Things Not to Do to Become a Great Agent

Education & Training with REAZO

real estate agent, real estateMOST REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS have their own ideas on how to go about being a good agent, they do what they think they need to do and they consider themselves to be among the good ones. But becoming a great agent who receives stellar reviews from former clients has much to do with what you don't do.

Following is a short list of a few of those things an agent shouldn't do. If you catch yourself committing one of the following "sins," well, don't do it anymore.

For starters, don't let clients assume you are going to be their "hands-on" agent if you routinely pass many duties on to others. It is fine to delegate responsibility to other professionals, but make it clear from the beginning to potential clients that an associate may be showing them potential homes or marketing their house. Tell them in advance that it is another who they will most often speak with over the telephone.

If you do that up front, most clients will appreciate the full disclosure at the front end and you will probably impress them with your honesty and efforts to keep them fully informed from the beginning of the process. Down the road, they might share with others just how straightforward you were with them.

On the other hand, if you don't inform them before a contract is signed that others may be doing much of the work, you run the risk of angering and potentially alienating clients. These clients may have a different opinion of your service to share with others.

Do not "buy a listing" by telling clients what you think they want to hear.

First, you can't read minds, don't think you can. And besides, to tell someone they can get $350,000 for a house you know won't sell for more than $300,000 is just setting yourself up for problems down the road. At some point, either they will have to accept the house is not going to sell or they are going to have to drop their price. Yes, by then they will already be under contract, but do you really want angry clients? How well has that worked out in the past?

real estate, mistake, agentDon't tell yourself you will never make a mistake and don't try to hide those mistakes from a client. Instead, when you get something wrong, offer a sincere apology that goes beyond just saying 'sorry.' Be specific when apologizing for an inconvenience or mistake. For example, instead of saying "I'm sorry," try "I'm sorry I left you waiting for 90 minutes to see that property. I somehow failed to note the appointment on to my calendar. I understand how frustrating and inconvenient it must have been for you while you were waiting for me."

Give an explanation for the inconvenience and a sincere apology.

A short one that doesn't need a lot of explanation: Always disclose to a seller any offer made for their house, even if it is far below their asking price. In the end, it is their decision and they should have the opportunity to respond to any and all serious offers.

Remember, lenders are to know all that transpires with a real estate transaction, so no under the table transactions of any sort. It is against the rules and in many cases it can constitute mortgage fraud.

Finally, if you insist upon using a website for clients to book appointments or make other arrangements, always give them an alternative that involves communication with a live person. Direct clients to a website if you must, but always make sure they also have a telephone number that can be called during business hours where they can find assistance from someone with your agency.

I'm sure many of you read the above and already knew all of what I wrote. Most of you can probably add to the list. But if any of you paused at one or another of them with a thought of "Yeah, I do that sometimes," you might want to modify how you do things.

After all, why be a good agent when you can be a great one.

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Comments (42)

Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Great reminders, Grant. All the points seem like 'common sense' but it never hurts to review the importance of keeping the client 1st and being responsible for your actions.
Thanks for sharing, So many things go well by just following 'rules' like these.


Mar 16, 2012 11:26 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Grant, good things to keep in mind when working with a client. Thanks for the reminder.

Mar 17, 2012 12:19 AM
John Manuwal
Keller Williams Northwest Montana - Kalispell, MT
Kalispell Montana Agent and Photographer

I once offered on a house and knew the owners. It came to light that the agent never showed the offer to his clients. That did not go over well with the owners.

Mar 17, 2012 12:58 AM
Ashley Connolly
Northeast Water Wells Inc - Jaffrey, NH

Congrats on the feature when i hit the button I crossed my fingers for you :)

Mar 17, 2012 12:58 AM
Angela Lyons
REAZO - Missoula, MT for home buyers and sellers.

Kim: Thanks for the comment. In return, if you have any good ideas to pass on to a cold call sales person, please let me know.

Jennifer: I have fallen victim to websites before where all I wanted was a live body to speak with. Thanks for the comment.

Joy: Thanks for commenting. Yes, the hope is life is a learning process fo rall of us.

Ed: Great point. I wish I'd had that earlier. I would have added it to my post. thanks.


Mar 17, 2012 01:07 AM
Angela Lyons
REAZO - Missoula, MT for home buyers and sellers.

Joan: Boy, we sure can all use some improvement. I know I'm working on it and always open for suggestions, so ...

Scott: Thanks for the comment.

Frank, Sharon: Great quote. I need to remember that. Heck, I need to live by that.

Leslie: I guess there are many ways of doing the same things. Thanks for a different perspective.

Mar 17, 2012 01:35 AM
John Fauth
Coldwell Banker King Thompson - Grove City, OH
Turning your dreams into an address!

Very good points Grant. Always good to see what not to do as well as what to do!

Mar 17, 2012 02:10 AM
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Under promise and over deliver. I was taught that at a young, tender age and it still rings true today. I try to be very upfront with sellers. For example, if I'm not holding open their house and have no plans to do so, I make it clear that another agent will do it for them before I ever take the listing. Nobody wants to feel lied to or misled.

Mar 17, 2012 03:15 AM
Angela Lyons
REAZO - Missoula, MT for home buyers and sellers.

Tello: Great comment. yeah, we are our most important product, aren't we? Thanks for the post.

Ron: thanks for the comment.

Fernando: Yes, we do ready the same books. And why not be great when given the opportunity?

Joan: Thanks for commenting. I've never been trained in real estate ethics, but in large part, ethics are ethics, regardless of the profession or job description. Being honest and transparent is good advice for agents and salespersons. It serves us both well.

Phil: thanks for the comment.

Bruce: Sometimes it seems that "common sense" is misnamed and there is nothing common about it. Many of us seem to leave it behind on occasion. Thanks for the comment.

Michael: Thanks for the comment,

John: I'm sure it didnt go over well. Thanks for adding an example of what I was saying.

Ashley: Thank you.



Mar 17, 2012 03:19 AM
Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate
Kelly Right Real Estate - Hood River, OR
Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs

Anyone who follows this would be successful. And it applies to other businesses, too. Personal service is key.


Mar 17, 2012 03:19 AM
Raymond Denton
Mutual of Omaha - Military Home Loan Division - Irvine, CA
Veteran Friendly Lender

My GPA is 3.40, and I'm okay with just being a "B".

Mar 17, 2012 04:13 AM
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

HiGrant,... these are not only grerat tips, but they should be mandatory points of concern for the agent and client.

Mar 17, 2012 04:31 AM
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Grant,  Great list.  I like your idea to have a second option to the scheduling service.

Mar 17, 2012 04:32 AM
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Grant, good points to remember. I'm hired to get a job done. I bring in people that will help me when needed.

Mar 17, 2012 05:50 AM
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

All good points.  I wish agents would level with sellers when they intend to delegate responsibilities to underlings.  I've seen so called top agents have the worst photos, terrible descriptions and overpriced listings.  Their marketing efforts are nil, The seller thinks because they have so many other clients they must be doing something right.  Little do they know that past the first face to face that top agent is off roping in the next seller and not attending personally to their listing.

Mar 17, 2012 06:33 AM
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

This is all good but I still run up against agents who "buy" listings by telling sellers they're fine with listing 20+% over market value.

Mar 17, 2012 07:15 AM
Donald Reich
Prudential Centennial - New Rochelle, NY

Great post. I see these things happen all the time . . . nothing surprises me anymore in this business.

Mar 17, 2012 02:32 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Great list, Grant, and I have made my share of mistakes.  I'm thankful that I never tried to hide any, and those affected have always been very gracious.  

Mar 18, 2012 11:13 AM
Angela Lyons
REAZO - Missoula, MT for home buyers and sellers.

Gretchen: Thanks for the post.

Sandy: Thanks for the comment.

Bill: Thanks. I can't tell you how many times I've been outsmarted by a website.

Bonnie: Yeah, I have heard those stories as well. Clients should know what, or who, they are getting when they sign up with someone.

Bryan: Yes, there are plenty of folks out there who are more concerned about getting the next client than in developing a longterm successful career.

Donald: Yeah, I don't surprise easily these days myself.

Mar 18, 2012 10:51 PM
Angela Lyons
REAZO - Missoula, MT for home buyers and sellers.

Mike: boy, haven't we all. Like you I find a sincere apology can go a long ways with most folk.

Mar 18, 2012 10:52 PM

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