Sort Of Confusing

So, I’ve posted about this before but it just seems to be such a recurrent theme that I thought I’d give it another whirl. I’ve been doing this for 21 years now and it never ceases to amaze me how so many sellers, who all want top dollar by the way, put so many hurdles in front of actually getting it! Case in point, I go out to show property the other day and in preparation for doing so I call the sellers on 5 different houses to make appointments. The first house just came up on Friday, so I made the assumption I could preview it at it’s initial open house on Sunday. It wasn’t open, there was no lockbox and the seller wasn’t home. So I call again and speak to the seller, asking if I can show the house at 3:00PM.

“No” she says. “I’ve got piano lessons all afternoon. Can you come at 5:00PM?”

Since I’m meeting my clients at 2:00, extending the showing until 5:00 probably isn’t going to work. Next is a tenant occupied house. The tenants are uncooperative, won’t allow a lockbox and only will allow showings at designated open houses. That one’s not going to get shown either. At the third one, the seller informs me he’ll be getting ready to go to work at that time and it would be great if we could come some other time. Like maybe 5:00 after he’s gone out. (I should have met these clients at 5:00, huh?…the problem is, they can’t make it at 5:00!)

Maybe I should show vacant houses only? A couple of weeks ago I had an appointment to show a house in Millbrae and when I got there another agent and his clients were at the front door trying to get in. No lockbox again. They had rung the doorbell several times to no avail. I was still waiting for my client to meet me there so I hung around after they had left. When my client arrived we went up to the front door and looked in the window, rang the doorbell again a couple of times and, of course, still no response. Just as we were getting ready to leave a young couple rools up and goes into the house, we follow them in. There’s about 10 people in there. If we don’t coincidentally meet this incoming couple we don’t see the house. I don’t get it? Do folks want to sell their houses or not?

Maybe I’m just weird, but isn’t it kind of important to actually show your house when it’s on the market? Doesn’t everybody kind of have the same goal here? Buyers want to buy, sellers want to sell, agents want to sell to buyers? Maybe I’m just out of touch with the new reality here?


  1. As someone who has just been thru this on the sellers side of things..I get what you’re saying. It took a year and a half for us to sell our home (on and off) and we were very cooperative and accommodating. However, many times the agent and clients never showed nor did they call to tell us. A few times the agent left our doors unlocked and sliding door wide open and another time he left our front door wide open! Good thing we weren’t out of town for the weekend. I agree that sellers need to be more flexible if they want to sell their home but it does work both ways.

  2. Jim Minkey says:

    Fantastic point Tezbear! It’s definitely a two way street…so sorry you had to put up with that stuff.

  3. While you make some good points, you also have to realize that sellers have more going on in their lives than selling their house. For example, the woman who was giving piano lessons – if she cancels those lessons, she loses income. I don’t know her specifics, but that income may be the difference in keeping on top of her monthly bills, or not. Just because it’s a buyers market, doesn’t mean sellers can or should have to roll over and be ready to jump at a moments notice.

  4. Jim Minkey says:

    Honestly Bill, I really do understand. I sold my own house a few years ago…and it’s a pain in the butt. It’s often inconvenient for sure. At the end of the day though exposing your home to the broadest number of potential buyers is the right thing to do. When you put your house on the market you actually become a small business person and your house is your product. If you opened a store at Edgewater Place would you close it for awhile if you had to give a piano lesson? By the way, I’m not suggesting stopping all the elements of normal life, but you need to work around those things. I’d be willing to bet that a seller who doesn’t hold an open house and obstructs showings is definitely going to cost themselves significant dollars. In the piano teachers case, I ended up showing 4 other homes that day. My clients are writing an offer tonight on one of them. They don’t care if they missed the piano teachers house, they like this other one. I haven’t seen the piano teachers house either so I can’t tell them if it’s different or better. The point is, there’s plenty of fish in the sea. There’s plenty of equally good homes and buyer’s are naturally going to buy the places they can see. If you go to Lucky and want steaks for dinner and it turns out they’re closed for some reason do you wait for them to open up? No, you go to Safeway and buy the steaks.

  5. Michelle says:

    My mom was a piano teacher, so I feel ‘justified’ in saying this. Just give the lesson anyway! Open the front door! People come, people go, who cares? If the student is going to perform for someone, someday, it is important to get used to people walking in and out! It would be reasonable to request that the potential buyers to be discreet in that room, but seriously, being interrupted is just life.
    We had to show our townhome while living in it, and I bent over backwards to accommodate people who wanted to see it. You want to come at 4, I will be there at 4. It was more important to get some money for it, and I was willing to be inconvenienced.
    Jim, if we ever sell this house, you bet we will let you see this house whenever you want! =)

  6. I was just using the piano teacher as an example to try and show that when someone puts their house up for sale, they mentally assign a priority level to selling it. Some (most?) put it at a very high level, understanding it will sometime be inconvenient, but wanting to sell more quickly. Others give it a lower priority, but end up paying the price of fewer showings and most likely taking longer to sell.

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