Be nice to the Buyer’s Agent

Out of the six houses I showed to two clients yesterday, I had problems getting into three.

In one case, there was a Tenant who simply refused to let us in (because she was having company for dinner and needed time to cook).  I explained that my client was making a final decision, that they had their house under contract, that they had specifically selected this house as one they really wanted to see, etc.  The Tenant didn’t care.  So, I thought I’d try the listing agent, to see if there was anything SHE could do.  The listing agent didn’t seem to care, either.  So, we’re submitting an Offer on a different property this morning.  I bet the OWNER cares….

For another, the Seller was very rude and said, “Nobody told me you were coming. You’re supposed to call first.”  I politely apologized (with a smile) and explained that I had called the phone number shown on the Showing Instructions on the MLS, and wasn’t sure why her listing broker hadn’t called her.  She continued on saying, “Well, I usually like to have some advance notice before people just show up!”  I said that, “I totally understand what you mean.  I’m so sorry that your broker didn’t relay the message.  I’m absolutely certain that I called.  See, I even put a little check mark here, next to the number, when I called this morning.  Would it be okay if I showed my client the property, since we’re here?”  (Funny thing is, I wasn’t even showing the HOUSE for sale; I was showing an accessory apartment For Rent, and we didn’t even need to go inside her house; we just needed to get inside the basement apartment, which was VACANT.)  She made a very uncomfortable situation for all us, including my client.  And, my client felt awkward the whole time we were looking at the place.  Usually, we try to make people feel “welcome”.

Later in the day, out with a Buyer client, we were greeted at the door by someone saying, “Oh, hi, who are you?”  I introduced myself, and she said, “Oh, I didn’t know you were coming; we’re in the middle of dinner.”  I again apologized and said that I had called the phone number on the MLS and “left a message” just like the Showing Instructions requested, and I even showed her the paper, reading the phone number out loud, saying “It doesn’t tell me whose number this is, but I left a message at this number earlier this morning.”  She said, “Well, that’s my number but I didn’t get any message from you.”  I sheepishly apologized for the confusion and timidly asked if it would be okay if I could show the property to my clients (who were standing behind me).  As if I she didn’t make me feel embarrassed enough, she then said, “Well, I guess I’ll just have to wrap up my dinner, put it in the refrigerator, and eat it later” and then she tagged on “…even though we were just about to start eating.”  She DID let us.  But, the mother-in-law complained, out-loud, three times about how hungry she was.  (I get that.  I actually said, “listen, as far as we’re concerned, you should just go ahead and eat your dinner, and we’ll only be in the kitchen for about 30 seconds.”)  As we were leaving, the husband came over to me on the side and apologized, saying, “I’m so sorry.  I just checked the voice mail; and we DID get your message.  I just didn’t hear it because I was on a conference call most of the day.”  That’s great.  But, my client felt uncomfortable the whole time we were in the house, and I could tell they were rushing to get out.  It was a shame.

Anyway, I guess there’s two lessons.  First, Sellers should be nice to Buyer’s Agents (and Buyers) when they show up, especially if the Buyer’s Agent did what he was supposed and followed the Showing Instructions properly.  Second, I might start insisting that Sellers call me back with confirmation of the appointment, even when the Showing Instructions say, “Leave message at XXX and go!”