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How to stop the Hal 9000

Real Estate Agent with DeLex Realty

Yesterday I wrote about what my experience was in buying and selling multiple homes. Rather than just complain about my experience, I thought I would use it as a tool to help an agent or two see what a client sees and what could have been done better.

Remember who you work for. That was likely my number one issue, I felt like most of the time I was not being represented. I had to negotiate, I had to draw lines in the sand, often it felt like against my own agent. If we remember we have a fiduciary duty to our clients to ensure the best possible outcome then we will do a better job serving our clients. Being able to effectively negotiate is key, if you can’t do that, you went into the wrong business. Often it feels like agents take it personally when we try to negotiate a deal, they get irate or at a minimum irritated. The fact is, even one win for your client can make them feel like you are working hard for them, I know it would have made me feel like it.

Spend some money. The most irritating call I received was after a tough sale; my agent called me and demanded I have the house cleaned for the clients. This angered me, I felt as if the $12,000 I had just paid them only paid for their four hours of work they may have invested to date and that may be a kind estimate. In my opinion, a good buyer’s agent would have had the house professionally cleaned and the locks changed for their client and have a welcome basket of some type. The total investment may have been $1,000, but it would have ended the transaction on a much different note. What I think buyer’s agents fail to see is they are representing themselves to the seller as well, in my case I sell a lot of property each year and use a lot of different agents.

Second to the cleaning was my seller’s agent not taking care of small details. Granted, I paid them a discount on volume (2%), but that was still $8,000. Being someone who was in the industry, I knew the tricks, they used a listing service at $300 to install their sign, take the photos and install the lock box. That was the extent of their investment. I believe each agent should invest 10% -20% of the projected commission back into the deal, thus $800 - $1600 in this case.  Upon taking the listing I think the agent should have had my house professionally cleaned, power washed, windows cleaned to make it shine. That would have told me they wanted to make sure the deal was done and after inspection rather than call me to have me pay to fix a drawer that was loose, send a handyman. Spending a little money, would have told me they were a serious agent and had my interests in mind.

Preview and Market. I mentioned that being taken to a home that did not fit one of the requirements I made was annoying. I am an investor, this is all I do all day, imagine if I had 3 kids, worked a full-time job and had to use my lunch to go see the house.  Marketing materials at the home, advertising on other platforms that are not included with MLS services, open houses, text for info signs are all things the seller’s agent can do at little to no cost and make a huge impression.

Finally get educated, get serious. Read business books. Okay they are not sexy but this is your career. How many hours a day are you in your car? Rather than listen to the newest song, listen to a business book. If you are like me and drive at least 2 hours per day, over 6 days per week, that is 624 hours in a car. If you listen to educational books that is like 624 hours of lecture time. A PHD, starting from zero, requires 300 hours of lecture. You will quickly become an expert, look serious about your job and will not be able to be replaced by an application.  

Posted by

James (Jim) Lord