Massachusetts Real Estate


Accompanied Showings in Real Estate Do Not Sell Homes

ORIGINAL SOURCE: Holliston MA Real Estate


In the Metrowest Massachusetts area where I am located it is pretty rare to see an accompanied showing. In towards Boston it becomes much more common place. Some areas around the country have them and others don’t.

Why? Who knows but more than likely it has to do with tradition. I am glad the policy has never caught on in my neck of the woods.

Frankly an accompanied showing is a waste of a listing agents time and does nothing to facilitate a sale.

There is a long standing misconception amongst some folks that Realtors “sell homes”. Folks I have rarely ever “sold” a home in this sense of the word to anyone. Homes are an emotional purchase. They are not something a Realtor talks  somebody into buying. Realtors can be guides and give advice but homes sell themselves. Sometimes when a buyer walks into a home you can just feel that it is perfect for them and they will end up purchasing the place. This happens because of human emotion and attachment. It has very little to do with a sales pitch.

In twenty four years I have never talked someone into buying a home! This is where some sellers have misguided thoughts about the purpose of an accompanied showing. For some reason people think if a buyer does not notice some feature about the home and it’s  not pointed out,  it would cause the sale not to happen. Sorry this is not the case. Pointing out the nitty gritty is not a difference maker to most buyers.

The fancy security system, beveled edges on the the granite counters, and cherry inlay on the dining room floor 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 a 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.

While the need for accompanied showings is rare they can actually be a detriment to the seller for a number of reasons. We use lock boxes here in Massachusetts for a reason! A lock box allows a Realtor to easily gain access to a property without hindrance.

When a seller requires an accompanied showing they are now adding the possibility of scheduling conflicts.


I for one am a very busy Realtor. If I have to try and coordinate my schedule with another Realtors, the possibility exists there will be a missed showing for the seller. A missed showing is a missed opportunity!

There have been times over the years where I have not been able to work my schedule around another agents and the buyer ended up purchasing something else before ever rescheduling to see the missed home.

If more Realtors educated their clients on why accompanied showings are a big mistake, instead of worrying that they won’t get the listing without complying with the sellers demands, sellers would much better off.

I for one would love it if sellers actually placed a recorder in their home to hear what some listing agents say as buyers are walking from room to room.  I am not kidding! Things like “here is the kitchen”. Really? If there was not a dishwasher, stove and cabinets I never would have known. Thanks for being here to guide me. This may sound funny but I am being completely serious. There is no value in this.

I know for a fact based on my experience that most buyers and their Realtors do not want a listing agent at a showing.

It creates an uncomfortable atmosphere where the buyer can not speak freely about the property with their agent.  The situation can actually  become unbearable if the listing agent is giving a hard sell. Buyers absolutely hate this. It is actually only slightly better than the seller being there and following you around like a puppy dog.

As a great compromise to some sellers who really want an accompanied showing, I suggest it is done if there is a 2nd showing and only if the buyer does not mind. A second showing of course is an indicator that there could be more than just casual interest. The interest level can usually be confirmed by speaking with the buyers agent. Some buyers at this point may not have a problem with the listing agent being there especially if they have some unanswered questions.

Remember Real Estate is a numbers game. Don’t let an accompanied showing get in the way of selling your home.

Related Real Estate Articles:

How NOT to sell a Massachusetts home

Real Estate pricing ending in 900 may or may not be a good idea

Real Estate commissions agent bonus and unethical Realtors

Handling offers when selling a home


About the Author: The above Real Estate information on accompanied showings in Real Estate do not sell homes was provided by BillRE/MAX Executive Realty Metrowest Massachusetts Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356.

Have a home to sell in Metrowest Mass? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

For Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate and homes see Massachusetts Real Estate. Want to have MLS access to beat other buyers to your dream home? Sign up with no obligation at my MLS Property Finder Site.

I service the following towns in and around Metrowest Massachusetts: Hopkinton, Milford, Upton, Southboro, Westboro, Ashland, Holliston, Mendon, Northboro, Shrewsbury, Hopedale, Medway, Grafton, Northbridge, Uxbridge, Franklin, Framingham and Douglas MA.

Click here to view Bill Gassett's Real Estate profile.


Subscribe in a reader



Building lasting relationships by helping people move in and out of Metrowest Massachusetts for the last 24 years.

Bill Gassett is a thirty-two year veteran to the real estate industry. He enjoys providing helpful information to buyers, sellers and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, RESAAS, Credit Sesame and others.

Comment balloon 98 commentsBill Gassett • April 27 2010 06:32AM


Blll, this is really important information so I am reblogging. Sellers really need to understand this and agents need to be firm

Posted by Janice Roosevelt, OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker ( Keller Williams Brandywine Valley ) almost 9 years ago

Bill, you are right, it has to do with tradition in the area. In some of the towns I sell in, it is tradition. Small town, expensive homes. I think it makes the seller feel special, or they are lead to believe it makes their home seem special. It also gives the air of the agent taking special care of them.

Here are a few of those I have encountered.

  • Agent couldn't go with us, told me the key was over the door.
  • Agent couldn't go with us, gave me the security code, owner found us in the house and went off about how her agent never had shown up, not for one showing.
  • Agent couldn't go with us, tried many different times, we moved on and purchased another home.
  • Agent went with us and drove my buyers crazy, we moved on.
  • Agent FINALLY went with us, my buyers were so upset at how long it took us to get in.

I am not sure, but I think in many cases you could insert wouldn't for couldn't...

I just wrote a post about how I handle my listings when the home owner won't or can't leave. I go too, but it is not a requirement. My focus is to keep my seller from saying something they shouldn't!

There are other times when I have to go to remove the dogs. Not many times, and it is tough.

When I make these types of committments, I have backup in my office.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) almost 9 years ago

Bill....I think the one exception to this may be with new construction....when a home is in the rough frame stage, many agents don't know which end is up....we always ask if they would like to be accompanied and they are usually relieved that we are willing.....the buyer always appreciates that also....they get immediate answers to their questions about what the builder will and will not do.....once the home is more finished, there is no need to accompany.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) almost 9 years ago

Bill, I agree ~ sellers home during showings are a detriment.  Buyers for the most part feel a bit intrusive when they go through someones home.  WHEN the owners are actually present they really do!  Usually they won't look at much or for very long. Good post!


Posted by Lee & Pamela St. Peter, Making Connections to Success in Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522) almost 9 years ago

Andrea you mention quite a few good reasons why they are not needed. The listing agent should be educating the seller why they do not make sense and can actual be a detriment.

Barbara I would agree with you that new construction is a different animal all together. In fact I know many agents that don't know the difference between a 2x4 and a 2x6.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 9 years ago

Bill - excellent post.

When I list a home, one of the things i let the sellers know is that the harder it is to get into your home, the harder it is to sell it.  I am glad I don't see many accompanied showings.  The other thing I hate to here is..."the owner will meet you at the home".  I for one, don't want the seller to be hovering over my clients shoulders explaining everything they have done to improve the home.   Sometimes, they go out of the way to explain the flaws of the home...grrrrrrrr.

Seller & Agents, get  out 0f the way and let the buyers agents sell your home.

Have a great day


Posted by Leander McClain, Cecil & Harford County Realtor almost 9 years ago

We still have places in Missouri where you must call the agent and meet them at the property.....I don't have time for that.  That's why they invented lock boxes.

Posted by Kay Van Kampen, Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate (RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX) almost 9 years ago

Bill, this is an excellent post and information that sellers and realtors need to see.  I have had sellers insist that I be there for every showing, thankfully those homes sold quickly. 

Posted by June Piper-Brandon, Piecing Dreams One Home at a Time (The Traczyk Team at Remax New Beginnings ) almost 9 years ago

Bill, the few times that I've experienced accompanied showings while representing buyers, both my buyers and I wondered aloud "Why is he/she here?"  It just didn't help in any way, and in fact, hindered the process.

Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) almost 9 years ago

Leander no doubt about I wrote in the article Real Estate is a number game. You can't sell the home unless you can see it.

Kay & June - There are quite a few times I am sure where Realtors just don't know what to say when sellers ask for things like accompanied showings. Proper education often times is all that is needed to get a seller to see the light.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 9 years ago

Brian that does not surprise me at all. I rarely have ever seen any additional value gained from the listing agent being at the home.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 9 years ago

Having the listing agent present at showings is a huge no-no!

Unless it's an open house, they shouldn't be there. It's the next worse thing than having the seller present at showings.

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) almost 9 years ago

I'm with you 100%.  Unfortunately, one of my sellers isn't.  She refuses a lock box, so I have to be at every showing.  Now she wants to stay, too.  I have told her it's either her or me -- not both.  And have stressed that EITHER of us works against and not for her goal of selling her home.  This may be the first time that I ever have to "fire" a seller!

Posted by Richard Strahm, Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate (American Foursquare Realty) almost 9 years ago

Excellent post and advice.

I know having been on AR for a long time, that it is customary in some area's. But, not in Ann Arbor. It is uncomfortable for the buyers, they can't take their time, and talk.


Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) almost 9 years ago

Hi Bill - I can tell you that a $3 million dollar seller isn't doing a lockbox here in Potomac. They want their agent to point out the unique features and what sets their home apart from the competition. 

I get what you are saying but one rule does not fit all in my neck of the woods.


Posted by Betsy Schuman Dodek, (Washington Fine Properties - Washington DC Area Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

it's amazing that a listing agent will be there to open up and show an overpriced listing or a P.O.S. that will never sell

Posted by Richard Shuman, Real Estate Broker - Orlando Area - Love Referrals (The Only B.S. I Have is from the University of Massachusetts) almost 9 years ago

Bill--I was just asked this by my most recent client as he is in commercial real estate and wouldn't think of letting buyers walk through a commercial property alone. His thought was not of security but of the listing agent having the information when the questions are asked rather than the showing agent having to contact the listing agent with questions. Though this is a good point, I told him that the buyers who are uncomfortable at the showing will outweigh the good of immediate answers. It is best to give buyers a complete description of the home in a brochure and leave for them...A call with additional questions is a good thing. AND it is so much less a feeling of high pressure sales.

Good post...If you had posted a week or so earlier, I would have emailed to my client! :)

Posted by Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro (Boardman Realty) almost 9 years ago

Morning Bill,  This is a well thought out and very well written post.  The only issues I would disagree with is when presenting pre-construction or investment grade properties.  In those instances there is some actual selling going on !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) almost 9 years ago

I am certainly with you on this one...accompanied is a waste of time - everyone's time!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) almost 9 years ago

You don't see it very often around my town, but every now and then you have an agent that wants to control the process. From the buyers I've spoken with, it actually turns them off of the property.

Posted by Home Loan Search.Online (Home Loan Search Online) almost 9 years ago

Bill, the higher end listings require the accompanied showing more than any other price range, and from my experience, this process does not facilitate the sale.  The buyer's agent ultimately is responsible for this.

Posted by Cherise Selley, Colorado Springs Realtor (Selley Group Real Estate, LLC) almost 9 years ago

I agree with some responses that accompanied showings have their place. I have some land listings that buyer's agents would love to have as accompanied showings because they are too "busy" to research the subdivision themselves.

Posted by Robert Slick, NRBA, RDCPro, Trident/CCAR MLS (Beach and River Homes) almost 9 years ago

Bill, You are absolutely right! Although it depends on price range and customs in particular local areas or subdivision motly  accompanied showing requirement carries a negative connotation for buyers. They feel uncomfortable and threatenned. There are too many homes on the market today to deal with a difficult and restrictive seller!

Posted by Leeza Morris,, Realtor® Denton TX (940)391-5080 (Cloud Realty) almost 9 years ago

Fortunately it is rare here also. for the few times where the listing agent has had to be there they usually wait outside while I show the house, I am totally in agreement with you, what is even worse is if the seller insists on being there when the house is shown, in my opinion that is the biggest turn off for the buyers

Posted by Alan Brown, 26 Years of Real Estate Experience . (Coldwell Banker Montrose Colorado) almost 9 years ago

Bill this is an excellent post, and you are completely correct in so many different areas, I do think it has to do with tradition, here in Pa there is an area that the both agents show up to the contract presentation. I have never heard of such a thing and have had many a conversation with agents about it, they can't believe that it can done differently. Anyway, this is a great post and it really showcases how different things are done from one area to another...

Posted by Gerry Michaels, GettysburgGerry Social Meida (Glasswork Media Arts) almost 9 years ago


I agree, in our area however, the expensive homes, multi-million dollar, are sometime intricate and need a narrator to explain much of the appointments. The high end sales also look for the attention and service. These commissions are many times in the 6 figures. Except for these issues I am in agreement totally with you. One agent is enough for most homes.


Posted by Richard Stabile, Bergen County New Homes Builder Realtor (Re/Max Real Estate Limited) almost 9 years ago

Bill- In our area it is a rare occurrence, usually for a high priced character listing or new construction. I have never had one come together in which the listing agent was along. Coincidence? Maybe,Maybe Not!

Posted by Duane Murphy, Broker- Owner-Real Estate - (Expert Real Estate Partners LLC) almost 9 years ago


I love your blogs and I suscribe to them. You have a lot of good stuff to say!  Not only is it a waste of time for the LA to accompany showings, I think it is detrimental and an invasion of privacy to the buyers agent and the potential buyers. 

They only do this in my area with homes over $1,000,000..still a waste of time I believe.

They do this on every home just about in the Florida Keys...what could be so intricate about a home that would not be in the listing agent's brochure or the mls print out ?

Posted by Katherine Fillman almost 9 years ago

Hi Bill~  I know even for myself, when my husband and I looked when relocating, if the seller or the sellers agent was there, we were totally turned off and those homes did not stand a chance!  We lost interest the minute we walked in the door!  It could have been the best house in the world for us, but we could never get comfortable enough to even consider it.  It was a turn off and we said even if we loved it, we wouldn't buy it! 

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) almost 9 years ago


When another comes into my open house with a client I let them do their thing. I don't interfere.

Posted by Terry Chenier (Homelife Glenayre Realty) almost 9 years ago

Bill this post is so right on with my working plan. It is a waste of time to be a demonstrator. I actually feel it to be a hindrance because it doesn't allow the prospective buyers to talk openly about their likes and dislikes with themselves and their Realtor.

I currently do only 1 accompanied showing on a listing and that is only because I do not the 93 year old owner to be walking away from the house for maybe 15 minutes of a showing. I am there to visit with her in her sun porch and to make her feel at ease. If the buyers have a question they can come out to ask us, otherwise have your way. A great featured post.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 9 years ago

Great post!  Reblogging - My husband and I work as a team on the North Shore of MA and we were just discussing this. 

Posted by Jenn Erickson, Broker|Owner - Oaklawn Real Estate (Oaklawn Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

I have some sellers that don't want their homes on key lock boxes.  They offer many reasons why they don't want a lock box.  It's an access and control matter and is probably based on an unspoken distrust of some kind or prior bad experience.  While I will - reluctantly - accept listings where I have to meet buyers and agents at the property, it can become a real problem when my schedule conflicts with the showings agents and their buyers' schedule.  Most agents are cooperative but some are less so.  I agree that I think that sellers would be better served by putting a key lock box on their property.  But I also understand why they might not want one.  For the most part, I'll honor their wishes because I'll do what I have to do to help them in selling their home!

Posted by Stephen Howell, Annapolis MD Homes For Sale 443-994-8043 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 9 years ago

trying yesterday to set up showings in Wellesley MA...100% accompanied...what a Pain! Wish they would just get over themselves...

Posted by Margo Otey (REMAX EXECUTIVE REALTY) almost 9 years ago

Bill, in this area the sellers usually leave when able.  Buyers seem to want to get in and out when the sellers are there and are not comfortable.  I only had one seller to stay doing a showing and that is because she was in a  wheelchair and not able to leave.

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Vision Quest Realty) almost 9 years ago

Hi Bill.  I couldn't agree more...

I had a client in Chicago that wanted me to start attending showings.

I told him I never go to my listings showings.  I would only be in the way...

Thanks for writing,



Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) almost 9 years ago

If a listing agent wants to disarm the alarm and wait in the car ,they can. Otherwise I will find a different home to show. Its not like we are short of inventory.

Posted by Rob D. Shepherd, Principal Broker GRI, SRES (Windermere/lane county) almost 9 years ago

I seem to be having a "dejavu" moment.  I think I read this post before.  That said, I'll say what I said then.

Having a listing agent at showings is a barrier to sale.


Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Bill - I definitely don't want the listing agent there, if possible. I will admit there have been a few situations when we learned some good things we might not otherwise but I have not found the LA's presence to facilitate the sale. This is not common here except for high end homes (over a milion). I would say that homes over $2-3M are always accomapnied. THere are high end agents here who ALWAY accompany - no exceptions.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) almost 9 years ago

I agree, and prefer to show homes that are on lock box as opposed to having the listing agent there. However, i do have some clients that prefer I open the house for them.

Posted by Sharon Paxson, Newport Beach Real Estate (Compass) almost 9 years ago

I have a listing right now that the seller insists on being accompanied.  I always ask the buyers agent if they want me to show them the house or if they would like me to give them the tour!

Posted by Pippa Mac, The Woodlands TX Real Estate (Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring) almost 9 years ago

It's hard enough to sometimes cordinate a buyer's agent's schedule with the buyer, let alone having to add in the listing agent's schedule as well... PLUS, if you want to see multiple homes, you have to schedule with all those other listing agents too. RIDICULOUS!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 9 years ago

Wow, who knew Albert Einstein also studied real estate!

I staged a home in San Marino last year. It was a beautiful home, priced competitively. The seller insisted on accompanied showings. The home didn't sell. Potential buyers for this home, in this location and this price point were from another culture that doesn't feel comfortable around strangers. I'm fairly convinced the home didn't sell because of the presence of the listing agent at every showing.

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) almost 9 years ago

I don't even think that the seller's Realtor should be there. In rare cases I have been asked to be there at a second showing to answer questions, but that still makes me the buffer for a seller to keep the possible transaction on a business basis. That can even be a problem in Oklahoma where we have vicarious liability, so you don't over do it.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) almost 9 years ago

Hi Bill ~ Excellent post!  I, too, have never "sold" a home in my ten years practicing real estate.  People, including sellers, need to put themselves into the buyer's shoes ~ What atmosphere would make them most comfortable when looking at homes for sale?  Would anyone be able to simply talk them into a home that didn't connect with them emotionally?  I wholeheartedly agree with all of your points. 

Posted by Kerry Knudson, Broker, Realtor, SFR (Cherry Creek Properties, LLC - Colorado) almost 9 years ago

The only valid excuses I can think of for listing agent to attend showings would be to:

  • Unlock the house & disarm alarm system
  • Turn on the lights that are hard to find
  • Get the dogs out of the way
  • Check teenager's rooms for clothes on floor

After completing the above, the agent should disappear into his/her car to wait for the buyers and their agent to finish.

(High end listings may require a "guard" to make sure they aren't just casing the place for a future robbery, but normal homes don't need a personalized guided tour by the listing agent.)

Posted by Vicki Lloyd, (619)452-9798, Real Estate San Diego California (The Lloyd Realty Group) almost 9 years ago

Bill, good comments. I agree totally. We have one listing that has to be accompanied but we agreed with that because she is in charge of a large account we have and that was the way she wanted to have her personal home handled.

I agree it is not necessary in most cases and not wated by most selling agents.

Posted by Ted Tyndall, I will help You find the Home YOU want to Buy (Davidson Realty Inc.) almost 9 years ago

Bill first of all, 24 years must represent your current age and not the number of years you've been in real estate.

Secondly I couldn't agree with you more:  Agents do not sell homes.  Homes sell themselves based on the needs, desires and intuitive feelings that a buyer gets when they walk into a home that has their name on it.

I too am glad that listing agent accompanied showings are not the norm in our metro area.  We would only view it is the distraction that it is. 

Posted by Charita Cadenhead, Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama) (Keller Williams Realty) almost 9 years ago


The HGTV mentality of features selling a house is a myth. I would say that the smell of a house is ten times more important than whether or not it has a wine cooler.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) almost 9 years ago

Great post and I totally agree.  It is custom in the City of Chicago to accompany showings and I can't for the life of me figure out why.  People even hire showing agents where that is all they do, seems like a waste of time.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) almost 9 years ago

We sell rural properties, recreational properties, waterfront lots, acreages.  If it's my listing, everyone wants me there because I know where the corners are and which part of the land you can drive on and which part you can't.  Even if corners are plainly marked, some people cannot read a survey marker or seem to find flourescent survey tape hanging in the trees.  Some times the corner is in the edge of the water or cattails.  Some agents or people don't know how to put their boots on and watch for the snakes. On large acreages, I'm the agent with the Polaris ranger that seats 6 so they can see all of the property... So I'm present when my listings are shown.  I realize that you are probably talking about houses but I'm also present on my house listings because they usually come with acreage ...

Posted by 1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) almost 9 years ago

Bill, I do photography/videos for agents in MA from Metrowest over to Lexington and Newton.  In Lexington and Needham accompanied showings are the norm - in other affluent towns like Sudbury, Concord and Wayland they're the exception.  I think the difference is the nature of being "urban/suburban".

From the people I've talked with, the presence of the listing agent is not primarily to do a selling pitch but for security reasons.  To make sure buyers are not where they should not be, that they are truly qualified buyers entering with a reputable agent, and that everything is locked up after the lookers leave. 

Amy Hunter

Posted by Amy Hunter (Hearth & Home Videos) almost 9 years ago

Whilst I do not like agents to accompany showings I agree with some that the higher priced listings do not want lock boxes. They prefer listing agents to take care of the alarm systems rather than leave it to luck. They like some-one they know to be present in their house when starngers come through. Just sold a $1.4 mil home, 3 showings all accompanied and 3 times the agents stayed out of our way. In fact the house had 3 offers-we won.


One rule does not fit all.

Posted by Corinne Guest, Barrington Lifestyles (Barrington Realty Company) almost 9 years ago

While there may be some very specific reasons why some sellers may require an accompanied showing, I think it is probably best to just lurk around the front door or the valuables so as to not disturb the relationship between the buyer's agent and the buyers.

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) almost 9 years ago

Bill, I found your article interesting. Accompanied showings is all we have here in the upstate of South Carolina. The buyer's agent works with the buyer to find homes within their criteria. The buyer's agent schedules the showing with the listing agency and uses the lockbox to gain entry into the property. The buyer's agent provides some feedback to the listing agency regarding comments and perceptions about the property. If an offer is made, the buyer's agent and the listing agent negotiate for their respective clients.

Posted by Michael Thompson, MBA (CENTURY 21 Anderson Properties, Inc.) almost 9 years ago

Thanks everyone for all your comments on my article. I know some share the opinion that a higher end home should have an accompanied showing for security purposes. This also does not make sense to me as it is kind of a slap in the face to a buyers agent. Almost as if the listing agent is some kind of armed gaurd. I understand some sellers may have trust issues and the like but how about having the agent get out of the way at the showing? I am sure the ming vase will not get past the listing agent in the driveway?

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 9 years ago

Quite frankly, I avoid them.

Posted by Morris Massre, Real Estate Instructor Broward County Florida almost 9 years ago

Hi Bill...My buyers select the house they will purchase.  My job, as far as I'm concerned, is to facilitate the process.  To show them houses that appear to meet their needs and desires.  They make the final decision.  I don't make it nor does the listing agent.  Perhaps that is why you and I are still doing this after all these years.  I got my license in 1986 and I guess that's about when you did. 

Most buyers and buyer agents are much more comfortable looking at homes alone without the sellers or the listing agent.

As for your last comment, I agree.

It also raises the question if the listing agent only does this for their clients that have high priced homes, what does that say about their concern for those with lower or low priced homes.   Their belongings mean as much to them as to a wealthy person.  People do not rob only from the wealthy.  



Posted by Kate Elim, Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a (Dockside Realty) almost 9 years ago

Bill, great post. I totally agree that the listing agent's presence can and sometimes does hamper the sale as well as my buyer's negotiating position. Buyers are speaking freely and many times will say something about their motivation that will ultimately be used against them by the sellers and their agent.

There are a few agents in our market who will spend more time giving a 'commercial' about themselves, who they know, blah blah blah, then about the property itself. I have also had those agents track down and call my buyers directly the next time they have a similar property come on the market. Totally unethical in my book.

If there is no lock box, then let the agent and the buyer in and go wait in the car in case we have questions. We aren't there to steal your artwork and if you are worried, don't leave your Rolex on the nightstand.

Posted by Bill Swanson (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Ambassador) almost 9 years ago

Funny. In our area this is the norm.  The only time you see homes on a lock box are usually REOs or empty.  I find it weird that so many of the homes you show have lock boxes when the sellers are still living in the house or that you avoid showing homes if they don't.  If I avoided showing homes that were not on lock boxes I wouldn't have many to show.  If I am the selling agent I let the buyers and the buyers' agent do their own thing.  If I am the buyers' agent I haven't had a problem with the list agent following us around pointing things out.  The other problem is when the home is on a lock box some feel since they have the code they can enter anytime they want or feel free to give out the code. The code is given for that showing and if you intend on seeing the home again I would think you would call to get an ok.Also I never find it acceptable to give the code to another agent or client and I have seen it done.  Maybe that is why sellers don't like them.

Posted by Lisa Glowacki, Real Estate Broker - RI & MA (Lisa Glowacki - Rhode Island & Massachusetts) almost 9 years ago

Lisa agents don't avoid showing homes if they don't have lock boxes. The problem arises when you have six homes you are showing and all but one of them is not accompanied. As agent are you supposed to juggle five other appointments with easy access around the one where you need to meet the other agent on their schedule - I think not!!

If you didn't do things the way you do them I am willing to bet you would love it. There are way more productive things to do with your time than being a door man! Most of Massachusetts has a Supra lock box which is not coded. The individual agent has a keypad that opens the lock box. The lock box records the date, time and agent that is entering the property.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 9 years ago

Bill, very well written as always, and great content. Some sellers just have it in their mind that a showing is the opportunity for the listing agent to "sell" the home. They simply don't understand the mindset of a buyer. It is not incommon here for a listing agent to accompany at a high-end listing, and the good agents will simply open the door and get out of the way. Thanks for the post.

Posted by Dan and Amy Schuman, Luxury Home Specialists (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) almost 9 years ago

Kate what you wrote about luxury homes and people stealing things is exactly what I was thinking. Where do you draw the line on what is considered luxury. In my book one property is no more "special" than the next one because of the price tag. Every client deserves the same service regardless of price. To me that excuse is really lame. A lower priced home deserves the same curtesies afforded more expensive homes.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 9 years ago

I think it is a risky proposition to have the listing agent accompany on a showing.  For several reasons, one being a Realtor's relationship with their client is sacred ground and a listing agent could potentially be in a compromised position if the buyer asks a direct question.

Yesterday afternoon I took a buyer for a showing at a pre-owned property in a community that still has a lot of ongoing new construction.  One of the builder's reps actually drove by and yelled out at us as we stood in the driveway, "I can help you with the paint if you buy this home!"  The home happened to be built by her employer.  When we stopped at her office, she immediately began to let me know that we would "never" get the seller of that property to lower the price.  I couldn't help letting out a laugh! She was not the listing agent!  I doubt that she even has a license!  Then she looked at my buyer client and said, "If you want a lower price you should go find an older home because you can't get these homes for a lower price."

Well, this was a professional sin!  My buyer and I turned and walked out, much like you would do at the car dealership.  As it turns, since I am an agent, I happen to know that many homes in that community are selling for much less than the asking price on that property. 

Posted by Kate McQueen, Tailored service for your real estate needs! (CB&A Realtors) almost 9 years ago

@Kate - I was formulating my comment in my mind - you said it first - people do not rob only from the wealthy.  An Ipod or cool device that might be in any home would be more likely to get grabbed than the Monet on the wall.  Buyers agents are/should be/must be responsible

Aside from that -

I keep track of the homes and feedback when showing homes.  Last week, with buyers, I had narrowed the list of potential homes down to 6 showings - #1, the listing agent 'had to be present', #2, the sellers were home, sat on the back patio, but we knew they could hear us.

Homes 1 and 2 - my buyers stayed less than 10 minutes - the other 4 more than 1/2 hour each.

At the end, we reviewed the homes at my office - the buyers barely remembered 1 and 2, and the home they decided on - we spent almost an hour inspecting that home, imagining their furniture, how they would make changes, etc.

Listing agents should open the house and sit in the car.  Sellers should take a walk.  Their presence inhibits and restrains the buyers from feeling comfortable.

Great post, Bill - Should be part of listing agent training classes.

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (ERA - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) almost 9 years ago

Interesting what happens in different areas.  In my neck of the woods, only high end home require the listing agent present, and they go one step forward by asking the preaproval letter of proof of funds before you can even do the showing.

Posted by Tere Rottink (CoastalVa Realty Inc) almost 9 years ago

This has happened to me a few times:

1) The listing agent insisted he be there, or we could not look at the home.  I asked if this was the sellers requirement, and he said 'No, it is my policy'.  Interesting.  I showed the home, my buyers were intimidated, and although the home was nice, they did not want to look very long and we went onto another home, and bought that one.  It was in the same neighborhood, and similar in design, but the main difference was there was no listing agent hovering and they could take their time, and we explored the house together.

2) A seller was there when I arrived before my clients.  He asked if he could help show the house, and I asked him to wait in the garage instead.  His hair and clothing were all a mess, and there were large food stains on his shirt.  He agreed to wait in the garage, thankfully and I showed the house.

3) Another time I was showing a house after we set up an appointment a day in advance.  We got to the bedrooms and there was a half naked teenager laying sound asleep on one of the beds in one of the rooms.  They buyers felt nervous, and concerned we were 'intruding' and we left without seeing the entire house. 

So in conclusion, accompanied showings in my opinion is about as favorable as leaving a goat in the kitchen.  You get the same result.

Posted by Michael Delaware, REALTOR®, CRS, GRI (North Sky Realty LLC) almost 9 years ago

You've had so many great comments Bill - I'll just add mine and agree with your post.  I'm happy that I don't run into accompanied showings that often but did have one last week.  3 times my client and I tried to get into a house and 3 times it didn't work for the agent's schedule.  I bet the client didn't know that.

Posted by Jill McTague, DebOnTheWeb & Associates - Medford, MA Real Estate (RE/MAX Andrew Realty Serfvices) almost 9 years ago

Hi Bill, No argument here.  I can't wait for the mind set to change here because I do find them convenient and we all need more time.  Believe me I understand the frustration of trying to schedule multiple showings for one day.  At least you only have to deal with one out of five.  Remember the days of scheduling five out of five?  Still there.  Sorry about the misunderstanding about avoiding accompanied showings just seemed that was the point from some of the comments. My mistake.

Posted by Lisa Glowacki, Real Estate Broker - RI & MA (Lisa Glowacki - Rhode Island & Massachusetts) almost 9 years ago

You said it all, and very well, too.    I think sellers who insist on this are simply not knowledgable about the sales process.

Posted by Li Read, Caring expertise...knowledge for you! (Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring)) almost 9 years ago


This is so true! I have expressed the same thing in a post and there were mixed responses from agents, which kind of surprised me.

Most of my buyer's do NOT like it when the listing agent is there trying to sell the house. Thankfully, the majority of homes are unaccompanied, but head over the bridge to Cape Cod, and they are MOSTLY accompanied. Scheduling conflicts are CRAZY to deal with and many times the home gets pulled from a tour as a result.


Posted by Judy Jennings, Broker - The Lanterns at Warren Woods - Ashland MA (The Green Company) almost 9 years ago

HEllo Bill,

I too think it's the "neighborhood area tradition."  With that said, I think it's nice for the listing agent to be present to lend more information about the home to the prospective buyer.  This also shows a personal/professional effort on the part of the LA to be present.

Patricia/Seacoast NH

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) almost 9 years ago

When the listing agent, or worse yet, the homeowners themselves, are at the home, it makes the potential buyers uncomfortable. They won't ask questions. Won't talk about the house. Can't imagine their possessions in it, etc.

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) almost 9 years ago

Hi Bill -- Well said.  I had this happen to a 1m+ property I was showing last year and it ruined the showiing.

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) almost 9 years ago

Hey Bill, great post.  I could not have said it better.

Posted by Marlene Pellegrini almost 9 years ago

Bill you are absolutely right "Homes are an emotional purchase."  The Realtor is a source of information, but the house has to be the salesman.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) almost 9 years ago

Could not agree with you more. I hate it when listing agents meet me. I know they think it's going to help, but I can handle a showing and you are not going to pressure my buyers if they aren't interested.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) almost 9 years ago

O.K. I am going to be the lone dissenter here.  I have so much to say about this, that I am going to address it in my own post.  Thank you, Bill, you gave me my project for the evening :)

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) almost 9 years ago

The only time we might have accompanied showings is if it's a celebrity home or a mult-million dollar property.  Otherwise, you don't see it here.  Thank goodness.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) almost 9 years ago

Just about the time the Seller finishes mentioning how great their pool is , you as the agent have just a few moments to compose a statement to the Buyer on what techniques they can use to remove the pool for their pool adverse family.

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge almost 9 years ago

The scheduling is what gets me--it's difficult enough to schedule the sellers, buyers and buyer's agent but, to add me to the mix is a challange.  I have one that requires me to accompany the buyers and their agent for showings and they always seem to go well but, on occasion, the buyer will just zip through the home.  I know it's because I'm there--they don't feel free to talk freely with their agent and often don't know what to say to me.  I make them as comfortable as possible and those that are truly uncomfortable are few and far between.  1 out of 27 of mine requires me to be there and I'm thankful that's it for now!  Again, it's the scheduling that is the tough part for me--even with just the one.

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) almost 9 years ago

Bill, I can't agree with you more.  It is very seldom in our market for a seller to ask the listing agent to be present during showings.  Sellers who think it is the agent's fault not selling the house need to be educated, I always believe the house sells itself, the more we "brag" about the house, the more it turns buyer away.  People don't like to be told what to buy, the more you do that, the more they delete that house off from their list.

Posted by Rita Fong, Realtor - Marion Arkansas Homes for Sale (RE/MAX REAL ESTATE TODAY, Executive Broker 901-488-9590 ) almost 9 years ago

Great post. I think that Greg Nino would not have been quite so polite. LOL.

Posted by Ellie McIntire, Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville (Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

So incredibly true!  I actually saw a TV news segment from one the major networks a couple of months ago telling sellers to BE SURE to be at all showings!  Argh!  They even said "no one can sell your home like you can."  I can't imagine what numnut told them that little tidbit.

Posted by Kristen Wheatley, Supporting Success - Best Job in the World! (Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group) almost 9 years ago

Agents here don't do that anymore but agents here don't answer questions or their phones or emails anymore!  THEY are not too busy, however, to meet me at the property for a BPO:

LA:  Here are the comps

ME:  I already pulled them

LA:  Well did you see the one down the street sold for xxx

ME:  (thinking probably half the size, half the price over 6 months ago and right a good percentage of the time) I already pulled the comps

LA:  I am just trying to "help" you do your job and I would appreciate it if you "helped" me get this closed

ME:  I do 100-150 of these a month with no help, thank you!

It's funny what agents in my market will go out of their way for these days and what they won't.

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) almost 9 years ago

Thanks again everyone for sharing all your thoughts and comments!

Kristen - That sounds like someone trying to stir the pot.

Renee - why are Realtors not performing everyday services?

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 9 years ago

In 24 years have only been accompanied on commercial properties....Have a Great Week!

Posted by John Howard, GRI, Mountain Home, Arkansas 870-404-3614 (Century 21 LeMac Realty) almost 9 years ago


The only reason listing agents want to accompany showings where there is a buyer's agent is because the listing agent doesn't have anything else to do.  If the listing agent was concentrating on income producing activities, they wouldn't have any interest in being at the showing.

-- Danny

Posted by Danny Batsalkin, Los Angeles Real Estate | 310.432.5706 (Keller Williams Realty - Beverly Hills) almost 9 years ago

Most showings that require the listing agent's presence are high end homes with high end furniture and personal items and the Seller is no doubt requiring his or her agent to be there.

Posted by LLoyd Nichols, SW Florida Homes (Premier Florida Realty of SWFL) almost 9 years ago

Bill - Great post.  I don't understand the value in an accompanied showing but I think some sellers think the listing agent is working harder for them when they commit to being present for every showing.  It doesn't work.  I only see this when showing in Boston but it turned off my clients when a particularly enthusiastic listing agent spent 45 minutes explaining all the features of a STUDIO APARTMENT.  Here's the kitchen... and on the other side of the counter is the living room... then 5 feet beyond that is the bedroom... 

Posted by Lori Liveston (Virtual Homes, Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Bill - Thank goodness this is something that we rarely see in my market.  Everynow and then it is required that the listing agent be present in a very hight end estate property.

Posted by Pam Dent, REALTOR® - Charlottesville Virginia Homes / Horse (Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc.) almost 9 years ago

They accompany in Manhattan, because there are no lock boxes and the owners have been led to expect it. You seldom see it in the suburbs for all of the reasons discussed. 

I for one wish Manhattan would get with it and adopt lockboxes. I don't need someone walking me through a 900 square foot apartment and telling me where the kitchen is. 


Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) almost 9 years ago

In our market listing agents are normally only present at high end properties, and then it's helpful to have the listing agent there as the properties are so complex that buyers often have many questions that the buyer agent can't answer.  I do have to show a listing today (not high end) where the agent AND the owner will be present.  Now that's a real turnoff for the buyer.  it's not a complicated home or a high end home, absolutely no reason for this circus.


Posted by Gail Robinson, CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT (William Raveis Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Hi Bill...Congratulations on this Post being featured. I cannot think of a single reason the Listing Agent should insist on being there, the potential for a conflict is too great. High end Realtors do this here, not sure what the benefit is, the listing agents always want me to work around their schedule and seemed rushed when they arrive, all I'm sure because they have doubled their work load..Homes Sell Homes.

Recently a Listing agent here lost a sale, by not being able to get my Buyer back into a home for a second viewing, the same day before she headed home, due to flight arrangements. And the Listing agent sat in the house while we were there, what's that all about, my Buyer felt like she was imposing on his time. I simply see it as a negative action when selling any type of Real Estate.

Posted by Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation, Accredited Real Estate Consultant (RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Gail I here that a lot about expensive homes being more complicated. I just don't see why they are?

Fred I am with you for the mere fact that the listing agents presence does not change the fact of whether the buyer is going to like the home or not.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 9 years ago

Hi, Bill. It is common practice here for listing agents to be present at showings. They are there with the doors open and the lights on. The good ones, that is. Others rush up after you've been standing around for a few minutes and fumble to get the door get the picture Then there are the tenth-rate agents who enjoy making you wait without a call or even an apology when they do arrive...just because they can.

It is so much easier when a house is on a lockbox and you don't have to try to work around a schedule. I leave a folder in my unoccupied listings with info such as plat with the property colored in, septic permit, restrictions so that the agent will have the wherewithal to answer questions.

This area is a destination for trail riders and, when the other agent is from out of the area or does not ride, they cannot answer the big question, "WHERE ARE THE TRAILS?" Then they are happy to have the listing agent present!

Posted by Leslie Helm, Real Estate For Trail Riders (Tennessee Recreational Properties) almost 9 years ago

I'd have to agree when it comes to the fact that not all agents are skilled at doing them properly, but some clients and some HOA buildings require them to accompanied. Some agents actually do them well and they do cover a lot of good info. No lockbox policy in some HOA's here make them mandatory too. They are a pain when the listing is out of area, but typically they are higher dollar listings, so the pain is compensated. I'd say when you hit the luxury market in CA, you'll find most are accompanied. 

Posted by Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D, & Host of Postcards From Success Podcast (Big Block Realty 858.232.8722) about 2 years ago

Fortunately, I have not had to deal with one, Bill Gassett . It makes sense for a commercial building, farm/ranch, or a unique property that requires someone with knowledge to point out important facts, but I think most buyers can find the kitchen, count the bathrooms, and see there is a tire swing in the back yard!

Posted by Nathan Gesner, Broker / Property Manager (American West Realty and Management) about 2 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments