Don't Show Your Home to Strangers Without an Appointment

"...I might as well have a hitchhiker in my car."

Our colleague in New York, J. Philip Faranda,  sent out a great reminder about safety when your home is listed for sale.

We have buyers looking for homes in the mid-Peninsula and Silicon Valley cities. Please contact me if I can help you.


The other day a seller client told me that she showed her home to strangers off the street who knocked on her door and expressed interest in seeing the place without an appointment. She accommodated them. We don't know who they are, or even if they were qualified to buy. She just hoped they might be the ones. I told her to never do this again. Call me a suspicious New Yorker, but the risks outweigh the opportunity when you show you home to strangers with no appointment.  

Prior to scheduling a showing, we verify the credentials of showing agents, their contact information, and their licensure. Nobody gets an appointment without verification. If it is our own buyer, we verify their identity, their financial qualifications, and their identity. Otherwise, I might as well have a hitchhiker in my car. To not take these measures I expose my firm to severe liability and clients to undue risk. 

What can go wrong by letting strangers into your home without a proper appointment? Plenty.

  • Theft
  • Violence
  • Vandalism
  • "Staking the place out" for future theft
  • Identity theft
That last point is a new one, but once someone can get a bill or some other personal item off your kitchen table you have the seeds of a far bigger problem than a stolen necklace. 

People who can't set up an appointment and insist on dealing directly with the owner of a listed property may not have a screw lose, but they are trying to pursue a fallacious angle, namely that bypassing the agent gives them an advantage. The bottom line is that while they may not hit you over the head, they are almost certainly wasting your time. 

J Philip Real Estate

Don't show without an appointment


J. Philip Faranda, Broker-owner, J. Philip Real Estate, LLC. 2010 Vice President, Westchester Putnam MLS. Read my short sale blog here. J. Philip Serves Briarcliff Manor, Ossining, Croton, the River Towns, Westchester County, and the bedroom counties of New York City. 
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Lottie Kendall, Realtor®


CA DRE#10215160; 650-465-4547

Peninsula Living Business Page



Comment balloon 7 commentsLottie Kendall • January 17 2010 11:50AM


Many great points in your post Lottie!

Sellers should at the very least, have been informed by their listing agent to refer door knockers to the number on the sign if they are interested in viewing!

Utilizing the services we provide to the full extent protects sellers in so many ways. MLS tracking of who has shown your home, knowing a buyer is qualified, follow up for feedback, are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using a Professional Realtor!

Best regards,

Posted by Judi Boad (SOLUTIONS REAL ESTATE) over 10 years ago

We market rent-to-owns in Baltimore, and I am amazed at how many people just call off the sign and say "When can I see it".  I explain they need to complete an's free and there's no credit check at this point.  95% of the time if not more, I never hear from them again.  A few have kicked back in irritation stating "I'm not comfortable giving out my personal information until I know I like the house".  They may even throw in that "There's lots of scams here on Craig's List (one of the ways we advertise) and I just don't feel comfortable doing that".  Sometimes I'll try to get some information from them over the phone in order to pre-screen them, but when someone won't give me their last name, forget it.  I'm not going to waste my time talking with you further on the phone let alone showing you a property.

And I love the calls, "Oh I'm actually calling from my mother, or my brother, or my 2nd cousin twice removed."

It always makes me wonder if there are rental companies out there that just show properties to anyone who's interested.  The attitude of some of these callers is like they expect us to show it to them.  And I agree with your post 110% that you must be CAREFUL of who sees any home, vacant or occupied.

My most recent surprise was a lady at first calling for her mother.  She wouldn't give me her mother's last name, nor her own FIRST name at first!  She gave me only her mother's phone number (I had her number from caller ID though).  Only thing she'd give me was her mother's monthly rental range.  We didn't have anything for her.  Her mother never called.  This daughter kept calling me asking if I called her mother yet...I said no, why would I?  Then she says she's looking for a place for herself, much lower rental range, 2 large dogs, but more flexible in location.  Finally she completes an application and wants to see houses that are out of her price range and/or won't accept pets.  I.e. she wanted me to ask a Rent-To-Own Seller if he would take $800/mo. rent (he was advertising $1000/mo with an option fee), and only a $400 security deposit! 

Sorry for the long story...just trying to get across the high-maintenance attitude of this person.  Shortly after, her REALTOR calls me.  Says her client has called me about a particular house!  I was SHOCKED that this person was working with an agent!  I actually felt sorry for the agent because I think this particular client of hers is a TOTAL waste of time and all for a rental commission.  I feel like just writing this all out is a waste of time LOL!.

I don't know, perhaps there's another side to the story that I'm missing, but I have no problem blowing these people off.  There are just too many cooperative, legitimate and QUALIFIED clients out there to work with.  I just wish other professionals out there wouldn't enable this type of attitude and expectation in people.  Sorry for the ranting.

Posted by Keith & Shannon French, Baltimore's Best for Rent To Own Homes ( over 10 years ago

Hi Judi -- Philip made lots of good points, didn't he? Sellers need to be reminded of safety issues so their excitement doesn't outweigh good judgment.

Boy, Shannon and Keith -- you've had some doozies! I'm glad you have a system in place, and hope that helps keep the frustrating level down.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 10 years ago

Hi Lottie...thanks again for putting up with my rant LOL! I'm such a pleaser and want to work with everyone and give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but you're right...the systems in place help reduce the time wasters and therefore keep the frustrations to a minimum.  All the best in 2010!

Posted by Keith & Shannon French, Baltimore's Best for Rent To Own Homes ( over 10 years ago

Very informative re-blog, Lottie! As a photographer and stager, sometimes someone will see me outside working, and the for sale sign, and start to inquire about the property. I always refer to the agent. I don't have the authority to let anyone in the property, but also, it is a safety issue!

Posted by Deena Cottingham, Home Stager & Photographer (GreenApple Staging & Images, Calgary Staging & Photography) over 10 years ago

Shannon and Keith -- no problem with your rant -- AR is a great safety valve, isn't it?

Deena, I can see how you'd be questioned when working at a property. Glad you keep safe!

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 10 years ago

Lottie, yes it sure is! Happy MLK Monday!  All the best in 2010!

Posted by Keith & Shannon French, Baltimore's Best for Rent To Own Homes ( over 10 years ago