Video Recorded Property Showings = Priceless or Shameless?
“All truth passes through three stages:
First it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” – Schopenhauer
Your favorite retail stores do it. Video cameras surveil and monitor shopper your behavior, interaction and experience. Schools, hospitals, restaurants, bars, casinos, friends and corporations use it too – video.
Imagine the quality of feedback the listing agent and their seller would receive if showing appointments were monitored by video equipment? You could see and hear how prospective buyers react – live, unbiased and unspun. No more begging the listing agent for fuzzy feedback, no more spin, no conflicts of interest, no BS, simple straight facts.
I know. You might be thinking I’ve lost my mind. At worst it’s a violation of privacy, at a minimum it’s rude and icky. I get that. Let me ask you this, while showing property, do you ever allow your clients to video tape or photograph the interior of the property during the showing? Is this a violation of the owners privacy? If you do or have, you have one foot in door. Did you ask for the seller’s permission? Should you? Why or why not?
Guess what? Virtually every retailer in America has cameras rolling. Why? To minimize theft? Of course. And, do you think that savvy retailers don’t analyze their video data for more than theft. Do you think they might monitor traffic patterns, shopper behavior, employee performance, consumer comments and more? Of course they do.
Do you think that there are sellers across the country who have installed video equipment to record agents showing, with or without the knowledge of their listing agent? I do, how about you?
Showing Agent Feedback Is Next To Worthless
I wrote about property preview/broker open house a while back. Many jumped to the conclusion that I was an idiot. Maybe so, maybe not. Let’s move on, suspend your judgement just a few paragraphs more. Please.
Asking, begging and pleading for showing agents to share their impressions of their buyer’s impressions, and their professional opinions about your listings yields next to worthless insight . Whoa! Hear me out.
I understand the seller wants it and you try to provide it. I understand all the motivations and expectations. I think Showing Agents Feedback is next to worthless because it’s shared third hand. I imagine you’re familiar with the joke where a story is whispered into one persons ear, then that person whispers the story in another persons ear and on and on. When the last person in line tells the story out-loud, it’s not anywhere near the same story. Most of the time, showing feedback is like that.
Video recording equipment is relatively inexpensive these days. What if you found an affordable video surveillance vendor and offered this service to your clients or you bought and installed the equipment yourself. Bye-bye chasing, begging and pleading for showing feedback, hello happy sellers and an extreme point of difference.
Imagine your local MLS adding a checkbox on your data entry, a disclosure, you check the box – “Video Surveillance”. Everyone knows, it’s not a secret. Full disclosure.
If your sellers knew the video recording of showings was available to them, would they pass or say, “Hell YEAH” or “No thank you, we don’t want to know what people are saying about our house.”
Would You Resist…
We know our every move is being recorded when we visit a retail store, would you object to being recorded when showing properties? Would your buyers refuse to view a listing if they knew they were being recorded? If you refused to offer this service and your competitor did, as an option, do you think some sellers would choose them over you?
Does NAR, your local association or your broker have a policy addressing the video recording of showing appointments? If they exist at NAR or with my local Borad, I couldn’t find them (I didn’t spend all day looking, but I made an attempt.).
Showing agent feedback is a Jurassic tradition, it’s inaccurate and next to worthless. Some sellers, unbeknownst to their listing agent, are already using video/audio surveillance to monitor showings. Like we use smart brand management thinking and practices for our on-line and off-line interactions, we should show properties as if we were being recorded.
On-line Discussion – Can You Record Showings?
People can be sneaky – Check These Out.
I do believe that when and if you get it, most Showing Feedback is worthless. Assuming you’re a pro, you know if your listing is priced correctly, how the property shows and what needs to be done to position your property competitively. If the buyer is interested, they’ll ask questions and submit an offer. If you are a showing agent and your buyers are interested in the property, showing your hand too early will give the listing agent time to generate competing offers, that’s their job.
Because I wrote this article on this subject, don’t think I’m a privacy, stalker, secret video recording freak or creep. I’m not and I don’t.
I’m not suggesting that we should all run out and rig-up, secret or unsecret surveillance systems in our listings. I am saying that there are sellers today who are recording showings without our knowledge. I am asking us all to consider how we would show properties if we knew we were on Candid Camera. I am suggesting that recording property showings has pros and cons. I am suggesting that presented correctly, an agent or brokerage might create a point of difference and attract an unserved niche of sellers. I am suggesting that offering showing surveillance services is first mover advantage and something that most competitors would not choose to match or compete with.
There you have it, some strange thinking. What do you think. Remember, don’t shoot the messenger and no name calling please.
Cheers and thanks for reading.