The Real Estate Agent's Guide to Showing Homes

A Beginner-Friendly Guide to Showing Homes

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas


Are you fully prepared for showing day?

As a buyer’s agent, one of the most important tasks you’ll ever face is simply showing the right house to the right client. That’s for multiple reasons:

  1. Buyers (especially of the “first time” variety) are picky
  2. Buyers think they want one thing but it turns out they want something else entirely
  3. Buyers are quick to lose confidence in you if you show them the wrong house

If only it was as simple as jumping into the car and showing clients the homes that you think they’d love. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. A lot of things must come together to create the perfect showing experience. In addition to being a real estate agent, you also need to be a bit of a mindreader. But the good news is that you can learn how to read minds without the power of telepathy. This post will help!

Below, we’ll dive into how to create the perfect house showing experience for your real estate buyers. Use these tips to gain their trust and understand their needs.

Prequalify Your Buyers

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Repeat after me: Qualify the buyer. This is the very first step to take before you show a property to a prospective buyer.

There is absolutely nothing worse than playing out the following scenario:

Spending an entire day (or several) showing property after property to a buyer --> Finally finding a property that the buyer loves --> Discovering that the buyer is actually unable or unwilling to purchase the property

Ugh.

To avoid wasting everyone's time, be sure to pre-qualify your buyers. Pre-qualification sounds like a long and intimidating process, but it's actually a simple (yet detailed) questionnaire that you ask your buyers to determine their readiness and ability to purchase.

Here's a sample list of 9 questions to ask:

  1. Have you been pre-qualified for a mortgage loan?
  2. What's the name of the lender that pre-qualified you for a loan?
  3. What is your price range for a home?
  4. How much can you put down for a down payment?
  5. Are you working with another agent?
  6. Have you ever purchased a home before?
  7. Are you selling your current home? If so, do you need to sell your current home before you buy?
  8. How long have you been house hunting?
  9. How soon are you looking to move?

Use these questions to avoid wasting you and your client’s time.

Do a Thorough Pre-Showing Interview

In addition to pre-qualifying your clients, you should also ask the standard questions to inform your search. Determine which homes to show them by asking your client about their preferences. Here’s a starter list of questions to ask:

  • What is your price range for a new home?
  • What is your favorite style of home?
  • How many bedrooms do you need?
  • How many bathrooms would you like?
  • Do you have a particular square footage range you'd like to see?
  • Do you want to see homes in a specific neighborhood?
  • Are there any special features you'd love to see in a home?
  • Do you have any school-age children?
  • What neighborhood "vibe" do you prefer? Trendy, quiet, convenient to shopping?

Double Check the MLS

It goes without saying that you’ll check the MLS for a list of homes that fit your client’s preferences. However, it’s crucial that you double check the MLS the morning (or night before) of your scheduled showings to make sure that you have the most up-to-date information.

What if a house has gone under contract since the last time you looked? It happens frequently, especially in a hot market or with a particularly great home. You definitely don’t want to take a client to a house and then realize it’s no longer available.

Give the Client the Option to Ride or Drive

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Some clients will happily hop in the car with you as you chauffeur them around town. Others will want to follow behind you in their own car. Give your clients this option. Some clients, especially couples or those who bring along a close friend, prefer the privacy of their own vehicle so that they can discuss the properties without you listening in. Don’t take it personally.

If they do choose your car (which may happen last minute, so be prepared), be sure that your car is freshly washed, cleaned and vacuumed on the inside, and lightly scented with a fresh fragrance. Avoid clutter at all costs. And be sure to fill up your tank before meeting with your client. It’s cringe-worthy to pull over for gas during a showing tour.

Know the Drive

As the real estate agent, you’re held to the same directional standards as a taxi driver. No one wants to be in the car with, or follow behind, an agent who’s completely lost. It’s not a good look!

You need to know the exact roads to take to get from point A to point B, and then point C, and so on. If you fumble around and end up U-turning on dead-ends, the client will lose confidence in your ability to find them a home. It sucks, but it’s true.

Before taking your clients for showing day, make a point to drive the exact route ahead of time. This is especially applicable if you don’t know the area, but even if you do, practice anyway. Google Maps isn’t always reliable. Roadblocks happen and street names change.

Prove that you’re a neighborhood expert by double-checking the route before you go.

Also, it’s a good idea to take the scenic route (even if it’s the longer route) whenever possible. Your goal is to paint the best picture possible and give them a pleasant impression of the homes you’ve chosen. Be prepared to talk up the neighborhood and focus on positive developments that may impact your client’s decision to buy.

Limit the Number of Houses You Choose

You’ve pored over the best homes in the area for your client and come up with plenty of great candidates (or so you think). Woohoo! Now, it’s time to whittle down that number to five or less.

Why?

Clients can easily get overwhelmed by too many choices. At the end of a day filled with house hunting, their eyes will start to cross and everything will blend together.

You want your clients to come away with a fresh perspective. So, consider limiting what they see.

Another great strategy is to choose the best two houses for opening and closing the tour. You want to start off with a great first impression and end with a bang. This inspires confidence in your ability to choose the right homes.

Carry Your Information

For each and every house on your tour, be armed with as much information as possible. You want to prove that you’re a capable agent who’s done the homework on the house you’ve decided to show. Never be the agent who looks like a deer in headlights when asked about the square footage or the schools in the neighborhood. Be in the know.

At the very least, you should print out an information sheet on the houses that you show on the tour. Know the floor plan, number of beds and baths, and the current homeowners. It would also be good to know miscellaneous details such as the average utility bill for various seasons, whether the floor is real or manufactured hardwood, and if the homeowners built any add-ons.

Prepare an Information Packet for the Buyers

In addition to your own information about the properties, be prepared to hand out a packet to your client. The packet should contain the following information:

  • A fact sheet about each home on your tour
  • Stationary and pen to take notes about the house and neighborhood
  • A list of all of the properties that you'll view on the day
  • A map of the neighborhood with the properties highlighted

Final Thoughts

Although showing homes can be complicated, it does get easier over time. This is especially true if you know how to pre-qualify and then prepare your clients. Good luck and remember: Don’t get lost!

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