Realtors deserve common courtesy
Originally appeared in Bay Area News Group publications on July 22, 2011
Sometimes, the idea for an article comes from unexpected places. I just received a phone call from a veteran agent who I have known in real estate for over 25 years. She asked if I would write about how poorly people sometimes treat those of us in the business and how we deserve better. What follows is my response to her request.
Too much trouble to call?
The “presenting problem,” as therapists say, was that my Realtor colleague just learned that she did not get a listing for which she was in competition. That was not the cause of her upset. We all win some, lose some.
What riled her was that she found out not from the seller, but from another agent. This was after my friend had spent at least 10 hours in phone conversations, research, travel and meetings with the client. Apparently, it was either too much trouble or too uncomfortable for the seller to call or email back and say, “Thanks for taking the time, but I have decided to work with someone else.”
Listening to this story reminded me of the numerous times I have seen the same situation in my 30-plus years as a real estate professional. In fact, I had a similar experience this week, although it was related to my function as an East Bay real estate expert witness.
I had been referred to a Bay Area real estate attorney by a well-respected, long-time, local agent and spent almost an hour brainstorming with her on the phone about the case. As the type of testimony the lawyer needed was not directly related to my common duties as a licensee, I suggested she consider using an appraiser or forensic accountant.
After much discussion, the attorney, who was trying to formulate the case in her own mind, said she would call her appraiser expert and maybe we could work together. She said she needed to disclose her experts soon and would let me know if she needed my help in a day or two.
As you have already surmised, I did not hear back from her, even after I left a voice mail and email asking what she had decided. Knowing attorneys, my guess is that she was “really busy” and contacting me was not even on the bottom of her list. Naturally, I was annoyed at this lack of consideration and caring.
In business, as in all aspects of my life, I act respectfully toward other people and appreciate that in return. Not everyone, however, behaves appropriately. This is just one of the interesting aspects of being a Realtor.