Profile picture for Debbie Holmes

Another frustrating day where the buyer didn't contact me....

Another frustrating day where I did all the preliminary work to serve them and they didn't finalize the appointment.  I guess since I am a real estate agent I am not entitled to the common courtesy of a call or an eMail telling me they changed their minds so I could have planned a day off.....  
  • July 31 2010 - Boise
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Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.

 
 

Answers (25)

Sorry, forgot a T, NTETS.

Still on my first cup.
  • August 02 2010
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NTES,

People influence each other in both a negative and positive ways constantly in their interactions with each other.

You really can't generalize what a particular group of people do since everybody is individual:
"how does that work? oh, right because agents use undo influence and pressure to control the outcome of the transactions and dont give a rat's about their client. got it."

Go ahead and speak about specific interactions you have personally had with agents, and if your animosity toward agents is any indicator, it hasn't been good.
  But you have no right to lump me and all others in to the "don't give a rat's about their client.." group.
  • August 02 2010
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You got some excellent, very useful free advice in response to your apparent venting because your day didn't meet your (unrealistic?) expectations. Was there a question?
  • August 01 2010
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Profile picture for Mr Caveat
and deals can get snagged or even killed for the stupidest things because ego gets involved more than common sense.

how does that work? oh, right because agents use undo influence and pressure to control the outcome of the transactions and dont give a rat's about their client. got it.

considering you think it is the all mighty rare exception, i'd be willing to bet that if you put your mind to it, you could come up with at least 100 simmilar situations where the actual property selected isnt strictly a supply and demand question.
  • August 01 2010
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Profile picture for hpvanc
I'll stay on topic this time.  I think agents have a right to have their time respected.  I find it hard to imagine that anyone needs to see a house right now.  I do think some agents actually encourage the sense of urgency, pitching that if something comes on the market that you need to look at it right now and get your offer in before anyone else.  It also makes them feel important, and gives a perception of legitimacy that they deserve more compensation for always being on call.

When I was looking I actually had arguments with my agent over sense of urgency to go look at newly listed properties right now.  I needed at least 2 days to do my pre-viewing due diligence research if I was interested at all.

No one should ever intentionally stand someone up for an appointment without calling either way.
  • August 01 2010
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I'm with you on that Chutta.

I may have exaggerated just slightly for effect.

I have 4 kids, all home for the summer, and my schedule is not quite that flexible.

But I will admit to being as flexible as I can be because I honestly can't afford to be any other way. 
Being relatively available can only be to my advantage, especially if I don't have much in the way of business.
  • August 01 2010
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@Joan Braunschweiger  even as a new agent there is a difference between being a good agent and being the person who "jumps" when the client says "jump".  Being a good agent is in the details.  It is being an excellent communicator and very knowledgeable about your area (more so then being able to open up a house "right now because I have only an hour to see it).  Now many consumers here may disagree, but instead of letting your client dictate the schedule, maybe you dictate it for them.  Give your potential clients who need flexibility in your time know a week ahead "this is my schedule, there are the times I can show you property" give them multiple days and times (because you have an open schedule).  By doing this you have shown your client that you are willing to be ready to work for them whenever they feel like looking at property, but also it carves out specific times that you will not be available to them.  A client may think they want an agent who will drop everything for them, but what they really want is someone who makes time for them.  There is a difference.
  • August 01 2010
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While I agree with you in theory, being a new(ish) agent pretty much means that I will be at their beck and call.

I'm looking forward to the day that I, like you, am busy enough that I don't have to be, but for now, they call, I come.
  • August 01 2010
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I had tried to make the contact.  I knew they were busy.   I just wish I hadn't kept the day open for them....

There is a difference between being available for your client and being at the beck and call of a client.  You need to take control of your schedule, you are just as busy as your client, and the expectation cannot be that you are always availalbe.  My schedule is such that very rarely am I available to a client, that day, and if I am I have small window.  There should not be an expectation that you will drop anything, because the client is available.
  • August 01 2010
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hpvanc,
I think fee structure and whether or not buyer's agency serves an important function are two different things.

You think that because the fee was negotiated between seller and listing agent that somehow that translates into the buyer's agent working for the seller. 
 
  Buyers and sellers often find themselves in an adversarial relationship, sometimes mildly and sometimes all out war.
Agents have to try be the calm in the storm when these situations happen because often the parties involved lose sight of the fact that they all really want the same thing, and deals can get snagged or even killed for the stupidest things because ego gets involved more than common sense.
Each side deserves to have its own representation, from somebody who was intimately involved in the process, either with the buyer or with the seller, from beginning to end.
There will always be people who do a better job of it than others- some humans are more self-serving than others and have a hard time putting other's interests above their own, or with even the ability of seeing future gain from an enthusiastic referral.
But most of us understand the importance of doing our job well, both for personal and financial satisfaction.

I also understand some of your points regarding how we are paid.  A lot of valid points.
  I've read a lot of stuff on the topic and still have no answers because I've seen no great solutions yet.  For example business models(especially in a service industry such as RE that is highly variable from transaction to transaction)  that depend on quantity for profit risk reducing quality of service and in an industry that already has a bad rep, I'm not sure that's the way to go.

And I apologize because I think I think I am totally off topic now.
  • August 01 2010
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Profile picture for hpvanc
Deborah,

Sorry I have been off topic on your post, people should be more respectful of agents time.  After all that gets built into the standard commission % that we all wind up paying, and reduces our ability as consumers to demand more efficiency and a fairer cost from agents.

Now back to off topic.

Joan,

I'm not saying that you consider yourself a salesperson.  You may be an agent that doesn't.  However I would disagree with you about most agents being good.  I think especially among agents that have only worked in the real estate sales business over a long period of time, they completely loose the perception of how to do a good job, and revert to being nothing but salespeople.

I also think that honest agents that don't view themselves as salespeople would be able to command the kind of reputation that would allow them to move to fee for services business model. 

I would also disagree with you on "If buyers knew up front that they would have to pay for an agent's services, I think many wouldn't, then you would have buyers trying to get to the end of closing unrepresented and I can't think of that as positive."  I think buyers agency is a totally false perception among agents, while their may be agents out there that try to do a good job for the buyer, with all of the money being allocated on the other side, I think that they would be better off with out representation from the typical agent.  I also fail to see how that can be fair to either the buyer or the agent since the seller has no idea how many services that buyer has actually used.  I also think that extorting sellers to pay the going rate for buyers commission in the area is collusion at its worst, and should be subject to anti-trust action. 

FYI "That means less salesmanship and marketing and more respect from the public." should have been: That means less salesmanship and marketing hype will mean more respect from the public.
  • August 01 2010
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Profile picture for sunnyview
It is just plain disrespectful not to call you to let you know that they could not make it, but it is possible that they forgot. I am pretty vigilant about keeping appointments, but even I have had a brain freeze now and then. One person called me and the conversation was casual. Then then asked if I had forgotten the appointment at 9. You bet I had. I apologized and asked if could be there in 15 minutes of driving time if they had room in their schedule to wait. I also offered to reschedule. They were gracious. In 3 years, I had never missed a scheduled appointment.

It was my stupid fault for not writing the appointment on my calendar instead of paper, but a quick follow up call would have reminded me and avoided my brain hiccup. Some clients do take their agent for granted and treat everyone that way from their hairdresser to their doctor. Others just forget and would benefit from a followup call.
  • August 01 2010
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Regarding how an agent can truly represent a buyer, most of us do it quite well.
I know this may sound counter-intuitive, based on what most people's impressions of RE agents are, but I don't consider myself a salesperson.

Even in the role of listing agent I don't consider myself a salesperson.  If I do my job right, do all the stuff that agents are suppose to do regarding getting a house priced right, looking stellar and out in the public's eye, then the house should sell itself. 
My job is to market the house and to convince the sellers to present the house in the best light both price wise and condition wise and then take them through the end of closing.

As a buyer's agent, I absolutely do NOT sell houses.  I try to find houses that fit the needs/wants of my buyers and they decide for themselves what they want and don't want.  I will be the first person to point out flaws and drawbacks of a particular house.  Finding the house that my buyers are willing to buy is only the beginning of what can be a really
tough process these days, especially with short sales and financing issues. 

Am I motivated to get paid?  Of course.  Would I ever do that at the expense of someone else?  No.  Some agents may, but since this is a referral business, most don't.

Although buyers bring the money to the table, the perception that the seller is paying is a motivator for people to use buyer's agents.  If buyers knew up front that they would have to pay for an agent's services, I think many wouldn't, then you would have buyers trying to get to the end of closing unrepresented and I can't think of that as positive.

People need to be careful generalizing about what agents do and what their motivations are.  Like everything else, until you walk in these shoes most people have no idea.  I know I didn't.
Obviously there are some agents out there working that we all wish weren't, but most are working their butts off, trying to maintain a good reputation and simply want to get food on the table, just like everybody else.
  • August 01 2010
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Profile picture for Pacita Dimacali

I learned long ago that whenever prospective buyers call or email, I give them enough information to satisfy their basic inquiries.

But if they request to see a property, I try to set the stage by asking them questions. I figure that if they're hesitant to provide information, then they're not good prospects or there's no chemistry between us. If I'm willing to give them my time, they should be willing to give me theirs.

Basic questions I ask:

1. Are you currently working with a realtor --- if they are, then I politely tell them that they should consult with their realtor

2. Are they preapproved for a loan. If they say they think they know what they can afford, I still encourage them to see a lender in case they're underestimating (or overestimating) their buying power

3. If they want to see a property, I ask them to meet me at the office first so that we can pull up information on this property and other similar properties to gauge their level of interest. I won't show a property until I meet them first at my office and I have all their contact info (full names, emails, phone numbers, etc) and unless they're already preapproved.

4. When they show up and after getting all the required information, we go through the exercise of pulling up properties in their price range, their preferred locations. Then together, we discuss the choices --  and I give them background information about type of sale, comps, etc. Doing this together lets them see that searching for a property is a process that is more than just driving around and opening doors.

And it they don't show up.... that's fine too. While waiting, I had other things I could do at the office. And....I just saved myself a major hassle of working with potential buyers who may not be ready or serious about buying, or who can't commit.




  • August 01 2010
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Profile picture for hpvanc
"Anyway, I like your idea of having a team of agents with various needed specialties but like you mentioned, I believe most people would prefer independent contractors anyway, due to the trust issues involved in this business.  I think a lot of people would assume some conflict of interest type stuff."

"I do use a team of experts... We are just all independent...."

All well and good, I see no reason you can't all be independent, and I would never suggest that a buyer not hire a 2nd independent analysis of the house with regard to the inspection and appraisal for a buyer.  However, if the agents assembled themselves in teams this way, and kept the certification they could do more professional service type due diligence before the offer.  Also on listings side you would be able to provide better preparation, and maybe be able to tell someone that insists they list at an unreasonable price that they have to pay for it up front and take on part of the risk.  That means less salesmanship and marketing and more respect from the public.  Plus the benefit of having a team that covers for each other.  I know you have written on other posts that you do use other agents to cover for you, but that does not seem to be standard operating procedure for most agents, and you have never mentioned that you team includes agents with non-agent certifications.

Unfortunately I don't see how you can achieve full professional respect as a professional services profession until you do find a different compensation structure.  As it is you can spin it all you want, but when it comes down to it if you are paid on commission, you are a salesman. 

Which leads me to how can a salesman every truly represent a buyer.  They can only represent a seller or sellers in general.  If you want to be a buyers agent, you are deluding yourselves if you believe you can do and be paid on commission by the seller, if the buyer is hiring you, they have to have control of the compensation, and it is never in the buyers best interest to employ someone who won't get paid unless they close the deal.
  • August 01 2010
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Profile picture for Debbie Holmes
It's OK there are 2 sides to every problem....  It just seems straight percentages aren't quite fair to anyone.  For example a short sale takes 3 times the work and 100 times the aggravation yet the commission is often cut to 5%.....  If I managed to sell a $1,000,000 home I would get a check for 30,0000 less broker split.... When I sell a $50,000 Home I helped get someone into housing and I get $1,500 less broker split.  You also have to be very careful on those lower end homes.  You are looking for a diamond in the rough.... I am looking for foundations, proper wiring, plumbing, peeling paint, mold, leeks, etc....  Things that are usually OK on the high end houses.  And I am looking for this before we put the offer in and higher the inspector (because my buyer is often short of funds).    I want to make sure that buyer has the best house that he/she can afford.... I am in a bitchy mood today.....
  • July 31 2010
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
"I work harder (but it more rewarding) to find a home for a $100,000 buyer then a $300,000 buyer but I am paid 3 times as much.....   Doesn't seem fair...."

Ah, and now you understand why those of us who own $300K houses are unhappy with the current commission rates/structure.

Sorry, couldn't resist jumping on that one.
  • July 31 2010
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Profile picture for Debbie Holmes
I do use a team of experts... We are just all independent....  I also wish we were not paid on commission but that is the nature of our job.  I work harder (but it more rewarding) to find a home for a $100,000 buyer then a $300,000 buyer but I am paid 3 times as much.....   Doesn't seem fair....  
  • July 31 2010
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Just some clarification:
I meant to say I hate the commission only part, not the job.

Clarification done.
  • July 31 2010
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My pet peeve is when I spend a significant amount of time with a buyer just to have them fall off the face of the earth.
Won't respond to my emails or phone calls, even when I make it clear that it is fine if they have moved on, I just need to know so if  house that meets their parameters comes on the market, I don't need to concern myself with it anymore.  At least tell me you're ok.  I guess I shouldn't care but when I spend some hours with people, I do.
I mean, what's with that? What does it take to shoot off an email and say, thank you for your time Joan but we will no longer be requiring your services.  I'm fine with that. But please just let me know!
Okay, rant for the day is done.

hpvanc,
You look remarkably similar with the same giant question mark and oddly glowing head.  Amazing.
Anyway, I like your idea of having a team of agents with various needed specialties but like you mentioned, I believe most people would prefer independent contractors anyway, due to the trust issues involved in this business.  I think a lot of people would assume some conflict of interest type stuff.
Also, I am open to different pay structures for RE agents but haven't yet heard one that is radically different and feasible for all involved.
I have to be honest, this is my first commission job and I hate it.  I would love to know that my time spent working was actually compensated because being fairly new to this business, I have spent a lot of time working, with little to show for it.
I am also aware that there was a time in this business, legend says, that RE agents actually made a lot of money, sometimes not having to do all that much for it.  Business would just fall in their laps.  That could just be rumors..  Sounds kind of far-fetched to me :) 
  • July 31 2010
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
@ Deborah - Just some random thoughts...

"Another frustrating day..." So, it sounds like this has happened before? If so, then the change needs to be effected by you, don't wait for your clients to realize they need to act with consideration for your time.

Even in my business dealings, I have found that if I am often left hanging if I leave the initiative in the hands of others. That needs to be balanced with not appearing pushy. No one can afford to have their entire day dedicated to a meeting that doesn't happen.

So, my approach is...

    1. Set the meeting.
    2. Set a time/manner for to initiate a confirmation of the meeting, usually an hour-or-so prior.
    3. Make sure that there is a definitieve window (both a start and ending) for the meeting. This way, everyone can plan for other things after the meeting window.
  • July 31 2010
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Profile picture for hpvanc
Deborah,

There is no doubt that consumers need to be more respectful of your time.  While real estate is not truly an emergency on call situation, maybe agents need to look into assembling themselves as small teams that cover for each other and share in the transaction, instead of acting as total independents.  You would also have the opportunity to cover more specialties within that team if you were to assemble it with people of different technical specialties within real estate with certifications beyond your real estate licenses (i.e. one could actually be a licensed appraiser, one a licensed home inspector, one could be a stager, one could licensed in the title area, and etc.)  While a buyer and seller would still be better off getting an independent analysis on top of what you provide with your team in most of the areas, just think how much you could add, and what potential it has for your reputation.

Steve,

You can call yourself a professional or adviser, but you will have trouble getting respect as long as you are paid on commission.  In other words the title change won't cut it (it's just repackaging), you really need to overhaul the whole job description and compensation structure, and get your colleagues to live the new description and compensation structure.
  • July 31 2010
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Profile picture for Mr Caveat
i generally oppose REAs using the term "advisers." sure you give advice, but how often do you meet one who gives out good advice?(present company excepted)
  • July 31 2010
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I had tried to make the contact.  I knew they were busy.   I just wish I hadn't kept the day open for them....
  • July 31 2010
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I never count on my clients to contact me.  I also call early to verify the appointment and then I will call 15 minutes after the appointed time to ensure they are coming and nothing is wrong.  Yes, it is unfortunate that both buyers and sellers treat us like used car salesman.  But, when we refer to ourselves as salesmen and saleswomen, what do you expect.  Let's try being what we truly are and that is marketing and negotiation professionals and advisers; then we may begin to earn there respect.  
  • July 31 2010
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