Agents don’t sell homes. Buyers do it themselves.

Bill Gassett

In no uncertain terms, Massachusetts real estate agent Bill Gassett declares in a post he wrote that “accompanied real estate showings do not sell homes.”

I am inclined to agree with him about the practice, in which the listing agent requires her or his presence when a buyer’s broker shows a property.  Says Gassett:

There is a long standing misconception amongst some people that Realtors “sell homes”. It may come as a surprise but I have rarely ever “sold” a home in this sense of the word to any client I have ever worked with. Homes are an emotional purchase. Buying a home is not something a Realtor talks  somebody into doing.

He acknowledges (and I concur) that, because virtually all buyers decide on their new home on the basis of their emotional response, nothing the listing broker says makes much of a difference.  As Gassett puts it:

The fancy Bose sound system, beveled edges on the granite counters, and cherry inlay surrounding the Maple floors will not be the reason for someone buying a home. Even in million dollar homes that have every conceivable feature and amenity, it is not the listing agent waving a red flag in front of a buyers face that is going to seal the deal. Emotion sells, people do not, at least not in Real Estate.

The writer’s additional point is that listing agents at a showing inhibit buyers from freely expressing their thoughts and also make the visit “unbearable” in the event of that common hard sell.

(When clients of mine recently visited an East Harlem apartment in which the pushy broker wouldn’t shut up, they complained upon leaving that his palaver prevented them for really seeing the place and that, in any case, his approach was so offputting that they wouldn’t consider purchasing the condo.)

Moreover, adding the listing agent to the mix only compounds the scheduling nightmare.

As I draft this post, I have been trying to make appointments for a buyer who is available only one day this week for the next month.  There were 12 apartments on the original list.  Starting 18 hours ago, here’s what I’ve accomplished:

  • Discovered that three brokers have outdated listings in that the properties are under contract;
  • Waited in vain for one agent who to respond, despite a call to his manager hours ago;
  • Found that one broker cannot show the property before noon, another before 2 p.m., another after 1:30 p.m. and yet another not before 3 p.m. at four corners of the compass;
  • Learned that there are tight restrictions on when an apartment can be seen because it is tenanted, making it impossible to show when my client is available.

You get the idea how difficult is the scheduling challenge, and accompanied showings is the chief reason.  Never mind that creating a rational itinerary is out of the question, but the multiple back-and-forth communications has been as irritating as it was time-wasting.

Noting that he has been more than 25 years in the business, Gassett says that he never once talked someone into buying a property.  In my more than 10 years, that’s been my experience as well, though both Gassett and I certainly have given buyers the benefit of our advice and insights.

I’ve never met the guy, but I have to say that I kinda like him.

Tomorrow: Onyx auction results

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site

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