What is the most appropriate way/time for giving (negative) feedback to a selling agent?

Asked by Jen, Minneapolis, MN Wed Feb 26, 2014

We are under contract to purchase a home and have found the seller's agent to be very difficult to work with. For example, we have heard him yelling (yes, yelling) at our agent over the phone; she was unable to ask a question or finish a sentence without an aggressive interruption. While I understand his behavior may not be unethical, I think it would be good for him to know our feedback as well as his employer and future clients. What is the best time and method to provide this feedback?

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Hank Wilson, Agent, Bowling Green, KY
Wed Feb 26, 2014
I think any time is ok to give negative feedback to the selling agent as long as you find a respectful way to let them know. I would actually love constructive criticism from my clients so that I can do better for them rather than not knowing what I am doing wrong. Honesty and how you say it are key, the timing is not as important. Hope this helps!
2 votes
Thanks Hank! I think feedback is so important to and couldn't agree more with your statement about the "how you say it" as being so important. Often people give feedback to benefit themselves and relieve frustration; I'm hoping to give it so that he knows that he is presenting himself negatively and representing his client negatively. Interactions with him have made us not want to buy the house and made this already very big life event much more stressful.
Flag Wed Feb 26, 2014
Susan Hoffla…, Agent, Shoreview, MN
Wed Feb 26, 2014
Hi, Jen!
I LOVE this question so much! First of all, in our industry the SELLING agent, is the one who represents the buyer. The LISTING agent is the one who represents the seller. I know exactly what you mean and I found this confusing at first, but that's just how they have delineated between the 2 types of agents.

I had an agent who, when I was actually representing the sellers in a transaction, would belittle me, swear at me, hang up on me. I had to demand that all of our communication be via e mail or text so I could have it in writing. I worked VERY hard to keep everything professional. I did alert my broker to this behavior and, if needed, he was ready to jump in.

If this is a house you REALLY like, I would let your agent handle it. After all, that's part of an agent's job, to deal with such difficulties!! But, if you don't like the house or the deal falls through, it's well within your rights to contact the broker of this other agent to express your concern. It not only show support for the professionalism of that agent, but that kind of report will remain with this agent's information. It might not be a bad idea to submit this information to the Department of Commerce, too.

Unfortunately, some overly aggressive agents think this is the way to prove to their clients that they're working hard on their behalf, when it couldn't be further from the truth! To create an adversarial relationship in the course of negotiations, only serves to alienate the other party and potentially compromise the position of your own client.

Good luck!!!
Web Reference:  http://www.homestosellmn.com
1 vote
Joel Johnson, Agent, Blomington, MN
Wed Feb 26, 2014
Wow Jen! Unfortunately, there's confusion in our industry. List agent represents seller, Buy agent represents the buyer, however, "Selling agent" is frequently used when referring to the agent representing the buyer (aka Buy agent). I'm assuming the "selling agent" in your scenario is the agent representing the home owner/seller. And that you have your own Buyers agent, representing you as the buyers. All of that aside, I personally believe it's best that you have the agents work on all the details on your way to the closing table, and that you avoid direct communication with the other side's agent altogether. That's why you hired your agent in the first place - to take charge and advocate on your behalf, while you remain emotionally intact in the background.
1 vote
Thanks Joel! Yes, I mean the agent representing the homeowner. Thanks for helping me clear that up. I've thought that waiting to provide feedback until after closing would be best just so it doesn't interfere with our transaction. I know our agent is working on how best to communicate with him in the meantime.
Flag Wed Feb 26, 2014
Torrey Kanne, Agent, Edina, MN
Wed Feb 26, 2014
Hi Jen,
This really sucks, I am sorry you and your agent are dealing with this. That said, I am glad you are pointing it out and I agree, feedback can be really helpful- sometimes people get in a habit and need a big ol' piece of humble pie to really see how they are acting.

Good luck with everything and congrats on your new home!!
0 votes
Sherry Kupper, Agent, Oakdale, CA
Wed Feb 26, 2014
Hi Jen,

If it is bothering you this much, then I think you should first discuss the issue with your agent and then, second, go ahead and contact the Listing's agent's (Seller's agent's) Broker. My Broker would never allow any of us to treat anyone disrespectfully without serious repercussions. This is your transaction and together with your agent you should have a good experience without the other party reacting in such a negative way.
0 votes
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Wed Feb 26, 2014
I have two thoughts. First this is really your agents job to deal with an make any complaints. Second, if you are dealing with an irrational person, anything you do prior to closing may put your deal in jeopardy. If things are on track, I'd suggest you wait until the sale is closed. If this unhinged agent is not open to criticism, why put your deal at risk?
Later, once you are closed, if you meet the sellers you can let them know. Your agent may want to discuss his interaction with the agent's managing broker.
0 votes
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