Good Manners Matter

Working together improves images and make jobs easier.

August 1, 2008

Being a listing practitioner and a selling practitioner, I handle many aspects of a real estate transaction every day.

I don’t have an assistant; my office handles most of my showing requests; and, when I’m not out listing property, I’m showing other people’s listings or doing one of many things to market a listing or find the perfect property for a buyer.

When the market slowed down, I kept hearing what a good thing the slowdown would be because it would “weed out” all the less skilled real estate pros, leaving only the “good ones” behind — the professionals who show up on time, know how to write an offer, know the difference between an offer and a contract and between a client and a customer, and follow up with all the many activities that need to happen to get from a contract to closing on time with the fewest hassles and least amount of aggravation for our customers.

Well, things didn’t work out quite the way we all expected. There’s still a need for us to remind all our colleagues about some basic business rules and common courtesies they should be extending to each other and to their clients.

We all need to work together to make our jobs easier. Why do such practices matter? Because eventually the market will rebound and sellers again might be thinking they don’t need a real estate pro to sell. When we try to convince them of all we do to sell their house for more money with the least amount of hassle, do you really think they’ll believe us if they’ve heard about bad experiences that others have had?

Always Show Up

 So, to review, if you schedule appointments on an owner-occupied property, you should always show up for those appointments. If something occurs that keeps you away, call to let the listing agent know what happened. Please don’t try to walk away from your responsibility by saying such things as, “Oh, I didn’t know I had to call; I thought there was a lockbox,” or “my buyer never showed up,” or “the buyers decided they don’t want that neighborhood.”

Helpful Feedback

 Another best practice to remember is to give feedback on a property that you show. When one of my listings is shown, the sellers are anxiously waiting for me to call them to find out what the buyers and their agent thought. I try to call within 24 hours of a showing so it’s fresh in my mind. When I don’t get feedback after a showing, I have to tell the disappointed seller.

Now, you might say, “The buyers simply weren’t interested in the house; if they were, they would have put in an offer.” Even if that’s the case, it helps a seller and listing agent to know how a property compares to others shown and why the buyers didn’t like the home so that we can make adjustments to the property or the price.

A Courtesy Checklist

 Here are additional dos and don’ts that real estate people should remember when showing property.


  • Knock first before entering a home
  • Leave your card on the kitchen counter so the seller knows you were there
  • Turn off all lights and lock all doors
  • Call if you’re unable to show up for any reason or if you’ll be late
  • Return calls for feedback when asked
  • Report any problems that you see, such as leaky toilets, air conditioners dripping, or broken locks, to the listing agent


  • Wait until the last minute to schedule showings
  • Speak negatively about the property in front of an owner
  • Show up more than 15 minutes late
  • Park on the grass