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Cathy Bureau, Real Estate Pro in San Antonio, TX

Which is more important to buyers? A busy Realtor or Professional Realtor?

Asked by Cathy Bureau, San Antonio, TX Mon Jan 30, 2012

I heard this guy say once that he chose another Realtor because she was so busy that she couldn't return his phone calls. Huh? I always return phone calls the same day, usually within an hour unless I'm with a client or in a class where I can get out. I told this man that even if he didn't choose me that he should choose one that makes him a priority. He used that lady then complained the whole time to my client who had referred me to him. Thoughts?

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Sometimes, Cathy, people aren't especially good at relationships.

Also - when people give reasons for things they do, they're usually honest and heartfelt, but they are also often not anywhere near the primary reason. You know that from feedback calls - "Well, they didn't like the carpet." What if we changed out the carpet? "Nah, you know, uh, er, uh."

We don't really know why the guy chose another agent; all we know is that it bothered him that he thought she was too busy to return his phone calls.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012
In today’s world of instant communications I think we tend to forget how rude taking calls & checking emails can be when we are engaged face to face with a client. I was a listing presentation yesterday and the home phone rang in the middle of the presentation the lady apologized and unplugged the phone from the wall. She said she hated to be interrupted when she was focused on something this important. I told her I always leave my phone in the truck when I am on appoints since I want to focus all my energy on the task at hand. When I returned to the truck 1 hour later, 4 missed calls, concerning 3 current transactions and 1 transaction had a 2 hour time limit on it. In the end everything worked out and I was a Realtor® with manners & consideration for others time.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 31, 2012
A professional realtor is usually busy a one. I think it is important during your inital consultation to lay out times you can reached and the best way of communication. Some clients are more needy then others, so important to understand what each client will need to provide 100% satisfaction.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012
That's funny! Prospective clients! We don't want to lose any buyers or sellers to an unfortunate situation!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012
You can't do anything about the things outside of your control. Move on and run your business with the clients who need your attention. Don't focus on folks who have chosen another route! If that buyer is complaining to your client, that's their relationship not yours. Kindly tell your friend that you could solve the buyer's issues if they chose you to represent them, but he needs to address his concerns with his agent. You're busy satisfying YOUR clients...right?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012
Tom & Joanne,

All good points. However, I wasn't really talking so much about phone calls as I was talking about the decisions people make and why. Nor did I mean to imply that I walk away from clients during meetings to make phone calls. However, taking breaks from longer appointments is reasonable.

But all good points anyway so....I don't do call waiting, that's the purpose of texting and voice mail. However, if I'm expecting a call and I let my client know it. It's not uncommon that I'm on pins and needles waiting for a lender approval or docs to close a deadline. Those calls I will take and I think the other party will appreciate the circumstances. I wouldn't want somebody to default. In a property tour appointment, there is plenty of between time to check messages and make calls as needed while they are walking around or talking amongst themselves.

Best Wishes

Cathy Bureau
Green Home Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012

I knew I could count on you to say something sharp. You read into my question some thoughts I was having. The man came to me as a referral by a client that I helped bail out of a jam from their company relocation specialists. But because they work for a deep discount they end up with people who are not so committed to the client because they have other higher payer clients, a sad but true story I've heard repeatedly. Both of these men used to work with my husband. My husband mentioned that the one that got away was, well, goofy. He no longer works there.

I'm direct person so it escapes me as to how some can say one thing and mean another. I figured maybe he just didn't like me. I'm a nice person, sincere, and genuine. The agent he chose was one of those old school agents that still has a 10 year old photo on their card and uses a fax machine. But she was much more senior than I. I have come to know that experience in years is not relevant. What matters is the ability to learn and adapt. I think the guy just liked that she looked the part. At the time I was 1 year in so it may have been that I was new. But I truly thought his comment was stupid and it bewildered me.

Thanks for sharing some insight. True, very true.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012

I have a family friend who chose a realtor for the same reason. He said that because she sells a million dollar home every couple of weeks, she would be best to sell his home (also over a million dollars). After a couple of months, he cancelled the listing and went with someone else.

I think people should meet with several agents and go with the one that feels like the best fit. The agent should be honest and professional, have a good plan for marketing and selling the property, and have enough experience to get the job done. That doesnt always mean $20m of sales per year.

People should also ask themselves this question: who will you get the most attention from -- a realtor who has a new listing every week, or a realtor for whom your listing will make or break his month? I think the person who needs it more is going to do more to earn your business, keep you happy, and sell your home quicker.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 27, 2013
I know many busy people who get nothing done.
I know many professionals that never allow to be discovered, how busy they are. Their clients feel they are the only one with whom this professional is working...even when they know it's not true..
The question, as stated, is illegitimate because of the invalid choices presented. The two choices are not among the seven most important questions a home owner must have answered.
As the seller, in the example given, demonstrated, neither choice were what was of value to him because the bitterness of disappointment lasted much longer than a superficial assessment of ability.

Best of success,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 27, 2013
Being "busy" is not an excuse for a professional to become "unprofessional" - although some inevitably act like it is.

Some points to remember:

1. Because you took on more business than you could handle, is not the customer's problem.

2. The customer doesn't care if you are having a bad day. We all have problems - deal with them without making them evident to your client.

3. The customer does not care that you are not a good multi-tasker. If you can't response to questions and requests promptly, juggle multiple "fire drills", and remain professional - there are plenty of other agents who can and will.

4. The customer doesn't care that you don't "do" texting, prefer the "old-fashioned" way of doing business, don't have e-fax and can't get faxes at home, don't have a scanner, etc., etc., etc. An agent's job is to cater to your client and make the process as smooth as possible. Find a way to make it work or they will find someone else who will.

Personally - I am glad there are agents in my local market who do not understand the concept of a world class customer experience for each and every client. It makes my service all the more valuable and desired. The process of getting a transaction to closing inherently has pletny of pitfalls and uncertainty beyond everyone's control. The fact that some agents choose to make matters worse by poor customer service, attention to detail, and follow-up is inexcusable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 27, 2013
The general public doesn't care how busy you are, they care about how professional you are and how you treat them.

We are busy, but always return phone calls the same day. Period.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 27, 2013
Communication is important to buyers. So, an experienced Realtor would be my answer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 31, 2012

That may have been a polite way of saying he just clicked better with her as I think you touched on in an earlier response.

We can be a busy Realtor® or a Professional or..
We may not be a busy Realtor®, but a Professional or....
We may be a busy Realtor® and a Professional

The bottom line is the potential client's mindset and personality. If that really was, in fact, his reason for choosing her, then I'm afraid he may be in for a surprise. I wonder if he'll be happy when she is too busy to follow up with potential buyers and the like.

Many years ago, I used to attend fairs where I sold my goods. That is when homemade still meant something. My dad stopped by on one occasion and he said, you need to raise your prices. My reaction, of course, was huh? He went on to explain peoples' perception is a very powerful tool. I started to raise my prices one item at a time and low and behold, by the end of the day buyers were flocking around my table and I had my best day ever. And the people themselves were attracted by other people because they thought there must be something big over there because of all the people. I know it was a kind of lengthy story, but I'm sure you get my point.

You said he used the other agent and then complained the whole time. Could this be due to the fact that she was "soooooooooo busy"?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 31, 2012
Thanks, Cathy!

I tell people - I do not answer the phone all the time. I do not talk on the phone while I'm driving; I know it's important to talk to you, and it's also important for me not to run over potential future customers!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012
Professional courtesy is a quality that makes one a professional regardless of how busy they are. Unfortunately I have ran into agents that lack the basic courtesy to return calls or emails in a timely manner. I am talking days or even weeks to return calls/emails about the clients they sent me!

There have been other agents who have asked me for help with marketing their listings for example, and of course I make time to do so. So after taking a few hours of out of my week to put together a marketing plan I will ask for feedback to see what works for them and what does not. Nothing. No call backs or no emails. Needless to say I do not deal with them anymore but it's just appalling the lack of courtesy and follow up from some out there.

This happens everywhere though. Realtors, lenders, buyers, sellers, etc. You just have to set expectations from the beginning and hold yourself to them as well as others.

Maybe I am too courteous but I make it a point to return calls and emails within the hour. It does not matter if it's an evening or weekend
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012

I agree with your last post. I always let the clients that I am with at the time know that if I receive a call that I am expecting, or need to take, that I will excuse myself, and make it as brief as possible. I help them to understand that if I was with another client, and I had a call coming in that was vital to the sale or purchase of their home, that I would be taking that call, too, as it would be in my client's best interest. I didn't do this 10 years ago, but I started this policy after having a client hear my phone ring, and have him say, "if that call is important, but all means take it!". After getting off of the phone, my client then said, "If that call was important to my sale, and you were with another client, I would expect the other client to accept your needing to take that call". I think that as long as you have the discussion with your client, and the beginning, you will set the right tone with most people. I am not saying that you won't find anyone who wouldn't disagree, but you learn in this business that you can't please everyone.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012

I believe that a Professional Realtor is usually a busy one, but I must disagree about calling people right back. When I meet with people I let them know that when they are with me they have 110% of my attention and I do not step away for calls. I let all my clients know this and let them know that if I do not pick up I am with a client, but I will get back to them within 24 hours. I ask them if we were sitting right now have a meeting about their biggest asset would they want me to stop our conversation for a phone call? Then they should expect that same respect is given to all my clients. Best
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012
Mack - By the way, I have a broker friend in Camas, Washington, do you know any Realtors there?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012
They should be both. Ultimately, I have yet to find a realtor who says what they mean and mean what they say. Don't tell me you are going to do something and then never do it or complain when I ask you about it. Just sitting back waiting to collect a check.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012
Professional comes before everything else. We have a team, so if I get a call and am not able to call back within hours, I have somebody else on our team call. Works very well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012
A Professional Realtor, whether "busy" or not is what is important. Some of us are better at making a buyer or seller know that they are important to us and our business. I am very prompt at returning calls, when I have to let one go to voice mail, but I generally take the calls when I receive them, if at all possible.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012
As a buyer, I would prefer Professional. Higher quality work. Busy implies just what you say - poor response. You don't always get the choice, of course.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012
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