Real Estate Agents: Get Good... or Get Out

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

confusedYep, that means exactly what you think it means. If you are not a good real estate agent, get out of the business now before you spend one more dime or dollar on your personal marketing or MLS dues. Give your overpriced listings to someone else who will price them right and market them intelligently. (That way you might actually see a few dollars from your efforts down the line when the referral fee comes due after closing.)

Gone (for now) are the days where being a good real estate agent meant you were a Good Prospector. NO ONE IS IMPRESSED with your listing inventory or even with the number of marginally-qualified buyers you're driving around.

All that matters are closings.

And you know what? You don't create closings with expert real estate prospecting. You create closings with expert real estate advising.

I don't care how good of a salesperson you are, you cannot sell a house to anyone. You cannot sell a house for anyone. Your new job description is to use the brain and creativity God gave you to best advise and serve your client.

If you don't know how to sell a house, other than to plop it in the MLS, create a brochure and put a sign in the yard (and oh, yes, enter it on Craigslist), then you have no business tying up a seller's valuable marketing time and energy.

Let a GOOD agent handle the listing... one who:

  • Knows how to properly price a home and absolutely refuses to overprice


  • Has the balls to be direct with sellers about any obstacles to sale and insist that they be corrected or priced for


  • Has the manpower connections to help the seller prepare his home and/or get through inspection.


  • Is willing to risk upsetting a seller by insisting that he allow short-notice showings and that he vacate the house during showings


  • Knows how to take good digital photos and post them online


  • Knows how to explain the marketing process to the seller so that the seller feels involved, committed and included (and therefore cooperative!)


  • Keeps the seller updated on local market activity and trends


  • Ensures that the brochure box is always full OR pulls the damn box off the sign


  • Ensures that the key works in the lock and doesn't accept the excuse that "there's a trick to it"


  • Is pleasant, respectful and responsive to buyer agents who express interest or have questions.


  • Is a respectful, creative and effective negotiator


  • Insists on a home staging consultation


  • Offers 7 day/week showing service


  • CARES almost as much about selling that home as the seller himself

(Feel free to add to this list...)

THE PUBLIC DESPERATELY NEEDS US RIGHT NOW. It's not all about us and our needs. Our clients need us to do our jobs exceptionally well to give all those FOR SALE signs a chance to be SOLDs. If and when that happens, the perception could possibly turn this mess around. WE OWE IT TO OUR ADORING FANS!!


copyright Jennifer Allan 2007

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Gayle Ross - C21 Ross Group Houston/Cypress Texas
Great!  I do hope that we lose a lot of "pansy" agents.  It's good for the profession.  When more agents treat this like a REAL job, maybe we'll get somewhere.  Thanks for the post. Again, it was great!
Oct 19, 2007 10:18 AM #79
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

Amen and amen!!!  

I can't add anything to this that hasn't already been said - JENNIFER YOU ROCK!

Oct 22, 2007 02:36 PM #80
Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains
I am with Karen, I can't add anything either that hasn't already been said except to say that I enjoyed the post and all of the comments.  I have had brokers advise me to take overpriced listings and worry about the price later.  I will not ever do that again!  This does not serve the client nor myself well and it was a hard lesson to learn but a very good one!  Jennifer, are you sure you are not an extrovert? LOL  Great post and you said it all just perfectly.
Oct 23, 2007 12:00 PM #81
Jennifer Bowman
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Beach Properties of Florida - Panama City, FL
Great Post!! I feel the same way, if its too hot in the kitchen get out now! Especially in this market!!
Oct 23, 2007 12:34 PM #82
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

DeAnna:  I think the point is, if you don't do the job well, get out, whether you work RE "full time" or in between other jobs.

It is possible, though not recommended, to do a real estate job well while working another job for income.  It requires you to pay attention to details, to use your spare time to learn all you can and become is hard, but not impossible.

What is frustrating though are people who take a half-arsed approach to their responsibility as a real estate agent.

For instance, I just took a listing where the previous agent had the square footage off by over 600 s.f. - and sucky pictures that did nothing to make the house look appealing to potential buyers.  It may be difficult to be creative with photos, but it isn't difficult to take the stinking time and make sure the facts on the MLS are right. I just sent off an email to another agent who claimed her land listing "backs state land", which makes it very attractive to my buyer...until I looked on the tax maps and saw that the property is surrounded by other private landowners.  I'm still waiting to hear back from her about that.

Being a decent real estate agent takes a lot of dedication and commitment - and if you're going to do it half-way, then either DON'T do it until you can do it RIGHT, or skip it all together.  I don't have time and shouldn't have to spend time tracking down other agent's mistakes...I have enough of my own to worry about!  LOL 

Wow, sorry for this if it's a hijack Jennifer.  :-( 

Oct 24, 2007 01:22 AM #83
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

I agree, DeAnna - I know more than one "full time" agent who is a complete moron and I wouldn't trust them to sell my dog house (if I had one.)

I guess we all speak from our own experience.  

Oct 24, 2007 01:37 AM #84
Jennifer Allan
Jennifer Allan, Inc. - Denver, CO

DeAnna and Karen - don't mind the hijack at all - these discussions are good for all of us.

My problem with the part-time mentality is that it's all about the agent's needs ("I have a family to feed!") and not about what's best for the client. If I had a choice between a good full time agent and a good part time agent, I'll pick the full time agent. When I'm spending several hundred thousand dollars, I expect the person I'm working with to be committed to me and to his or her career. As a buyer or seller, frankly, I'm not concerned about the agent's needs for income or benefits or whatever. And my agent shouldn't expect me to be.

Bringing this back to the post... if a part-time agent can do ALL the things he needs to do to Sell His Listings, then great! If he doesn't have the time or energy, then he needs to Get Out.


Oct 24, 2007 01:44 AM #85
Joshua Lazaro, serving New Orleans and the Greater New Orleans Area!!!
Prudential Gardner, Realtors - Kenner, LA

Jennifer- I like the post. You're very blunt and honest, and that's what's needed. Thank you.

Oct 24, 2007 02:37 PM #86
Carol Lynne Bull
Keller Williams - Alexandria, VA

Jennifer, Well said any suggestions for new agents as how to tell clients that their house is not worth what they thik it is?

  Carol Bull

Oct 26, 2007 04:31 AM #87
Emily Cross
The Muljat Group - Blaine, WA

Hi Jennifer

Well, for someone who's new to the business - this is GREAT and exactly what I strive for. I heard an agent in my office (yup - one of the heavy hitters) say he had to "buy" the listing from another agent but he got the price down where it should be and I thought, seriously, you "buy" a listing using false hopes and playing on other's emotions? Isn't that in some way against agency? Seems like it should be! Anyway - thanks for the pat on the back and shove in the right direction!


Oct 26, 2007 05:02 AM #88
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales


I know you asked Jennifer but I can't keep my  mouth shut.  Let the COMPS tell the clients.  Show them the comps of homes that sold for the price they want - let them see that all of those homes had x amount of features (like granite counters, more square footage, finished basement, more land, garage, etc.)  Then show them the comps of sold homes that are like theirs in size & features.

They probably still won't believe you.  I had a customer who wanted her house listed at $350,000.  However, the comps told us her house would sell at $289,000 at the HIGHEST.  She saw it in black and white.

And then listed with another agent who listed it at $350,000.

Fine...let that other dopey agent waste his/her time, energy, and money marketing an unsalable listing.   

Oct 26, 2007 05:05 AM #89
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Carol - Your question is one of most important questions a real estate PROFESSIONAL should be asking these days. How, indeed?

Coincidentally, I just (two hours ago) finished writing a very detailed ebook on this topic that I'm releasing at the NAR convention, and my brain is mush.

Karen is correct, of course. The comps tell the story, but there's a real art to communicating the news to sellers. You can't just beat them over the head with it - you need to respect their intelligence and dignity and let them make their own determination. If you provide the data in a form the sellers can understand, and treat them respectfully, very often they will arrive at the right conclusion. If they don't, no amount of abuse will make them see the light (IMHO).

If the seller is upside down in his home (i.e. he owes more than it's worth), you can't solve that problem. If the condition of the home makes it tough to sell and he doesn't want to clean it up... you can't solve that problem either.

If you commit to yourself that you WILL walk away from an unsellable listing and you communicate that attitude to your sellers (in a calm, professional, respectful manner), that will go a long way toward "convincing" them that you're serious about your pricing recommendation.

Don't know if this helps - like I said... my brain is MUSHY!

Oct 26, 2007 07:31 AM #90
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

Right!! One of the things my mentor stressed was not to say that higher priced homes are "nicer" but have "more features" or "are different than yours because".

My mentor says to make sure to use "the market" as the reason for the pricing - you and the seller are on the same team but the MARKET is saying this... 

Oct 26, 2007 07:43 AM #91
Jesse & Kathy Clifton
Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS® - Fairbanks, AK

haha... I love it.  My favorite is "Ensures that the key works in the lock and doesn't accept the excuse that "there's a trick to it""  I just went through this with a listing agent... no matter what I said about the key not working... he kept saying "you're just doing it wrong."  It's a house KEY for crying out loud.  Insert and turn; it's not rocket science.

Oct 26, 2007 11:47 AM #92
Matthew Zgonc
Aksland Real Estate - Modesto, CA
Realtor, CFS, CVS



I really appreciated the information in your blog. In my area, many agents list it extremely high, and then drop the price. While the most productive agents are pricing homes just under market value. 

Oct 27, 2007 04:10 PM #93
Jennifer Hartwick
Crane and Crane Real Estate - Columbia, MO

I wish I could send this to another agent I know who I think has more expired listings now than acitve.  Maybe they would get the idea. 

Thanks for the post!

Oct 27, 2007 04:26 PM #94
Maria "Antoinette" Scognamiglio, GRI, ASP
Coldwell Banker Realtors - Mountain Lakes, NJ
There's no substitute for EXPERIENCE!

Jennifer, A M A Z I N G post!  I'm about to list a beauty this weekend that was UNDERMARKETED by the 'BEST REALTORS IN THE NICHE!' 

CAN YOU IMAGINE???  Tough love is the best love!  May I add that not only should the part-timers "do their business or get off the pot", but also some "seasoned" agents should consider retirement in the near future, as they either a) price the house at a ridiculous number b) don't do what they say they will c) and think they're just too hot to take any criticism.

Well done.  :::::::::applauding:::::::::::

Jan 10, 2008 10:39 PM #95
Carol Lynne Bull
Keller Williams - Alexandria, VA

Thank you for all your help. I've been given a client that another agent had last year that did not work out. Her house  is over cluttered and has many pets she does not like to showher house and would not listen to the agent about pricing. I'm supposed to do better with her. your tips will help. So will lighting a few candles.


Jan 19, 2008 02:05 AM #96
Debra Kukulski, Broker Associate
RE/MAX Unlimited Northwest - Cary, IL
SRES;SFR,CDPE;GRI;ABR;e-PRO Realtor, Northern IL

I agree...the public, now more than ever, really need the services of a "good" Realtor.   The services of an agent who is not professional can really hurt and seller and buyer in this tricky market we now have.

Jul 15, 2008 03:34 AM #97
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Jun 01, 2012 10:28 AM #98
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