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Can you hear me now?

This week I have been working with a wonderful family that found me on the Internet over a year ago, as they started their search for a new home in Arizona.  They are relocating from Vermont.  As I was showing them homes today, I remember one of the first emails that I received from them- “the reason we want to work with you, is that you listened to what we wanted in our new home”   Wow what a simple concept.  Showing home buyers homes they can afford, in the area they want to live with the amenities that they want.  I often wondered, what others were telling them?

About 2 months ago, I received an email from a young man that would like to sell his home in Queen Creek.  Knowing that due to market conditions, he would not be in a favorable position to sell, I discussed some of his options with him.  But again what struck me the most was “thank you for calling me back, I have called 3 agents and no one returned my call”   He called me again today- I still, most likely will not be able to help him, but I listened, and suggested he speak with an attorney and discuss his options.

Realtors have been compared to used car salesmen, I think we rank under them.  I am sure that there are some wonderful used car salesmen, but none the less, they are not held in high regard, and Realtors are a close second.

It did not cost me a dime, just some time to chat with the young man in Queen Creek, and I did not have a perfect solution for him, but hopefully, I gave him some ideas.   I just listened and I was honest- pretty simple.

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Buyers are saavy, they have choices, and good, qualified buyers are becoming harder to come by- so if you don’t listen- they will find an agent who will-they have choices.

Written By

Writer for national real estate opinion column, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.



  1. Jayson

    August 5, 2008 at 1:40 am

    You’d be surprised how many agents didn’t call me back when I was buying a home a few years back.

    I was surprised that I actually had to email and call a few of them before actually speaking with one …I always just imagined they were all on vacation.

    Needless to say, it wasn’t hard for an agent to impress me after being ignored for a few days.

  2. first time home buyers loan

    August 5, 2008 at 2:12 am

    to Jayson

    not actually on vacation but they might get more business or they may be overloaded with work thats why they not call back.

  3. Ginger Wilcox

    August 5, 2008 at 2:43 am

    The other key is just because someone isn’t qualified today doesn’t mean they should be ignored.
    a) they might be future buyers (I plan to be in the business for a while)
    b) they probably know other potential buyers (some of my best referrals sources are from people who I have never helped purchase a home)

  4. Mike Taylor

    August 5, 2008 at 4:01 am

    I am always shocked when I hear these stories especially in the current the market conditions. I just had a very similar experience with a lady from out of town. We talked on the phone about what she was looking for and then I emailed her some homes she might be interested in. She wrote me back the next day in awe that I actually listened to her. While I was appreciative, this is actually quite sad that she was shocked that I listened to her and did my job.

    • mskathywoods

      January 7, 2010 at 8:46 pm

      Kathleen Woods- I have had a few clients inform me that they had been ignored prior to meeting me. They mentioned having a difficult time getting agents to show them homes and return calls and emails. Being a great agent requires listening skills, patience, and clear communication. I don’t want to imagine what it would be like if you didn’t follow through from the start.

  5. Holli Boyd

    August 5, 2008 at 5:06 am

    this is how i met my husband-to-be – last summer he was looking for a home – i was the 4th agent he spoke with. he had similar comments … never followed up, went on vacation and never called after, laughed in his face when he said how much he wanted to spend and what he wanted (seriously). i never did any of those things and found him a great multi-family where we both live. so i got a commission and the man of my dreams 🙂

    but i have to admit there have been a few i have let slip through the cracks – this week my goal is setting up systems for all leads. i am now referring out, and keeping track of, anyone i dont have the inclination to work with (whether location or needs is not a right fit for me). i figure it’s a win-win as long as the other agent works as hard as i do 🙂

  6. Matthew Rathbun

    August 5, 2008 at 5:38 am

    Ah, the simply act of answering the phone and listening. I am amazed in our market place which is very challenging (500 listings in our county and only 7 sold last month and 8 the month before) about the number of consumers who I hear complain that no agents are calling them back or returning e-mails. Very sad for the industry, but great for those few agents who still consider it a career and know how important it is to communicate.

  7. Glenn fm Naples

    August 5, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Two things come to mind reading this article

  8. Glenn fm Naples

    August 5, 2008 at 5:57 am

    Darn it! My finger slipped. 🙁 (Wish there was an edit function – idea)

    1) We have two ears and one mouth – listening is more important than talking.
    2) Some do not follow the Golden Rule – which is found in the Preamble to the Code of Ethics. “In the interpretation of this obligation, REALTORS® can take no safer guide than that which has been handed down through the centuries, embodied in the Golden Rule, “Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them.” ”

    Is there any wonder why we are either one step above or below a used car salesperson?

  9. Jeremy Hart

    August 5, 2008 at 6:23 am

    I found myself failing to do this yesterday. I was talking a customer who had a need that sounded similar to hundreds I’d heard before. I just couldn’t wait for him to as the question because I KNEW THE ANSWER! When he asked, I was ready …

    Then I got it wrong. I thought I knew the question, but his situation was a little bit different, and I wasn’t listening. Glenn, you’re right – two ears, one mouth, use them proportionately.

    Listening Fail.

  10. Mack in Atlanta

    August 5, 2008 at 7:35 am

    Listening is an art form. I have found it very useful to set down with prospective clients and actually take notes during our conversation. Not only am I listening but I am able to then focus more on their wants and desires.

  11. Vicki Moore

    August 5, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Woo hoo Holli. I’ll keep that in mind. 🙂

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