5 Big Real Estate Agent No-Nos!

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams - homes for sale - Florida - Gulf - Beach

Real estate is an industry that gets more competitive with every passing year.  Obtaining an agent's license is a speedy process in comparison to many similarly paying career paths, so there is generally a large influx of new agents entering the workforce at any given time.  Given these facts, it's important to understand that while advertising is always a vital marketing tool, in our industry, word of mouth and client referrals are where most of our bread and butter are going to come in.  So how do we make sure to provide the best real estate experience possible in a constantly fluctuating market?  Well, we can start by avoiding these 5 big customer pet peeves!


1.  Not being available.  How can someone contact you to list their property or help them purchase a million dollar home if your phone always goes to voicemail?  Chances are, if a potential customer tries to contact you and is unable to reach you, by the time you get to return the call they will already have found another agent.  Don't let business walk out the door!  If there seem to be a lot of times where you are not able to get to your phone, it may benefit you to look into hiring an office person so that you can forward your calls when you're busy helping another customer. It's vital to have a live human being to field those important client calls - nobody likes to talk to a machine.


2.  Saying "I don't know."  This is one of my biggest professional peeves.  NEVER answer a question with those 3 dreaded words!  Instead, say something along the lines of "That's a great question!  Let me do just a bit of research on that and I will get right back to you with that answer!"  Saying I don't know implies that you are not knowledgable, not just about the question being asked, but about how to find the answer.  You want to make each and every customer feel as though they've made the best possible decision when they chose to conduct business with you.  Present yourself as a well informed, eager agent who is willing to go above and beyond to answer every question with accuracy and honesty, and your reputation will grow by leaps and bounds.


3. Not being forthcoming.  Look, sometimes deals fall apart.  Sometimes inspections turn up hidden issues that not even the seller knew about, or the appraisal comes up short, or any number of other headaches that agents deal with on a (hopefully not too) regular basis.  It's one of the worst parts of our job to have to be the bearer of bad news - but it IS a part of the job.  Don't delay the inevitable.  Don't drag it out and procrastinate making that tough call.  Sit down and try to think of a way to put a positive spin on the bad news - maybe the buyer was having a hard time deciding betweeen this home and another, and now they can put an offer in on their other favorite!  But even if there's no silver lining, it's our responsibility to pick up that phone or drive to that client meeting and present the facts for good or ill to the best of our ability. 


4. Acting disinterested or disrespectful.  Not everyone can afford a multi-million dollar home.  Perhaps the clients you're going to meet have scraped and saved for years to afford this $75,000 house that they will cherish, and there's nothing left to get those squeaky wheel bearings replaced in the car, so they drive up loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear.  It doesn't matter.  Every single customer that you come into contact with throughout the course of your day deserves to be treated with dignity, interest, and respect.  Some clients ARE frustrating - some folks refuse to believe that the things on their list of wants may not necessarily be in their current budget, and it can be difficult to refrain from rolling your eyes when you explain for the 3rd time that homes built 30 years ago generally don't come equipped with Jacuzzi tubs.  Regardless, be patient, kind, and respectful!


5. Over or under selling.  As I stated above, it's of vital importance that we as agents give the facts and ONLY the facts.  Not only is it illegal to withhold information to make a sale, it's unethical.  And keep in mind that there is a fine line between simply omitting facts and outright lying.  You can choose where you want to toe that particular line, but in my opinion it's better to err on the side of caution and possibly lose a sale than it is to not provide certain information and have an irate buyer a month down the road.  The same is true for over-selling - just don't do it.  Give your customers the black and white, nuts and bolts information they need to have - they'll thank you and respect you for your honesty when they buy or sell their home quickly and efficiently!


As with all areas of life, both business and personal, it pays to be empathetic, compassionate, and above all honest.  If you prioritize those values above the size of your paycheck, you'll see your referral base, your reputation, AND your bank account grow exponentially!







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Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

All excellent points, Joel!  I especially agree about never answering, "I don't know."  I answer in a similar way to what you have suggested.

Sep 01, 2017 02:57 AM #3
Chris Lima
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you.

Great post Joel. I saw this one on Facebook. I agree with all your points, especially answer your phone. It seems like a no brainer, but the simple stuff is difficult for some.
As for responding to questions.......I try to know all that I can and at times there are questions that are asked that I may not know the answer to. We are human and things happen. Letting someone know that you will research and get back to them is honest and offers a chance to build trust, provided we follow through. I NEVER fabricate an answer, but I always follow up.

Sep 01, 2017 05:08 PM #4
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals

Omitting facts and lying- to me seem to be the same thing. I see a lot of omitting facts and sheer ignorance (or is it simply lying). Protect your clients, inform your clients, be honest, work hard, smile, follow up- get to know them as people.

Sep 01, 2017 06:08 PM #5
Gene Mock
Associate Broker ~ Premier Team, KW Realty - Leesburg, VA

Great post Joel.  Lots of good points and yes the size of the deal isn't as important as your Reputation. I did a $7,500 lot deal one time.  They referred me to four of their friends. All four have purchased in excess of eight million in real estate.


Sep 01, 2017 06:16 PM #6
Barbara Flannery
USA Realty,Inc. - London, KY
"Homes for Everyone In London Kentucky"

Great post Good advice Thanks for sharing
Have a great Labor Day weekend !!!

Sep 01, 2017 07:28 PM #7
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

Great post. Number 3 really hit home with me. I"m someone that will tell the client what they need to hear and not what they want to hear. I don't like giving bad news as much as they don't like receiving it. But it is what it is and everyone must deal with what ever the issue is. Hopefully and usually I or we can fix what ever it is. Congrats on the featured post. 

Sep 01, 2017 07:50 PM #8
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Joel Jadofsky Great advice for not only newer agents but for those of us who have been around since the last century!! Thank you for sharing. I agree with Gene #6...the small deal will almost always lead to larger deals.

Sep 01, 2017 07:54 PM #9
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Good morning Joel.  Very valid points with number 1 deservedly being on top of the list.

Sep 02, 2017 04:58 AM #10
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

All great points. #1 is really a frustration for me. I try to reach agents and they are never available. If they get back to me it may be the next day. Guess what, we have moved on.

Sep 02, 2017 05:28 AM #11
Jon Quist
Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996

#1 is my favorite, if favorite is the right word! A number of agents don't answer, and, worse, they don't return calls. That's very poor representation of their seller. My buyers and I simply move on to the next house.

Sep 02, 2017 07:50 AM #12
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

#4 is one that resonates. I try to be helpful with everyone who calls. Even if I can't help them. Often they are testing you and it's amazing what they can actually afford.

Sep 02, 2017 08:00 AM #13
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Hi Joel

These are definite issues to avoid in our business. The first one for me is huge, but you see it so often.


Sep 02, 2017 08:05 AM #14
Marc St Martin
United Real Estate Infinity - Cape Coral, FL
Your friend in the business!

Awesome post! Mostly common sense but that is a trait sorely lacking in many instances.  #1 and #4 are so overlooked.  Recently, I answered my phone and the prospect (now good friends) were not sure whether they were going to rent or buy and had called 4 other Realtors® before I picked up the phone.  Wanted to look at a rental (which I don't do).  Give me 15 minutes and I'll meet you there.  In one of famous SW Florida thunderstorms we met.  Long story short, he and his girl friend bought a $250k home and has referred another $750,000 in sales to us.  Glad I answered that call....

Sep 02, 2017 08:29 AM #15
dianne langston

Very clearly, truthful, and honestly stated. This is good information for anyone in the industry that wants success.

Sep 02, 2017 09:30 AM #16
Anna Hatridge
Goodson Realty - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with Goodson Realty

Congratulations on the feature!  You make excellent points for what not to do or say.

Sep 02, 2017 09:44 AM #17
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Acting disinterested and being complacent are big deal killers.  I've seen that between agents and it's just plain ridiculous.  Losing business that way means an agent must be burned out!  Great thoughts here.

Sep 02, 2017 12:16 PM #18
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Unfortunately I've personally had dealings with agents who made these mistakes. It's not something you forget and not something you want to repeat. Once that reputation is out there, it's tough to fix it.

Sep 02, 2017 12:17 PM #19
Brien Berard
Remax Professionals Laurel MD - Laurel, MD
Maryland Real Estate Agents - Laurel Real Estate

Simple things that when not done, can be costly.  Never can be reminded of this too much.  Thanks

Sep 04, 2017 07:23 AM #20
Greg Mona
RE/MAX Platinum Living - Scottsdale, AZ
YOUR Local Real Estate and Design Resource in AZ!

Great points and great post Joel Jadofsky! #1 is such an issue that I have had people actually thank me for simply answering my phone! How sad is that?! As for #2, I agree there are much better ways to answer a question than "I don't know", but that said, don't just make something up either. You'll lose more credibility that way. Last, and regarding point #4, one of my best memories was representing the buyer and closing on a home in the low-$100,000's. He was a two war vet in his early 60's who never owned a home. You'd have thought he had bought a mansion as excited as he was. It was a very humbling experience and a wonderful lesson learned on my part! 

Sep 04, 2017 09:19 AM #21
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great post!  It's never a good idea to embellish or expand the facts on any topic.  Best to just do as you advise, ask to get an answer!

Sep 10, 2017 09:08 PM #22
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Joel Jadofsky

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