Pros and Cons of Deferred Showings

What to Know About Deferred Real Estate Showings

Pros & Cons of Deferred Showings Selling a home requires applying the best strategy for any given situation. One tool that real estate agents, including myself, sometimes find effective is a deferred showing – where the home is listed in the multiple listing service (MLS) without offering showings of the home for a short period of time. Generally speaking deferred showings are typically set up to start anywhere from 3 to 7 days after the home in listed in MLS.

A deferred showing can really drive up interest, and the price as well, but it is not a one-size-fits-all tool. As with most things, there are pros and cons to deferred showings.

Pros Of Deferred Showings

Building Demand

When you list a home on MLS for a period of time before you start showing, you allow a large number of potential buyers to learn about the property. The more people see the property and are interested in it, the better chance that bidding will begin on the home. As the demand grows it may be possible to get a great price for the home, maybe even above the asking price. The theory of having deferred showings is to create a greater probability you will get multiple offers and therefore a potential bidding war.

This is in fact a home selling tactic I have been using quite a bit and it works like a charm. Most of my clients love the thought of setting their home up to have deferred showings for these exact reasons.

Avoiding Early Offers

Real Estate agents have to set reasonable expectations with clients. They encourage pricing homes competitively so that the home is likely to sell, so avoiding setting too high a price is a necessity. But playing it safe, while obviously the most prudent strategy, does lead to the possibility of missing out on a higher price. In a competitive market, who knows what the final price could be if bidding started up?

When you show a home right after listing, there is a strong chance that one of the first buyers will come through the door and make an offer early on. The owner may hear the buyers offer and be OK with it – reasonable expectations, remember? The home sells, but it may have sold for more if demand had been higher.

Deferred real estate showings avoids the early offer scenario. Lots of offers come in as soon as the showings start, and hopefully a higher price is reached as a result.

A Little Extra Time

Deferred showings can give you up to a week to take care of any last minute details that may have been missed before the home was listed. You may want to list at a certain time to take advantage of market conditions, but there may be a few little things that still need cleaning up or fixing. With a deferred showing, you get some more time to address these issues. While there is no time like the present to get a property on the market, you never want to put your home on the market before it is ready. First impressions mean everything in real estate sales.

Having The Open House Be The First Showing

Truth About Open Houses One tactic that a lot of agents use when setting up a home for deferred showings is also having an open house. You can put the listing up for 3-7 days, and explain in the listing that the first showing will be the open house on a certain date. Frankly I am not a fan of open houses and probably never will be.

An open house is just that – open for anyone to come through the door. This means people that have no business looking at the home, including those who are not financially qualified to spend anywhere near the asking price. People ask me all the time do open houses work and my answer is always the same. Work for who? They work great for real estate agents because they can be a terrific opportunity for the agent to prospect for business. One of the neighbors may be thinking of selling their home and stop by for a look to see what the competition looks like. Strike up a rapport and bang this is a prospect for the agent.

More common however is the agent picking up buyer clients who can’t afford the asking price. These are buyers none the less and could be purchasing elsewhere. This is in fact the main reason why real estate agents hold open houses. Beware that many agents who use open houses to prospect for business will not admit this.

The other big reason sellers should pause when considering whether an open house makes sense or not is theft. Remember with deferred showings you are setting yourself up for potentially a large number of people visiting your home all at once in a 2-3 hour time period at an open house. This creates a situation where an agent could not possibly watch what everyone is doing. Many agents will not discuss the pros and cons of open houses because they don’t want to stop the prospect train from rolling.

The bottom line is you don’t need an open house when you are doing deferred showings. There will be plenty of people looking at the home accompanied by an agent, who more than likely has taken the time to make sure the buyers are qualified.

Pricing a home correctly and then marketing the heck out of it is what sells homes. The internet is where buyers find homes they want to buy over 92% of the time. It is NOT from riding around finding open house signs. Folks we are in the digital age not the 1990’s. Open houses are not needed to sell a home!

Remember this……

When multiple buyers arrive in the same day to see the home that they have become so excited about, it is quite possible that multiple offers could come in immediately – especially once buyers realize that other buyers are there as well, and also want the home. This is the beauty of deferred showings!

Cons Of Deferred Showings

Relocation Buyer and Deferred Showings Relocation Buyers May Miss Out

There are buyers who are interested in relocating to an area. These relocation buyers usually only have a small window to view homes, after which they need to return to their home area. If they are coming from out of state and only have a limited amount of time to view homes, then it will be impossible for them to view your listing if your showings don’t start until after they leave. There is a good chance they could purchase another home that doesn’t have deferred showings, even if the home is not as good of a match for what they want. Necessity dictates their actions.

Relocation buyers can make substantial offers on homes due to their situation, so missing out on these buyers could be detrimental to the sale.

No Buyers Can View The Home

Sometimes real estate agents have their own buyers that they want to show the home to. With regular showings you can give a personal tour to your buyers, which can have obvious benefits if you want to sell to a particular party, or you are hoping that your buyers are the type to make a good offer. But with deferred showings, no buyers are allowed to view the property early under any circumstances. You have to wait to show the home until the time period is up, which can prove inconvenient.

High Demand Can Be High Stress

Depending on your market and the home that is being sold, the demand created by a deferred showing can become difficult to manage. In certain markets you may discover yourself with more showings that you can handle. When buyers are bidding on a property, they can become emotionally attached to winning the bid and potentially difficult to work with as a result. You may be expecting a certain level of demand, but find upon showing the home that there is far more demand than you had anticipated.

Showing the home for the first time at an open house can become particularly stressful in these situations. The more people you have milling through the home and throwing offers at you, the more tense the situation can become. You may get a great offer, but you will definitely have your work cut out for you. Be prepared for the stress that may come should you decide your going to do deferred showings. There really could be a whirlwind of activity at your home for a few days causing you not to be able to be around for extended periods of time.

All good though if you get that offer you want – right?

Real Estate Agents Should Discuss Pros and Cons

When a real estate agent is discussing any kind of marketing strategy with a client they should always explain the pros and cons. It is important to remember clients are laymen. You cannot assume everyone knows the real estate industry (even though some like to think they do). When doing a sales strategy like deferred showings, a client deserves to know both the advantages and disadvantages of such an arrangement.

When done correctly deferred showings can work out to be a tremendous home selling tactic for home owners. This in fact should lead to a discussion on how to handle multiple offers. Your real estate agent should counsel you on how they suggest to handle getting more than one offer and possibly many more! The losing bidders may even ask if there purchase contract can remain as a backup offer in the event the sale does not work out. Having a backup offer is never a bad thing to have and can keep you in a position of strength as a seller if your current buyer starts to become unreasonable. For example maybe after doing their home inspection they start asking you to fix everything under the sun.

In most circumstances the best way to handle multiple offers is to inform each of the buyers agents this is the case. You should then instruct the buyers agents to have their clients come forward with a best and final offer. From a sellers standpoint you could not be in a better position. More than likely there will be a couple of exceptional options. Keep in mind that sometimes the highest offer is not necessarily the best offer. Make sure you carefully look at all of the proposed terms in each of the offers. Maybe a quicker closing date is appealing to you? Maybe the buyer has waived a mortgage or home inspection contingency? These are all things that should be weighed carefully before making a final decision. Just because an offer has the highest price does not necessarily make it the best offer.

How Deferred Showings Work in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts when a seller and/or a real estate agent would like to set a property up for deferred showings it must be reported to the MLS Property Information Network within 24 hours of the listing appearing in MLS. If you are a Massachusetts seller or real estate agent here is the deferral of showing form that must be filled out. If you are in another state it is important to check with a local real estate agent on how disclosure of deferred showings work.

Final Thoughts

The proof is in the pudding when it comes to this kind of sales tactic. The last few homes I have listed for sale in Hopkinton Massachusetts have resulted in multiple offers with the contract price being bid up over asking. In the last few months, I have also been involved with this scenario while working as a buyers agent. In fact one of my buyer clients offered over 30,000 more than the asking price on a property in Framingham Massachusetts and did not have the winning bid! According to the listing agent, the seller had fifteen offers to choose from. Talk about being in prime position. Would the seller have received fifteen offers if the home was listed traditionally without deferred showings? I seriously doubt it!

If you are a real estate agent outside of Massachusetts reading this and have never heard of deferred showings, you may want to give it a shot. You may find yourself as a maverick who starts a trend in your market. Sellers will love your efforts when their home is potentially getting multiple offers and selling over asking price.

More Helpful Home Selling Advice

Use these additional resources when selling a home to make wise decisions. An informed seller is the best client a Realtor can have!

About the Author: The above Real Estate information on the pros and cons of deferred showings was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 29+ Years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service Real Estate sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.

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  1. says

    Hi Bill…

    I stumbled onto this article while researching this selling technique. We do employ it in Louisville with certain listings as the MLS rules will allow.

    I wanted to add a few more points to what you wrote and I’ll let others decide if they are pros or cons!

    1. Deferred or delayed showings can cause buyers to rush to put in offers prior to taking the time to fully think through whether or not the home truly fits their needs. We have found an increase in deals falling apart in our inspection period (our contract is very buyer-friendly) because the buyers have remorse in the cold light of day.

    2. In our area, even if you delay showings, if an offer is delivered to the listing agent it must be presented to the seller as soon as possible. This means that in certain areas that are “hot” right now, it is possible to get a good sight-unseen offer before the first showing and gosh darn it, your client may accept it even knowing the added risks and against your prudent advice. This throws all kinds of monkey wrenches into the plan as now you get upset buyers and agents who rightly think with the evidence at hand something less than ethical or not within the rules may have happened (even if it truly did not), plus the deal may fall apart quickly once the buyer sees the home for the first time.

    Busy markets can be a.blessing and a curse and you have to navigate wisely, with a little luck thrown in. I do like to delay showings with the right home, but you need to fully prep your clients, think outside the box to solve unforeseen problems and be willing to take a few body blows from buyers and your fellow agents to get it done.

    • says

      Joe – I think it is pretty rare a buyer is going to put in an offer on a home they have not seen and even if they did the seller shouldn’t respond to it. They would be defeating the purpose of why you have deferred showings which is to increase the odds you will get more than one offer. Rarely if ever would a client listen to my advice on setting up deferred showings and then turn around and not follow my advice about waiting for offers to come in. That doesn’t make any sense.

      • says

        I’m speaking from experience and on more than one occasion. We ended up getting 3 homes to closing this year already that had sight-unseen offers put on them. Once the buyer saw the home, we had to work through a few challenges, but each of those worked out. There were others that did not. The sellers in each case decided to respond because the offers hit the main points of what they wanted, they weighed the pros/cons and went for it. We have certain areas in our town right now where the inventory of desirable homes is so low that things I never thought I would see are happening to make deals work. As well, because our local contract is so favorable to buyers and provides essentially a get-out-of-jail-free provision, buyers are not too worried about the risk. It’s an issue we deal with regularly from the listing side.

        Because people deferring showings is a new thing in this area and has quickly become popular with a group of agents, buyers and buyers agents have been working on creative solutions to defeat that marketing technique. Submitting full price, or better, offers before the home is formally shown and relying on the buyer-weighted contract to defend them from big mistakes is one of those techniques. And, sellers sometimes do accept them because they got what they wanted and they don’t have to go through the zoo of having a significant number of showings over the course of the first few days the home is on the market. You are only going to be able to push the market so hard before the appraisal becomes a factor (another contingency in our area), so that is why sellers are willing to go this route.

        I am assuming your market is different, your contract is different, and local customs are different, but in addition to the points in your article these are issues we come across with deferred showings in our area.

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