If a property is listed as “in contract” then it’s definitely not available as a purchase contract has been fully executed by both buyer and seller. What if it’s not listed as “in contract” though? Does that mean it’s available?
Definitely not. As of this writing, listing updates in RLS (REBNY Listing Service) are not strictly enforced vs the MLS broker databases in other parts of the country. Even though listing brokers can be fined per REBNY rules for not updating a listing’s status within 1 business day, these rules are not policed and rarely if ever enforced.
As a result, listing brokers are incentivized to make a listing appear as “still available” for as long as possible as a way to generate additional buyer inquiries.
This means if you simply screen for listings that are not already “in contract” and send them to your buyer, they might get excited over a listing that is already long gone!
There is no easy way to determine whether a listing already has an accepted offer, a contract out, a signed contract by the buyer or whether it was “just” counter-signed by the seller without asking the listing agent.
This means you should ideally double check with the listing agent on whether a listing is still available before you send it to your buyer.
“Hi Mark, great listing! May we ask if it’s still available? When are you showing it next? Looking on behalf of a serious, pre-approved buyer who’s in town. Thank you!”
If a buyer wants to see a property that has an open house scheduled, you can simply “ship” them to the open house.
That means it is acceptable for the buyers to attend the open house un-escorted by you. While not required, you should still give the listing agent a courtesy heads up and “register” your buyer for the open house.
Keep in mind that it may be advantageous for you to attend the open house with your buyer anyway, especially if you are able to organize many open houses and private showings as part of a tour for your buyer.
Even if it is a single open house that they are visiting that day, it may still make sense for you to attend if only to meet and build rapport with your client. This is especially important early on with a buyer to build trust and loyalty.
Remember that buyers are free agents and there are no exclusive agreements with buyers to tie them to you! They could meet another agent they like and start searching with them instead or concurrently!
Once you’ve found a listing that the buyer wants to view, you can request a private showing on behalf of your buyer if no open houses are listed. Since you’ll be requesting the listing agent’s time to show up at the property, you need to emphasize to the listing agent that you have a very serious buyer.
Most listing agents will not be down for agent only client “previews” and may push back if you are a newer agent they don’t know or if they sense you have a buyer that is very early stage and just “shopping.”
A great way to add value and save time for your buyer clients is to simply call the listing agent to get some “color” on the listing. This means asking if it’s still available, why it’s been on the market for so long if it’s an aged listing, why it fell out of contract if it did, and whether there are any offers or if the seller is willing to negotiate the list price.
It’s super important to have perfect grammar, punctuation and spelling when emailing clients. This is even more important for your first interaction as the client doesn’t know much if anything about you besides the email you have just sent. Therefore, when sending listings to emails, make sure to meticulous in proofreading your message before it is sent. Make sure the fonts are all the same size, style and color when appropriate.
Tip: Try to keep the intro for your listing ideas email short and to the point. End them with open-ended questions so that the client feels compelled to respond. These questions should either try to engage the client to see a listing or to find out more information about the client.
“Hey Martin, what do you think about these listings we picked out for you? Are you free to go see some places this weekend? Is 125th Street too far north for you?”