This morning I really got thinking on this issue of peer to peer professionalism in real estate when I saw this interesting tweet from my friend Michael McClure –
Michael has been conducting a survey on professionalism the last few days and I have been anxiously awaiting the results. One of the questions he posed was, “How important is it that a REALTOR® provide evidence that they are respected and viewed as professional by their peer group?”
This really hit home for me these last several days as I have been witness to both an abundance of professionalism and complete lack thereof in dealing with a few transactions. Let me illustrate the point more clearly:
Case 1: I made on offer on behalf of my clients to purchase a home currently listed as a short sale. We gave the seller’s agent ample time to present the offer to their client and get a response. The response deadline came and went with the agent providing me multiple excuses for why the contract was not signed yet, but promising any day. In the meantime, my clients were wondering what they heck was going on. Finally, more than two weeks after the response deadline, I get an automated e-mail from Bank of America telling me the contract was assigned to a new short sale processor. That’s strange since I had never received a signed contract back from the seller or their agent! I called the agent and they quickly sent over the signed contract and apologized profusely. Interesting point is that the contract was signed after the acceptance deadline, thus making it a voidable contract for my clients.
Case 2: I made an offer on behalf of my clients to purchase a condo that was newly constructed. The agent representing the builder doesn’t return phone calls or respond to e-mails in a timely manner. We still do not have a copy of the builder’s warranty, which is now past due as part of the due diligence period. The seller’s agent has been late on almost every deadline, and most recently was late on responding to an addendum to extend the settlement deadline. I made several phone calls, texts and e-mails on Friday and Saturday trying to track down this agent and the addendum to no avail. Finally, late Sunday night I got an e-mail with the addendum attached, which was “conveniently” signed 30 minutes prior to the response deadline, which had passed 48 hours ago. I don’t even want to imagine when it was actually signed, but regardless, acceptance was not communicated before the deadline.
Case 3: Similar to case 2, however this time the seller’s agent has properly handled missing the acceptance deadline twice. They have handled it in the legal manner by writing an additional addendum extending the deadline for acceptance each time. While that is all good, correct, and legal; it now forces me to go track down my clients to get additional signatures from them, simply because the agent on the other side of the transaction couldn’t do their job in a timely and professional manner.
This brings me to the example of the abundance of professionalism! Thank you for hanging in their with me. Imagine for a moment my horror as I found out from the title company that the home my clients are about to purchase “may” be on the neighboring property by about a foot! See my humorous post on this – “But Your House Is On My Property!” So… Which of the three agents above would you like to work with on this issue?
Case 4: Thankfully I didn’t have to work with any of those agents! I instead got to work with an agent I know very well, one who is a long time veteran of the industry, and she just so happens to have her office located 3 doors away from mine! How did she handle the issue we faced? She immediately jumped on the problem. She got her title company involved and met with both her seller and the encumbered property owner. Everything was resolved within 48 hours AND she kept me posted of her progress every step of the way, making sure that my clients would be happy with the result as well.
As the President of a local association of REALTORS® I can attest that the respect and professionalism between peers seems to be at an all time low. One of my members recently shared with me an expletive laced series of texts where they were attacked by a peer. What was this member’s offense? They simply asked for feed back on a recent showing!
The real estate industry is an interesting dichotomy. We compete against each other for business but we also depend on the relationship and professionalism of each other to accomplish the goal of a successful transaction for our clients.
WE CAN’T DO THIS WITHOUT EACH OTHER!
It, unfortunately, did not surprise me at all to see Michael’s tweet this morning. The consumer might not know or understand how important it is that the two agents in a transaction conduct themselves professionally and with respect, but the agents in the transaction certainly should. Much of what takes place in a real estate transaction happens behind the scenes where the consumer doesn’t see the day to day interactions between these two agents. It is most unfortunate to see that relationship and peer respect for each other deteriorating rapidly.
I am a big fan of technology and wholeheartedly endorse its use. But could it be to blame for this problem our industry is facing? Transactions now take place between two agents without them ever having to meet face to face. It seems so easy to rush to judgement, or make a rash statement, or even attack another person via the comfort of our own office, hiding behind a computer screen versus a face to face interaction. It used to be that the local REALTOR® associations were almost like a social club, where agents met together regularly and really got to know each other. Social networks are supposed to help us grow and develop more relationships and yet within the REALTOR® community, at the local level, it doesn’t seem to be bridging the divide that technology has somehow created in the real estate transaction.
Back to Michael McClure’s question – Is it important that a REALTOR® is respected and viewed as professional by their peer group? I would say without hesitation that it is crucial to the success of a client’s transaction! The client might not have chosen the agent on the other side of the table, but they most certainly have to rely on them to make a deal happen!