Along with their clients, realtors must also deal with many frustrations and high levels of anxiety. Here are the top frustrations of a realtor:
- Clients who fail to establish rapport with their chosen realtor.
- Clients who refuse to respect their realtors time.
- Colleagues and clients who refuse to communicate important information.
- Clients who don’t understand what their realtor is offering.
- Clients who refuse to follow their realtor’s advice.
- Clients who don’t respect the rules of the buying/selling process.
- People who misunderstand how realtors make a living.
Making a commission-based living in a ferocious industry like real estate, could render the most iron-willed among us a sleepless nail biter.
Throw in counter-productive client behaviours and this job becomes a top contender for the most stressful job ever.
It’s no wonder that 90% of new agents fail within two years of starting out.
We recently sold our house and bought another one. From the uncertainty of a covid-infused market to the 400 plus people traipsing through our house in a single week … the process was intense to say the least.
So, as an anxiety sufferer, how does one deal with all the real estate angst?
By leaning into gratitude.
Focusing on our amazing realtor, and the partnership we were able to form with her, I’m proud of the efforts put forth by both fronts.
We tried to be ideal clients (or pretty darn close to) and the harmonious relationship we formed with our realtor paid off in smooth sailing and lots of money made.
Unfortunately, not all clients are or even try to be ideal. In fact, many are the cause of anxiety producing frustrations for the real estate professional trying to serve them.
The most productive thing you can do to alleviate your real estate stress is to make your partnership successful.
Learn how to help your realtor do their job to the best of their ability, then sit back and watch how the process works like a well-oiled, money-making machine.
Here are 7 client-induced frustrations to avoid:
1. Clients who fail to establish rapport with their chosen realtor.
To best serve her clients, our realtor explained that their brokerage strives to treat clients like family. I was a bit taken aback by the family ideology at first.
It seemed a bit presumptuous and unprofessional. But, after thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that we were trusting her with the process anyway, so we might as well be all-in and work as a close-knit team.
Her professionalism held strong through the whole thing but I took extra heart knowing for example, that like me, she was once a single mom working her way up and was handling our resources as carefully as she would handle her own.
Treating each other “like family” is a fine line to walk, but the best realtors, including ours, know how to do it.
We saw value in her approach but realized that in order for it to work, we had to make an effort to get to know her too.
We knew we were going to spend a lot of time together, so we asked about her background and experience, some of it work related, some not. She appreciated our questions and was quite open about what she brought to the table.
While researching for this article, I was surprised to learn that some people have so little rapport with their realtor, that they will actually “ghost” on them.
A term usually reserved for the online dating world, ghosting on someone means that after spending a considerable amount of time and effort on one another, one party just disappears (permanently) without a word.
For a realtor, this could mean months worth of showings and calls only to be left in the cold with no explanation. If a client changes their mind about selling or buying or just about the realtor in general, they should really just say so.
2. Clients who refuse to respect their realtors time.
As our realtor so aptly says; “real estate doesn’t wait for anyone.”
In this fast paced job with oftentimes multiple clients on the go, a (good) realtor’s time is literally money.
Standing a realtor up or cancelling at the last minute for no good reason are sure fire ways to show disrespect and increase their anxiety and lessen their productivity.
Time spent with you is time they are not spending with someone else, and that is a big deal when your livelihood is commission based.
It’s important to remember that realtors have families and a home life too. The person missing out on a realtor’s time because a client is a no-show? They might be a sick child or a tired spouse. You never know.
Hard to get a hold of clients are another issue for realtors.
We quickly learned the real estate freight train only makes short, infrequent stops and if you aren’t ready to hop on, you’re going to be out of luck.
If a new property pops up or an offer comes in, your realtor is depending on you to be reachable.
We made a point of responding to messages quickly as well as making sure our notifications were always turned on.
By letting our realtor know that we liked her timely communication style, we set this precedent early in our relationship and had minimal time wasted waiting for responses on either end.
Also, we found that it doesn’t hurt to CC everyone involved on all email communication. You never know what details may be appreciated or useful.
3. Clients and colleagues who fail to communicate important information.
We were diligent when it came to this. Anything we felt was pertinent information, we let our realtor know.
Apparently there are some serious omissions a client can make when it comes to keeping their realtor informed.
According to this lightersideofrealestater.com article, not telling a realtor that you aren’t motivated to buy is a huge no-no.
Yes, there are situations that call for an extended home search but most buyers should know what they are looking for and expect to execute on a sale within a reasonable amount of time.
Lighterside also cites the issue of forgetting to mention that someone else is involved in the purchase decision.
“Picture it: We’re deep into the home search process, narrowing your likes/needs/wants and neighborhoods when all of a sudden, your Mom/Dad/Boyfriend;Girlfriend appears….and they inevitably have a different idea about what you should buy.”
If you are basing your decisions on the input of someone else, make sure your realtor knows that. Introduce them. Don’t bring in someone at the 11th hour.
Perhaps the most serious of omissions are related directly to your house, “material facts” as the lighterside calls them.
As a seller, you are legally bound to disclose the whole story when it comes to your home. Things like the presence or previous presence of toxins such as mold, asbestos or a gas leak need to be disclosed right away to your realtor.
Events such as flooding or fire or even an unnatural death in your home are all issues that can land both you and your realtor in court.
Fortunately, we didn’t face any of these issues and had nothing to disclose. We were however, asked by a potential buyer if there were any unnatural deaths on our property. Weird but valid.
Another aspect to be aware of when it comes to sharing information is ensuring that other parties involved are divulging the important details on their end.
Our mortgage broker, on a few occasions, failed to inform us of details that resulted in unnecessary amendments which then lead to wasting the time of our agent, the seller’s agent and the seller.
Fortunately, our agent handled the situation well and the deal went through fine.
4. Clients who don’t understand what their realtor is offering.
We chose our realtor and her brokerage because their signs were and continue to be everywhere around our neighborhood.
After meeting with her and her broker, it became clear that their 5% commission was justified with the services, connections and marketing package they offer their clients.
It was definitely a case of the “Lexus Experience at the Lexus Price”, and that is what we wanted.
We knew our house was in a hot location and suspected that these guys would handle the traffic, the multiple offers and get us more money than we could get on our own or with a 1% agent.
We were right. Our house sold for $130,000 over asking.
If you are in the process of choosing an agent, be sure to understand what they are offering in terms of services in return for their commission. You can’t expect cleaning and staging and HGTV level marketing for a 1% commission.
Make your expectations clear at the beginning and see if they match what the realtor is offering.
5. Failure to follow realtor’s advice and market knowledge.
If you find a house you love and your realtor advises you to move on it quickly, you should move on it quickly.
The same night we viewed our new house for the first time, someone made an offer. We gave up on it and continued to see other properties.
A few days went by and our realtor told us that the offer was rejected. We booked a second viewing that day and made an offer right away.
After a long day at work and an hour drive each way, we didn’t feel like going back to the house on a weekday. We much preferred to wait until the weekend.
We went anyway.
It’s a fast paced, sellers market right now and she advised us to move quickly if we saw ourselves living there.
If you aren’t prepared to move in a timely manner once presented with a property you love, your realtor can’t do their job and get you into your dream home.
According to the BREL team brokerage in Toronto, Ontario, “lowballing for the sake of lowballing” is something that realtor’s always advise against and clients insist on doing anyway.
They agree that no one wants to pay more than a house is worth but to refuse paying list price or getting involved in a bidding war is a “sure-fire road to disappointment.” They recommend focusing on what a home is worth to the individual and not so much on the listing price.
The BRELteam also recommends their clients stay quiet about their real estate situation on social media.
It never occurred to me that buyers/sellers search for each other’s names on social media. But of course they do and it happens all the time.
Sharing details about your home buying/selling status can be very detrimental to your buying/selling goals and make things very difficult for your realtor.
According to the BREL team, you should NEVER post things like; “Desperate for this house to sell! I get my new house in 2 weeks!” or “Anxious to get out of this crappy neighbourhood”.
They recommend listening to your realtor when it comes to social media and allow them to decide what personal information will be shared.
6. Failure to respect or follow rules of the buying/selling process.
It didn’t take us long to realize that there are rules to follow during the buying/selling process. A high performing agent will explain these to you and then the expectation is that you will follow them.
One of the most important rules – keeping your home clean for showings.
Our realtor provided professional staging advice and sent over a consultant to coach us on how to make the most of our space, furnishings and the decor we had on hand.
She was a whirlwind as she plowed through the house, telling us to move this, paint that and basically empty our house of everything we owned. We were overwhelmed to say the least.
It took 9 days of solid elbow grease to complete everything she recommended. It was exhausting and strangely emotional. Was it worth it? YES.
We are 100% convinced that the staging and the resulting photographs and video of our home directly impacted the final selling price. Everything looked beautiful and with very minimal cost to us.
We followed the rules, put in the work and it paid off, big time.
Some of the homes we toured were cluttered, dirty and smelled weird. I cannot imagine the stress of having to sell a house that makes people recoil the second they walk in.
Another rule – have instant access to the deposit you will need to make an offer. As great as our agent was, this is the one thing she dropped the ball on. Neither myself or my husband has any recollection of her telling us about this.
Thankfully we had the required amount. If we didn’t have it, our realtor would have struggled to keep us in the running.
The BREL team stresses the importance of having access to your money and not getting caught up in delays with a virtual bank, borrowing the funds or having the money transferred from another account.
They also warn against making any changes to your financial situation before closing on your new home. That means no job changes or large purchases.
Your realtor won’t be able to help you if your financing is compromised due to changes you make pre-closing.
Another big no-no – refusing showings. One of the most stressful things a seller can do for a realtor is refuse showings.
We knew our house would attract a lot of attention as soon as our listing went live. Our realtor half-joked with us that we should move out for the week in order to accommodate the tidal wave of showings coming our way.
So, that’s exactly what we did.
We booked a hotel suite for the week. Our young child enjoyed the pool and we were able to cook in the suite and hang out comfortably for 7 days. Yes, it was an added expense but we were confident that we would earn the money back and refusing showings was not an issue.
Refusing showings hurts your chances of getting top dollar for your home. It also makes life really difficult for your realtor.
We had over 120 showings in 7 days. We confirmed each and every showing request through an app on our phones. We didn’t have to worry about crossing paths with anyone or keeping the house perfectly clean with a young child around.
Of course moving out of your home may not be necessary or even an option for most sellers, but accommodating as many showings as possible is critical for success.
7. Failure to understand how realtors make a living.
If you want to reduce anxiety and ensure a profitable transaction for everyone involved, having a basic understanding of how a realtor actually makes money will go a long way toward that goal.
Aside from a realtor’s commission based salary and the obvious stresses related to that, there are a few other key elements of their job that clients aren’t typically aware of.
I always knew careers in real estate were competitive. What I didn’t realize was that the low barrier to entry into the field makes it extremely competitive.
Anyone can become an agent if they complete the required certifications. The Canadian Real Estate Association and similar organizations offer easily accessible advice and direction for anyone interested in the profession.
As mentioned above, very few go on to become successful agents, however, competition remains high due to the sheer volume of people.
The lighterside mentions a few more aspects of the job that most clients are unaware of.
The internet has made the job of realtor look easier than it is. Agents are no longer the gatekeepers of the housing market as listings and other real estate info is easy to find online.
The lighterside says that although the internet makes it easy to see what is available on the market, the transaction and behind the scenes action has remained the same.
“This means that while there is more information than ever available to consumers, real estate agents are still responsible for the lion’s share of getting a deal done. So, even though things might seem pretty simple on the surface, the agent’s job hasn’t changed all that much.”
They describe the best agents as those who make the whole process seem easy. That was our agent.
All the behind the scenes stuff that would have undoubtedly stressed the crap out of us? We didn’t hear about any of it.
The legalities, the transactions, the myriad of personalities on the other side. Even with the negotiations surrounding the 25 plus offers we received for our house, not a peep.
Yes, that is what a realtor gets paid to do, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t stressful for them. We knew our realtor was hustling hard for us in this regard and we appreciated it.
Another misconception when it comes to a realtor’s job description? Assuming that all working realtors are super wealthy. This is one that I am guilty of.
Everyone sees the high end vehicles realtor’s drive and the HGTV shows with their rags to riches house flipping couples. It’s easy to get the idea that agents are all rolling in the cash.
In reality, most realtors are making a middle class wage, especially those that haven’t been in the business for that long.
According to salary.com, as of August 2020, the average Real Estate Sales Agent salary in the United States is $42,565, with a range falling between $41,582 and $54,142. The average salary in Canada is $59,688.
Lighterside says that the money misconception “can create tension between hardworking clients and their seemingly happy-go-lucky agents”, and that the reality is much more mundane once all the expenses, fees and taxes are considered.
Before you begrudge your realtor their commission, consider what their job really entails. There is most likely a lot going on behind the scenes that you aren’t aware of.
As you make your way through the buying/selling process, expect to feel high anxiety. When things seem too much to handle, just remember that your realtor (if they are good at their job) is going through the same stress as you.
There is no avoiding anxiety when it comes to real estate dealings. To alleviate your fears, respect and follow the guidance of your realtor to ensure the best possible outcome.
Focus on gratitude for your hard-working professional and help them help you through the largest transaction of your life.