One of the things that surprises me is how many agents don't preview homes they are about to show. I'm not talking about a complete walk through, but some kind of sneak preview to get an idea of the condition of the home. Yes, I know it takes time, and can be inconvenient, but in this highly competitive market every little edge you can get is worth the effort. When I first came into this business I inquired about previewing properties; the negative responses were amazing, but being new I went with the voices of reason and experience. Shortly there after I was showing homes to an out of town client, I was embarrassed by what I saw and the reactions my clients had. Even though these homes were in "desirable water front areas" they were disgusting inside. One smelled of animals and cigars (we didn't get past the front door), another had several pairs of shoes in the foyer - beds not made - dishes in the sink - a dirty pool, I can go on and on. At one house my client made the statement "It doesn't look like they want to sell their home". From that time on I follow my own councel on this subject. Of course if the house is vacant your safe, if it is a second home, with out renters, your safe. Yes pictures on the MLS are important and can give you and idea of what you are going to encounter, but if its owner occupied, what does it really look like now? Don't assume a home is clean and in good condition because someone is living there. A drive-by will give you some incling of the inside condition; is the lawn mowed and shrubs maintained, is the garage door on straight, is the lawn being used as a parking lot, are gutters hanging by a thread; how about holes in the pool cage and that water soaked phone book no one brought in? With the market flooded with inventory, agents can pick several homes meeting their clients specification; it makes sense to take the extra time to preview properties to ensure your showing the ones with the best potential for a sale.