A private showing is a scheduled viewing of a house for sale that is not open to the public. Typically, a buyer and their agent will tour the home. The seller and their agent are not always present for private showings. In some markets where homes don’t stay on the market for long, private showings are uncommon.
Private showings are often important for buyers who are in the later stages of assessing a home for sale. They will want to walk through the property in detail and follow up with any questions or concerns. As a result, most sellers will support private showings. Sometimes sellers will provide restricted scheduling windows to ensure the home is in the best showing condition.
Agents representing the seller often provide showing instructions on the MLS. Often these instructions require the use of showing management and tour scheduling software. In many cases, a buyer’s agent will simply reach out directly to the seller’s agent to schedule private showings.
A broker’s open house is a scheduled time for licensed real estate agents to view a property that is currently for sale or not yet on the market. In some markets where homes move quickly, broker’s open houses might be the only time when homes can be viewed prior to offer. For example, San Francisco has a set broker's open house schedule that has historically taken place on Tuesdays with designated hours for different locations in the the city.
Many sellers use broker’s open houses to market their homes to buyers without having to open up their home to unlicensed professionals who may not have a high intent to buy. Essentially, hosting a broker’s open house is like marketing a home to every buyer client that a real estate agent represents. Unlike a traditional open house, a broker’s open house may not result in offers quickly. Agents still need time to relay information about the property to their clients.
Broker’s open house times are typically posted on the MLS. In addition, agents will often share broker’s open house data within their brokerage and broader agent network.
Showing management and tour scheduling software helps agents coordinate showings on behalf of their seller clients. These tools also allow buyer’s agents to request and confirm private showings with the listing agent or seller. Most platforms also include instructions on how to enter a property. Many of these tools also collect feedback after showings that the seller’s agent can relay to the seller.
The most popular showing management software is ShowingTime. Agents use this application and others to manage private showings and collect feedback from buyers and their agents. Many MLS software providers directly integrate with ShowingTime so agents can request tours within their MLS. That said, many agents still simply coordinate private showings via email or phone.