Restrictions On Showings

Gaah!  It’s so frustrating to see people shoot themselves in the foot!

When you’re in a highly competitive market place, why would you restrict the number of potential buyers for your product?

People are getting lazy and arrogant when it comes to their properties in Toronto, and they’re the ones that will be crying poor in the end…


As I’m sitting at my desk just a moment ago, an agent behind me exclaimed, “Go for a goddam walk!  Take out the dog, go to the market for God’s sake!”

I asked him what he was yelling about and he told me, “I just tried to book a showing for tomorrow at 10:00AM, and I get a page that reads: Non-confirmation for 25 Grenville, pls re-book after 11AM.  What is with these people?”

He’s right.  But he’s fighting a losing battle.

With increasing frequency, sellers are restricting the date and time of showings by potential buyers and their agents.  Imagine trying to book a showing for 10:00AM and having that seller get the message, then call the office back and say, “Actually, can you please cancel that showing?  Thanks.  And while you’re at it, just make a note that we don’t want any showings before 11:00AM.”

I don’t understand it.

We’re talking about your largest asset; your condominium or house is for sale, and you are too lazy to get out of bed and leave the house for a half hour while a buyer views your house?

Here is a story from my dealings yesterday afternoon.  Before you judge how I handled the situation, just consider that I did what I did for the good of the seller, and the industry as a whole.

I’ve been trying to get a client of mine in to a townhouse on Redpath Ave near Yonge/Eglinton.  The MLS listing reads “Showings only Wed/Thurs.”  I couldn’t believe that they would seriously restrict the showings to only two days a week.  This completely contradicts the idea behind MLS: Multiple Listing Service, and exposing your property to as many people as possible.  If it’s only available to show 2/7 days, then it shoudln’t be on MLS, in my opinion.

So I booked the appointment for 1:00PM on Thursday, and the receptionist paged me: Call if cancelling or late.  1/2 hour only.  Be punctual.

Usually, most appointments are a full hour, but I knew we’d only be in the unit for 5-10 minutes since most of these units are the same layout.

We arrived at the unit at 1:20PM, and I knocked on the door.  The door opened about a foot, and a lady stuck her head out and said, “Yes?”

“Hi, I’m David Fleming from Bosley Real Estate,” I said.  “I’m here to show your unit.”

She looked at me rather strangely and said, “You’re twenty minutes late, how dare you.  Your appointment was for 1PM.”

I tried to be nice and amicable and I replied, “Sorry about that ma’am, but I thought the appointment was for 1:00 – 1:30 and that we still had some time left.”

Her sense of entitlement astonished me as she went on, “It seems to me if you really wanted to see my condo you’d have been here on time.”

I lost it.

I’m sorry, but I lost it.

“It seems to me that if you really wanted to sell your condo—your cookie-cutter townhouse that has been on the market for 42 days, you would allow showings seven days a week just like everybody does!  And you wouldn’t give a potential buyer any flak for arriving on-time, which is what my watch currently says.”

Her jaw dropped, and she opened the door all the way.  “You know, I have half a mind to call my agent and tell him what you just said!”

I explained to her, “Ma’am, your agent represents YOU, not me, and I hope that you do call him and tell him because perhaps he can say ‘I told you so’ and convince you to allow showings all day, all week, and maybe sell this thing.”

I then asked my client, “Do you still want to go inside?”  And he responded, “Nah, I’m not digging the vibe here.”

We walked away.

Keep in mind that we were really just exploring the townhouse complex as an option, and he was never anything close to serious about this lady’s condo.

But I just can’t get my head around this woman’s thought process!  She wants to sell her condo, but she thinks there is nothing wrong with only allowing potential buyers to view the unit two days per week!  And what’s more, she is rude and obnoxious when we come to view the unit!

Take another common example: “No Showings On Weekends.”

I’ve never understood this one at all.  Most people work 9-5, Monday-to-Friday, and thus the weekends would be the easiest time for them to view prospective properties.  But for a seller to announce No Showings On Weekends shows a serious lack of commitment to selling the property on that seller’s part.

I think the sellers have it backwards:

The seller thinks, “I’m going to sell my amazing property, but I want to minimize the amount of inconvenience to myself.”

That’s not the way it should work.  The seller should be thinking, “I’m going to sell my property, and I want to do everything possible to expose it to the market and ensure any potential buyers have ample time to view it.”

There are always exceptions to the rule.  If you have a newborn baby at home and he takes a scheduled nap every day at 2PM, that’s fine!  If the seller is elderly and has to be present for all showings because she can’t get down the steps on the front porch, okay!

But if you’re a 31-year-old condo owner at 65 Scadding Avenue and you want to get drunk on Friday night and sleep all day Saturday, then you have to ask yourself if you’re really doing everything in your power to sell your condo, and don’t blame the market when your condo sits for a few weeks.

Realtors and their clients have no problem skipping over a potential property if they can’t get in to view it.  If I’m taking a client out to see six properties on Saturday afternoon, and the owner of property #7 says, “Please reschedule for Sunday,” chances are that we’re not going to see that property.

I scream “MARKETING” until I’m blue in the face, and part of marketing is exposure.

The next time a seller says “please reschedule” to Realtor and his client, that seller should ask him/herself, “I wonder if that was the person that was going to buy my property?”

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  1. […] Simply put, any restrictions on showings in this city make it harder to show and subsequently sell properties.  Recall my post from a few weeks ago here. […]