Let’s be clear on one thing: by nature, real estate agents are not fragile beings. We’ve heard it all. And for the most part, we have a great sense of humor. It’s an important requirement for success. You can tell us virtually anything — in fact, you should tell your agent anything pertinent to buying or selling your home.
But there’s a handful of things clients might say that could create a detour on the road map to success. These aren’t offensive things but words are important. Thus, this list. Let’s file it under “edutainment” — important enough to warrant a dialogue, but light enough for you to realize it’s not a game changer…but it could keep you from getting the best in service.
Here they are.
1. Buyer – “I want to buy a home, but I don’t want to commit to one agent.”
Loyalty is a two-way street. If you want an agent’s help, understand that he or she will spend a considerable amount of time, money, and effort during the buying process. The trade-off for this hard work is a signed buyer’s agreement, allowing them to formally represent you as a client (versus merely a customer and that’s a good thing). There are major differences between the two and the agreement helps establish an important fiduciary relationship. Have a discussion with an agent and ask to have the form explained. It’s not a marriage, and the agreement can be customized to your particular needs and situation.
2. Seller – “Don’t show my home unless I’m available.”
You’re shooting yourself in the foot. Real estate agents AND genuine buyers are busy. Therefore, if you want to maximize your home’s exposure, it’s important to be flexible. I get it, though. You feel you need to be on hand for questions and to stay on top of things. Try to control that urge. Buyers get uncomfortable with sellers standing over them while they view a home — and a Realtor does this as a profession. Trust me, Realtors REALLY want to sell your home when they show it. Help make their marketing dollars work in your favor by allowing your home to be shown with minimal notice.
3. Seller – “But Zillow said…”
Zillow is, at best, a semi-educated guess. Zillow even encourages buyers, sellers and homeowners to conduct other research such as “getting a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a real estate agent” and “getting an appraisal from a professional appraiser.” Sure, Zillow’s Zestimates® are quick, easy, and free… but do you want to trust the return on such a large investment to ‘quick, easy, and free’? Sounds like a band from the 60’s. Just let a local real estate professional (That would be me, and I’ll actually see your home’s unique features in person) determine its fair market value.
4. Buyer – “I’ll get pre-approved for a mortgage later.”
This puts you at a huge disadvantage right out of the starting block. First, an agent worth his or her salt won’t invest countless hours showing homes to someone who isn’t pre-approved for a loan, unless you have verification of funds on hand from your financial institution. Secondly, many sellers make it a requirement that prospective buyers be pre-approved before scheduling a showing. And listing agents and sellers will often require a pre-approval letter alongside your offer. This letter strengthens your offer by instilling confidence in all parties that you’re financially capable of purchasing the home.
5. Buyer – “I don’t want to bother my Realtor®. Can you just show me the house?”
Contrary to what you think, asking your agent to see a home is not “bothering” them. It’s their job and it’s a privilege most appreciate. It’s how we get paid. It’s what we love doing. If there are extenuating circumstances preventing your agent from showing you a home, have him or her call the listing agent directly. You’ll certainly get to view the home, but if you’re already represented, it’s a bit of a slap in the face to your agent to do otherwise.
It’s Real’ tor. Two syllables.
7. “You sell real estate? You must make good money.”
Hold your horses… not necessarily. According to NAR (National Association of REALTORS®), the median gross income of REALTORS® was $42,500 in 2016, and that’s before expenses like MLS fees, marketing, licensing/continuing education, insurance and everything else. Also, keep in mind that commissions are split between the brokerages representing the buyer and seller. Of that X% an agent is paid to sell a home, he or she saw only a tiny fraction.
8. Seller – “I’m planning to sell my home by owner. I just want to know how to do it.”
We all know that time is money, but so is knowledge. Becoming a licensed agent is expensive and time-consuming. Selling real estate is complicated. That knowledge can’t be passed along over a cup of coffee — there’s more to it than putting a sign in the yard.
9. Seller – “I’ll only sell my home to a buyer who is (insert race, gender, religion, etc. here)”
Oh, no. no-no-no. This is like asking someone to sue you (unless, of course, you list with a real estate professional who’d certainly know better than to discriminate). Federal equal housing laws were passed in 1968 in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement, and they prohibit renters and home sellers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of race, sex, religion and other factors. So in a nutshell, the focus is on getting your home sold.
10. “I’d love to get paid to look at pretty houses all day, every day.”
So would we. “Looking at pretty houses” is only one of many things real estate agents do for their clients. Marketing is a strategy; the training required to keep a license current is extensive. There are so many details to attend to in getting an offer to contract, then through pending, to closing. It’s exciting, challenging, and rewarding. It requires great negotiating and organizational skills, not to mention attention to detail. It’s work and a huge responsibility that no Realtor takes lightly. It’s also the best job in the world!