Bad real estate agent

Realtor Notebook

Am I a bad agent because I don’t use your product? Does that mean that I am not interested in raising the bar or creating a better user experience?

There are days when it seems like real estate agents are the people we love to hate, and some days it seems like I know more experts and people who used to sell real estate than active practitioners.

Many of the educational opportunities for agents are taught by vendors. They know best and work continuously to raise the bar by persuading agents to use their products.

There are people who became real estate experts because they once bought a house. I admire their passion but am not always impressed with their ideas.

What makes a good real estate agent? I am no expert. If I asked my clients what they want from an agent, I don’t think any two of them would have the same answer.

If something goes wrong in a transaction they blame the agent — mostly because they don’t know any better. There are surveys on what consumers want from their agents, but I question how scientific they are. Then again, I question everything because that is how I am.

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Does not answering the phone right away make me a bad agent? I spend a lot of time on the phone, and I sometimes miss other calls when I am using the phone. Also, I generally won’t answer it when I am with another client.

I won’t answer after 9 p.m. unless it is a friend, one of my offspring, or maybe the pope. If that makes me a bad agent, I am OK with it. I can’t think of anyone who I do business with who answers the phone.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I have been known to take my time responding to some of the stupid phone calls and emails that I get. I sometimes wonder if the consumers and agents who complain about agents not responding quickly are the most obnoxious callers.

Getting mixed up with a bad client makes me a bad agent. Have you ever had a seller who would not clean up the home or make repairs? Those homes make the agent look bad.

A good agent uses a stager and gets the home ready to go on the market. What would the experts who want to raise the bar think of some of the rental properties we sell?

There is so much misinformation out there about what a real estate agent is supposed to do. I watched a movie once where a real estate agent got to her open house early and washed all the windows and vacuumed the carpet before the open house.

I know real estate agents who have painted entire basements for their clients. They call it customer service. I call it outside the scope of my job and skill set, and I don’t think that makes me a bad agent.

We need to educate consumers so that they have an understanding of what kinds of services we provide. Some maybe better off hiring a painter.

Sometimes I get called a bad agent because I won’t use a certain product. There are a lot of good products for agents, but I won’t be bullied into buying any product.

Don’t tell me what is in the best interest of my clients unless you can back it up with numbers and those numbers need to be dollar amounts.

It is easy to be an expert and critique the performance of others, and to jump on the soapbox and write or speak about raising the bar.

If you don’t believe me, just give me a call and ask me what I would do to improve your business. I can think of a couple of industries where I could pontificate knowledgeably on what needs to change for a better customer experience.

It is easy to come up with ideas if I don’t have to implement them. I can just let my imagination run wild.

We do need to continuously improve, but buying your product may not be the solution. Asking each client what he or she expects, and then delivering on it or educating them as to what we do, is a better way to raise the bar.

All we need to do is satisfy our clients. It doesn’t much matter what anyone else thinks.

Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minn., and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog.

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