I recently polled my team and asked them about some of their most interesting experiences showing property.  The following are in no particular order, and the names have been obliterated to protect the innocent!!

1.  "I showed a house that reeked of marijuana...there was almost smoke billowing out the front door.  I am not sure how my buyers' felt about the house, but they were pretty mellow the rest of the day..."

2.  "I was showing a house to a woman with two children.  As I opened the front door to a home, the children ran through the house and out the back door to the swing set.  A dog that was in the house followed them out the door and just took off running.  There was not a fenced yard, so I was chasing him through neighbors' yards in heels...it's kind of hard to call a dog when you don't know his name, but I managed to get him back in the house eventually"

3.  "I've lost count of the number of times I have walked in on sleeping teenagers"

4.  "there was a pair of lady's underwear on the steps leading to the master bedroom."

5.  "I was driving down a road with a buyer in my car, and there was a fire at a gas station.  A man was running around, actually on fire.  I pulled in, jumped out and another passerby and I rolled him on the ground and got him moved away from the fire. When I looked up, my car was gone!  My buyer had moved to the driver's seat and moved my car, because she was afraid the car was going to catch on fire." (Oops, next time, do not scare or endanger your buyer while trying to do a good deed!)

6.  "I tripped over a dead mouse going down the basement stairs..." "There was a dead bird in the kitchen."

7.  "A man called and wanted to see a house that was listed for about a million dollars.  When I returned to the office, his parents called the office and apologized for him wasting my time...he had mental disabilities and would do things like that when he was bored."  (Oops, next time, be sure to qualify the buyer, no matter the price range, and double oops, don't show a house to a total stranger!!!)

8.   "Sometimes the showing instructions are a little daunting, like this: 'bring a flashlight and use caution!'"

9.  "My buyer and I were in a nice home, which happened to be vacant.  By the time we left, our shoes and socks had fleas all over them.  Seller had it fumigated, and the buyer bought the house...still lives there 19 years later!"

10.  "The bedroom of a house I was showing had a bunch of men's suits laid out on the bed with something dark and greasy poured all over them...turns out his soon to be ex-wife had poured motor oil over all of his work clothes."

11.  "I showed a home where we walked out into the back deack, the door blew closed and we were locked out on a deck with no stairs to the ground.  I had to lower myself down off the deck, jump down, walk around the front and rescue the buyers off the deck."

12.  "While I was showing a house, the neighbor across the street backed into my car.  I heard a crash (I was in the basement), and then I heard the doorbell ring...I knew that wasn't going to be good..."

This is all "in a day's work" for most buyer agents.  If you are looking at homes with a buyer agent, they have typically spent time prior to your appointment researching the homes you want to see, setting the appointments to see those homes, and after your appointments they gather answers to questions you may have about some of the homes you saw.  They also either email or call the listing agent to let them know whether or not you have any interest in the property, and make constructive recommendations (such as "remove dead mouse, underwear, sleeping teens...") for the listing agent to share with her sellers.  

A great buyer specialist does their homework, before and after showing you a home.  They should be able to provide you with the resources for any and every demographic you might want, and they should be able to help you determine fair market value on any home you see.  They should be professional and courteous.  They should be someone you don't mind being stuck in a car with, someone who bravely chases down dogs, steps over dead things, and lets sleeping teens lie.  Most of all, they should have great listening skills so they can hear what you are trying to tell them when you describe exactly what you are looking for.  

You should tell them what you like, and what you don't like about the houses you are seeing.  If you see 3 or 4 houses and you feel like they are not at all what you are looking for, don't let that agent keep dragging you house to house!  Speak up!  You won't hurt their feelings, and you won't make them mad.  Maybe you and the agent need to have a conversation sooner rather than later about what you are looking for.  Together you can reset the compass and get on track toward finding that new home!

Many agents will require you to have a signed "buyer agency" agreement when you look at homes.  If you aren't ready to commit, you can certainly sign the agreement for that day, for the houses that agent shows you.  Some agents might want you to make a longer commitment.  From my point of view, if I do a good job and serve a buyer's interests (before my own!) I'll earn that commitment, and I'm good with a one day agency agreement so that a buyer can get to know me and determine if I have whatever it takes to be their agent!