2013 Mar 25th

Classic Realtor Mistakes Happen – And Not Just in Hoboken

We happen to be in the market for a property in New Orleans.  I’ve had the interesting experience of being an on-line shopper for real estate.  It’s an eye opening experience in so many ways.  We won’t even go into the quality of photos on the internet.  I’m buying a condo, sight unseen, on the basis of pictures which my dog could have done a better job taking.  My favorite, so far, has been this little episode.

I saw a condo on realtor.com that looked interesting.  The pictures were not great and I couldn’t get a real sense of the floor plan or how the rooms related to each other.  I called the listing agent directly.  “Could he possibly provide me with more photos, a video or a floor plan”, I asked?  Maybe some additional pictures of the view out of the windows?  I might as well have been asking for him to beam me to NOLA with his transporter.  He couldn’t have been more shocked at my request.  He claimed he didn’t have a floor plan.  When I explained that they are typically included in every Master Deed so that if he could get the condo docs it would be there, he said he would see what he could do and would get back to me.

A few days went by and I hadn’t heard from him so I called him back.  “Oh, that property is already under contract”, he said.  “Thanks for letting me know”, I replied.  I’m sure my sarcasm was entirely lost on him.

A few days later, the unit is back on the MLS.  By this time I’d found another agent  whom seemed capable so I asked her to look into it and also get me a floor plan and some more photos.  When she spoke with the listing agent, he realized from her questions that he had already dealt with me directly.  (I guess I’m the only buyer in New Orleans to ever ask for a floor plan).  Now he had to work with a cooperating agent and couldn’t sell his own listing.

It seems that the first deal fell through.  Yet the listing agent, who had all my contact info, totally blew it.  First, he never got me the info I asked for.  Then, when he got an offer, he never contacted me to see if I would be interested in making an offer.  Finally, he didn’t bother to reach out and notify me when the first deal died to see if I was still interested.  Total, all around fail.

We signed contracts on the property last night.  What is really terrible, though, is the disservice the listing agent has done to his client – the seller.  Had he done his job properly and reached out to me, I might have bid against that first buyer and driven the price up.  He never gave me that opportunity.  The seller ended up with less than might have been.

I see similar situations in Hoboken all the time.  Agents differ and some are clearly better than others.  Sellers ought to be very choosy in deciding whom to have represent them in the sale of a property in today’s competitive market.  How a listing agent handles multiple buyers often has a real affect on the price a seller fetches.  Just because an agent is good at getting listings and is a great cold-caller doesn’t mean he or she has a clue what to do with them to get them sold for the most money possible and the greatest degree of certainty.

  1. sara

    Another classic – listing realtors post pictures that seem to have been taken without any staging, cluttered rooms, unlighted, darkened, grainy pictures. See it all the time. Not sure if these are the realtors that offer to take reduced commission or soemething. And some of these realtors are actually from well known agency, I dont get it.

  2. Lori Turoff

    No, they most often get full commission and are from big-name brokerages. Again, two of the worst offenders (it’s always the same people) are so focused on getting the listing that once they do, the rest of the work does not seem to happen. But then, how can an agent truly perform well when trying to work on 30 or more listings at the same time? Why the seller doesn’t fire them is what I don’t understand.

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