Real-estate professionals give advice all the time. That’s their job.
But do they ever give wrong advice, not enough, or keep quiet when they should speak up?
The Sun Gazette asked some local Realtors what is the No. 1 mistake, miscue, misstep or wrong advice a real-estate professional can make that might cause a client not to use them the next time buying or selling a home.
Here are their thoughts:
Casey Margenau, Re/Max Distinctive: “Sometimes you don’t have to do anything wrong to have someone not use you again. The No. 1 reason is they lose faith in your decisions. If the perception is that the agent cares about their money more than the client, there is a likelihood you won’t be used again. Relationships are built on trust. Sometimes you lose a client because you didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear, but what they needed to hear.”
Joan Stansfield, Keller Williams: “I’d say the kiss of death is not letting them know your value proposition and being sure they understand what sets you apart. Another kiss of death is for an agent to come across as though you’re not putting forth much effort or just out for a quick sale. You also have to show up and not be late or cancel on clients. As for bad advice? I’d say it would be over-promising and under-delivering, mostly in communication or services provided. Not staying in touch with them after the sale is a mistake and why a client might not use an agent for another transaction.”
Eric Ritland, American Realty: “When buyers are looking for a house, you have to put your needs, tastes and visions aside – and sometimes your opinions. Make things all about the clients. For example, I find I shouldn’t project how I might use the house in a certain way. They don’t always like to hear that. You can see their eyes glaze over.”
Karen Briscoe, Huckaby, Briscoe, Conroy Realty Group: “A problem can develop in terms of pricing if the market doesn’t respond the way a client thinks it will. When that happens, they think it’s the agent that’s the problem.”
Casey Samson, Samson Properties: “No doubt it’s allowing a seller to overprice their home. In 2013 1,026 homes expired or withdrew from the market unsold. Professional Realtors have no emotional or financial attachment to a home and can put a price within one or two percent of the final price. Some sellers feel their homes are worth more and some Realtors need the business, so they put it on the market too high and it sits. Fact is, correctly priced homes sell. It’s not rocket science.”
Karen Close, Century 21: “The worst advice would be dishonest advice. Be true to the proper goal, whether for a sale or a purchase.”
John Mentis, Long & Foster: “Not following the instructions of a client. The client is the customer. All an agent can do is advise. But if an agent doesn’t honor a client, they may not use you again.”
Gloria Adams, TTR Sotheby’s “It’s probably not enough communication. Clients want to be informed. So you just have to stay focused on that.”
Mark Middendorf, Long & Foster: “One of the biggest things is communication. Poor customer service and not paying attention to a client’s needs turns people off. If you are not giving them sound advice and listening to their needs, you are going in the wrong direction. You have to make a client feel like they are your No. 1 client. I spoke with a client to give updates every day for eight months one time during a transaction process, just to stay in touch.”
Dawn Wilson, Keller Williams: “I always ask clients about the particular good or bad experiences with previous Realtors. A lack of communication, not listening and not returning calls or e-mails in a timely fashion are the biggest concerns I hear. Plus, a lack of a relationship.”
Craig Mastrangelo, Re/Max Allegiance: “Agents need to make sure expectations of how the process will play out are explained and what your role will be as an agent. Clients need to have a working knowledge and template of how the process will go. Then, you have to make sure you are not overstepping your boundaries about private and confidential information. Handle financial information respectfully.”
Laurie Mensing, Long & Foster: “On the listing side, situations when the client objects to your advice and wants to overvalue their home can cause problems.”
Billy Buck, Buck & Associates: “I would say lack of communication, and in some cases your opinion about pricing. Also, sometimes the amount of work you can ask a seller to do on their home to get it ready to sell, the client can feel is too extensive. In some cases people don’t want to hear what they have to do to obtain the price they want.”
Dee Murphy, Long & Foster: “Communication, communication, communication. Not keeping everyone updated and communicating well is crucial. If there is a lag in communication that keeps a client from reacting to a situation, that can be a deal-breaker.”
Jack Shafran, Yeonas and Shafran Real Estate: “I think what is important is to always tell a client the truth, but don’t always tell them everything at once when the transaction is in process. Sometimes that can cause problems. Sometimes you have to tell them things about their property in a delicate fashion, because it can be so emotional.”
Steve Wydler, Long & Foster: “The biggest mistake is failure to differentiate from the competition. The listing agents who earn business are the ones who have a broad-based marketing plan that differentiates from the competition, in theory and execution.”
Terry Belt, The Belt Team, Keller Williams: “Not telling your client the truth. Most clients do not hire us to tell them what they want to hear, but what they need to hear, even if it is not always the best news. They need to be properly educated and informed in order to make the right decisions in their best interests.”
John McNamara, TTR Sotheby’s: “The most important thing is when agents don’t really meet the sellers’ needs, and put their own interests ahead of their client’s. In that case, sellers feel they are not the No. 1 priority.”