Regarding Agents Returning from Hibernation

Real Estate Broker/Owner with J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY License # 49FA1074963

Old Train building in Millwood NYWe recieved two voicemails from an agent who had called to show one of our listings. They were so over the top nasty that my Queens-native wife and I looked at each other stunned that a licensee would leave a permanent record of such hostility. I recorded the messages and sent them as an attachment to her manager. We'll see if that gets any response. I'd certainly want to know if one of my team were to act so unprofessionally. 

The details were unimportant except to point out that Centralized Showings, the company we use to set appintments for our listings, had the gall to ask this associate broker for her license number to verify her identity. She balked at this, and a big part of her message to me was that her license was not something she typically carried around with her. In looking her up on the MLS, the bulk of her career has apparently occured prior to the real estate decline. She has not become acclimated with the New Normal like the rest of us who have been working in this environment since 2007 when the sub prime domino was the first to fall. 

Some agents are not primary bread winners. They can go into hibernation when the market goes pear-shaped and return when the coast seems clear. The problem in 2012 is that when your experience is all with low-hanging fruit and not the current, more difficult climate, the return is not easy. And yes, that even reaches something as seemingly simple and mundane as setting up a showing. In January of this year, three boards merged to form our current Hudson Gateway Association. This caused some difficulty with 3rd party vendors who rely on membership databases, but the remedy, taking 3 minutes to verify your identity, is simple and harmless. Unless of course you are out of practice and you are still operating like it is 2005. 

But the details are unimportant. The next thing that those of us in the industry have to be mindful of is that as the market levels off and improves in some areas, that part time and inactive agents will be returning to the fold with a frame of reference that is completely unfamiliar with the current landscape. And they will be neophytes about new mortgage requirements, short sales, and all the other obstacles that are another day at the office for those of us who have been around. They will get their sea legs under them at the expense of clients who are unaware that they have been primarily on the sidelines for years, as well as those of us who will be on the other sides of transactions with them. 

Forewarned is forearmed. Beware the agent returning from hibernation if you are a consumer or an agent who may close a deal with one. As I tell prospective clients all the time, the operative question to ask an agent you are considering doing business with is what they have done the past 12 months. If they make a vague reference to Tommy John surgery or a pilgrimage to a Tibetan monastery, ask about the past 24 months. I wouldn't want to undergo surgery with a doctor who hasn't held a scalpel since 2009, nor would I want my life defended in court by an attorney who just returned from 3 years in a cabin. Real Estate transactions can have life changing consequences. There are some agents who have not been very active since 2007 or 2008, and they should be upfront about it. 

Originally published at Westchester Real Estate Blog


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Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

There are a lot of vacational agents out there too. They sell one property a year and then they go on vacation and are not up to date with all the policies and rules.

May 14, 2012 03:46 AM #12
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Phil - This isn't going to be an easy market to return to for someone who has missed all the changes that have occurred over the last several years. You're right - they can cause a lot of widespread damage while they flail and fail - but there's always going to be other agents who challenge our professionalism.


May 14, 2012 04:23 AM #13
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411


The various facets of real estate change so quickly that even a 90-day hiberation makes us stale.

May 14, 2012 04:38 AM #14
Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line

Many of these agents only make the job of those who are full time and been busy making our living harder as we have to pick up their slack and then see a deal collapse not because of our failings but because they are not doing their job correctly in the new economy.

May 14, 2012 05:05 AM #15
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Some are rude, regardless the occupation, age, or gender. Usually I just laugh at them and think, "Go stew in your own juices." Don't let an ass hold you down.

May 14, 2012 06:40 AM #16
Mike Cooper
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro

Very well said, J. P.  I think you handled that very well too.  You were thinking on your feet.  You've got to be quick in your judgments like that in today's market.  Excellent!

May 14, 2012 07:30 AM #17
AJ Heidmann ~ CRS
McEnearney Associates, Inc. - Alexandria, VA
YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert

J. Philip - I am willing to be that these agents will be spending a bit of time leaning overboard from sea-sickness until those "sea legs" are stable.  The challenge is who truly suffers while they get back up to speed?  I am guessing that it will be their client.

May 14, 2012 08:23 AM #18
Kathryn Maguire (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

It is funny that you mention that because my broker has been talking about that for a couple of months. THey are just waiting to come back in.  Buyers beware!

May 14, 2012 09:53 AM #19
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

Phil - How does any agent get caught up with what's been happening over the past few years.  A different skill set is needed.  How sad to see her rant on your VM about Centralized Showings, which you have no control over.  Makes me wonder if she renewed her license.

May 14, 2012 12:58 PM #20
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA Lepic-Kroeger REALTORS - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist
These agents are definitely out of the loop when it comes to the new requirements and hurtles required to do our business in the current market. You did the right thing and hopefully her broker will be able to set her on a wiser and straighter path to be more familiar with how this business works in 2012. Good luck!
May 14, 2012 01:45 PM #21
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Interesting, Joe, and very well said.  I have my own situation in this regard where Uncle Fred, who used to be an electrician before the big WW, comes to wire little Suzie's house to help her out before sale.  What he does is often entirely incorrect, and even dangerous, but he gets mad at me for pointing it out!

May 14, 2012 07:56 PM #22
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

These are the same agents that don't keep up with changes in MLS rules, with changes to contracts/forms/disclosures, etc.  They are a liability to their broker and a detriment to their clients.  Truthfully, I'd rather deal with a rookie than someone who thinks they know it all.

May 15, 2012 07:51 AM #23
Gay E. Rosen
Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty - Larchmont, NY
As Real as Real Estate Gets!

Phil -  I know I have ro give my name and MLS # to CSS but I guess that could not have checked out with this agent - hence their asking for her license number.. Surely she should know that we are all supposed to carry our license numbers around with us ..... I am sure it is someone I know!  Ha..

May 15, 2012 08:13 AM #24
Donald Reich
Prudential Centennial - New Rochelle, NY

Phil, I thought NY State required us to carry out pocket cards with us at all times, and be able to provide it on demand as proof that we were agents!

It's always those VERY part time agents who are the most difficult to deal with.

May 17, 2012 12:50 PM #25
Marnie Matarese
Showing you the best of Sarasota!

Phil, we are starting to see a return from the dead of the vampire realtors here in Florida who end up bleeding their buyers and sellers because they haven't a clue what has gone on during their absence.  There should be some serious required training for people who have been out of the market for a long period of time.  I ran across one yesterday who had no idea that we can upload documents to the listings on MLS.  HELP!

May 20, 2012 07:42 AM #26
Dan Jasmer
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Sarasota, FL
Changing the way you look at real estate

Phil, I had to chime in on this blog as did my partner, Marnie.  I would not want a retired heart surgeon trying to install a mitral valve transplant in me or a guy who worked on Edsels fixing my computer component in my car.  Real estate sales has changed so much in the last three years that it cannot just be re-entered without alot of education and help.

May 20, 2012 12:06 PM #27
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

I'm often stunned by the crassness and nastiness of real estate agents whether they are returning from hibernation or active in the business.  What's up with that?

May 27, 2012 01:04 PM #28
Jordon Wheeler
The Jordon Wheeler Group - Fairburn, GA
J W Group Real Estate Sales and Service

Hey J Phil,

As the markets make more progress, we will see more folks trying to return to the business after an extended absence.  They really need to get some education to bring them up to date.  Best of success to you this year!

May 27, 2012 04:31 PM #29
Terri Poehler
Realtor - Coral Springs, FL
Coral Springs Real Estate Agent

I shudder at this thought. Here, we have stood through it. thick and thin, and they are just going o jump back in.

Jun 01, 2012 10:06 AM #30
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad


Being in hibernation, or whatever the reason for the lack of recent activity, is no excuse for rudeness. Neither is being very busy, feeling overwhelmed ro stressed out, or whatever other excuse someone might offer who is currently active. Get over it.


Jun 25, 2012 02:23 PM #31
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