I saw a new “for sale” sign on a house in my neighborhood this morning… and when I read it, I had to laugh. It was a listing from a person who calls my neighborhood “home” but actually doesn’t live here full-time and really only has a couple of fingers in the local real estate pie. (The first hint? A phone number for the agent that has a distant area code!)
Obviously, I won’t say who this person is, nor will I tell you the company or the neighborhood, but just know that they are, at best, a “part-timer.” I don’t say this to be mean, or petty, or derogatory… it is simply stating a fact. This realtor lives in another state, another city, 500 miles away, for most of the year. I know this because I tried to show one of their properties recently and the agent said “sorry, I’m out of town.” When I asked if there was a lock box or when they would be back in town I was told… “Oh, it will be another few weeks because I actually live in (city XYZ)!”
At this point I also asked if there were pictures of the home that I could at least show my clients. (Note – the home had been on the MLS for almost a week and still not one photo!) That’s when the agent told for me that photos were going to be done “sometime in the next few weeks when they got back in town!” (Insert Rob face palm here)
Did I hear all that right?
Did I actually have that exchange?
Do realtors actually work this way?
The answer to all three of these questions is a resounding, unfortunate yes.
I shook my head, hung up the phone, and laughed thinking how in the world does this person do any business. My buying clients at the time did not have an interest in waiting around so… they viewed another home nearby and promptly bought it. That was almost eight months ago and the aforementioned house is still sitting for sale, sad and without much action. I know this because I keep an eye on it from my home just a few doors down. It is vacant now because the owners have moved on (probably losing money daily), the price isn’t right for the market, the media and marketing are old, and the listing is beyond stale.
And yet surprisingly, just a few doors down from this agent-nowhere-to-be-found listing, is where I spotted the new listing with a sign from the very same agent!
When I ran into the neighbors/sellers and asked why they chose that particular person to list their home. Their answer was… “they live in the neighborhood!” I didn’t have the heart to tell them that they actually do not (why didn’t they ask that question at the listing appointment!?) but I did ask them what they thought about the fact that the other home, on the same street, has been sitting vacant now for a few months. They looked confused.
I asked if that instilled confidence. Still a blank stare.
I told them that the neighboring house hasn’t sold mainly because it is over-priced and has no real marketing. They looked at me with a tinge of embarrassment and dismay and said… “really?” At that point they also said… “guess we should have asked better questions and got more info!”
THIS MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL!
I’m not mad because another agent got the listing. I certainly do not blame the agent. I don’t blame anybody who’s trying to make an extra dollar, start a new career, provide for their family, etc. (however, I absolutely blame the agent for not doing their job well). But no, in this case, I actually blame the client. The seller. The person trying to get the best deal and the most money for their home. I blame them for making a poor, uninformed, misguided decision. There is no excuse.
“They live in the neighborhood!?” Come on, really, that’s your reason for hiring this person? I am sure that there are all kinds of technicians and professionals, butchers and bakers and candlestick makers who live in the neighborhood but that does not mean I am going to hire them simply based on proximity. If they’re not qualified to do the job, if they’re not the best choice, if they’re not 100% committed to the work… I’m looking elsewhere. Plain and simple.
People, we live in the information age. Getting info about a realtor, or any other professional, is usually as simple as picking up your phone and asking Google! Or in this case, as simple as asking a neighbor. Ignorance is certainly not bliss and in fact, it can cost you money… a lot of money. Not to mention time, headaches, and grief. I know from first hand experience that this realtor might have lost at least one potential sale because they were not around to service and take care of their listing/clients.
Why in the world would anyone hire a part-time agent?
Would you hire a part-time doctor?
A part-time lawyer?
A part-time auto mechanic?
Or any other part-time, so called “professional!”
Sure, just about anyone can sell a house. Even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while. But that does not mean they are the best person for the job. Full-time realtors, like myself and most of my colleagues, know the ins and outs of the market, the idiosyncrasies and trends, the history and neighborhoods, the people and players. The other agents, the mortgage lenders, the insurance agents, the title folks, the inspectors, the appraisers, the service people. We bring a wealth of knowledge and ideas and market research to the table. Simply put… we are full-time pros.
You know the old adage, you get what you pay for. Yes, I know that this person happens to work for one of the “discount companies” and the allure of saving a few dollars is always forefront in the mind of any seller. I get that. But… selling a house quickly, with great marketing and amazing customer service, is well worth the money versus months of sitting stale on the market, with phone calls not returned, and nights of frustration pulling your hair out because of the lack of action when you’re selling… or the lack of attention when you’re buying.
And here’s the funny thing… in the long run, when you weigh all the factors, us “expensive, full service” agents typically cost the client about same amount of money!
And don’t even get me started on the topic of buyers using discount agents! Remember buyers, you don’t pay any agent a dime! That’s a conversation, and a blog post, for another day.
The bottomline… Please do yourself a favor people and DO YOUR RESEARCH! If you are buying or selling, find the right agent. Hire a professional who is full-time and local and knows what he or she is talking about. An agent with amazing customer service and marketing skills. An agent who is there for you 24/7. An agent fully immersed in the real estate business.
And it doesn’t even have to be me. Sure, I would love your business but there are literally dozens of agents I can tell you about off the top of my head who are wonderful at their job and will treat you with amazing service and professionalism. Those of us who are good and consistent and confident don’t look at this as competition. We look at it as good for the business as a whole. We are constantly fighting the stigma of bad real estate agents, who give the business a horrible name, so trust me when I say… we truly want you to find a good one and have a great experience. There’s enough of the real estate pie to go around and an amazing buyer/seller/agent relationship is something that makes the business better for all of us!
It might be OK to get your coffee from a part-time barista or get your car washed by a part-time kid working their way through college but it is not… I repeat, NOT OK to hire a part-time real estate agent. You, your house, and your money deserve better!
Want to learn more about my work, my lifestyle brand, and how my fun, full-service, concierge approach to real estate can help you?
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Thanks, I look forward to hearing from you!