What does “Call First” REALLY Mean?

I am referring to MLS showing instructions. I just don’t understand agents who do not follow instructions.  Seriously, if a listing agent takes the time to prepare a listing complete with online disclosures, reports, inspections, and instructions … is it really so difficult for an agent to read them and follow them?

I am not just referring to agents who show up at a property without calling the sellers first (per the MLS instructions). I am also referring to agents who call me and say … I want to show your listing at 123 Southwest Drive today at 3:00pm. MLS says to call first – Is it OK if I show the property?

My response: I don’t know. I suggest you call the owner who occupies the property. The owners are who need to be called first.  That is what “call first” means … call the owner … not the listing agent.

I get so many of these calls I actually called MLS Listings to confirm my understanding of that it means when we check the box “call first.”  I was assured that is exactly what it means.  I submitted a request that MLS Listings add the word “occupant” between the word call and first. Perhaps this will help agents, if only they read first. Agents would not only need to read, they would need to understand as well!

In the meantime I add: Call OWNER first in the confidential remarks of the MLS. This is the section that the public does not see. It is for agents and brokers only.  Even with this, agents still call me regarding when they want to show the property.

Where or where is the training for these agents? I know they are doing the best they can.  Brokers are sending licensed agents to the streets (so to speak) without basic training.  Heck, even the Department of Motor Vehicles requires a number of hours of driver training and driving on permit status before issuing a license.  Why? Because new drivers need more than a license … they need TRAINING! So do real estate agents!

Why is training NOT REQUIRED in real estate?   Imagine what the real estate industry would be like if an agent obtains a real estate license and then were required to complete an internship program similar to that of the medical profession?

I speculate we would have far less agents and brokers in real estate. I firmly believe that would be a good thing. Especially in today’s real estate market where agents have no specialized training and attempt to manage a short sale. 

Choose wisely when hiring a real estate agent. Make sure they listen to you and understand your needs. Also make sure they are experienced and can serve your specialized real estate needs.  If you are looking to buy or sell, call 408-972-1822 for a free consultation and market analysis.