It’s been an odd few weeks in the real estate biz for me, and honestly, it’s been disappointing.
Only the Best Survive – Right?
Several years ago, I attended a seminar hosted by Tom Ferry of yourcoach.com. At the time, I was a coach for him and I remember him asking an audience of several hundred active agents if they were noticing the change in the industry and the housing market. He also pointed out that some agents might not survive the upcoming shift.
I remember hearing the hoots and hollers. There was a collective thrill that those of us not serious about the business, would move on. And, I remember consciously wondering how many of those cheering the upcoming change, would still be in real estate in 2 or 3 years.
Today, I know that some of them are not. I watched excellent professionals leave the business. It wasn’t just that we lost those that weren’t committed to the industry, we lost those that were reliant on a consistent real estate income and simply could not sustain themselves in a stagnant market. Thankfully the market has improved, but we did loose some GOOD agents along the way.
The Bad Behavior
Sadly, in recent weeks, I’ve been disappointed with some of my fellow agents. I’ve submitted offers to agents that don’t return calls (even to confirm receipt of an offer), and I’ve had offers submitted on my own listings only to find the agent go dark on us.
Last week I submitted an offer on a property in excellent condition. My buyer had 10% down, FHA financing, $35,000 over asking, fully underwritten loan approval subject to appraisal, and they were non-contingent.
Sadly, we were not the only offer. My clients lost it to a cash buyer whose offer was less. While I understand the rationale and potential concerns with FHA financing, what I found baffling was the interaction with the agent.
She did not take any phone calls – only emails. Her email is also blocked until you go through a spam clearance. When I finally did have the brief opportunity to speak to her, 24 hours after submitting my offer, I tried to share with her my client’s excitement about the property and my long standing experience with their lender. She quickly cut me off, “This is why I don’t take phone calls. I’m not interested in any of that.”
This agent clearly does not care about her rapport with me. She certainly isn’t moved by the emotional purchase of a home by an enthusiastic and hopeful buyer.
Real Estate is More than Numbers
I realize we are dealing with banks. Numbers will dictate a transaction, which is fair. But it’s imperative to treat these transactions with the dignity they deserve. There is a family, a couple, an individual that often is impacted in dramatic ways by what we do. It’s a responsibility that we each should hold dear to us.
For an agent to submit an offer and then simply not return phone calls is astonishing to me. For an agent to be given an offer (regardless of how many one has) and to act cavalierly as a recipient of those offers is a shame.
A Story to Remember
I once heard Steve Games speak (he used to be one of the owners of Prudential California Realty which he subsequently sold to a Warren Buffet company a few years ago). In a moving and eloquent speech, he shared with us the first sale he ever made as an agent. (Forgive me Mr. Games for paraphrasing this story.)
His first sale was to a first time buyer. When they were settled into their modest new home, they invited Games over for a BBQ. As he looked down at the grill, he noticed a few hamburgers and one steak. As the client served him that steak, the magnitude of his deeper meaning to this family set in – he had facilitated the accomplishment of a dream for this family. He was so moved by that simple expression of gratitude that Games has shared that story with countless agents many years later.
Lest we forget…
I hope that the change in real estate ultimately leaves us with professionals – full or part time – but those that really see the heart behind each and every transaction. Each city is a small town community of agents. It’s about the clients we represent.
It’s about the relationships to one another.