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Are real estate agents ships that pass in the night?

We always talk about how important it is to establish a rapport with clients, that it endears them to us and allows them to trust us. But they are only part of the business. Let’s not forget about us- the agents! It is equally important to make nice with fellow agents.

Since the advent of the fax machine in the 1980’s, agents have become more & more like ships that pass in the night. Literally whole escrows can transpire without either party ever meeting. For a business that touts itself as a business of relationships, we have the most distant relationships with each other.

At a recent open house, I was talking to an agent for a good 30 minutes. It was a slow afternoon, so we regaled tales of roller coaster escrows, gossiped about a top agent whose license was suspended and exchanged staging tips…ie, we bonded. It wasn’t until the end when we were about to part that we exchanged cards & she said “Wait- you’re Herman!? Didn’t we do a deal together 5 yrs ago?!” I gasped, “Clutch my pearls! I thought your voice sounded familiar!”

You see, we had never met in person. We talked a few times on the phone but mostly we emailed each other. And mind you, I didn’t find her the friendliest of agents at the time, which made the escrow harder. But, before I started to point the finger at her, I caught myself thinking maybe it was partially my fault. I realized it would not have been as hard if I had just made the effort to meet her. I mean, we were having a ball conversating at this open house. If we’d met in person at the start of the transaction, I doubt she would have treated me with such austerity. It is just harder to be curt with someone once you’ve met them (especially when that someone is a bubbly and dazzling as myself, but I digress).

As I waved good-bye to her, I knew in the future if I ever presented an offer on one of her listings, she would absolutely give me & my clients more attention over some stranger’s offer. I made a mental note, “Herman, no email or text can replace the power of a good old fashioned tete-a-tete.”

Do you make an effort to physically meet your fellow agent? Or do you think it’s better agents never meet during a deal?

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Written By

Watch Real Estate Expert Herman Chan put the REAL back in REALTY. In his show Habitat for Hermanity, Herman skewers the real estate business and pokes fun at his fellow agents, all the while empowering buyers & sellers with behind-the-scene tips & secrets of the industry! Get a glimpse beyond the glitz & glam of real estate. It's a hot mess! Featured on HGTV, House Hunters & other media outlets, Herman is the undisputed Real Estate Maven whose helpful & hilarious commentary you just can't live without! In fact, his real estate TV show has just been optioned in Hollywood!



  1. Liz Benitez

    February 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I have not made the effort. The meetings usually happen at settlement. and in some cases not at all. I also deal with a lot of rentals and even then I usually don’t see the LA. just an office manager when an application is dropped off. I find though that even phone contact works to help familiarize some. Faxes, emails, texts it is so hard to get a feel for the person but over the phone it is easier.

    • Herman Chan

      February 8, 2011 at 6:55 pm

      you can indeed tell a lot about someone even by they way to talk on the phone! thanks liz

  2. Fred Romano

    February 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    So why do we have to make friends with agents? I mean we are almost always on the the opposing teams right? Representing our clients is what we are paid to do, no? So why should we be friends Herman?

    • Herman Chan

      February 8, 2011 at 6:57 pm

      we dont’ have to be bosom buddies! but if i think you are a cankerous person, the next time you bring an offer to my listing, and there is another agent with a more friendly (i’m not saying friends, just friendly) demeanor, i am not going to pick your clients offer, all things equal Fred

  3. Jonathan Benya

    February 9, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Herman, There is nothing that trumps knowing the agents personally. I make an active effort to attend as many socials, mixers, classes, etc. where I can have the opportunity to network with my peers directly. Many times over I have seen one deal selected over another, strictly because of the strength of character from the agent writing it. It’s easy to miss this, but even in a digital age, personal attention to your fellow agents is a very important part of the process.

    • herman chan

      February 11, 2011 at 5:36 am

      i am guilty of not going to enough mixers classes etc. i’ve been on the conference circuit recently, and there has been tremendous networking opportunities. no (her)man is an island !

  4. Agent for Movoto

    February 10, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Herman, you’re absolutely right. To some degree, everybody who works in a given industry is “opposing’ his/her peers – but it’s always better to shake someone’s hand than to send them an e-mail. Nothing can replace your network.

    • herman chan

      February 11, 2011 at 5:39 am

      another benefit to mtg in person, is you have an excuse to get dolled up. (i send emails in my fuzzy slippers and rollers in my hair at home)

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