re-posted from March 2022

Overlapping Showings in a Crazy Market

Canopy has posted several articles about overlapping showings and how to handle yourself if you find yourself in a situation where multiple Realtors® are trying to show a listed property to their clients at the same time.  During the height of the COVID pandemic we encouraged Realtors® to reduce the number of people at a property by disabling the overlapping appointment feature.  With the COVID mandates lifted and the real estate market remaining “hot”, more listing agents than ever are permitting overlapping appointments which has resulted in disturbing reports.

Many agents have reported that private showings now seem to look like Open Houses.  Showings are often reported as chaotic with angry agents and confused clients.  Other agents have reported that house keys are being left in the door for whoever might be next to view the home, leaving the home completely unsecured and open to anyone, agent or not.  Not only is this a safety issue, but it also invites other agents to simply skip the step of accessing the electronic lockbox to record their entry into the home.

Electronic Lockboxes (Supra iBoxes)

An agent should NEVER hand the house keys to another agent when there is an electronic lockbox on a listing. Agents should be following these four steps when showing a property: (1) access the electronic lockbox with their electronic key, (2) remove the key to the house from the lockbox, (3) open the door, (4) put the house key back in the lockbox for the next agent who arrives.

Following these steps ensures that the next agent to arrive to the property will access the lockbox to obtain the key.  How often have you been at a showing and attempted to open the lockbox only to find the key container empty because another agent already in the house was still holding the key?  Or better yet, you arrive to open the lockbox and find the key container to the lockbox itself is missing?

Lockbox and key issues aside, we are still getting reports of agents who continue to be rude to other agents and disrespectful of other agent’s time. In a market where inventory is low and competition for homes is high, agents should expect that there will be multiple showings scheduled for the same property at nearly the same time, the very day it goes active.  Professionalism is even more important during these times.

Since crowded showings of a property can now be considered the rule, and not just an exception, every agent should do their part to ensure the showing goes smoothly and follow these important guidelines:

  1. Don’t be Rude. Politely introduce yourself to other Realtors® who happen to be at the property and cordially and quickly discuss options for showing the home to multiple parties (see #5 below).
  1. Announce your Arrival. If the property is already occupied by another Realtor® showing the property, after opening the lockbox, obtaining they key, opening the door and replacing the key, announce your arrival to whoever may already be in the home.  Be sure you follow all instructions provided by the listing agent and all rules prescribed by the MLS and the Code of Ethics.  See NOTE
  1. DO NOT ENTER WITHOUT ACCESSING THE LOCKBOX. Regardless of whether the door to the property is unlocked/open, if there is an electronic box on the property, use your own electronic key to access the box.  EVERY AGENT AT THE PROPERTY SHOULD BE RECORDED AS HAVING BEEN AT THE HOME. No agent should allow any other agent in the property without the other agent recording their own entry.  Do not pass the house key to another agent.  All agents should access the lockbox to obtain the house keys.
  1. Keep the Home Secure. If agents are using a combo box to access the key to the home, DO NOT LEAVE THE KEY IN THE DOOR.  Put the key back in the combo box and lock the door. This ensures the home is secure and that other agents (or someone off the street) cannot just walk into the property.
  1. Communicate with Other Agents. Have a brief discussion with any other agents already in the home regarding how to handle the showing. Here are some ideas:
    1. One group starts outside while the other swiftly concludes the showing inside. Then switch.
    2. Parties can choose to go in different directions inside the house: one group views the second floor while the other views the first; one group goes to the left while the other heads right; etc.  Remember to practice social distancing and keep the number of people in the home to a minimum.
    3. One or more groups can choose to wait outside for the others to complete their showing.
    4. Be Courteous: Remember, everyone is on a time-table.  Be respectful of other people’s time and conduct your showing with everyone’s time in mind.  Do not delay and waste excess time talking about the home inside while other Realtors® and their clients are patiently waiting outside.

NOTE:  As a reminder, some sellers have specific instructions that they ask their listing agent to enter into the MLS. Failure to adhere to these special showing instructions could result in you being found in violation of the Code of Ethics.  Even with COVID mandates lifted, there may be instructions that ask for masks, gloves and/or booties to be worn and door knobs, keys and other high-touch surfaces to be disinfected.  Please do not ignore these requests.

Article 3 of the Realtor® Code of Ethics (“COE”), Standard of Practice 3-3 states, “Realtors® shall not provide access to listed property on terms other than those established by the owner or the listing broker.”  It may be considered a violation of the COE to not follow the listing agent/seller’s instructions.  The Association has a Citation Policy which could mean that the Realtor® found in violation under this Article 3, SOP 3-3 would be fined $300 for a first offense.   The fine will be increased to $600 for a repeat offense.

Not only could you be found in violation of the Code of Ethics, but this blatant disregard of the seller’s and listing agent’s instructions also puts the reputation of the real estate profession in jeopardy.

Disable Overlapping Appointments

In order to ensure a limited number of people in a home at any given time, and to cut down on the chaos or your seller’s home from being left in disarray, listing agents should seriously consider disabling the feature in Showing Time that allows for overlapping appointments.