Hello, It's been another busy month here at GPS, with some exciting things to report in this July Update. However, before I get to the exciting stuff, I sadly have to report that some of our agents, including myself have experienced what's known in the biz as Blocking. This is how it goes:
Last Saturday evening at 9:30 pm one of our agent’s buyer clients’ sent a text asking if it was possible to view seven homes the next day. As a general rule it’s always good for buyers to give as much time as possible when making appointments, usually 24 hrs. However we understand the nature of the beast, plans change, and house hunting suddenly becomes a priority. We strive to accommodate buyers (as long as we already have qualified them, and know they really are seriously in the hunt for a new home,) and as we have an amazing electronic system at our fingertips called Showing Time, sometimes we can pull off showings at short notice.
Showing Time is a fantastic app provided free by our MLS. It allows buyer agents to quickly set up showings, arrange them in the best order by utilizing the “Smart Route” widget and send the listing agents (and home owners, if set up that way, ) a text or email with the request. This allows for a fast response as to whether (or not) the showing time is acceptable to the owner and the listing agent. However, there’s a very blatant problem with this system – listing agents who don’t want to use it.
Why wouldn’t they – they want to sell their listing don’t they? Yes, they do, but they also want to make it as difficult as possible for other agents to show and sell, in the hope that by making access difficult, and sometimes, near as damn it impossible, that they will eventually get those buyers (frustrated that their agent can’t get access,) to call the listing agent direct, and sell it themselves.
Many agents offer the “Service” of being present at every showing. Now to a lot of sellers, this seems like exemplary service, after all who knows the house best but your own agent? “I don’t want strangers in my house, without you being here.” Is often stated by our Sellers. We explain that it's not a good idea because you need as many showings as possible to find a buyer, and it's impossible to guarantee being available for every requested showing. So how many buyers working with other agents have attempted to see your home and didn’t succeed due to the listing agent not being available? Doesn’t sound like such a great service anymore does it?
So when we see a listing on Showing Time which states “This listing is not accepting online appointment requests. Please contact X, a phone number is given, our red flags go up! Of the 7 listings we attempted to make appointments for our client, only one listing agent subscribed to Showing Time, and the appointment was confirmed immediately. We called the other six. Two answered immediately, both were too busy to show their listing as they had their own buyers. Thankfully two others called back, both confirming their showings as they were on Supra Lock boxes. Leaving two which we still haven’t heard from, and as I go to publish we still haven't! Disgraceful, especially as one of those two (notably the broker/owner of a well-known brand) was also contacted by our office last Thursday by another agent in our office to show a home today. Three calls, three texts and three emails later……no response.
The whole point of the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is to provide sellers with co-operation with other agents. This means that your listing agent provides easy access to your home, and does everything in their power to sell your home.
Turning this around to the buyer’s point of view, it’s frustrating for sure. You find a house you really want to see and your agent tries in vain to make you an appointment. You have given them a decent amount of notice, sometimes trying two or three times, and yet they are unable to set up an appointment. It’s about this time when you feel the desire to reach out to the listing agent to see the property in question. Just remember the type of person you are about to deal with….. You have the right to be represented by an agent who is working in your best interest, not their own.
The MLS states that if your agent can’t gain access to a property after a reasonable amount of time (48 hrs) that the buyer agent should report the fact and contact the seller direct. However, few do so, in fear of retribution by the other agents. If you feel you are the victim of agent blocking, call their broker or your local MLS.
Sadly in real estate the word ethical is often an oxymoron.
Moving onto more positive things......
GPS JOINS SULLIVAN COUNTY MLS
We have always seen a market for our listings in Sullivan County but as the economy continues to pick up more and more many buyers are looking for the ideal weekend escape. Sullivan County is one of the current hot spots. There is a lot of inventory to be snapped up at bargain prices, especially if you prefer to spend your summer weekends being active, fixer uppers are just about everywhere. There's something for everyone, from tiny woodland cabins available at under $50,000 to Multi-Million luxury estates. The much anticipated Montreign Casino building is underway, and two favorite destinations for buyers are Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and the Woodstock Museum and the Monticello Motor Club. To handle all of the business we are getting in this area, it was high time to add the Sullivan County MLS to our portfolio. We are thrilled to welcome long time Sullivan County residents Roberta & CJ Lutton to our team of on the ground area real estate specialists.
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