Seller Beware: Is Your Broker Incompetent?

The beauty of having my own real estate blog is that when I get an urge to vent…well…I vent.  Now I will preface the following rant by saying that in my 16 years in the Manhattan real estate business, I have never seen such a large percentage of competent, knowledgeable, and professional real estate agents than those who make up the current agent pool.  That said, there is still some "weeding" that needs to be done and gaging by the incessant hiring that the big firms continue to practice, it will be up to the consumer to "pull the weeds."

What am I talking about?  How’s this for starters all based on my personal interactions with seller’s agents over just the past 30 days:

  • Selling agents representing property on the Internet without photos, floor plan, or video and irritated when asked for photos or floor plans.
  • Selling agents unfamiliar with building policies, financials, amenities, and/or Board practices and irritated when asked questions regarding these topics.
  • Selling agents taking overpriced property only to procure buyers whom they can steer towards other properties.  These agents are often irritated by sellers questioning their marketing strategy and overall activity.
  • Selling agents unable to provide complete information regarding their sellers and their attorney to facilitate a contract (this info should be at agent’s fingertips when an offer is accepted to insure an expeditious transaction).  The agent should also have copies of financials for the building, the offering plan and all amendments, and a purchase application.  Again, this particular agent was irritated by our multiple requests for information over several days stating simply, "this is how I work." Does the seller know "how you work?"  I would bet not.
  • Selling agents unavailable to show their exclusive listings. This requires some elucidation…so here goes…obviously there are times when a seller doesn’t want their place shown and often there are also times when an agent has conflicting appointments and can’t accommodate everyone.  Understood.  But how about the agent who lives in Connecticut (why they are selling Manhattan real estate is another topic?) and doesn’t want to have to "take an early train in the city to show at 10:30AM."  And guess what?  She became irritated when we persisted in getting a late morning appointment. 
  • And the penultimate…the selling agent who doesn’t return phone calls…for days…or EVER?  I wonder if they communicate with their sellers at all.

Anyway, these are just some examples of the dregs of my industry whom I have been forced to try to work with recently.  Fortunately, and as I previously stated, these circumstances are not the norm but I’m certain that each of the sellers involved with these agents is completely unaware of the obstacle that their agent has become in the selling of the property.  If you’re one of these agents, (you’re obviously not because you’re reading this) BEWARE.  Sellers are going to continue to demand more from you. So shape up or be weeded out.

So what should a seller do?  Give a little listen to this podcast from June 2006 for my take on selling your Manhattan apartment.  The advice is timeless and it’s less than 20 minutes long.

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