I’ve never been a real estate agent. I worked for a well known (at least in the southern U.S.) real estate company for five years, as a listing secretary, office administrator, and marketing associate. Once I left the company I continued freelance marketing and real estate photography, so my real estate experience adds up to almost ten years. In all that time I’ve seen a lot and learned a lot, and one of the most important things I’ve learned is that I could never be a real estate agent.
Contracts I can do all day long. I know how to list, I know how to market and I know how to sell. I can learn closings. There’s one big thing I can’t do and can’t learn to do: deal with clients.
I never know what to say when I meet people, I’m terrible at small talk, oh, and I really don’t like people very much. You as an individual might be fine, but people as a collective are terrible. So, in that same vein, I offer you the clients that I’ve silently observed as a third party over the years and determined are deeply, truly, awful.
The one who never listens. Is there a hearing impairment? A mental disorder? Did you find a client that doesn’t understand what “clean the house before a showing” means? I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME WHEN I TELL YOU THE LISTING PRICE IS TOO HIGH! I can’t be a real estate agent because of this client. You hired me. You’re paying me. Do you just have a habit of paying people to tell you what to do then not doing it? Agents, tell me, what is it with these people?
The one that lives in his own world. This client is very similar to last one. It’s almost like they can’t hear you, but really, it’s just that they don’t get it. They don’t understand why they can’t find a 4 br/2.5 ba with a bonus room, and a laundry room, a fenced yard, granite counter tops, and two shower heads in the master bath shower, less than five years old, for $150,000. No, linoleum tiles do not look like real tile. Yes, people really will notice that water stain on the ceiling. For God’s sake, the cat odor is completely noticeable. It’s illegal to slap people, but I’m not sure how else to get somebody to snap out of this self imposed fog.
The one you can never reach. With papers to sign, appointments to make, and all the many other things you do to work for your client, I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to never get in touch with your client. I’ve heard horror stories from agents. I remember one story about an agent who went a whole month without getting so much as an email from her client. She lived out of town, and when she finally contacted the agent, she only offered up only a laughing “it’s just so hectic selling the house.” WHAT? No. I couldn’t do it.
The one you can’t get rid of. It’s 10:00 p.m. You just got an email. Ten minutes later a text. Then a phone call. How many times do you need to confirm an appointment? The ones who are in constant contact also tend to be the ones that worry over every little detail, which is why they’re in constant contact. Triple checking appointment times, getting your advice on apple pie or pumpkin spice Scentcy for the open house, talking again about the flowerbeds. These tightly wound balls of worry can make even the sweetest agent a little cranky. Kudos to those of you who can do it.
Agents, who did I leave out? How do you handle tough clients? I’d love to hear your stories!