When it comes to buying or selling a home - regardless if you are looking for a home in a large city or in a small town, a real estate agent is one of the most useful tools to have. Their experience and insider knowledge can make both buying and selling easier, and can lend to their client making a more educated decision. But how is the experience for the agent compared to the experience of the client?
Sometimes the reality is that clients and agents don’t see the same situation in the same light because of not communicated expectations. Lack of experience or too much professional experience can easily skew a person’s view, and without proper communication, this could cause a lot of issues. And while some clients and real estate agents can get past this, some end up hitting a brick wall and they decide to go their separate ways in search of something new. The goal of this post is to help to smooth out a few bumps on the road between REALTOR® and client by having a glimpse into each others' thinking.
Read on to get a better understanding of the other person's point of view and find out what it feels like to get inside the shoes of a real estate agent. The situations that are listed below are some of the most common between agents and their clients. If you’ve been in any, it might be surprising to learn just how different the other party had viewed the same situation.
The Buyer Who Shows Up Late
Buyer’s View: Not Worried. It’s okay being late because the agent can adjust their schedule.
Agent’s View: Upset. Agents are very schedule-oriented in order to make sure they always on-time at the property they’re going to view as the home owner leaves the premisses for the scheduled time. Unfortunately if the buyer is later for their viewing, that could cause the agent to be late to their next property viewing.
Real estate agents usually show 5-8 homes at the same time and need to calculate in advance how much time a client is going to spend inside a house, how long it will take to go from one house to another, and estimate traffic time as well. All this needs to be precisely scheduled in advance and if a client is only 20 minutes late it will create a chain reaction and causing the preset appointments with the home owners to be missed.
Compromise: The agent should let the client know how showings work so they know how important being on-time is. This is something that anyone can understand, they just might need to be told once so they know how important it is.
The Buyer Who Wants a Chauffeur
Buyer’s View: Convenience. There are many buyers who think that because an agent drives around town throughout most of the day, they are willing to chauffeur them around as well. They’ll often ask them to pick them up, drop them off and even take other people to their desired location.
Agent’s View: Frustration. Most agents are glad to drive potential buyers to view homes, but asking any more than that is unreasonable. Clients should be seeking other means of transportation to get to the meeting place where they can begin the tour together. But clients shouldn't be requesting real estate agents to drive across town to pick them up.
Compromise: If a buyer is demanding to be chauffeured, then the agent should let them know their services do not extend beyond simple viewings that are within a certain mile radius. It’s good to get this out in the open so the buyer doesn’t expect too much.
The Buyer Who Wants to Look at Luxury Mansions They Can’t Afford
Buyer’s View: Fun. Who doesn’t like to look in a home that’s considerably out of their price range? It’s always fun to see how the other side lives, especially in a home that is truly jaw-dropping. A buyer could request that their agent takes them to homes that they’ll probably never be able to afford, but that’s okay because their afternoon is free and they want to day-dream.
Agent’s View: Frustration. Agents want to sell homes, not show homes just because someone wants to see the inside. By having to take an entire afternoon to show luxury homes to someone that won’t ultimately buy one, they are taking time away from their family or other important things that matter to him. Unfortunately the agent doesn’t always know whether or not a buyer is serious about a type of home, so it can be difficult to determine who is just dreaming of something greater.
Compromise: An open house can satisfy both parties, because they don’t take any extra time out of the day for either party. The “buyer” can go see what it looks like and the agent can take in more viewers at once.
The Buyer Who Spends Hours at the First Viewing
Buyer’s View: Wants to Consider Details. When a buyer pays too close of attention to the details during the first viewing, they could end up spending way too much time there. Normally they don’t think of this as much of a problem since they cleared their schedule to do so.
Agent’s View: Overwhelmed. The initial viewing is the time when agents want their buyers to simply see the home to determine if they like it. It’s not the time when the client should be trying to determine if the door handle is the right colour or if the sink should be a different shape. Those things can be looked at more comprehensively down the road, like scheduling a second viewing before the buyer is ready to make an offer.
Compromise: The agent should discuss with the buyer what the initial viewing will be like before they actually go to it. This will help them set their expectations so they can get through the viewing without taking the entire day.
The Seller Who Won’t Show the Home
Seller’s View: Not Worried. If a seller isn’t really motivated to move quickly, they could put of showings when their agent requests them. They often have the mentality of: “couldn’t the potential buyer just come back at a better time? If they can’t, then they weren’t the right buyer anyway.”
Agent’s View: Frustration. Agents have to show homes on demand, or else they could very well miss out on a sale. Not everyone has an open schedule, and if the home can’t be showed when they are available, they could end up looking at and buying another property. When agents are in this situation it can be difficult to make the sale, and that could lead to a difficult relationship with the seller.
Compromise: The agent should explain to the buyer that every person that is rejected for viewing a home could have been THE buyer. They should also explain that the majority of people won’t come back to try and look at it a second time. The seller should make sure they keep an open schedule and that their home is always clean so showings aren’t stressful on them.
The Seller That Wants to Stick Around for Viewings
Seller’s View: Excitement. When sellers have either put a lot of work into their home or lived there a long time, they have a lot of pride and knowledge that they want to share. They might look at a viewing as an exciting way to tell the potential buyer all about the place, with tidbits of information about every single aspect of the structure. And while some of this information might be really important to the seller, not all of it will be.
Agent’s View: Stress. When an agent is told that the seller wants to stick around it could jeopardize the sale as they don’t have the same feeling of enthusiasm that the buyer does. Instead they can feel distressed, because this adds a new uncomfortable element to the appointment. Due to their experience, they know that most owners tend to talk too much, and they don’t talk in a way that leads to a sale. This can disrupt the flow of things and mean seeing a perfectly viable buyer walk away.
Compromise: If the seller insists on being around, then the agent should make it clear that they are leading the viewing. Of course the buyer can chime in about facts about the water heater or recent kitchen remodel, but other than that they should just be a bystander. If the seller really wants to sell the home, then they should understand and agree to this.
The Client That Wants an Open House Every Weekend
Client’s View: Excitement. The more open houses, the better. Most people selling their home think that it should be open every weekend, especially if they want to expose it as much as possible.
Agent’s View: Knowing Better. Any experienced real estate agent can tell you that an open house every weekend generally isn't the most effective way of selling a home. Now that the internet is so prominent, most people want to view pictures and open houses online before they schedule an appointment to see a property they like. People looking at selling their homes need to understand that they may not be the agent’s only clients. Most of the time a REALTOR® juggles his calendar to satisfy all of his clients.
Compromise: An agent can talk with their client to let them know the best course of action for selling their home. A good compromise is to have one open house and then to focus the rest of the attention on pictures and online tours.
Uncle Johnny Knows it All
Buyer’s View: Already educated with home buying. Many buyers, whether because they have a family in real estate or read articles online, think they know everything there is to know about pricing out your house. Because of that they might suggest that a home really isn’t worth what it’s being sold for, and neglect any facts the agent gives. They already know what they need to know, so why would they listen to someone else?
Agent’s View: Annoyed. Real estate agents go through a lot of training and real life experience to do the work that they do. This is why it can be so annoying to have a buyer come in who thinks they know it all. Any good agent will take the time to explain to them how market value works, and hope that the information they give will get through to the buyer.
Compromise: Agents can use fact sheets and data from reputable resources to back up the information they give a buyer.
The Seller That Won’t Take Staging Advice
Seller’s View: Relaxed. Some sellers love their homes, and figure that the right buyer will love it too, no matter what it looks like and staging a home is unnecessary. Therefore they won’t listen to their agent about cleaning it up or even doing a few things to stage it to look nicer.
Agent’s View: Pressured. Agents can only do so much to make a home look nice, and the rest is up to the seller. If the seller isn’t willing to work with them, then they will face even more pressure when trying to sell to a potential buyer.
Compromise: Some agents will offer to make certain changes themselves, and then explain why they are so beneficial. If a client really wants to sell, then they’ll listen to them and do anything necessary to get the right buyer to see the true beauty in the home.
The Home That Has an Unpleasant Odour
Seller’s View: Unaware. “What do you mean my home smells bad; I think it smells just fine.” There might be cat litter boxes out in the open or garbage cans without lids, but these don’t seem to bother them, so it shouldn’t bother anyone else.
Agent’s View: More Work. Real estate agents put great emphasis on homes looking nice and smelling nice so potential buyers can have a pleasant experience when walking through them. Unfortunately if the seller becomes “nose blind” to smells from broken sewer pipes or litter boxes, this can hinder the chances of a home being sold. REALTORS® can do a great job in marketing homes online, but when the buyer shows up the truth will be revealed to them.
Compromise: If you’re going to sell a home, then do a thorough cleaning at the start and continuously keep it clean. Invest in air fresheners as well, they are worth it. If you’re the agent, then walk through the home before bringing a client there, and ask the homeowner if you can bring air fresheners.
Approaching Real Estate in the Future
How will you approach real estate after reading about the different perspectives that the client and agent can have? By understanding how the other person sees things, you may have a better overall experience with the person you’re working with. This can lead to mutual respect and having a smooth transaction from start to finish.
I am a licensed member of the Real Estate Council of Alberta since 2005 - proudly representing CIR REALTY, Calgary’s largest real estate brokerage. I enjoy keeping my readers up to date with real estate related information that they can easily understand and use for their own benefit. I welcome feedbacks and comments equally from first-time visitors to my blog, past clients and also from my fellow REALTOR® colleagues. Thanks for stopping by!