if you think an online listing and photos are enough to get a true representation of a house, lot, street and neighborhood. Good luck, I think you will get exactly the kind of buyer you deserve!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 5:27PM
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ineffablespace

But aren't the Realtors themselves wasting time if they are showing houses to people that haven't even been preapproved to buy something?

I don't know about your area, but Realtors here are too busy to spend time that way.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 5:52PM
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RoseAbbey

chispa I also said which I guess you missed reading before you posted your not so kind response.

"I am not implying you should buy a house from looking at the photos, but the photos and listing and drive by if possible, should give you an idea whether you have an interest or not in requesting a showing."

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 5:55PM
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sylviatexas1

I think roseabbey meant that you can weed out a lot of homes by reading the narrative & looking at the pics.

If you want to buy in the XYZ subdivision or the ABC school district, you really don't have to look at every single house in that area;
If 1200 square feet is too small,
if 4000 square feet is too big,
if 2 bedrooms aren't enough,
if you can't keep up a big yard,
if you need a big yard,
etc
you can eliminate those houses;
you *do* know that you don't want them, even before you see them.

**********************
& there are people who will *tell* you that they're just trying to get ready, that they *will* buy, just as soon as the perfect house comes up or as soon as something else happens (the kids get out of school, the economy turns around, the husband gets his Ph.d, etc), when what they really want to do is pretend & have someone entertain them.

I once spent way too much time with a 'buyer' who wanted to look at every luxury home in a huge geographic area (never did buy).

This was a long time ago, when the economy was bad & when a big new employer was supposed to hire a bazillion people (didn't happen), & before I knew how to structure my relationships with clients & potential clients,

I hauled her around for months, must have shown her 50 houses, knew something was wrong, but her husband was going to be one of the big guys at the company & I wanted those referrals...

It began to dawn on me when she told me that she wouldn't buy one particular house because of the school district.

The school district was printed in the MLS description, so we had driven 20 miles in a rainstorm to look at this thing because...why?.

because she wanted to 'look at houses'.

Then one day she called about a home that was almost twice the price we'd been looking for.

I said, "That one is much more expensive than your lender can finance."

& she said,...
"I'd like to look at it anyway."

Is this a person for whom you want to spiff up your house & put the cinnamon in the oven & scoot out to the library or somewhere else so she'll be comfortable in your home?

Since I still had hopes that she would actually buy, & since I wanted those referrals, I called for appt & was told that the sellers required a pre-qual letter.

This post was edited by sylviatexas on Tue, Oct 22, 13 at 18:14

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 6:12PM
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xamsx

All the negatives listed about are reasons why we will never sell a house we are living in. Selling sucks. Period. It sucks a lot less when you aren't living there and don't need to worry about carrying costs, but it is still not a fun process.

But to not live in the house being sold usually requires buying a house before the current house is put on the market. It is a true luxury to be able to do this, and not everyone can afford to do so.

If you are living in the house for sale during the selling process, definitely a pre-qualification or proof of funds letter would be necessary before allowing a private showing. But for an Open House? They are called "open" houses for a reason.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 6:59PM
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gyr_falcon

roseabbey, I never said you meant buying a house from photos. I was just pointing out that listing info and photos are not necessarily as helpful as sellers often think.

When we bought our house, we knew we needed 3 BR and an area that could fit two office desks. Many 4 BR homes in our target city were out of price range, but we saw 3 BR homes where we could make a formal DR into the office because there was another area that would work for the dining table. Or there was a loft area that could become the office. Others had no usable office area. But we had to see those homes to learn which ones would work for us; listing info was not enough.

The home we ended up purchasing was one that I found the listing on (in a neighboring city) and ask our agent to arrange a showing. It had only a few photos, and even viewing it in person, while standing in the back yard I said "That is a major deal breaker!" lol It is a 4 BR, convertible to 6 BR. If it had been converted, and listed as a 6 BR, should I have ruled it out because of that alone? A single, removable wall would have been the only difference. If a photo of the deal breaker(s) had caused me to not even see the house, the seller would have missed out. But the layout and square footage were enough for us to decide to deal with the various "deal breakers". It turned out to be a good fit because the advantages outweighed the disadvantages, and with enough hard work, time, and money, the deal breakers are slowly fading into the sunset. But we had to have an open mind during our search, and see the property to know this house would work for us.

If your agent is showing to financially unqualified buyers, I agree that should not be happening. But complaining after only four showings makes me wonder if you are not seeing the broad picture. You never know if one of those four viewers may talk to someone else who is also house shopping, recommend they look at your house, and end up with your house being a perfect fit.

Or at least worthy of a purchase regardless of the deal breakers. ;)

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 7:32PM
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ncrealestateguy

Guys/Gals,
The OP never mentioned anything in regards to the fact if pictures and descriptions help sell a home or not. She asked if it was reasonable to ask her agent if she could pre qualify the buyers a bit more before setting up an appointment.
And, it is very reasonable, especially in her price range. And it gives her agent the ammunition to bring up the touchy topic of getting pre qualified before going out to view homes.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 8:26PM
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ncrealestateguy

Just this year...
1. Had an "inventor" of a medical device that will detect upcoming strokes by just waving this wand over the arteries. He wanted to look at 2 - 4 million dollar homes, but could not buy until the device got final approval. I actually met this guy two years ago, and during our last communication, he still was broke.
2. Have had two "investors" this year that would be multi millionaires as soon as the Iraqi Dinar Re Valuation occurs. Of course, she wants to see 4 and 5 million dollar homes, NOW!. Told me that the RV should happen in a matter of days. I did some research on this Iraqi Dinar RV thing... People have been saying this for years now.
3. Had a guy that wanted to buy Lake Front property a few months ago and said he had cash to do so. I asked for Proof of Finances and he sends me three months of bank statements showing that he receives very large cash deposits one day and then the next day the account shows $40.00. HMMMMM! The last statement showed barely any funds at all, but I went against my better judgment and got him into a deal. Guess what? The night before closing, his fiancée emails me saying that due to a "medical emergency", that he would not be able to close, and needed to terminate.
Are these the type of "buyers" that you want to be kicked out of your home for?
Those are just three examples that I care to recall right now. So, for some of you to say that there are not many people that would waste their time looking at homes knowing darn well that they could never purchase, are just plain incorrect.
Again, it is not unreasonable for the OP to request at least some sort of pre qualifying of the buyers before she gets kicked out of the house.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 8:53PM
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nosoccermom

Sounds like the RA didn't do his job in the last example if the deal fell through the day before closing :)

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 9:18PM
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gyr_falcon

Correct, ncrealestateguy. But the later post by the OP: "chispa, you dont need to arrange for a showing to know if you are interested in a house or not. You should know, read the listing, look at the photos!" is what my posts were addressing. In the examples I stated, looking at the listing info and photos too rigidly would have eliminated quite a few of the houses where we submitted offers.

Of course uncertain "future money" should not count for preapproval. And bank statements are questionable, at best. Around here, prequalifying is the norm, rather than the simple preapproval. Business must be very different in other areas of the country. For our pre-qualifying process, we submitted two years of tax returns, six months worth of bank statements, plus pay stubs. And the approval still didn't tell the whole story. We requested that a solid $45,000/year source of income be left out of the calculations. So we could have actually purchased a house above our listed prequalifying amount.

But open houses should be open to all. If one does not want to open their house, don't do an open house. It wasn't clear the OP's lookers were from open houses--I thought they were from scheduled showings. In which case, the agent should have made sure the people looking at the house could afford it. I completely agree on that point. But claiming the are "not serious buyers" simply because their current house is not on the market is not valid, IMO. They could be very serious and like the OP's house so much they accept a low offer and 2-week escrow to get out of their current house. You just don't know their true motivation level.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 9:38PM
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kirkhall

I don't understand why your real estate agent is showing your house? I agree with the sentiment stated above by (I lost track who) that said "why would a REA show a house to people they didn't believe were qualified/interested in actually buying a house"...

Keep your REA out of it until it is time for negotiation. If someone with the power of codes is willing to show the house, you have to assume they are "qualified" buyers.

Grin and show it. If you can't handle it, move out.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 9:59PM
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ncrealestateguy

Nosoccermom,
I can't force them to close. I can only get them through the process if they are willing.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 10:09PM
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weedyacres

I've got a market solution for looky-loos: buyer's agents should charge buyers a "showing fee" of, say, $10-20 per house. When the buyer actually buys a home, those funds are returned (read: applied to the purchase). That way buyers will probably be more selective in picking homes to look at, saving the agent time and the sellers grief, looky-loos would be discouraged--or at least pay for their tours, and serious buyers wouldn't limit their looking pool at all because they know they're going to buy something.

There is a lot of economic good that would come from buyers (instead of sellers) paying buyer's agents.

On another note, this thread has caused me to think a bit on our own situation and wonder how our agent is viewing us. We're closing on our home sale in 2 weeks, have a small house in our new area as temporary accommodation, and will be buying something larger/more suitable when we find the right house.

So while I've been browsing online listings for a couple years, I've been looking at houses in person for just a couple months, once we got in range of potential for a real purchase.

First I looked at half a dozen modestly priced houses in middle-class neighborhoods and from that determined they're too much of a downsize after walking through and "feeling" them.

Then I looked at another half dozen in the next price range up, with at least 2000 sf and 2-car garages. Two were possibilities in my mind, so I took Mr. Weedy back. He vetoed one, and liked the other, a fixer on 7 acres that is really rough and (IMO) overpriced for said roughness. So I looked at another half dozen houses in the next price range up, in more move-in-ready condition (the idea being we can buy a fixer and put money into it or we can spend an equivalent amount buying something already done, so let's see what that gets us). We haven't had time to bring Mr. Weedy back to look at the 3 with the most potential, and it's been 3 weeks since I saw them.

And in the meantime, because work schedules are busy, we have to seriously consider whether we can fit another fixer into our lives and actually enjoy it, instead of be frustrated by it. So maybe we'll consider that fixer we saw, maybe not. We need to finish our little transitional home first and see what life is like when we don't live in 2 places 100 miles apart.

So do we look like serious buyers to our agent? If we saw the perfect house, and it was well-priced, we'd jump on it. But we don't appear to be in a hurry to buy (we're not, and quite frankly, keeping up with the business is a higher priority than having a nicer house).

If you were an agent, what category would you put us in? BTW, I've been up front with our agent about our position and desires.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 10:20AM
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nosoccermom

@ncrealestateguy: Sorry, I didn't read this carefully. I thought you were the seller's agent. Still, I don't get it: Are you saying that this person was just looking for fun and then pulled the plug the day before closing? Isn't there something like earnest money?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 11:51AM
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ncrealestateguy

Nosoccermom,
I was his buyers agent, and I felt from the beginning that he was a flaky buyer. IMO, he was laundering money. He would show me deposits made and then the next day it was gone. When asked where the money is, so that we could show the seller some sort of proof, he would give me some hogwash about this and that. I should have kicked his butt to the curb right then. But sometimes even us experienced agents get caught up in it all. Another clue that he was not legit was that when he found out that the closing attorney would only accept wired funds to close the deal, he demanded that she accept a certified check. (Ever since the Patriot Act, anything over about $10,000, needs to be wired). I believe he did not want an electronic trail of this transaction.
Anyhow, he lost his Earnest Money Deposit and Due Diligence Fee, he never paid the soil engineer nor the attorney.
My point was that there are a lot of people willing to waste their time along with the sellers and their agents. I don't really think they are out looking for fun, I think that they really do envision themselves coming into a lot of money, and they can not wait until they do to start looking. In my experience, these dreams of hitting it rich never pan out.
I run into these people all the time. And the funny thing is, is that most of them are rich in material items but have no on hand money at all to be applying towards a RE transaction.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 1:55PM
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gyr_falcon

weedyacres, pay your agent $210-420 in showing fees, and you may be taken more seriously. ;) I take it your idea was a throw out, not a well thought out solution. Correct?

You are an unmotivated buyer. You said you have been up front with the agent about your current frame of mind, so I don't see a problem. Understandably, the agent may choose to not spend as much time and effort looking for houses for you as a result. But if they see one that has a higher likelihood of fitting your desires, would bring it to your attention. If you expected them to work as hard for you at this time, while your are not all that interested in buying, that would be unrealistic.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 2:29PM
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weedyacres

Actually, gyr falcon, my proposal is completely serious. It would solve the problem of looky-loos, would it not?

I also think that buyers should pay their agent's commission, as it makes the whole transaction more transparent, economically efficient, and aligns incentives. Agents would then show FSBOs as well as realtor listings, because they're paid either way. And that's better for the buyer.

Keep in mind that sellers would then just pay their agent 3% (or whatever they negotiated), so prices should be lower, no?

We're serious enough buyers that I'd pay the "looking fee," because I know we'll buy something, just not sure on the exact timing. But I'd sure do a lot more research on the front end to make sure I liked my agent.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 5:24PM
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gyr_falcon

Actually, no it would not. First it addresses a non-problem. Many agents LIKE lookie loos--they are viewed as future customers. Open houses are for selling agents to meet new people more than selling the house in many cases.

And if fees are only for houses that the buyers agent takes you to, there is a host of problems. Who regulates this money? Who pays for the people needed to oversee this process? What if you want to switch agents after the contract period; is your money now forfeit? Good luck getting it back if the relationship goes sour. New legal actions now take up more time than weeding out the few buyers that are not serious.

My buyer's agent took me on a 12 house viewing run one day. Six of those houses ended up being the same model--and it was not going to work for us. Yes they should have been checked more closely. As it was, I just shrugged it off because it wasn't really a problem. Forking over $100 for the experience would have made me furious! Is the agent going to limit the list of houses to show because buyers is getting angry over the fees? You bet. Lowers the chance of a sale, that. Agent shooting foot now.

Agents that charge the fees will lose business to those that choose not to. What happens if I view a house one day, pay the fee, then there is a "free" open house a day or few later? Do we get a credit? I decide not to view many of the houses because the fees are adding up--lowering the chance of a purchase, and extending the time it takes for me to find a house to purchase. More work for the agent. What if I want to view the house two times, or more? Is there a discount?

Do I wait for fee-free open houses to look without my agent--taking away their opportunity to fine-tune details of our likes and dislikes? Going solo until we find a house and purchase without a buyer's agent is looking more and more attractive. The fees will cause mistrust where a partnership should exist. I predict a host of misunderstandings. And I have listed only a quick-minute thought run.

All for a problem that isn't. Sellers may not like lookie loos and buyer's agents may not like the few that end up wasting their time. But it is a part of doing business; and I don't mean just the real estate business.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 11:32PM
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kashka_kat

"But it is a part of doing business; and I don't mean just the real estate business. "

Exactly. Looky-looing is the great American pastime (also known as "shopping.")

Nope, sorry, gotta run a credit check on you before you can try on those shoes!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 8:02AM
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lazy_gardens

There is one good reason for having an open house ... it lets all the lookie-lous in the neighborhood run over and check the place out.

They may have friends or co-workers who want to move into the area.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 9:14AM
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nosoccermom

Just to throw this in: In parts of Europe, it's the buyer or renter who pays the commission.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 9:56AM
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debrak2008

How many people are lookie loos or just out shopping and end up falling in love and buying it? I ended up buying a brand new motorcycle once that way. I went to the dealer for parts and just happened to sit on one of the bikes. Well that was it. Just make sure all the buyers are pre qualified.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 12:09PM
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camlan

The only way I'd paid a fee to be shown a house is if there were much more information available prior to the showing than there currently is for the average house.

I'd need a detailed floor plan and much, much better photos than I see these days. The main reason I want to look at a house is to see the floor plan and how the rooms flow from one to another. Nothing I see on the MLS or Zillow or Realtor.com shows that.

Would the extra work and time be worth the showing fee to the agent? I have no idea.

But I can tell you that I've looked at houses that looked absolutely perfect when viewing photos and descriptions online, and that were absolutely horrible when I saw the actual house. Or that were simply not what I wanted at all.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 6:24PM
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berniek

There was a time when I charged an up-front $500 refundable fee when showing properties to questionable buyers.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 12:50PM
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ncrealestateguy

LazyGardens Wrote:
"There is one good reason for having an open house ... it lets all the lookie-lous in the neighborhood run over and check the place out.
They may have friends or co-workers who want to move into the area"

IMO, if these friends and coworkers are serious buyers, they would find out about the home.
DebraK, buying a motorcycle is not a good example to illustrate your point. You buy a bike and take it home...done. And you can liquify the bike fairly easily and quickly if you get buyers remorse. Not so with RE. I have over 1000 prospects in my database to whom I send listings and communication to. The average time from when they register on the website to when they "pop" is over two years! Hardly an impulse purchase!
Kasha Kat, Lookey - Loos are not shopping... that is the entire point of this thread.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 1:59PM
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gyr_falcon

Lookie-loos are not necessarily not shopping--they just may not be intending to buy immediately.

We signed up for Listing Book and looked for two years (mainly weekends), developing a feel for what was available in our target area, likes and dislikes for both my husband and myself, learning what our price range would get us, etc. When we decided to purchase, we found an agent, started making offers and went into escrow after six weeks. Wouldn't it have been a waste of an agent's time to take us through all of that learning process?

Ncrealestateguy, do you honestly prefer qualified buyers to walk in without knowing what they are looking for? Let's spend two months dragging around the client before they realize they need to up their range $25,000. Another month to discover a 3-car garage is not a must-have. Have them waffle on making an offer on the perfect house, because there might be another "better" house out there. I would imagine that would be frustrating.

In my area, buyers often gather information from multiple sources--not just go blindy by what agents and listing sites are telling us. Both school districts in our area were highly rated; yet I still went to the parks and talked to local parents. Traffic patterns? (I live in SoCal) You are much better off talking to the people that live there. I know of someone that purchased what they thought was a 40 minute drive to work home; too bad their rush hours commute in reality was 1.5-2 hours each way. Yeah. A real talk to the folks there lesson.

Now, if during our two year lookie-loo period we had found something that we really wanted, you bet we would have stepped up our timeline and become serious buyers instantly!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 4:36PM
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ncrealestateguy

So, in those two years of looking, you never saw a single home that you really liked? I doubt that.
Sellers want people to look at their homes who are ready, able and willing to purchase NOW, not a possible two years from now.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 7:55PM
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gyr_falcon

Opps. Another post snuck in between.This one was for ncrealestateguy.
---------------------------------------------

I already said that several posts ago: Sellers may not like lookie loos and buyer's agents may not like the few that end up wasting their time.

In our two years of looking, yes we did see houses we liked. Unfortunately, the way of open houses here at that time was to not list those that would be open on sites or in the newspapers. You had to just drive around the neighborhood and follow signs. Often is was a huge waste of time, as the signs would end up at condos or houses outside out price or size range. The bank owned ones, and pre-foreclosures, often were at very unrealistic prices (up to several hundred thousand over current market for condition). So we were going to have to wait for the banks and underwater sellers to get real. That took several years--just beginning about the time our non-agent period ended. We didn't really want to purchase while the market was still tanking--and we were wise to have waited.

I noticed you didn't bother answering my question about if you would prefer buyers to sign up without knowing what they wanted or having any idea what their money would buy.

This post was edited by Gyr_Falcon on Fri, Oct 25, 13 at 21:45

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 9:43PM
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sas95

We looked for 2 years as well. And didn't see a single one we liked enough to buy that was also offered at a price we deemed reasonable. It's great that sellers want someone who will purchase now, but life doesn't always work to fit other people's preferred timelines. When we finally found "the one," we made an offer 5 minutes after seeing it. If you don't have to buy immediately, you can afford to be picky. That's true of any purchase.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 9:43PM
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ncrealestateguy

Most of my buyers have been receiving listings that match their stated criteria for a long time. I am speaking of over a year to 3 years. I have over 1000 prospects that are receiving listings. Whenever something new comes on the market or when there are status changes or when there are price changes, it notifies them via email. By the time they reach out to me, they are mini experts as to what the marketplace has to offer them.
I suppose I just don't understand your question.
Please remember this: RE agents do not get paid a dime unless we go to a closing. Hauling someone around who you know is probably not going to buy for up to two years is a bad business decision. For every day I spend with someone like this, is a day that I am not spending with someone that is going to generate me an income. We try to make educated guesses every day on who to spend time with and who not to. I am sure over the years I have missed out on some long term buyers that I gave up on that eventually bought. But hopefully, I found one or two more "Now" buyers that made up for it.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 10:43PM
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gyr_falcon

Which was my point. You don't want to waste time showing homes before people are ready to buy. But people who have never purchased before won't know what they want, need and can afford without seeing homes. You cannot learn (become mini-experts, as you say) from looking at listing information and pictures alone--it is necessary to view homes in person and compare them with the other information.

To save the buyer's agent time, we were lookie-loos to gain information. Then, when we had a strong idea of what we needed and could afford, we found an agent. We then quickly found houses and made offers.

You cannot have it both ways. You cannot say people can't view homes as lookie loos without an agent because they are not ready to buy and expect people to walk into your office knowing exactly the house they need and can afford to save you time.

Well, you can say that... but... ;)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 11:49PM
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ncrealestateguy

Incorrect... There is a huge difference between people that are ready, able and willing buyers, but who need to see a few homes to determine for real, what their wants and needs are. These people are not lookie - loos. Lookie - loos are are people that like looking at homes that do not know if they can be pre qualified, Lookie - Loos are people that just like to see interior of homes while killing a Saturday afternoon, or even someone who knows that they will be buyers in two years while they wait out the market downturn, just like you did. You even admitted that during those two years you had the intentions of not buying until the banks and sellers became real with their prices.
And that's fine that you found an agent that runs their business in this way. Just do not get upset if you run into sellers, just like the OP, who refuse to waste their time by showing you their home.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 7:44AM
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azmom

I like Weedy's idea.

I never understand why realtors do not provide a menu of services and charge fees accordingly. The services including sending buyer the updated listings, listing house for sale, performing market analysis, checking out/viewing a house, providing advice on price and term of the offer, negotiation, and closing...etc. Buyers and sellers pay for the service they choose/use. There is no conflict interest, everything is clean cut. Real estate commission rate could be much less than the current commonly used 6-8%, because I bet it has factored in the free service for the transactions that do not materialized.

The current commission system leaves plenty chances for conflicts. I am not sure how/why people believe a buyer's agent is loyal to the buyer when the same buyer agentâÂÂs commission is paid by the seller? I think the 'pay for service' system would prevent buyers/sellers from taking advantage of realtors and home sellers, such as getting free services and then wiggles out of paying for commission. It reduces the chance of realtors stealing buyers from each other.

When I sold my first house and moved 2000 miles away, I seriously thought for situation like ours a seller's agent would be loyal to the buyer. Since the seller would be gone, the potential future business would be with the buyer. Yes, I digressed....

I am not sure why the problems that Gyr_Falcon listed are problems. If a buyer wants to âÂÂeducateâ him/herself by touring houses to develop a feel, pay for it but not at the expense of realtors and home sellers' time, money and effort. Why the service fee needs to be regulated? Who regulates service fees from other service providers, such as physicians, attorneys, general contractors, plumbers, car mechanics, hair dressers, yard guysâ¦etc.

If the service is paid and delivered, why should worry about getting refund later? Why a buyer is entitled for a refund if pays to see a house then it has an open house later. We donâÂÂt ask for refund purchasing an item at regular price, then later the same item goes on sale.

Of course, there will be competition among agents such as offering free services. But the 'fee charge for service' agents also could entice with lower commission rate or no commission. In a free market, it is up to the service providers and buyers to make decisions.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 10:57AM
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dreamgarden

"Our house is in the million dollar range so I know the buyer pool is smaller but I dont want to waste my time on lookie loos"

I would have said you were being picky until you mentioned what price range your house is in.

If my house were in this price range, I'd be hesitant to allow just anyone in while I was still living there. I've read about people who go to open houses with the sole intention of stealing valuables, meds. Gotta watch out for copper thieves as well.

Is it possible for you to put your nicer furniture and other valuables in storage so there is nothing to steal or damage? Also, do you have to live there while it is being sold? If you have a security system, are you able to review the traffic that has come through? Do you have a security sign posted so people with ill intentions will know they are on camera? That might tell you a little more about the quality of buyers you are attracting.

The house we eventually purchased was on the market for at least 6 months. The owner was a flipper so he wasn't living in it. It took him two months to fix it up and then it sat from August until Dec. I'm not sure why because it was in a great location. After the holidays he dropped the price 20k and started holding back to back open houses.

We weren't interested at the original price, but our interest picked up once the price dropped. It was also very helpful to be able to look at it without having to make an appointment with the seller. We weren't using a buyer's agent and didn't want to take up the sellers agents time.

The open houses attracted plenty of people including lookie lou's. I went to many of these open houses and purposely hung around so I could hear what they liked/didn't like about it. I also appreciated that the owner was there so I could speak directly to him instead of the agent who didn't have a clue what had been repaired, etc.

At the 5th open house (his agent on vacation) we hashed out a price and had our attorney send his agent our contract. Cash deal with only a inspection contingency. It closed at the end of the month. If he'd only had people over by appointment it would probably still be for sale.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 11:46AM
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ncrealestateguy

Why on Earth would you limit your future home to those that only held open houses? That is just strange.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 12:01PM
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dreamgarden

"Please remember this: RE agents do not get paid a dime unless we go to a closing. Hauling someone around who you know is probably not going to buy for up to two years is a bad business decision. For every day I spend with someone like this, is a day that I am not spending with someone that is going to generate me an income."

If I were a RE agent I would not like to cart someone around that had no intention of buying.

When we were looking (without a buyer's agent), I once gave a seller's agent $10.00 for gas for meeting me at a house that was 25 miles away.

I felt it was the least I could do to make up for the time and money she was spending to show me this house by appointment.

I might consider weeding out the casual lookers by charging them to see each property, with the condition that they would get this money back ($10.00?) after the sale closes. ;)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 12:14PM
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RoseAbbey

There is a difference between people looking to buy even if it takes 2 years just because they havent found that special home instead of people looking who have no intention of buy now or maybe ever.

This last showing we had is what has frustrated me the most. The couple who showed up in an expensive sports car, definately looked like they could afford our home, spent almost an hour looking around, (we walked around the neighbourhood while the showing took place), we had a chance to talk to them before they left. He a dentist was looking to maybe retire in 5 years so they were looking to see what a million dollars would buy them. WTF! This is what I mean by people wasting my time.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 12:52PM
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kashka_kat

Don't want to haul people around all day.... So don't! You decide how to best spend your time. A new agent may however want to do just that some dull February day with nothing else going on.

You're conflating a bunch of different people in your neat little categorizations - all I've needed the past few years while in lookie loo status is OCCASIONALLY (1-2 times per year) to open the door for me and wait about 20 minutes while I poke around. The listing agents often have assistants who can do this.

At the time I get serious (like about now) is when I sign a contract with my buyers agent. Part of our discussion was about how we will work together - how I can be picky and take two years if that's how long it takes ... but without her wasting her time. She understands I will be doing my own looking at the pics and exteriors before calling her.

Anyone in any service industry will have their own personal hells that they have to deal with. As an administrative support staff person don't get me started on the particular headaches incurred by the nervous nellies and micromanaging control freaks I've had to work for- LOL! What can I say - people can be a royal PITA in any profession. You can wish all you want that people weren't PITA's or think they should be more organized with their lives - but good luck with that.

You make your own business decisions - no one is telling you otherwise. And yes if a seller with high sales price is so overwhelmed with qualified AND unqualified lookers that she wants to filter out the unqualified for her own sanity, OK, that makes a certain amount of sense.

But to question peoples motives and intentions who you don't know and haven't even met, and pigeonhole them as "desireable" or not desireable or suggest that they are somehow in the wrong for daring to want to look at a house without a preapproval letter is really uncalled for. YOU may not want to serve them in YOUR particular capacity, according to your criteria re: which market you want to serve, but you can't fault people for wanting or asking for a particular service. A simple "no, sorry" will suffice!

I really don't like the idea of charging people for the honor of viewing the property. Maybe the OP can put a tipping jar out on her countertop.

This post was edited by kashka_kat on Sat, Oct 26, 13 at 14:17

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 1:24PM
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gyr_falcon

I stated multiple times that we did not contact an agent until we were ready to buy, so we didn't waste their time. We viewed open houses; we did not have any private showings.

The market 3-5 years ago, when we were looking, was very different animal in SoCal. The listing prices were for the amount owed to the banks, even though the houses were often trashed and the market had crumbled. And the few equity sellers were using those listing prices as comps. NO ONE in their right mind was buying them.

The house we bought was on the market then, but not on our radar, for almost 34 percent more than we paid for it. It had reentered the listings during our active search, and had sat there for over 100 days before we saw it and made an offer. We didn't wait for the bottom of the market, which was still another 1-1.5 years away, because our goal was simply not to end up under water if we needed to sell in five years. They were happy to find a buyer. We were happy to find a house that would not ruin us financially. So many people were devastated financially by the housing bubble pop--has everyone forgotten that already? (Considering the recent house prices here, sadly, I suspect so. One million worth of house here would probably shock out-of-state buyers speechless.)
-----------------

lol @ tipping jar. What happened? We used to get brownies just for showing up! :-)

edit: Inserting a forgotten ingredient into brownies ;)

This post was edited by Gyr_Falcon on Sat, Oct 26, 13 at 15:43

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 3:41PM
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lazy_gardens

Sellers want people to look at their homes who are ready, able and willing to purchase NOW, not a possible two years from now.

Of course they do - but even if I'm "ready, able, and willing to purchase NOW" ... I'm still going to hold out for the right house for me, not buy one just because I'm financially able and its seller is anxious.

There are two groups of buyers - those that MUST buy fairly soon and those that have the luxury of holding out for the house they really want.

We looked at bare lots and houses for a period of about 2 years ... always being clear that we were planning to move and build, in no rush to move, but willing to buy either a lot or house if it was the right one.

* One agent told us to call her when we were 'ready'. She didn't bother to find out what we were looking for.

* Another said that the market was small, sporadic and "quirky" and that it took patience to wait for the right place at the right price, then decision speed to nab it before someone else did. She took some notes on location and pricing and said she'd keep us in mind.

And we kept in touch: Sometimes it would just be a phone call, if there was anything new or interesting on the market - she took us through three houses one weekend that were light-years out of our price range because they were totally awesome and she had the time. She showed us a few derelicts because they were in the target area and she wasn't sure how much renovating we were willing to do.

The weekend we actually made an offer ... we waded through shin-deep snow and looked at 8 houses, which was a surprising number in our target area and price range ... 5 looked OK on the net and on paper but not in person (poor traffic flow, bad "updates", didn't "feel right").

Of the other three, the most desirable one was not-quite under contract, but the wanna-be buyer was being incredibly nit-picky about flaws (on a house built in 1880-something) and driving the seller nuts with the demands to have things done at no extra cost in her counteroffers. We made an offer at listing price, with a few "this must be fixed" clauses (leaking plumbing) but weren't asking for the moon.

Bingo ... a "quick sale" that only took 2 years to make happen.

What's amusing is that the house was originally listed by the first agent, and she couldn't be bothered to get the keys to agent 2 a year before we bought it. Annoyed at the lack of success, the owner listed it with agent 2 a month before we looked at it.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 4:51PM
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sylviatexas1

'Hauling someone around who you know is probably not going to buy for up to two years is a bad business decision. For every day I spend with someone like this, is a day that I am not spending with someone that is going to generate me an income.'

exactly.

& it doesn't matter if the agent is a busy, experienced practitioner or a newbie or a fabulously successful team leader with 'assistants who can show the house'.

Busy agents must use their work time for producing business.

New agents, especially, must use their work time for building connections & producing business.

Agents who have assistants *pay* those assistants, so they must spend their work time producing business.

Look-loos look at houses because they like looking at h houses, & if they aren't planning on buying within a reasonable amount of time, *they do not constitute a good use of time *.

"Planning" to buy a home in 2 years means...
not planning to buy.

Nothing will be the same in 2 years time, not the market, not prices, not financing options, not popular styles.

Looking at homes with the idea of buying in 2 years is like dreaming about winning the lottery:
fun, but it doesn't translate well into reality.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't look at houses if you want to, but you need to be fair to the sellers & to the agent who is showing these houses to you.

If you can get a seller to let you in once he knows that you just want to look at his house, then you need to pay that agent (& here's where a newbie might be willing to go along with you).

Call a limo company & find out what you'd have to pay to be driven around the city all afternoon, & then add maybe $100 to it for entry into those houses you want to look at.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 5:26PM
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dreamgarden

"For every day I spend with someone like this, is a day that I am not spending with someone that is going to generate me an income.

Why on Earth would you limit your future home to those that only held open houses? That is just strange."

Ncrealestateguy, we did not limit our search to just open houses.

If we saw a place that looked promising, of course we called to see the house.

But we would never think of asking an agent to drive us around all day, looking at places we aren't really interested in, on their dime/gas. That would be unethical.

We respect other people's time.

If people want to play games, then perhaps some enterprising person should figure out a way to charge those who purposely waste your time.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 7:25PM
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ncrealestateguy

WOW! I want 25 clients per year like you DreamGarden.
It took me almost two years in the business to realize that there were so many time wasters out there.
Lazygardens wrote:
"Of course they do - but even if I'm "ready, able, and willing to purchase NOW" ... I'm still going to hold out for the right house for me, not buy one just because I'm financially able and its seller is anxious.
There are two groups of buyers - those that MUST buy fairly soon and those that have the luxury of holding out for the house they really want."

Lazy, just because most buyers find their home in an average of three trips out, does not mean they settled for something less, as you hint at.
Unless you are looking for something truly unique, it does not take two years to locate a suitable home, if you are a ready, able and willing buyer.
KashKatWrote:
"But to question peoples motives and intentions who you don't know and haven't even met, and pigeonhole them as "desireable" or not desireable or suggest that they are somehow in the wrong for daring to want to look at a house without a preapproval letter is really uncalled for. YOU may not want to serve them in YOUR particular capacity, according to your criteria re: which market you want to serve, but you can't fault people for wanting or asking for a particular service. A simple "no, sorry" will suffice!"

WOW Kasha! Why you so offended?
I never suggested you or other lookie - loos were "in the wrong" for being so. And you are very wrong to suggest that it is uncalled for me or any other agent to question people's motives and intentions before I decide if I want to take them on as clients. Totally wrong. If I did not do just this, I would have been forced out of this business a long time ago. It is just a common sense business decision. Don't take it so personally.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 8:43PM
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azmom

kashka_kat,

You said "all I've needed the past few years while in lookie loo status is OCCASIONALLY (1-2 times per year) to open the door for me and wait about 20 minutes while I poke around. The listing agents often have assistants who can do this. " -

Are you saying you wasted these agents' time for 1 -2 times PER YEAR, for a FEW YEARS while knowing that you had no intention to buy?

Did it ever occur to you that agents might have to drive long distance and switch their work and family schedules to accommodate your requests of "poke around for 20 minutes" yet no intention to buy? How about the time and effort you wasted these sellers in preparing for the showings, and the false hope you misled them?

The thinking and behavior are self centered yet you rationalize that are acceptable as agents' "paying cost of doing business".

You are incredibly disrespectful to OP with your remark of "Maybe the OP can put a tipping jar out on her countertop.".

This post was edited by azmom on Mon, Oct 28, 13 at 9:24

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 5:20AM
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lazy_gardens

NCrealestateguy Unless you are looking for something truly unique, it does not take two years to locate a suitable home, if you are a ready, able and willing buyer.

Two years? Easily done.

* Small college town.
* 800-mile round trip to small town, therefore limited viewing trips.
* Limited desired area, even within that small town.
* Specific minimum bdr/ba count to allow for an office and guests
* Limited inventory of that size within that area, of any kind, much of it used as rentals to students and unlikely to come on the market.

When you add those factors, it's a matter of waiting for the natural turnover to take its course and waiting to get lucky and see a house that's a good fit.

I just checked and there are three listings now that would have fit our criteria on paper. One is next to an auto repair shop (nice shop, good mechanics, but I don't wanna live next to them), and the other two I've already seen and rejected. One was remuddled beyond economical fixing at its price point (stove on island with about 2.5 feet on all sides of island cleverly photographed to make it look OK), and the other is a lovely Victorian money pit with way too much overdue maintenance.

It's not as though we were taking up hours of her time every weekend, and consuming gallons of her gas. We drove. It was drive past the possibles, pick up the agent at her office, buy her lunch and look at the possibles on paper, catch up on local gossip, and maybe drive a few blocks to look at a house if one had passed the drive-by test. Drop her back at her office.

We only had one lengthy house crawl, the last one. It took about 4 hours to see all 8 houses, and then it was all paperwork and emails.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 9:28AM
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sas95

Unless you are looking for something truly unique, it does not take two years to locate a suitable home, if you are a ready, able and willing buyer.

In our situation, we were looking right after the housing boom in the NYC suburbs, when every homeowner seemed to be looking to get more for their house than they paid/or wish they were paid during the peak. It was a nightmare process, and housing at "reasonable" prices seemed to trickle onto the market. People who weren't desperate to sell were holding onto their properties waiting for them to rise again, and most of what was on the market that wasn't wildly overpriced was awful.

So I'm not sure a blanket statement can be made about serious buyers, time to purchase, number of houses viewed, etc. It's all so dependent on local market conditions. Probably way different in NC than in metro NYC.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 10:21AM
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ncrealestateguy

And that is why I clarified my statement by saying "unless you are looking for a truly unique property." You Lazy, are looking for unique properties. And that is fine. You sound like a ready, able and willing buyer. I would not consider you a lookie - loo.
Sas95 wrote:
"In our situation, we were looking right after the housing boom in the NYC suburbs, when every homeowner seemed to be looking to get more for their house than they paid/or wish they were paid during the peak. It was a nightmare process, and housing at "reasonable" prices seemed to trickle onto the market. People who weren't desperate to sell were holding onto their properties waiting for them to rise again, and most of what was on the market that wasn't wildly overpriced was awful."
I will go out on a limb after reading this and say that you were not a ready, able and willing buyer. Maybe you were ready and able, but you were not willing to pay what the market was dictating. You can not tell me that most of those "overpriced" homes did not end up selling. They just did not sell to you, because you were not quite willing at the time. And that is fine. But it is nice when buyers can recognize this themselves.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 11:39AM
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sas95

I can tell you that some of these overpriced homes are still on the market today, three years after we bought. One across the street from us started in 2007 at over $4 million, and is now priced at $1 million and it still isn't selling. Most that did sell sold for considerably less than the asking price, many sitting for months and years on end. Some were just pulled off the market. Virtually nothing sold at these prices. The market wasn't "dictating" these prices-- the sellers were "wishing" for these prices. There is a difference. Things that were priced at real market value sold immediately, some with bidding wars. It's just that there was precious little for a while at real market value, and nothing we wished to make an offer on.

Again, ncrealestateguy, with all due respect, I think things were/are different in your neck of the woods. But please don't make assumptions about what kind of buyers we were, when you really have no idea.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 12:11PM
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ncrealestateguy

I am not knocking anyone on this thread... just trying to explain from a RE agent's perspective why we choose to work with some persons and not others.
There is a difference between a picky buyer and an unreasonable one.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 1:10PM
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sas95

I appreciate that. I will tell you that our RE agent chose to stick with us during that time. She sent us only listings that were not at a "pie in the sky" price point. And we didn't waste her time. If we saw something that we thought was possibly overpriced, we would go to an open house-- we certainly wouldn't make her drive all over town for nothing.

But she knew what market conditions were and she herself found them ridiculous. And she never doubted our intent; she knew that when the right thing came, we'd buy. So she continued to keep in touch and look on our behalf.

Would some, like you, have written us off? I'm sure many would, and I certainly wouldn't hold that against anyone. But in exchange for her work, when we did find a house we wanted, we made sure she was brought into the deal even though she didn't play a part in finding the house. (And in our area, there are no buyer's agent contracts, etc., so we had no obligation to do this.) And we've sent several buyers her way who have ended up buying with her. So sometimes there are long term benefits for RE agents for their perseverance that extend beyond the quick sale.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 1:30PM
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chispa

One poster made a comment about being hesitant to show a million dollar house to just anyone. Again, like sas95 said, you can't make assumptions when our markets are so different. For those of us in many areas of the coasts, one million barely gets you a 1950, 1400sq.ft ranch, on a tiny lot, that needs to be gutted. Based on my market, I imagine a teardown and wonder why you would want to limit who looks at it! Someone else sees a beautiful large new home, because that is what a million will get you in their market. Stating a location would really make a difference in these conversations.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 3:49PM
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sylviatexas1

'sometimes there are long term benefits for RE agents for their perseverance that extend beyond the quick sale.'

I think you're doing Realtors a disservice by assuming that limiting our services to people who are serious buyers means that we're out for 'the quick sale'.

Evalluating a potential buyer's likelihood of actually buying doesn't mean that we toss out the 'hard' ones & snap up the easy ones.

My experience is that often it's harder for an older couple or family to find a workable house than for a first-time buyer.

They have more stuff, they have more hobbies, school district may be more critical, they may want a big garden or no land at all...while a first-time homebuyer sometimes can toss their futon on the living room floor in any house that fits their budget!

I once spent a very intense 2 weeks with a just-retired couple looking for a home:
their house was under contract,
they were moving 2 counties north to be closer to the grandchildren,
he needed a place to park his boat...
& they had a round curio cabinet that she had inherited from her grandmother that didn't fit in many of the houses we could find in their price range.

& I once made 9, count 'em *9*, trips to the mid-cities area to help a couple find a home, & they were the most easy-going people in the world!

The point is, as ncreguy says, that we serve our clients when they *buy* or *sell* a home.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 5:42PM
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RoseAbbey

chipsa, again you missed information I had posted;

I said "the buyer pool would be smaller for our home being in the million dollar range" so obviously that means it is in the high end and definately not a tear down. That being said, what does location or even dollar value have anything to do with my original post about denying showings to people who are not in the market to buy, only to look. Doesnt matter whether house is in the lower end or higher end,definate lookie loos should not be wasting anyone's time.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 6:34PM
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sylviatexas1

'whether house is in the lower end or higher end,definate lookie loos should not be wasting anyone's time. '

yep, & another thing to consider is the safety, or even just the 'ick', factor.

You do *not* want somebody looking at your house/stuff/photos unless that person is looking to buy a house like yours.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 6:52PM
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chispa

Obviously, many of us feel that one does what needs to be done to sell a house, even put up with lookie-loos that might turn out to be real buyers. Different opinions.

Roseabbey, this is your house, your schedule, your decisions - you can place any restrictions you like on the showings of your house. Tell your realtor and have the appropriate notes/instructions placed on the MLS. Problem solved.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 10:22PM
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kashka_kat

NC - Why am I so offended (you ask)? Oh, I dunno - guess I was reacting to negative put-down labels applied to me and being lumped in with the sociopaths who stiff you at closing.

I will trust that in person you are businesslike and have a more nuanced way of saying "this is what my practice is and how I would want to work with you", rather than "don't waste my time, you looky loo timewaster."

Fortunately this is America and we have many choices about where and from whom to get goods and services. I like my agent exactly because she's communicated clearly what her boundaries are and what our process should be so it works as well for her as it does for me, IF it should end up taking 2 years to get the type of historic house I want. Dont need some passive aggressive type who says yeah sure I'll work with you, but then doesnt have her heart in it.

AZ - did I waste those agents time 1-2 x per year? Perhaps, but you'll really have to ask them. There was one who wanted to see the inside as much as I did and seemed quite happy to talk to me for a half an hour about the market in general.

I fully disclosed my status of being in a fact-finding phase to see what my money could buy and if I needed to adjust my budget and expectations accordingly. My current house was a fixer upper and it was only after seeing a few I realized I realllly didn't want to do that again. With that type of house you really do need to get in to see it - such things as bad smells and quality of workmanship (or lack of) don't always convey well in photos. ( And please note that in many of the more rural areas - at least in this corner of the US - there isnt much on the internet and you're lucky if they've posted one or 2 pictures that are blurry or hilariously incompetent.)

I will say that I was not aware that being shown a house without credentials was such an imposition and will modify expectations accordingly. Since all the ones Ive seen (except possibly one) were empty and obviously not lived in, I hadn't considered the impact on people who may be living in theirs.

Re: tip jar comment, I should not have addressed this to the OP (sorry) but to those who feel their usual compensation is not adequate. Why else would you charge money to see a house IMHO. If your intent is to dissuade people from looking who you believe won't, or can't buy, then simple communication to that effect is all that's needed. Otherwise you may end up dissuading people who CAN buy but are frugal. They may want to see your house, but not THAT much.

This post was edited by kashka_kat on Tue, Oct 29, 13 at 16:48

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 11:01AM
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Oaktown

This: "Most people don't waste their time randomly looking at property if they aren't going to buy something."

and this: "I am considering telling our agent to only bring buyers who have sold their house or have conditional offers on theirs and are seriously looking to buy. Am I being unreasonable?"

roseabbey, if you're still living in the house and not in a hurry to sell, I don't think you're at all being unreasonable by discussing with your agent whether to limit showings to buyers who are pre-qualified. I would, however, suggest that you allow your agent some greater flexibility as to what it means to be a qualified buyer, otherwise you might be screening out too much of your buyer pool.

When we purchased our last two properties, we did not have offers on our existing house (and had not even listed). During our most recent search, our agent suggested that we look at a home that was "outside" our price range -- we easily could afford the payments but had not yet made all of our financing arrangements at that level. We really liked that home, and when it was still on the market 30 days later (quite a long time in our area) we were able to make an offer slightly less than asking (another 30 days and our financial situation would have been much better). We didn't get the house but our offer acted as a stalking horse for another offer the sellers got at MOL list price. My point is, had we been screened out, the sellers very well might not have gotten such a good price for their property. Just something to think about.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 1:10PM
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RoseAbbey

oaktown, thanks for your post. We have not yet talked to our agent about this because posts like yours do give us something to think about. DH and I have decided for now to leave it status quo. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 3:36PM
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dabunch

roseabbey,

It sounds as though you are suffering from the typical seller's frustration-lookers but no bites. Then you find out that the buyers aren't even making any attempt to get ready for a purchase. I hear ya. Same happened to me. I was ready to scream....but I didn't. Patience is not my virtue.

I sold a few years ago when the market was tanking. People were afraid to pull the trigger. One in particular Lookie-Loo burned my butt when they came with their realtor and said that the driveway was too long and steep. This came from a couple who sat in front of the house the night before for a long time. Don't you think that they could have figured that out while sitting in their car the day before the showing?
We ran around like crazy and got a 3300 sqft house ready to show in 1 hour just so that the Lookie Loos said that the driveway didn't meet their needs.

Nonetheless, I swallowed my anger and frustration realizing that we were at the buyers' whim because the market was not so good. We even had people and realtors come and look at the house so they knew what to list their property for....I found out later. Many of the showings seemed odd. We had the house listed with one of those FSBO agencies but paid the buyer realtor 3%.

Bottom line: I felt like I was being used, abused, disrespected....and then I showed the house MYSELF to a couple who "pretended" to be broke, did not have their house for sale, nor were pre-qualified. They did say that they drove by our house over the years and admired it. They looked at it and I heard nothing. A month later they called and purchased the house with CASH! Be patient. Selling a house is an extreme inconvenience.

Unfortunately, the buyers are in the drivers seat. All you can do is be flexible with your showings. The right buyer may be a Lookie-Loo initially.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 8:35AM
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Acadiafun

I hate, hate, the lookie loos. Maybe I am evil. I had one guy who brought in booze in a foam coffee cup, while his "wife" complained about the stairs. I could smell it and kept thinking "don't spill that on the new carpet buddy" Also why complain about stairs? It is a two story colonial- there are stairs.

Next I had the lookie loo who complained about the black tile in the bathroom. He must have meant grey slate floor in the kitchen. He also hated the color of one wall and gave a paragraph critic of that on his feedback. All while I am selling under market price.

The good thing about his brutal critic was it led me to believe the kitchen must have been too dark or he would not have mistaken the floor. So I painted the doors and trim white, and I took out the expensive stained glass ceiling light and put in a cheap clear one. It did lighten the room up quite a bit. I got a full price offer next showing.

Honestly- I feel the frustration. It is like you want to stop them at the door. But I tried to be positive and think "this might be my buyer". The only stipulation I had was that I would not accept offers without a pre-approval letter.

House is under contract so I hope it sells. Inspection was done and the buyers are fine with the condition of the house. If I have to show the house again I think I will need sedatives.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 2:40PM
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sylviatexas1

'If I have to show the house again I think I will need sedatives.'

I bet we've all been there, Acadia!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 2:58PM
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