5 Things Real Estate Agents Hate Hearing From Prospects and Clients

ryan stewman authorBy Ryan Stewman  |  Read Bio

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A study was done a few years back where surveyors asked people if they’d ever considered working in the real estate field, and 98% of the people surveyed said “yes”. I guess everyone thinks our job is easy or something.

I can assure you, being an agent is not easy. Any job where you deal with the mass public is not easy. People are hard to please, especially when it comes to buying a huge asset like a home.

It’s not that people are mean (in most cases); rather, it’s that much like any other job, the general public has no idea what’s really going on behind the scenes. To the public, we agents stick a sign in the yard, enter some data into the MLS and then collect a $10,000+ check.

That couldn’t be further from the truth for those of us who treat this like a career. All CE, BS and MSA aside, we have a lot going on with each transaction. We deal with vendors, negotiations, repairs, marketing and vendors. Did I mention vendors? Because they aren’t always easy to deal with.

We agents live on commission. That means we must answer our phone, show homes and make offers in order to eventually collect a check. That said, we look at every phone call, every sign call and every website entry as someone we can use our skills to help get into the home of their dreams.

That’s not always the case for the person on the other end of the deal. Most consumers will hit 6 websites and enter their information. That means there is, on average, six of us chasing each lead. The consumer thinks we exist in abundance. So they take advantage of us (unknowingly, in most cases).

#1 “I didn’t want to bother my agent.”

It’s Saturday morning and the phone rings. You pick it up and there’s someone on the line that wants to look at one of your listings. You go through the normal song and dance to get their information. When you ask, “Do you have an agent you’re currently working with?”, they say “Yes but they’re busy, I don’t want to bother them.”

As crazy as it sounds, this happens a lot. It’s like consumers want you to work for free, so they can pay their sister-in-law (who just got her license 2 weeks ago, mind you) a commission to stop bothering them.

PSA to the public: It’s your right to ‘bother’ your agent. That’s exactly what you hired him/her for. And if he/she actually considers you a bother, you’ve hired the wrong one.

#2 “Yes I’m already working with someone, but…”

What’s even worse is when they try and convince you that you should still show them the house after they tell you they have an agent. They say clever phrases like, “If you show it to me, I might buy it!” Really? Tell me more….

Agents with the REALTOR® designation abide by a strict code of ethics, and there’s a fine line between stepping on another REALTOR’S® toes and violating the code. Many consumers have no idea how all of this works, but you can count on them to always dangle the proverbial, “I might buy it” carrot in front of you.

PSA to the public: Your enthusiasm is appreciated, but if you’re working with an agent, allow him/her to initiate contact for your showings.

#3 “Zillow says our home is worth waaaay more than that…”

Ahh, that moment you reveal the results of your CMA and they compare it to a Zestimate®. “But Zillow® said…” can be one of the most frustrating phrases to hear as an agent. You then have to validate yourself as a licensed expert who works in the area, against a website designed to capture leads. Go figure.

It’s not that we hate Zillow® (well, some do and some don’t — I personally think it’s a good tool for exposure), but man it causes a lot of confusion we have to clear up with our clients on a daily basis.

PSA to the public: Relying on Zillow® to determine your home’s value is, at best, a crapshoot. Zillow® itself even encourages buyers, sellers and homeowners to conduct other research such as “getting a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a real estate agent” and “getting an appraisal from a professional appraiser.”

#4 “I saw a website that said they sell properties for a flat fee.”

On paper, namely a HUD, it looks like we make a killing on each property we sell. The public has no idea how much MLS dues, lock boxes, Supra keys, CCS, Realtor Dues, CE and marketing dollars we spend on a monthly basis. Being a real estate agent is not cheap.

I didn’t even mention commission splits and desk fees. The list goes on forever and every day someone new is trying to sell us something. For a lot of us, the second we get our checks, it goes right back into our business. Selling millions of dollars in assets a year ain’t cheap.

PSA to the public: It’s not wise to shop for a real estate agent based on cost alone. And when evaluating candidates, make sure to compare apples to apples. Take into consideration such things as experience, track record of success, and client testimonials. Also, “newer agent” shouldn’t be an automatic red flag — they can sometimes be the most hungry and technologically savvy you’ll find.

#5 “It’s a ridiculously low offer but see if they will take it”

Don’t you hate insulting other agents by giving them a ridiculously low offer? It’s really a waste of time for all parties involved, but there’s always that one buyer who thinks they can roll the dice on getting a deal. They say, “You never know until you ask”. Trust me, we know.

I’m not talking a lowball offer a few thousand under list price; I’m talking a $100k offer on a $200k home because “it’s been on the market forever.” By sending a ridiculous offer to another agent, who by law, is supposed to protect the interest of their clients, is just insulting. We don’t like it when it’s done to us…

PSA to the public: As humans, we’re wired to love getting deals, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In some markets, deals can still be scooped up. However, be mindful that sellers can be insulted if the offer is too low, resulting in an unwillingness to take you seriously (read: colossal backfire). There’s no exact science to negotiating — just listen to the advice of your agent and you should be ok.

These five things may be the most dreaded phrases uttered by prospects but there are 100s of phrases we love to hear. Things like, “I love this house,” “Thank you for getting me my dream home,” “You sold our home for more than we expected,” and most importantly “Here’s a referral.”

Next time you get one of these phrases thrown at you, send them to this article for future reference. The more you know… :-)


Ryan Stewman is a no-nonsense sales and marketing expert who helps high net-worth performers make adjustments in their businesses that lead to greater profit.