by: Wendy L.K. Rogers, M.A.
In sales, we all want to be on the most wanted list. It’s the dream. However, in any licensed profession, we dread being on a notorious Most Wanted List such as the list of complaints about real estate agents. At the very least, these complaints are massive time eaters to attend and mitigate. At their worst, these complaints can cost you big money and even your license if reported to your Department of Real Estate.
Look, we all took the required Ethics course to get licensed, but it would seem as if some either slept through it or worse, some took the “don’t” list and made it their top ten play list.
So what are the top three complaints that seem to be prevalent about real estate agents? Well, it turns out they aren’t that different from the top complaints of most industries. Top consumer complaints across industries are: misrepresentation, deception, false or faulty products, and “shoddy work.”
If you talk to an average 10 consumers and ask their biggest complaints about real estate agents, you’ll hear three basic categories: dishonesty, incompetence, and lack of communication. For a more specific list of the most common violations resulting in disciplinary action, you can view this PDF from the DRE.
Now, in fairness, you may also be familiar with the client that just loathed his/her “horrible agent.” In reality, the client has burned up eight “horrible agents” because the client really has a bad case of mineisworthmoreitis. In which case, the consumer really does need to say, “Hmm, eight terrible agents later, I might be the issue,” but don’t count on that happening. Try to recognize these clients early so they don’t suck you dry.
However, if the client’s expectations aren’t loopy, let’s talk about “Fiduciary duty.” It’s kind of paradoxical to human nature. It says, “Since I am your voice in this business transaction, I will put you and your best interests above my own.” For example, there is the “negotiable” commission fees that seem to coincidentally hang around 3% for each rep in the transaction. So, what do you do when you notice a home boasting a whopping 1% from a discount house that fits your clients’ stated criteria? A) You sigh and add this to the list of any home that reasonably fits his/her described preferences. B) You somehow don’t see that listing and hope your client doesn’t stumble upon it either or C) You pour yourself a stiff drink and call other heavy hitters to ask what they would do.
If you picked anything but A, I’m sorry but you’ve just greatly increased your chances of ending up on that top ten, why-I-can’t-stand-real-estate-agents-cause-they’re-all-dishonest list.
And then there’s the issue of competence. See, once the consumer has decided that most agents are dishonest and greedy, they now want to work with their brother’s cousin, who probably only does one deal a year at best. Except, Cousin !@#$% probably doesn’t know how to navigate a HUD any better than a hub cap. You on the other hand, take classes, keep current on laws, and research so clients will see you like a Realtor rock star. \m/
Fellow Realtors, let’s “give ‘em something [good] to talk about!”
Realize, good brings rewards and Karma has a nasty bite. Don’t sleep through those ethics and law classes and remember that most malpractice suits are filed because patients said the doctor didn’t listen. Communicate with your peeps peeps. Listen to them. Hear their needs and concerns. Show them that they should trust you because you care. These top three: fiduciary duty, competence and communication can go a long way towards making you a most sought after agent, rather than a poster child on the complaints about real estate agents Most Wanted list. And look up fiduciary duty when you pour that stiff drink before you call your agent friends. It just might be what the Dr. should’ve ordered.