Open Letter to Realtors: It Isn't Rocket Surgery

Real Estate Agent with Resident Realty FA.100079118

Come on guys! Real Estate isn't rocket surgery.

This will just be a short rant and then I will let you all get back to being productive.

One thing that drives me nuts about real estate is agents who are bad at what they do. I can say that about every line of work. If you aren't good at it, don't do it.

I'm not talking about how successful you may or may not be, that's not what I mean by being "good at it". I'm talking about attention to detail, follow through and working within the boundaries of common sense, ethics, good business practices and the law.

I'm dealing with an agent in a transaction right now who is representing a short sale property that one of my clients is trying to buy.

We have been going round in circles since February now. Having our first offer accepted by the seller (which bumped another hopeful buyer who had submitted a lesser offer off the deal) and passed on to the lender. At the last minute, day 53 of the stated 60, we got bumped off the deal by a better offer.

About 3 weeks later the people who were now waiting for the lender to accept the short sale pulled out of the transaction and the listing went active again.

Now the first thing I would have done in that situation would be to call all of the other agents who had submitted offers before, especially the two that had previously been under contract on the property.

Am I crazy? Does anybody else see the logic in that or am I missing something?

So, no call from the agent. I'll be honest here, that isn't bothering me as much as the rest of the story since I happen to believe that, as a Realtor, I am obligated to work hard for my clients and do everything I can to assist and advise them through their journey to buy or sell a property.

With that in mind, I saw the property come back on the market and my client submitted another offer. Now in Washington our forms are pretty basic and the actual buy/sell agreement is pretty short. The offer was countered by the seller, excluding the kitchen appliances from the deal which were stated on the listing as included.

I am accustomed to getting a formal "counter offer" back if the seller wishes to suggest any changes. What we were sent from the other agent was our offer initialed and signed but with the check boxes scribbled out where the appliances were listed and the sellers initials above them.

Now I heard somewhere in EVERY real estate class, seminar and CE credit course that "Time is of the essence". Maybe you have heard that as well?

So with that in mind, everything is assigned a performance date. The counter came back without a date on it...

Doesn't that leave the door open for a few potential problems?

So I talked it over with my client and she decided she was ok with it and went ahead and initialed the "counter offer" and we sent it back to the listing agent.

About 2 weeks later I noticed the listing was still active, the agent hadn't bothered to change the status.

Anyways, I'm done with my rant. I will just wrap it up by asking you, if you are one that doesn't pay attention to the details, you don't follow up and take care of your listings (which your clients are trusting you to do) and you don't communicate with your clients, other agents you are in a transaction with, title and escrow agents and/or anybody else you should be communicating with.... please find a job or career more suited to your ability or lack thereof.


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Kate McQueen
CB&A Realtors - Cypress, TX
Tailored service for your real estate needs!

I've had experiences with agents that just astound me with the lack of professionalism, knowledge, and plain common sense.  It's helpful to agents if they've had some kind of business experience or have a background in business before becoming an agent.  You gotta get past basic business etiquette before moving on to Big Kids School where agents actually work with their client's best interest in mind, which INCLUDES good etiquette and consideration of other players in a transaction.

Jun 25, 2014 03:58 AM #44
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

Some people are more interested in socializing or partying or whatever and treat their job as a nuisance rather than a profession.  That's just reality.  Sorry for the headaches you have to deal with. 

Jun 25, 2014 04:56 AM #45
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Rocket surgery -- good one!  Some people don't know how bad they are, and are in denial and self-delusions.  You'd think they licensing boards would do a better job of culling the swarm, but they don't.  

Jun 25, 2014 07:30 AM #46
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Hi Kevin... Rocket Surgery? Not me, but that's what my brother does. What non contributing agents don't get is that the whole transaction process is complicated enough without one of the members not communicating. The weakest link in the chain thingy. Do they have any idea how much grief they cause to so many? For all of us trying our best to make things happen for everyone in the best effort we can, this sours me. I'd a hoped a recession would have taken them out of the game!

Jun 25, 2014 08:55 AM #47
Diana White-Pettis
Bennett Realty Solutions - Upper Marlboro, MD
GRI, CDPE, CNE, WHC Upper Marlboro Homes for Sale

I can understand your frustration.  Responding promptly is common courtesy although I have encountered others in the industry whose actions say something else.  Sounds like the agent needs to become more proficient in short sales, in MLS rules regarding status changes, and needs a refresher course in Real Estate 101.  Hopefully this will make a huge difference.  Great post!

Jun 25, 2014 12:32 PM #48
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Kevin, I am working on a transaction at this time that is a "runner-up" to your story.  We could not make these stories up, if we tried.

Jun 25, 2014 04:13 PM #49
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

You should know all of the obstacles in a SS, so the buyers should be informed and understanding during and throughout the SS process. There are some things you can control in closing a SS as an agent and that is selecting a property that has the fewest obstacles.

There will always be incompetent people in any industry and you can look to our elected representatives as proof of this fact, can't you? Most people I know believe the POTUS is incompetent, so is it perception or reality? I guess, it depends on your tolerance, doesn't it? 

Jun 25, 2014 07:34 PM #50
Amy Steele Realtor SRS CNE NHS MRP
JP and Associates - North Richland Hills, TX
Live,Work, North Texas

None of y'all come to Texas...the professionalism and knowledge and way of playing in the sandbox of agents out here has shocked me hard from my niche back in Cali...

Jun 26, 2014 02:58 AM #51
Theresa Akin

When agents perform like that they do such a disservice to all involved in the transaction and actually do a disservice that slows down the process of selling the home.

Jun 26, 2014 06:21 AM #52
Andrea HoffDomin
Florida Dream Homes Realty - Fort Lauderdale, FL
- in Real Estate always on your side!

Sadly there are some agents out there that do not serve their clients very well. They try to serve themselves better. But nobody can stop them because you need hard evidence to file a complaint and get them out off business.

Sunny greetings from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Jun 26, 2014 10:27 PM #53
David Evans
HUD NLB Cumming GA

We have all had these Agents when dealing for our clients. It is all part of the beautiful landscape that make our job an art like sailing through calm or stormy waters. I never thought nor will I in the future think all Agents will be uniform and easy- it what make it an Ocean. Thus, the reason why we are here for Our clients... Great post!

Jun 26, 2014 11:35 PM #54
Sally Lawrence
Advantage Real Estate - Tehachapi, CA
Broker, CHS, e-Pro, SFR, REALTOR®

Well, if real estate is not "rocket surgery" than perhaps it really could be considered brain science.  

I'll propose that if you are a REALTOR® (note the correct way to identify those who are members of one or more Associations of REALTORS® - all uppercase with the registered trademark identifier), than it is your obligation to file grievances with the Association the agent belongs to and follow through.  If you do not believe that the violation is severe enough to warrant discliplinary action, then taking 5 minutes to educate the offender could be time well spent.

If you, like me, were in a small town where everyone knows everyone, you would probably opt for the education option more often.

Just curious how your rocket surgery here helped that agent to do a better job or helped you reach the outcome you wanted for your client?

Jun 26, 2014 11:36 PM #55
Dan Pittsenbarger
Keller Williams Western Realty - Bellingham, WA
Improving Conditions

Hope the rant helped get some of the frustration off - so many weired and frustrating situations come up during short sales. I personally wouldn't get my clients involved in a short sale where the seller, listing agent or seller's lender are not willing to ride the horse they choose to the end. Nothing wrong with accepting back ups - just like any non-short sale transaction - but if they can't protect our 1st position until there's a response (rejection, acceptance or counter) from the seller's lender(s) then we're not going to waste our time with it. And what goes around comes around (bump in, bump out - wasted of time unless one is looking to add to their frustration quota).

Jun 27, 2014 11:20 PM #56
JodiAnn Garone
Century 21 Action Plus Realty - Freehold, NJ
Bringing you Home!



I feel your pain. I am actually a perfectionist so this agent would have drove me crazy. I have had my share of deals fall apart from the lack of response and experience. I too always ask that if the seller is declining or countering to please do it in writing. It helps prevents verbal errors and also a documents that the offer was presented. I hate to say that but some agents don't always present offers if they have one of their own  I got caught up in one of thos type of situations. Well I hope in the end that your clients get the house if they still want it after all the nonsense comes to an end.


Best of luck to you always

Jun 28, 2014 12:31 AM #57
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

I don't understand but suppose your state allows offer after offer to be submitted or something here when an offer is accepted there is no more presenting of offers. 

Jun 28, 2014 05:10 PM #58
Dan Pittsenbarger
Keller Williams Western Realty - Bellingham, WA
Improving Conditions

Charles - it's not a state thing - sometimes the seller's lender requires that the seller and listing agent attempt to bring additional offers as they are not totally happy with the one they have. It's a short sale thing - and part of the "con" side of short sales. The seller's bank  wants all parties to "try" to bring something better while they figure out what they want to do with one it hand. And they could care less about real estate industry common/courteous practices.

Jun 28, 2014 10:49 PM #59
JC Melvin - Commercial & Business Broker
JC Melvin - KW Southwest - Las Vegas, NV
The ONE Thing Workshop Trainer

Unfortunately, I know exactly what you mean. It is frustrating when working with those that seem to always be on the lower end of the information chain! YIKES,

JC in Vegas

Jun 29, 2014 01:43 AM #60
Dawn Brenengen
Dawn Brenengen - Trailwood Realty - Raleigh, NC
Sales and Management

I had to bite my tongue this week when an agent swore that my seller's water heater that was located in the attic would NOT pass inspection due to the location because it did not meet current building code.  Wrong and wrong!

Jul 08, 2014 02:08 PM #61
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster
Maricopa Real Estate Co - Maricopa, AZ
A Maricopa Agent who Works, Lives & Loves Maricopa

I think you are good with your rant. We have all been there and got that T Shirt. If you haven't, then you are "that" agent who drives us batty.   LOL

Jul 30, 2014 10:21 AM #62
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Don't you just love short sales. Some people are better at their jobs than others. Realtors are no exception. Just keep following up and temper your Buyer's expectations.

Sep 29, 2014 07:55 AM #63
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