In a seller’s market, sellers can be picky about who they hire to market their property. That is why I am confused by the astoundingly bad performance I see from some listing agents this year. I am not secure that the sellers ever find out just how poorly their agents are doing. Recently, one did. It was because the agent was outstandingly lazy; it caused stress and inconvenience for the seller.
Why do we care? Not because they annoy us: when the transaction is over, it’s over. We actually learn something when the listing agent doesn’t do their job. Most of the lazy and clueless ones are easy to negotiate against because we can capitalize on their laziness. (Promises of making things easy can save our clients money!)
What can you do the help your friends? Don’t let them hire any agent – seller’s agent or buyer agent’s agent – without checking with us. We know the good agents and the bad agents. We won’t bad-mouth our competition; we just name names for people who really do their job. We can tell you what services you should be expecting from an agent. We know buyer’s agents in many parts of the country who can help you buy there and also tell you who to keep away from your mother’s house, if she’s selling in Cleveland.
An agent is legally bound to work for the best price and terms for their client. We take this seriously; we know people who take this seriously.
We have been seeing listing agents who don’t. As we work well into the last quarter of the year, I feel secure in naming the worst agent of the year. She wins for both laziness and cluelessness.
Here’s the story:
This agent left the responsibility for getting the smoke detector/carbon monoxide detectors to the sellers. Responsible listing agents do this for their clients. This agent did not even instruct the seller how to do this task, so it had to be done at the very last minute. The seller did not get the appointment until closing day. She was at the house waiting for the fire department while the buyers were signing the closing documents. This could have fouled the closing.
The task involves contacting the local fire department, making an appointment and paying a fee. Then, agents either get the detectors or advise their client about how to get detectors in the right places. Then the agent waits for the fire department inspector during an appointment window (some towns give a one-hour, some up to four hours.)
Agents are responsible for using reasonable care in handling all financial matters. This agent instructed her office to make out the excess retainer check to the buyer, not the seller.
The excess deposit is any funds that were paid into the broker’s escrow account that were not used to pay the commissions or other pre-paid fees (like the smoke detector certification fee.) Giving the wrong name in this case indicated that the agent did not know her client’s name, and did not look it up before ordering the check.
After the closing, her broker called me to get a copy of our commission bill. My agent had sent it to her twice.
Depending on this agent’s contract with her broker, this agent got a check for approximately $5000 for her efforts.
There is a reason that Realtors get a bad name. It is agents like this one.
Friends don’t let friends hire lazy agents. If you know anyone who is buying or selling, have your friends talk to us. We know the good ones from the bad ones.