Unbelievable, Shocking and Inexcusable
Over the years, real estate agents have gotten a bad rap. Every time I hear negative terms tossed around about them, I get defensive. In fact, I have spent decades standing up for the good name of real estate agents. But the recent behavior of one agent made me grind my teeth with aggravation. It all started with a friend of mine...
Over the years, real estate agents have gotten a bad rap. Every time I hear negative terms tossed around about them, I get defensive. In fact, I have spent decades standing up for the good name of real estate agents.
But the recent behavior of one agent made me grind my teeth with aggravation.
It all started with a friend of mine - a very dear friend - who asked me to help him with the purchase of a vacation home. When an old friend comes to me for help, though, I'm more than happy to put on my agent hat and step into the ring. Plus, my friend made it easy for me. He had already picked out the vacation home he wanted to buy.
That's where I came in. My friend was totally in love with the vacation home, having seen it listed in the paper and driven by it several times.
No problem. I'm happy to write an offer for a family member or close friend. So, first thing I did was contact the listing agent. We'll call her Agent X.
Turns out that the vacation home is actually owned by a real estate agent. We'll call her Agent Y. Agent Y asked Agent X to list the property for her.
It was a very strange conversation with Agent X. Agent X wasn't terribly thrilled to talk to me. I could hear it in her voice. She also told me that Agent Y wasn't paying her to handle the transaction. She was doing it as a favor.
Several warning bells went off in my head.
First of all, it's disgusting for an agent not to get paid for ANY transaction - even for a friend. That's the first inexcusable piece of this story. If you're going to use another agent to help you sell your property, please pay the agent.
Because if you don't, you get what you pay for.
So, I told Agent X that I was going to write the offer for my friend. I just needed her to confirm a couple of items about the property from the owner, Agent Y. Agent X said she'd get back to me with the information I needed.
So, I waited. And waited. And waited. Nothing.
Days turned into nights and nights turned into a week. I called Agent X again to remind her that I'm still waiting for the information I need to write the offer. And I waited. Nothing.
Then, I sent an email. Nothing. Then another phone call. Nothing.
Flabbergasted is too mild a word to describe how I was feeling. Outraged is a better description of my state of mind at this point. I was fuming.
Actually, I'm still fuming. Because it's a month - a full month! - later and I STILL haven't heard back from this agent.
Now, I know there are things I could do. I could call Agent X's broker, who would hopefully speak to her about her bad behavior. Yes, I am sure that the broker could also inform Agent Y about this but Agent X also told me more about Agent Y then she should have. She vented quite freely about her own frustrations with Agent Y, hardly professional to do when speaking with an agent who is trying to write an offer.
But, now I'm not going to take either of these measures. My friend has now lost the allure of the property. What was once a vacation home he wanted to buy has become a property that represented something negative.
I don't blame him.
Negotiations are tricky. I warn agents about this all the time. If you appear like you're not thinking about the other side's interests at all, then you risk losing the sale. The other side feels threatened and tossed aside. Quite often, just like my friend, they will cut and run.
Real estate is an emotional business. When you insult and ignore clients, they get mad.
Some may make the argument, "Well, if your friend wanted the house so badly, then he should have fought for it." The truth is that some people don't like the fight. It's not worth it to them in terms of emotional cost.
People want good feelings surrounding all their life's deals. Yes, there are some that enjoy the victory of a hard-won battle - but not most. Most people want to feel good about every aspect of their transaction. As a real estate agent, one of the best things you can do is to ensure that they experience good feelings from the first handshake to handing over the keys.
I cannot express how shocked I am at this entire situation. After all my years of defending agents, this one exhibits inexcusable behavior that makes all of us look bad.
Agents, be careful. Don't expect other agents to work for you without pay. Don't let communication lapse with your clients. Don't ever neglect to return a phone call.
And never - ever - let a good deal fall through your fingers because a client feels insulted.