Cara Ameer, a top-producing broker associate from Northeast Florida, writes about working with buyers and sellers, sticky situations and real estate marketing in her regular Inman column that publishes every other Wednesday.
Consumers do many things that rub agents the wrong way: calling multiple agents to see homes; being indifferent to agent advice; asking them to discount their commission; expecting them to function as housekeeper, petsitter and landscaper when listing their home — and the list goes on and on.
There is a plethora of content, training systems and social media posts speaking to these concerns and more, but how often do we think of what it’s like when the tables are turned and agents begin to annoy consumers?
Here are 11 things real estate agents do that consumers find positively annoying.
1. Not listening
I’m not talking about simply hearing the consumer speak; I’m talking about not truly listening and taking in all of their details, facts, concerns, wants, needs, challenges, time frame, etc., with regard to the buying and selling process.
Perhaps the agent is multitasking, preparing for another appointment or simply can’t wait to talk, but they fail to take in critical pieces of information that would best help guide the consumer in their real estate journey. The next time they engage with the consumer, it is obvious that they failed to absorb important information, and the buyer or seller has to repeat everything all over again.
2. Talking too much
The opposite of not listening can be equally, if not more, annoying. The agent continually talks and talks and talks to the point where the consumer can’t get a word in edgewise.
Whether on the phone or meeting in person, this agent has to spew advice whether asked for or not about anything and everything pertaining to real estate. They share story after story thinking they are showing their “expertise” when they are actually coming across as a blabbering idiot not attuned to the consumer’s needs.
Having self-confidence is a good thing, and a certain degree of it is needed to succeed in real estate or in any profession for that matter. Agents always have a lot coming at them, and the job is full of uncertainty with customers and transactions — anything can happen at any time. However, outwardly extolling one’s own accomplishments, awards, sales volume or perceived success, whether real or embellished, is a huge turnoff.
What’s worse is continually throwing that success in the customer’s face with every interaction. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
4. Not meeting the consumers’ needs
The buyers say they want to see homes that meet certain criteria in a certain price range, but the agent continually shows them things they do not want to see. Perhaps the agent doesn’t want to expend the effort or travel the distance needed to show those properties, so they keep trying to shove a round peg in a square hole hoping it fits.
5. Giving incorrect or bad advice
There is nothing worse than an agent giving advice that is incorrect, inaccurate or simply bad. The consumer who relies on that advice might learn the hard way about things that could have been avoided if the agent was on top of their game, particularly in a negotiation.
Furthermore, the consumer might miss out on properties that could have better met their needs due to the agent’s lack of awareness, ignorance or sheer laziness.
6. Putting the pressure on
Just like Queen’s legendary hit “Under Pressure,” consumers hate feeling pressured or rushed into making a decision. While properties come and go and that hot new listing that appears perfect for the buyer’s needs might not last long, buyers don’t want to feel pressured into writing an offer for the agent’s sake.
Ditto for having to feel like they are obligated to do something after the agent has showed them numerous homes. Maybe the right one just hasn’t come on the market yet.
7. Rushing clients
Another consumer turnoff is feeling like the agent has other things to do every time they meet. An agent’s time is valuable, but when they make it obvious that they want to move through showings as quickly as possible, it makes clients uncomfortable.
Meetings shouldn’t seem inconvenient or sandwiched in between other appointments because that makes it seem like the agent is concerned about getting to the next appointment before the meeting with the consumer has even started.
8. Not responding
Response is everything when it comes to real estate. There is nothing that irritates a consumer more than when the agent does not respond in a prompt manner to their calls, texts or emails.
Communication is key, and failure to do so could cost that consumer an opportunity to find their perfect home or sell their current one.
9. Pushing their agenda
A short time after the buyers or sellers begin working with an agent, it becomes clear that the agent has their own agenda and tries to control the outcome at every turn. The buyers want one thing, but the agent insists on another and only takes them to certain properties or builders.
While an agent can offer or suggest service providers to assist them, agents who push the use of these vendors too hard end up alienating the consumers, who often feel that there is another motive at play.
10. Not paying attention
There is nothing worse than an agent who takes care of other real estate business in front of clients. Taking phone calls, texting or handling emails is a no-no unless it pertains to assisting that customer while the agent is with them or there is an emergency pertaining to something else that must be handled right then and there (like the agent is notified that there is an active leak in their vacant listing).
Buyers and sellers are quickly turned off by the agent’s need to make other business a priority in front of them.
11. Not giving details or direction
Consumers begrudge lack of details when it comes to their agent relaying anything of importance. For example, telling their seller that the buyers simply “weren’t interested” in response to feedback on their most recent showing doesn’t provide much insight into what the buyer did not like about the home.
12. Being careless or sloppy
Consumers begrudge sloppily written contracts lacking attention to detail that cause confusion or result in something — the refrigerator, washer or dryer, for example — staying or going that was not supposed to.
Furthermore, agents who don’t proactively manage contract timelines create a mess for everyone. Reminding buyers of things last minute — like that their additional binder deposit is due on that same day — does not go over so well.
Trying to control agents is like herding cats — you simply cannot do it. Agents come into this business from a variety of backgrounds, business maturity levels and different awareness levels. Just as some people have better manners than others, some handle their respective jobs with more skill, care and diligence than others.
It is often the small things that make a difference between agents who are average and those who are exceptional. The agents who have emotional intelligence and are intuitive, considerate, thoughtful, responsive, resourceful, and above all, selfless are the ones who will succeed in their interactions with the consumer.