Quick Tip: How to remain professional when showings overlap

By Michele McCaskill, VP of Risk Management

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a showing when another agent walked into the home with clients? How did you handle this often uncomfortable situation?

Circumstances like the one above happen because ShowingTime allows for overlapping appointments. When this happens, there are some important steps you should take to protect yourself and your clients.

First and foremost, remain professional. If you hear someone enter the home, let the person entering know that you are inside.

Tell the agent that he or she is welcome to come into the home to show, but he or she will need to use his or her Supra key to access the lockbox. Some agents immediately put the key back in the lockbox, lock the door and make the second agent access the lockbox to obtain the key. However you choose to handle the situation is up to you, but remember that the listing agent and seller want a time-stamped record of every agent who enters the property, which is only accomplished by agents using their electronic keys to access the lockbox.

If you are not comfortable finishing your showing while another agent is in the home, politely ask the other agent to wait outside while you promptly finish your showing. Bear in mind that the agent waiting for you to finish more than likely has other appointments to make. Please complete your showing as quickly as possible and take your clients outside the home for any discussions about the property.

How are you handling multiple offers?
29 thoughts on “How to remain professional when showings overlap”

With all the variables involved in a typical showing during the hot market we have been in for some time now, overlaps and conflicts are bound to occur. We cannot help that. However to remain totally professional under every situation is something which does remain well within our control all the time. If we were not the professionals representing our industry, then what would be the difference between licensed realtors and ordinary folks? We are held to a higher standard in the eye of the public, and we must raise the bar for ourselves.

I sense a little bit of hostility between the “buyer side” and “seller side” agents who took the time to post here. Fact is, based on our specific role in any transaction, we all are just one leg of a four legged stool. Without the other three our prospects would be, er, wobbly. All four primary components of real estate, buyers, sellers, and their respective agents are part of a family or a community with common and sometimes overlapping interests. We must help each other when required.

2. Daniel Fisher  says:

I strongly disagree with the statement “If you are not comfortable finishing your showing while another agent is in the home, politely ask the other agent to wait outside while you promptly finish your showing”. Showing agents don’t have any authority over showing instructions for a Sellers home; ALL Showing Agents are guests in the Sellers home and must follow the Sellers instructions. If a Seller instructs scheduling to allow multiple potential buyers and their agents to simultaneously view their property, then those are the terms under which showings must occur.

When one agent is driving over 300 miles in one day to view 35+ properties with 5 different clients, it is critical to show during Seller approved appointment times. If we arrive at a property during an approved appointment window and are denied access, we often have to skip that property. A showing agent who denies a competing agent and their buyer client access during an approved overlapping appointment time is almost certainly doing the wrong thing.

Our firm expects our agents to wear a badge, always log their visit by accessing the electronic lockbox if present, always announce their arrival and if anyone is inside, to identify themselves and our company. Agents lock the doors while showing for safety. If others arrive with an approved appointment, our agents are to step outside, lock the door, click in the supra key cup and allow the next agent to open everything and take responsibility for the key and locking up. Then we continue showing one part of the house or outside while the other parties view the remainder. Our agents announce our departure as we leave.

I suggest revising the conclusion of this article to: “If Seller allows overlapping appointments, but you want an exclusive viewing, you should either make those arrangements with the Seller in advance or leave as other potential buyers arrive and come back when the house is clear”.

3. ME G  says:

You can override Showing Time to not allow overlap. I allow them on my listings because so many times an agent rudely schedules a two hour showing and then no one is allowed to show and they may only show for 15 minutes. On my listings I allow only one hour showings max and allow overlap with communication about the overlap.

4. Linda Hoverman O’Neal says:

With many homes in certain price points selling the same day they are listed and many buyers only able to look at homes after work, it is fair to both the BUYER and SELLER to allow overlapping showings. As agents, we need to realize we are the mediators and negotiators and the seller is allowing us the privilege of viewing their home and representing a buyer that chooses to purchase. Overlapping showings demonstrate very clearly to the buyer and to the seller the urgency we as agents try to tell our clients, but nothing tells the story as well as the reality of a group of people there at the home the same time to view the home.

Personally I feel as if the homeowner knew that a showing agent walked inside and LOCKED out all other potential buyers and agents, that they would be livid, and rightfully so. The seller ALLOWED overlapping showings for a reason and it is not our right as agents to decide we would like an exclusive showing.

I had an appointment scheduled to show a home during an overlapping showing and the Realtor inside not only locked us out in the rain, she stayed in the home 50 minutes while making us wait outside. We all have schedules to keep, buyers, sellers and Realtors. It is NOT our right as Realtors to decide to prohibit others from looking when overlapping showings are allowed.

I do agree with placing the key back in the lock box and have the next agent in line open the lock box to identify themselves. I do think we all need to remember to be courteous to one another as Realtors.

5. David Brown  says:

the answer is don’t overlap>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> When i go in from no, i will shut and lock the door.

6. ROXIE  says:


7. Diana Bowler  says:

If another Agent comes into the house while I am showing, I immediately identify myself as being in the house, and then ask my Buyers if they are okay with someone else viewing the house while they are inside. If they are hesitant, then I request the other agent to step outside for a few minutes while we finish seeing the inside. Every now and then, a Buyer will say it is okay and I relay this to the other Agent so everyone is aware of the other being in the property. I will hand the key over to the other agent, but explain to the other Agent that they will need to use their supra key to put the key back in the lock box

8. Matt Chilton  says:

I will not enter a home with my clients if another Broker is showing. The free flow of comments( except confidential), is a key element in serving our clients.= while in a property. This can not be accomplished with others present. I extend this courtesy and would hope others do as well.

9. Jane Rezac  says:

I think that if we allow overlapping appointments it is a good idea to replace the key in the lockbox before allowing another agent to come in for liability reasons. I go back much further than a lot of you in real estate and protocol was always to let the agent already showing to finish but you are right, times change so all agents should reconsider sometimes what is the proper way to in this case control a situation that could present a liability to both agents and the homeowners.

10. Harold Blackwelder  says:

Our office policy is to let the other agent finish their showing. Never walk in on another agent – beyond rude. If we there we try to complete the inside viewing & move outside for discussion.

11. Tamela Brown  says:

I have been in this situation a couple of times. As a Realtor we took an oath to conduct ourselves at a higher ethical level. The fist time was my first ever having an overlapping appointment. I pulled up 5 minutes before my time started. My client and I see another agent rush her client in the house. I advised my client that we should wait til our time started. Then I rang the door bell only to greeted very rudely and have the door slammed in our faces. I have not encountered anyone that rude since. Second encounter I tapped on the door was greeted very politely. The agent and myself agreed to do opposite floors. The other agent took her clients upstairs while I showed my clients downstairs. Then we swamped floors. If we all behave professionally and according the the oath we took , it should not be an issue. It is silly to think being rude to another agent is ok.

12. Diane Dale-Adams  says:

I believe Showing Time should be programmed to inform other agents of overlapping showings by DEFAULT. There should not even be an option.

13. Beth Graichen  says:

Ok…Let’s think about an open house. How is this much different from an open house? Some people come to opens with their agent also.
Things happen and people run late and many times for a very good reason. No need to have an attitude or start thinking unpleasant thoughts, or heaven forbid have an entitlement thing going on. Yes you have scheduled and have done all that you are required to do. You cannot control everything else that happens. Show some grace to the others and learn to come up with a clever phase to put everyone at ease.

14. Diane  says:

When I enter a home with my client(s) I lock the door and hold the key for security reasons. I don’t leave to chance that someone may walk in on us, not being an agent and buyer, too! If they ring the door bell or knock, I will respond to them and work it out. It may be best as a listing agent to check the box to inform agents of overlapping appointments for security sake AND to have them access the key, so the showing is recorded for liability sake.

15. Shirley Wheeler  says:

When instructions are set up on a new listing in ShowingTime, there is an option to either inform an agent of an overlapping appointment or not inform. I believe, as part of professional courtesy to the next agent trying to make appointment, to let them know one has previously been scheduled.

16. Doug Collins  says:

Sorry, if I have a scheduled appointment I have been given permission by the owner and their agent to be in the home. If I am there at that time and someone asks me to wait outside, I would politely decline and let them know my scheduled time to show was approved. Some buyers can take an extraordinarily long time to go through a home. I do not think it is in the best interest of the Seller to have another prospective buyer waiting outside. It is off putting for them and is not the Seller’s fault.

17. Dennis Kelly  says:

Agents, don’t forget the 1 hour time scheduled for your showing is 1 hour. Showing up 55 minutes late to your scheduled time slot does not grant you additional time and may interfere with the next agents scheduled time slot. So, if you are late, prepare your clients that their viewing maybe cut short if the next agent is on time.

18. BW  says:

Some of these Agents need to understand that they should not ask another Agent to wait outside until they are done showing. The Other Agent’s time is just as important as the one who shows up ” First “. Getting there ” First ” is irrelevant as the ” New ” Agent at the door has every right in the world to enter as they ALSO have an approved showing time.

19. Minnie High  says:

Only if the home is vacant do I allow other agent and buyers into the home at the same time due to personal property risk and liability. I do try to speed up the process and let them know we will be done in a bout 5 minutes and tell my buyers if this is a home of interest we can schedule a second showing to be more thorough to take into consideration any factors that need to be written into the offer perhaps seller concessions to be requested.

20. Peggy Rooth  says:

In this market overlapping appointments are inevitable and should be expected. Certain price points receive multiple offers the first day on market. Agents take clients to open house showings and think nothing of having other people present. Being professional means preparing your client for current market conditions and respecting other agents and their clients.

21. Pierre Maree  says:

This happens to me very often. I have even bumped into the same agent multiple times. Also happens that more than one agent is there and it is never an issue. It does indicate to my clients how popular this house may be and to make a good offer if they like like.

22. Tracy Cromie  says:

I think overlapping creates urgency to buyers….having the key put back in with a simple quick conversation with the 2nd agent is appropriate & understandable….if its a supra, if its a combo, it really doesn’t matter, there is no record other than the appt made with Showingtime.

23. Scott  says:

What is not good is scheduling a showing and then having another agent schedule at same time..not over lapping but identical time. Then same agent getting to the property early and not allowing another agent to come in. Over lapping is fine but same time showings should not be allowed and if an over lap is scheduled, original agent should be notified. 10-15 minute buffers are needed.

24. Ted Belz  says:

Very helpful to allow overlapping

25. Kerry Finn  says:

You can set Showing Time to not allow overlapping showings. But that is problematic in our market where often houses are far apart. You can’t keep driving from one end of the county to the other because you will keep those clients out far longer than they need to be out visiting homes. I don’t have a problem with another agent and their clients overlapping with my showing. ShowingTime informs that another agent is showing at the same time and I tell my clients it could happen. If it does, I tell them we will discuss in the car, not in the house.

26. Theresa McDonald  says:

I agree with Gregory’s points above. Prepare buyers for overlapping showings, should not be too difficult. Perhaps a special message to agents that showings are overlapping would help, and a reminder to record their visit via the lockbox. It certainly benefits sellers to have showings compressed into a shorter time span, or they will be pop tarts in their own homes. ?

27. Gregory Walter  says:

Not allowing overlapping showings would be a inconvenience to showing agents as it would limit access availability. It would also be an inconvenience to sellers as it may result in long showing time frames.

Generally booking an appointment doesn’t give the showing agent or the buyer an exclusive right over showings at that time. Asking another agent to wait while they finish their showing is disrespectful as it shows a lack of respect for the showing agent’s time, that agent’s client’s time, and potentially the planning done by the agent to schedule a multiple home tour. Client service should take precedent over another competing agents comfort. If an agent is not comfortable finishing the showing with another agent present in the home, perhaps that agent should find a way to adjust to the realities of the current operating environment in their industry. Multiple showings at the same time is a reasonable outcome. I find it generally helps buyers to move faster on properties which, to a point is, overall, good for everyone.

28. GlennH  says:

It’s best for our buyers and sellers to maximize showings; in a hot market, the need for etiquette to accommodate strong interest is inevitable!

29. Jeff Sny  says:

What would alleviate some of that is if the default in ShowingTime wasn’t set to allow overlapping appointments.

Posted in