Does a Changing Market Bring Out the Worst in Agents?

Randy Prothero, an agent in Mililani, Hawaii, recently wrote a post on Active Rain titled, “A Changing Market is no Excuse for Bad Behavior“.  To quote Randy, “When the market was hot, it seemed like people were crawling out of the woodwork to become real estate agents and loan officers.  They had little to no training and no experience, yet they had a license.  The market was hot, everyone was making money and it seemed like clients were willing to forgive and forget.”  I’d like to add to Randy’s statement, “And agents were also willing to forgive and forget“.

Think about it, back in 2004, when a listing could easily get 10 offers in 24 hours, did we really get THAT upset about a fellow agent now showing up for a scheduled showing appointment?  Were deals constructed so feverishly between buyers and sellers that verbal offers were sometimes thrown in so as not to “waste” anyone’s precious time?

Now that the market has slowed, there are a lot of agents left lingering who don’t know how to sell real estate, don’t know how to relate to their fellow agents and basically, don’t know what to do with themselves.  They are frustrated that they can’t find a client at every turn and that once they do get a client, putting a sale together isn’t as easy as filling out a contract in the driveway while the client looks at the house.

In the meantime, brokers are feeling the pinch and compensating by consolidating offices, cutting support staffing and trimming agent benefits.  So much for the happy, cheery, bustling office environment of five years ago.

But, times are not tough, they are just tougher.  Having to work harder is no excuse for treating fellow agents poorly and forgetting basic manners of working as a real estate agent.  Brokers need to step up to the plate here too and take some responsibility for their agents.  They got away without training them properly a few years ago; now they need to reel them back in and train them correctly.  Help them learn to overcome objections, read body language, prospect, all the basics of salesmanship which were missed due to the market conditions.  Along those lines, also reinforce the fact that we all need to work together, respect one another and “do unto others”.

1.  Make showing appointments with a reasonable amount of notice.  If a buyer is serious about looking at houses, they will understand that appointments need to be made and confirmed and houses need to be prepared.

2.  If you will be late or will not make it to an appointment, call the other agent and inform them so they can let the seller know.  It’s just rude to not do so.

3.  If the sellers are at home when showing a property, introduce yourself and your clients and ASK to take them through the house.  When finished, thank the seller and inform them you are leaving and that you will be in touch with their agent.  Remember, you have been INVITED into THEIR home.

4.  Leave a card whenever you show a property.  Take time to go around and secure all doors, turn off lights, etc.  Even if vacant, you are still a guest in someone’s home.

5.  Call or email showing agents with feedback.  That way the feedback is left when the properties are still fresh in your mind and also, when it is convenient for the showing agent.  Yes, it is frustrating when you have shown 10 houses and the buyer didn’t like any of them.  But, feedback can be a great time to brainstorm with another agent – maybe they have a listing that WILL work for your buyer.

6.  Listing agents, remember, this is not YOUR house.  Do not argue with a showing agent about feedback.  Return showing phone calls promptly and THANK the other agent for showing your listing (they probably had a lot to choose from).

7.  Work TOGETHER to overcome objections!  That is OUR job!  So, the buyer didn’t like the house because their entertainment system wouldn’t fit in the family room?  How about if the seller leaves their flat screen which is hanging on the wall and fits perfectly in that room?  If we put our heads together sometimes, we can make things work.

8.  Put EVERYTHING in writing.  It protect us and protects our clients.

9.  Buyer-agents, please don’t show property to buyer’s who are not verifiably qualified.  It’s unprofessional.  Would you go to the grocery store not knowing how you are going to pay for the groceries?  No.  Then why would you go look at a house without knowing how you will pay for it?

10.  Keep emotions in check.  If you don’t have ridges in your tongue from biting it so hard, you haven’t come into your own as a real estate agent.  As real estate licensees, we represent our clients first.  Do you think your seller really cares whether or not you like the other agent or if they didn’t treat you nice 2 years ago?  No.  All the seller cares about is selling their house.

Bad, unprofessional behavior damages the way the public views us and our profession.  If we concentrate on working together with respect and courtesy, good things will come.

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5 Responses to Does a Changing Market Bring Out the Worst in Agents?

  1. Aloha from Hawaii,

    I feel honored that you selected my blog article. I enjoyed reading you post and agreed with it completely.

  2. Julie Emery says:

    I agree that brokers need to step up and take responsibility. But here’s the problem. When the market was “hot” they didn’t feel the need because the money rolled in, regardless. Now that it’s slower they don’t want to spend the resources to educate the agents. The system as it is currently structured does not really reward “good” brokers and doesn’t really punish “bad” brokers. Until that changes I’m not optimistic about this improving.

  3. @Randy: Think you might invite the rest of us to visit for a weekend? :)

  4. Aloha Andrew,

    That goes without saying. There is a standing invitation to everyone to visit our lovely paradise.
    I am always available to give advice on vacationing or real estate for Hawaii.

  5. oahu tours says:

    Hawaii is too good to be true! I agree to all of you!

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