There are times in any business where one must laugh at some of the antics that go on behind the scenes, some of the unprofessional things others in the business do and say. We have all been there, no matter in which field you work….I am sure you can conjure up a few times you were left scratching your head over something a colleague did. The real estate industry is no exception, and in fact I think there is even more room for inexcusable behavior because most agents are independent contractors and do not have anyone looking over their shoulder most of the time.
Listing agents have been made fun of in other blogs for lack of proper grammar, spelling errors, and all kinds of other things. I have to admit despite my shock at the lack of editing, I do find these blogs humorous (albeit sadly so). But there are a few things that REALLY make me question some agents’ professional goals. Here are the top 5 on my list:
1.Â Listing a property and being unresponsive. If you list a home, obviously the seller thought highly enough of you to give you the listing…so now you actually have to do some work! Placing a listing on the MLS is an open invitation to people to ask questions. If you are not going to make yourself available to do so, than what are you doing listing homes?! This is one of my biggest frustrations, and I have had to tell many clients, “the listing agent has not returned my calls/emails.” I had one agent just last month who didn’t respond to calls, emails and texts about a property for almost a week! My client finally then wrote an offer, only to be rejected because another had come in during the noncommunicative time. This is not right, folks.
2.Â Copying information from similar listings without verification. As agents are aware, when a buyer purchases a home there is a period of due diligence, where the buyer conducts inspections and investigates the property to her/his satisfaction. However, when you are inputting a listing to the MLS, it is so important to get the information right. If you find another similar property in the neighborhood and merely copy that information into your listing, you could be providing false information to buyers. Even though they have time to discover this, doesn’t it make more sense to get it right from the start, so as to avoid wasting anyone’s time, including yours and your seller’s?
3.Â Directing agents to a website to book an appointment. In this day and age we are so technologically savvy, and I love that, BUT…real estate is still and will always be a business about people. We are not selling widgets, we are selling more than just a home – we are selling a lifestyle. The more personable and friendly you are, the better it is for everyone. If you want to have your showings scheduled via a website, fine. But I have 2 caveats: make sure the website works properly, AND provide a phone number where the agent/consumer can reach a live individual with questions!
4.Â Limiting the method of communication with the listing agent.Â I agree that there are times when a quick question can be addressed via email, but there are times when I like to speak with the agent, so I can get a feel as to how the agent works and ask multiple questions, especially if the property is a distressed property. An agent should NEVER limit the means of communication between other agents who may have interested clients with valid questions, as this is doing a disservice to your sellers.
5.Â Placing viewing restrictions on the property. I understand there are times when some viewing restrictions must be imposed, such as in the case of tenants, a family with a baby or very young children, unfriendly pets or perhaps a homeowner who works at night and sleeps during the day. But if you want to get the home sold you have to coach your clients about being as flexible as possible. Putting a home on the market and telling agents it is a “drive by only, then submit offer in order to view property” is plain ridiculous and a waste of everyone’s time. Similarly, if you do not plan on letting people in the home, for pete’s sake have your sellers fill out a Instruction to Exclude the Listing from the MLS until it is ready to be viewed, and then place it live! Do what you can do to make the property as accessible as possible.
The real estate industry is not only consumer-centric, but is based on good old-fashioned principles of cooperation. If you want to represent your sellers to the best of your abilities, you and your listing need to be as accessible as possible.