Why Your Realtor Should Be Using A Centralized Showing Service
Eric Stewart ● August 23, 2016
When putting your home on the market, you hope for as many showings as possible. The more showings, the more likely you will receive an offer or, in a best-case scenario, multiple offers. In addition, those showings should generate useful feedback regarding the offer price and appeal of the home. To make showings as easy as possible and to elicit feedback from potential buyers, you want to make sure your Realtor is using Centralized Showing Service (CSS), or a company that offers a similar service. What is CSS? Read on to find out.
Centralized Showing Service is a company that coordinates and schedules residential showing appointments. If a buyer agent wants to show a home where the listing agent uses CSS, the buyer agent will call CSS to book the showing. Upon calling CSS, the agent will speak with a representative and ask for a specific showing time. The CSS representative will then check the showing instructions for that listing (provided by the listing agent who also puts the showing times in the Multiple Listing Service) to determine whether that showing time is possible.
Sellers are typically provided with three showing options if their listing agent uses CSS.
Go and Show
If a home is “go and show,” the home is available to be shown at any time without further approval from the seller, but an actual appointment must be scheduled through CSS. This scenario usually occurs when a home is vacant or the seller is out of town for a specified amount of time, giving more flexibility to potential buyers for viewing opportunities.
The requested showing will be approved by CSS, who then provides the showing agent with instructions on how to gain entry into the home. For instance, if there is a lockbox on the front door of the house that requires a combination code, CSS will provide the code to the showing agent when the appointment is booked. CSS will also give any other special instructions for the showing, such as removing your shoes or alerting the buyer agent that there is a pet in the home.
Once the showing is scheduled through CSS, an email notification is sent to both the seller and listing agent, notifying them that an appointment has been booked. After the showing, an automated email from CSS will be sent to the showing agent for feedback. Once that feedback is provided, the information is forwarded to both the seller and listing agent. Sellers can also log into a CSS portal at any time to view all of the feedback provided from each of the showings. Feedback forms can be customized, but below is an example of the type of questions that are typically asked.
In this scenario, the buyer agent calls CSS to schedule an appointment to see a house. In addition to the specific showing times indicated in the MLS, the seller may also require advanced notice. This is typically one to two hours, but can be anywhere from 30 minutes to up to two days before the actual appointment. CSS will call, email or send a text (whichever option the seller prefers) to the seller to alert them to the showing. The showing is assumed approved unless the seller indicates otherwise. Just like in the “go and show” option, CSS will provide access information and, after the showing, will generate an email asking for feedback which is sent to the seller and listing agent once it’s received.
This option is the most restrictive in terms of scheduling showings. When a buyer agent calls CSS to schedule an appointment, CSS will call, email or text the seller asking them to approve or decline the showing. If approved, showing instructions are provided and feedback is requested after the appointment, which is then forwarded on to the seller and listing agent. If the showing request is declined, the buyer agent will be asked by CSS to reschedule and, once that is done, a new notification will be sent to the seller for them to approve or decline.
Benefits of Using CSS
Using CSS is beneficial to both the listing agent and their seller clients in a few ways. Rather than trying to get approval from the listing agent for a showing (who may be in another client meeting, at a closing, or otherwise busy), a buyer agent simply calls CSS where a representative will be available to help book the appointment. Second, both the listing agent and seller are immediately notified by CSS when a showing is scheduled. This allows the seller to plan accordingly as it is recommended that sellers not be present in the home during showings. Last, feedback is automatically solicited from each showing, so sellers can have real-time input on how their home is being received by potential buyers, and if there is the possibility of an imminent offer.
Listing agents must pay a fee if they want to use a service like a CSS. However, if a listing agent is focused on the best interests of their seller clients, it is a no brainer to use a centralized showing vendor.
The Eric Stewart Group of Long & Foster has been using CSS for the past several years for all of our listings. Each alternative discussed above is reviewed with our clients to determine the option which works best for each seller. For tips on how to prepare for a showing, download our previous blog on this topic, and for insider advice on how to get your house ready to sell for maximum profit, download our FREE Market Ready Guide. If you want to talk to the experts on how to sell your home fast and for top dollar, contact the real estate professionals at the Eric Stewart Group. We have over 28 years of experience helping sellers and buyers across the metro area!