Does This Market Bring Out The BEST In You, Or…?
The phrase I keep hearing all the time in real estate in relation to business in this “heated” market is “…a rising tide floats all boats…” AND, I interpret this particular phrase as “there is a LOT of transaction to be had right now, if you can make it known that you are in the business of real estate, you can attract a significant amount of clients even without much effort.”
I think this is an apt evaluation, and for any real estate agent, a sudden increase in business usually results in a breaking of all your carefully crafted systems, right? You did 15 transactions last year and you know HOW to manage the paperwork, schedule the workflow, attend the inspections, keep on top of the attorneys and title company…well you had it figured out before!
But, this year, you’re jumping to 20, 25, 30 maybe even 40 transactions – and it may not be overnight, but it sure feels that way. And you become flustered, overwhelmed, dare I say…” PANICKED” even? And before you can stop yourself, you turn into a TOTAL JERK.
Sorry folks, the first couple of paragraphs were a red herring – I’m not here to talk about systems (that’s for another post another day). I am here to talk about the bad behavior we fall prey to when we get uncontrollably busy and the amount of damage we do to our fellow colleagues, our clients, and ultimately ourselves and our families…even the damage we do to our industry as a whole.
Undoubtedly, you have heard this story before…
It’s Wednesday morning and you have a client DYING to see a house at 57 Parsons Drive, Anytown, USA. It is on as a “coming soon” and showings begin on Friday. You follow the instructions as per the MLS and you leave a voicemail & text for the agent asking for a Friday 3 pm showing. No response. You try again that evening. On Thursday morning, you call the office and you get sent to voicemail. In the meantime, your client is starting to freak out that you don’t have a confirmed appointment. By Thursday evening, you are cursing up a storm, bad-mouthing this listing agent to everyone who will listen (including your mail carrier) and you concoct a plan to meet your client at the house on Friday at 3 pm anyway, just to see if you can find an opportunity to slip in to see the house. Friday morning comes, and you turn on your computer, you scroll through your emails, and check out the hotsheets as you make your morning coffee, and **BOOM** there it is. The 57 Parsons Drive, Anytown, USA is PENDING (or UNDER CONTRACT or IN ESCROW…or whatever you guys call it depending on your local market). $@^&((%)*&#!!!!!!!!
You can’t prove it, but we all suspect the Listing Agent either a) showed the house during the “coming soon” soon period which is a violation of the rules of both your state and local board, or b) had a buyer from the very beginning and simply put the listing on the MLS for purposes of lead generation and for their end of year performance statistics. You become outraged because this is the 3rd time it’s happened this month, and you have to tell your client. You dial the Listing Agent again and leave a polite but insinuating message through clenched teeth, and 15 minutes later, you get a text back, and it says “…so sorry, but we just had an overwhelming response, and I have been totally crazed and wasn’t able to get back to you. Yes, unfortunately, we took an offer and the house is no longer available.” And of course, 2 months later, we see that they sold the house themselves…(sigh)
Sound familiar? I’ll bet…
The Listing Agent has now lost credibility with all the agents who tried to co-broke with them – the reputation one develops for “shady” behavior can stay with you throughout your career, and the sad truth is, our reputations are important. My buyers’ agents often tell me, “we got that deal because the other agent would rather work with US than the other agent.” So please know, your reputation precedes you if you last in this business, so what could the Listing Agent have done better?
- List the house as an exclusive – at least this way you are being honest about the fact that you would like to sell it yourself, rather than give a lot of other people false hope about a home. It may not be the best practice for exposing a home to the market widely, but at least you are being truthful about your intentions.
- Published in the MLS specific guidelines for when the showings would occur as “open times” to all agents, and make a PROMISE that all offers would only be accepted after a certain date – in my market area if we anticipate a large response, we often pre-publish that “showings begin Friday, the 11th (no exceptions) and highest and best offers will be taken on Tuesday, the 15th at 12 pm.” This way, the Listing Agent can point at the guidelines and say “follow these please” when another agent is trying to muscle or intimidate their way into a house early. This has to be something that the Seller understands and is on board with, of course…
- Use showing system software so that it is easy to track inquiries and requests – let’s not let those fall through the cracks simply because there are so many of them.
Do we even have to go over the slew of repercussions this means for everyone else? The Buyer Agent can lose the trust of the Client because the Client starts to believe that they can’t get you into homes in a timely fashion. The Client (did I say Client, I mean THE PUBLIC AT LARGE) also starts to believe that all real estate agents are SNAKES and their distrust grows…and I think we all know what the perception is of who WE are as an industry. Let’s not give them more reasons to think that, please.
I am going to ask you a question. Have you found yourself getting busy, cutting best practices, or even “ethical” corners? Have you done what is best for your client or for YOU? Have you hurt your fellow agent, to whom you have a professional responsibility to? Have you hurt the trust the public puts in us…all because the “market was just too crazy” and “it fell through the cracks?” Are you this Listing Agent?
Because if you are, I think it’s time to take a deep breath and remember why you are in this business – to help others right? NAR’s Realtors Pledge of Performance and Service says it best:
Article 1: REALTORS® protect and promote their clients’ interests while treating all parties honestly.
Article 3: REALTORS® cooperate with other real estate professionals to advance their clients’ best interests.
Who are you, and are you the BEST Agent you can be?