Dear Listing Agent: Yes, I’m Serious. Are You?

Industry Observer with Swanepoel T3 Group

Dear Listing Agent: Yes, I’m Serious. Are You?

“Is your buyer serious?” was the question I got from a listing agent this weekend when I called to schedule a showing in St. Charles IL. After waiting six hours for a return call, it was all I could do not to snap back “Nope, we’re not the least bit serious. I’m wasting my time and I want to waste yours, too.”

I know that sellers get weary of the cycle of cleaning-showing-disappointment, especially if their house has been on market a while. Many sellers who were on the market over the winter are hoping that the new crop of Spring shoppers will bring out that perfect buyer.  But some of these sellers — and their agents — are letting their cynicism and skepticism get in the way of selling a house in St. Charles.

Each buyer who enters the market is looking at the inventory with fresh eyes. The listing agent has a responsibility to be as excited today about the house as he was the day he entered the listing. The house has to shine on the internet and at the showings. If the house has fall photos, they should be updated with spring shots. A new front photo and new interior shots with re-arranged rooms might even attract a buyer who has been lurking for months.  The house should be easy to show and as perfect looking as it was the day of the first broker tour.

More thoughts for listing agents:

  • Check your remarks in the mls. ”$10,000 credit for a contract by December 1″  is just sloppy and shows you’re not paying attention.
  • If I call to schedule a showing, I am serious. Do not grill me, if I’m showing houses it’s because I have a serious and qualified buyer. That’s all I have to reveal so don’t ask me more.
  • If the schedule changes it’s the listing agent’s job to communicate it to the seller. Little kids throw up in the car, flights are late, people cut out whole subdivisions at the last minute…the list is endless. I’ll call, text or email the second I know the schedule is shifting. It is not my fault if you use an on-line showing application that doesn’t update you or you’ve turned your phone off for the day.
  • Buyers and their agents need info in a way they can use it. Written is best…leaving a long voice mail about all the upgrades in the house is a waste of time and insulting. If you have something important to say, it’s important enough to write down. Which brings me to….
  • Brochures are really important. There are usually lots of interesting details that might make a house stand out. I like seeing a map of the subdivision, a list of community events, park district and school information. Many agents are now offering an e-brochure to be sent before the showing, a great alternative to long paper brochures.
  • My feedback is brief but accurate. Don’t call me and ask me to make a particular suggestion in the feedback to the seller on price or improvements. That’s the listing agent’s job.

So let’s all enter the Spring market with a fresh attitude to match the fresh breezes. We owe it to our clients.

I list and sell houses in St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, Wayne and Elburn IL. Want a fresh perspective on the market? Give me a call (630)94-7935.

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Glenn Freezman
Family Abstract, Inc. - Horsham, PA

Thanks you all for a great thread to a great post!

Mar 09, 2012 05:19 AM #45
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Leslie,  Great list.   Much of it is driven by professinal courtesy or just plain good menners.  Listing agents who ask that question should look in the mirror.

Mar 09, 2012 05:42 AM #46
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

I agree with Scott #20, I used to have the information inside the house until I received negative feedback from Buyers agents. They didn't want their Buyers to have LA information or start cmparing their agent to the listing agent. All great points, only if you could get this message to ALL the agents out there.

Mar 09, 2012 05:48 AM #47
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Leslie:  Your post reminds me of the comedian Bill Engvall's "Here's Your Sign" jokes.  I would think the answer to their question would be an obvious ... especially in today's market ...


Mar 09, 2012 07:12 AM #48
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Beth #48 I had my first complaint on a brochure ever from another agent, she didn't like that I had a print out of a blog post with a writeup of the subdivision and community center in the brochure. It was a dry as dust piece, strictly informational. This is a new issue for our area, I'll have to pay attention to the issue.

Rusell Lewis we all get that way sometimes, but usually not until deep in the negotiation :-)


There are so many witty remarks in here I'm cracking up. Wish we could say what we're really thinking when someone is a little crabby!


Mar 09, 2012 07:23 AM #49
Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA

Leslie...I had a listing agent ask me the same thing today about my buyer.  Oh and I could care less if the listing agent has their own brochure there or their information on a "beauty sheet". I guess I feel that my buyers have chosen to work with an EBA and probably won't be calling the listing agent anyway.

Mar 09, 2012 07:25 AM #50
Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate
Kelly Right Real Estate - Hood River, OR
Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs

Great tips for making showings more productive. I would think when selling a home, anyone who wants to see the place is worth the work the sellers will have to do to show it.


Mar 09, 2012 08:28 AM #51
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

Leslie:  It would be great if the spring market got off on a great footing without the listing agent putting their foot in their mouth.  I hate the grilling from listing agents about 'who' your buyers are, what are they looking for? What? Ridiculous questions.

Mar 09, 2012 08:45 AM #52
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Leslie, I resent the question "are the buyers qualified?" Duh, what would you think?

Mar 09, 2012 09:01 AM #53
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

I have one agent who tried to schedule a showing and the listing agent GRILLED her on the buyer. Now this was a very inexpensive house, not at all high end. But the agent asked:

- is your buyer prequalified?

- with who?

- what type of loan?

- do you know what their credit score is?


This is BEFORE showing the house. Let's just get in and see if they like it before you start the grilling!

Mar 09, 2012 09:28 AM #54
Dominique Britton Realty LLC - 678.250.5022 - Buford, GA
Experience the Difference in Real Estate Services

Great post Leslie, but I am really tripping off of Diana's comment (#9)...

Leslie - good post and all good points but my personal favorite is "Check your remarks in the MLS".

A couple days ago I found a listing in the MLS where there was a note in remarks "agent is waiting for key from owner. No showings until key is received" - and the listing date was four months ago!

All I have to say is WOW.

Mar 09, 2012 10:35 AM #55
1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

Leslie,  Wonderful points made to the listing agent.. hope a few read this. ;)

Mar 09, 2012 10:51 AM #56
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

I hope that the spring market is off to a good start. There certainly is a lot of activity throughout the us.....

Mar 09, 2012 11:44 AM #57
Marti Steele Kilby, CRS
Steele Group Realty - La Mesa, CA
Broker/Owner, San Diego, CA

Great post!  I agree with Erica.  Unless it is a $1 million plus listing, don't grill me about my buyer's qualifications!  Trust me, I don't waste my time on the un-qualified.

Mar 09, 2012 01:42 PM #58

   As I started to read your post, I said to my wife," I love Active Rain because people say what I am already thinking."  What a perfect post. 

Mar 09, 2012 09:37 PM #59
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

This is so often a sign of either a part time agent or a highly over priced listing.  If not those two, there are sure to be some other issues.

Mar 09, 2012 09:56 PM #60
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

Updating the listing is a big deal. When "won't last at this price" is still in the remarks after 180 days (along with  typos), you have to wonder. 

Mar 10, 2012 12:36 AM #61
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Leslie - It's our job to make sure a deal gets put together.  We need to work together to do it, and I agree with your suggestions.

Mar 10, 2012 01:08 PM #62
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

Leslie, Good list. Personally, I actually would have said " No, we're not serious, we just feel like wasting everyones time today because we have nothing else to do" or something along those lines. This sounds like the type of listing agent that causes properties not to be shown and get sold. I leave info that helps the buyers agent answer questions about the property, like monthly utitlity bills, well and septic info, building permits for decks, additions, finished basements, etc. I don't really like listings agents that leave personal promotion cd's and brochures about how great they, etc.

Mar 10, 2012 10:30 PM #63
Corinne Guest, REALTOR
Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
Barrington, a Luxury, Country Suburban Lifestyle.

I agree with you 99%. The 1% is the one that makes us all very tired and those are the agents that will show homes to anything that walks on two legs in the hope of a sale and commission check. Some agents in the past have laughed at me but I know it happens, we all do.

However if the listing agent has experienced that before, she should never have questioned you about how you run your business or whether your buyers were legitimate. As listing agents and sellers, we have to accept there are some time wasters out there, both consumers and agents.

(I guess I need to stop writing "Agents" seeing as everyone in IL is now a "Broker" of some kind :)

Mar 21, 2012 12:19 AM #64
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Leslie Ebersole

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