Rookie mistakes are the worst, and in our line of work, they cost clients, time and money — but the largest expense is to our reputation. There’s no excuse for these 10 (unfortunately common) time-wasting offenses.

Rookie mistakes are the worst, and in our line of work, they cost clients, time and money — but the largest expense is to our reputation.

As a new real estate agent, I tried so hard to make sure that I dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s because I didn’t want to look inexperienced — or even worse — lazy.

Sure I made mistakes, and I probably was guilty of occasionally wasting my fellow agents’ time, but there’s a learning curve for new agents.

However, regardless of experience level, there’s no excuse for these 10 (unfortunately common) time-wasting, annoying things that agents do.

1. Bringing an offer without qualifying the buyer

People, qualify your buyers! I’m just sayin’. Seriously though, in a seller’s market, most sellers will require a pre-approval before accepting an offer.

It’s a good idea to have your buyer go through full underwriting before even beginning the house hunting process.

2. Submitting an offer that’s so low the listing agent is embarrassed to present it

Some variation is acceptable, but when I receive an offer that is more than 25 percent under the asking price, I’m speechless.

I know, we work for the clients, and sometimes they instruct us to present these embarrassing offers.

However, it’s our job to educate our buyers about trends and expectations. If they don’t listen, it may be best to cut them loose before they waste more of your time.

3. Not knowing enough about a listing to answer basic questions

Has this happened to you? Your client needs basic information about what a homeowners’ association fee covers. You contact the listing agent, and you’re told: “I’m not sure. You could call the HOA and ask them.”

Really? Shouldn’t the response be “Let me find out for you because I may need this information in the future”?

You should always go the extra mile, especially for agents who might bring buyers to your listing. That’s kind of the job, right? Informing buyers about what makes your listing amazing in hopes of tempting them to buy?

4. Calling before looking at the MLS or researching

I do my best to upload everything a buyer’s agent could want or need, including CCRs (conditions, covenants and restrictions), property disclosures, plats and expected expenses.

But with every listing, I have at least one agent who calls me and asks for information on the uploaded documents. Almost all agents’ excuse is they didn’t see it, but we know the truth. They didn’t look.

Make sure you do your research before you get another agent involved.

5. Forgetting to include important documents with the published listing

On the flip side, agents who forget to upload pertinent documents, such as the property disclosure, cause further delay in writing an offer.

When this happens, the listing agent is often not able to upload the documents quickly, which is a time-waster.

As a listing agent, make it as easy as possible for potential buyers’ agents to access all the necessary tools to get the deal done.

6. Expecting someone else to do their job

Can I get an amen? What a beautiful world it would be if everyone met deadlines and returned emails, phone calls and texts before the week of closing. However, not everyone is as detail-oriented as we’d like them to be.

You’re doing a huge disservice to your clients if you’re not following up relentlessly. The worst thing you can do is let a deal get derailed because of a failure on your part. Hone your systems and processes so that you can lead your clients through a smooth transaction.

7. Arguing about everything

I get it. They think they are representing their clients by arguing small points about everything in a transaction. But they’re not. Instead, they are wasting time and energy and stressing out all parties involved.

Rather than becoming the sticking point in a transaction, try to set expectations with your clients early in the process, and find creative solutions that work for both parties.

8. Forgetting to update a listing when it’s no longer available

Often, homes go off the market because they are withdrawn or under contract.

If your listing is no longer available, please update the MLS and cancel any pending showings so that we don’t show up on your client’s doorstep with three kids in tow to find no lockbox.

Or worse, walk in on people when they least expect it.

9. Getting too ‘creative’ with photos and listing descriptions

We’ve all been there: the pictures and description sound fantastic, so you take your clients out to find something much different than described.

When an agent photoshops and wordsmiths to the point of being unrealistic, then it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Honesty is always the best policy.

10. Not being respectful of for-sale homes

Whether it’s showing up unannounced to a listing that specifically requests notice, not locking up when leaving or an unreported accident that damages the home, buyer’s agents make mistakes all the time by simply not respecting the listings they’re showing enough.

Remember, someone probably lives there, and if it’s vacant, it’s still someone else’s property, so be respectful, and leave everything the way you found it. And if there’s an issue, report it to the listing agent immediately.

What are some time-wasters you’ve encountered? Please share in the comments section below. 

Missy Yost is a Realtor with Century21 Diamond Realty in South Carolina. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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