Why Homeowners Let the Competition Look (or Should)

Wait a second!

Don’t Buyers’ agents represent Buyers at a preview? (in contrast to a showing, a preview is when just the Realtor views the home).

And exactly how does an agent represent the Seller of the home they’re previewing ” don’t they already have an agent? (called “the listing agent”).

The explanation: the previewing agent is representing the Seller of a nearby home, that the agent is (or may be) about to list.

Their twin goals: a) find out about the competition, so that they can price their client’s home . . . well, competitively; or b) if the would-be client instead is adamant about a specific listing price, decide whether it’s worth their while to take the listing.

Call it “Realtor due diligence” (or if you prefer a technical term, “kicking the tires”). 🙂

Seller Self-Interest

Why on earth would the owner of the to-be-previewed home want to facilitate such “intelligence-gathering?”

Especially at higher price points, some Sellers don’t — they either refuse the preview, or simply don’t respond (same difference).

However, savvy Sellers usually comply, for three reasons:

One. The agent listing the competing home may attract Buyers who are a better fit for the previewed home.

It happens all the time: Buyers like what they like.

If the previewing agent’s upcoming listing is a Contemporary with an open floor plan and a dated Kitchen, and a prospective Buyer instead is looking for a Colonial with a traditional floor plan and a new Kitchen . . . they can tell ’em about the home they previewed.

That is, assuming the agent is familiar with it (note: if two homes differ too much, including on price, style, size, etc., they likely aren’t competitors ” in which case there’s no reason to preview).

Casing a Home (in a GOOD Way)

Two. Previews are painless (and quick).

Unlike a showing, owners don’t have to leave for a preview.

Ditto for turning on lights, vacuuming, or any other prep that Sellers do (or should) before a showing.

That’s because the previewing agent doesn’t care about such niceties; all they want to do is confirm condition, floor plan, finished square feet, and overall feel (“how well the home shows,” in agent parlance).

Depending on the size of the home, a veteran agent can usually accomplish that in 10 — 15 minutes, vs. 2x — 3x longer for their clients.

Three. The Seller might glean some useful feedback from the previewing agent.

True, most agents don’t take the time to do that (or don’t have the experience or market knowledge to do it well).

However, when a Seller (and listing agent) OK a preview, it creates good karma, and the previewing agent is more likely to respond in kind with some constructive criticism.

For Sellers who still may not be persuaded about the virtue of allowing Previews, here’s one last consideration:  a couple weeks (months?) back, it’s a good bet that their agent previewed on their behalf prior to recommending a list price.

The agent just didn’t necessarily tell ’em they were doing it.

See also, “Proper (& Improper) Purposes of Realtor Previews.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

Leave a Reply