The Broker Tour

Things have sure changed in the real estate business. Once upon a time…and it wasn’t that long ago, a seller exposed their home to the market for the first time via the broker tour. In Foster City the tour takes place on Tuesday morning. The home was entered into the market through the MLS and Realtors would visit the place on Tuesdays to determine if it was right for their clients. Tour day, in my experience was maybe the biggest day of the week since a group of us would drive around and see houses. It was important to me for another big reason too…because listing agents would very often entice more traffic by serving lunch in these homes. Nobody can graze quite like a pack of hungry Realtors!

Well things have sure changed. Since the inception of the good ole Internet the entire method of exposing the listing has shifted. The single biggest element is probably the virtual tour. When a listing is entered it’s almost always accompanied by a link to 9 still photos and another to a larger display of 360 degree panoramas along with more still shots. The first exposure of the home is now the Sunday open house where actual buyers, who have already seen the home via the virtual tour, come to check it out first hand. The broker tour still takes place but the dynamic has shifted so that the client see’s the place first on Sunday and the agent merely follows that up with their own inspection on Tuesday morning.

Here’s the truth…not very many agents go on tour anymore. The virtual tour has replaced the old function the brokers tour once provided. If my client hasn’t seen the place I can tell just from looking at the pics if it’s something they might be interested in. That’s particularly the case if the listing is somewhere outside of the local area. Agents used to come to inspect the house from many other communities if they had clients interested in Foster City…but why drive all the way over if they can preview it online? Now a days, even food isn’t much of an enticement. I can’t tell you how much food is sitting on the counter in my office every Tuesday afternoon because it’s gone uneaten at the house on tour! Maybe 20 people come in the three hour time period. It used to be 100.

The broker tour is an after thought now and the biggest benefit of it is the fact that I get to politic with agents that might have a buyer…because they’re the ones who typically show up.

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