How to NOT get a Real Estate Agent's Attention

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential

Want to know how to NOT get a Real Estate Agent's attention?  There are things you can do the first time you contact an agent that will almost always result in your not being taken seriously.  And, gentle reader, I get these phone calls all the time.  Yes.  All the time.

1.  Call an agent you don't know, ask for information and then not want to give them your name. Think about it.  You want that agent to come unlock someone else's HOME for you but you don't want to disclose your NAME???  Really???  This also happens a lot at Open Houses.  People act as if they are afraid that I am going to hypnotize them and do voodoo on them and they will wake up the next morning and discover that they have bought a house they don't want while they were asleep.

2.  Call about a property, tell the agent that you want to see that property and no others, and you want to see it now.  When I unlock someone's HOME, the implicit understanding is that I am showing it to someone who is an actual buyer, not just someone who is casually curious.  See my posting about that at If you are not a buyer and you want to see inside the house down the street for whatever reason, call the listing agent and ask when an Open House is going to be scheduled.  Explain the reason you want to see the house.  The actual reason may get you inside the house faster than the fiction of pretending to be a buyer if you are not.  For example, I had the head of a very big boutique agency meet me and a client when he heard that the client had grown up in the house, that his father had built it and that we had pictures of the house from the time it was being built.  My client got a lovely tour of his childhood home, the agent got to borrow the pictures to make copies for marketing materials and I got to see inside a really wonderful structure.  Everybody won.  What a deal!

3. If the agent asks you if you have already spoken with a lender, respond by saying "no, bqurestion marksut getting a loan isn't going to be a problem". If you are really a buyer, we re going to have to have a conversation about how you are going to pay for this purchase.  In the current lending climate, I have had people run into problems with lenders even though the client had credit scores of 780 and were putting down 20%.  We are living in the New Normal in real estate...which means that the only way to be absolutely certain you can get a loan is to go talk to a lender...

4.  When the agent attempts to ask about your general needs in the way of housing (size, neighborhood, price questions), you are unwilling to talk generally about any of that and respond by saying that the house you are calling about is the right size, in the right neighborhood and at the right price.  Real buyers don't talk that way.  Real buyers want to look at more than one house.  People who only want to see inside that one specific house have another reason to want to get inside. When I ask you about the budget for this purchase, I am not trying to pry into your private financial information.  All I am doing is trying to figure out how best to help you.  If you were buying a dress, and a clerk wanted to help you find things, would you make that clerk guess what size garment to bring you?  Same thing here.  If you only want to spend $X tell me so and we will only look at houses that cost up to $X.

I recently had a phone call from someone wanting me to unlock a house.  When I told them that I wasn't immediately available, she told me that she would just call someone else who would do it and then she hung up on me.  Literally 3 minutes later, she phoned again about another house down the street.  When I told her that she was talking to me again, she squased out one little "oh" and then the line just went dead.   She hung up on me twice. No kiss good bye, no see you around sometime, just that dead sound of a disconnected phone call.

I believe that everything that happens is good.  As I stood there reflecting on having been hung up on twice in 4 minutes, I realized that I had just been given the Blog Topic de Jour.  Those two calls inspired this posting!  We owe it all to Veronica looking at houses in Lancaster.....Thanks, Veronica!

When an unknown member of the general public phones and speaks anonymously with a real estate agent, an experienced agent is going to ask a few, very basic qualifying questions.  I'm not asking for your bank account numbers and the location of your favorite fishing spot.  I am just doing my job.  Seriously.  I promise you that I have never made anyone sign papers at gunpoint.

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Paul Lesieur
203kloanmn - North Oaks, MN

Well said, I think people don't get the fact you have a life and responsibilities.

Jun 11, 2011 04:29 AM #1
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Judith, this is soooo funny. I have said to people, I give information only if I get information. I always ask if they have worked with or are now working with someone. Sometimes the answers knock me out. Yes, we are working with someone but don't want to bother then until we see this house first." Hello, you know the drill. The long and short of it is if someone isn't at all forthcoming or makes demands up front, I wish them well and tell them they would be served with someone else and I am too busy to waste my time.

Jun 11, 2011 04:33 AM #2
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

All of this is so very true.  Of course, asking for something they saw in two hours outside of the metropolitan area and wanting that same thing closer in, at the same price, is a deal breaker too.  Location, location, location.  It's what makes things more expensive closer in.

Jun 11, 2011 04:51 AM #3
Kim Boekholder Utah Real Estate
Results Real Estate 801.580.5624 - Draper, UT
Broker, Results Real Estate

So very very true.  So many buyers dont realize what they are doing by being vague and that we are just trying to help.  great points 

Jun 11, 2011 05:59 AM #4
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

If I am going to waste my time, I prefer to waste it on things *I* enjoy!  Loved this post.  Thanks, "Veronica," for the inspiration - LOL.

Jun 11, 2011 06:54 AM #5
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!

I think this post is great! for the people out there that may not understand how things actually work in the RE business:)

Jun 11, 2011 11:04 AM #6
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