Jim Valentine: Be nice to your real estate agent
December 24, 2018
Real estate agents are people too. Yes, the good ones are very professional people, not unlike your lawyer and doctor. While your legal and medical folks generally maintain a distance without building rapport, a real estate agent usually works to establish rapport while providing professional services. They focus on the customer and forgo their preferences so the customer enjoys theirs, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be treated with respect.
Buyers and sellers sometimes take their agent for granted, or figure that they are getting paid so they should take what is dished out. It is amazing how some customers treat their agents, things they wouldn't think of doing or saying to their other professional vendors. Yes, the doctor can make you feel better, and the lawyer can keep you out of jail. The real estate agent? Matches you up with the right property or buyer. Negotiates so you achieve your wants and needs instead of selling you out to line their pockets with another commission. They can save or make you thousands of dollars, save you a lot of exasperation and create a lifetime of happiness while you enjoy the fruits of their labor, the purchase or sale of your home.
One of the easiest ways to respect your agent is to be on time. Things happen that can cause delays and when they do text or call your agent. Very few agents are without mobile communication and would appreciate notice if you are running behind. They are giving you their time, which in all reality is their inventory. They have to protect their inventory as that is what they have with which to be productive. Respect it.
Be candid with your agent. Sure, it takes time to gain trust, but if you play games with your agent about what you want you will distract him from fully focusing on what it is that you really want. Some people assume that if you tell an agent that you want a $400,000 home they will sell you a $500,000 home. If you run in to that kind of agent you are probably working with the wrong agent. If what you want isn't available for $400,000 she should tell you up front rather than stringing you along and then moving you up. Games work both ways and aren't in anybody's best long term interest when they are played.
Busy agents work long hours. You might email them at 3 a.m. and get an immediate response. Not uncommon these days. It is important, however, to realize that they need some down time too. Don't call at 10 p.m. expecting an answer to begin a long conversation unless it was planned together. If you have an emergency text, email, or leave a voicemail and your agent will get back to you as soon as possible, but don't get mad at your agent if they are having some family time. They should respect your family and family time, do the same to them for they are people too.
Good agents have many clients. Don't begrudge them the time they spend working with other people. If they are with them and don't answer your call be appreciative for you know they will do the same when they are with you and don't answer non-emergency calls out of respect for you. Emergency calls, usually a "fire" in an escrow, are the exception and you, too, would want them to interrupt for an emergency for you.
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Our advice: Real estate agents have a unique situation in that they have a fiduciary responsibility to the parties they are working with and often become friends as a result of the time and emotional tribulations that you work through together. Respect their knowledge, experience, time, and family and you will have a professional that will work very hard advancing your goals and objectives.
Respect and gratitude go a long ways enhancing your relationship with your agent. When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless!
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