Why don't most real estate agents answer their phone?
Phone calls mean new business, new business means a paycheck, paychecks mean food on the table and a roof over your head, right? So why is it that so many agents don't answer their phone?
If we're not on another call or otherwise unavailable, we answer our phones during normal business hours so we can tell you exactly what makes us not want to answer our phones.
The answer is: other agents.
The top three questions we get asked every. single. time. are:
1) Is there any wiggle room on the price or are the sellers flexible on their price?
We have a fiduciary responsibility to you, and whatever your list price is, is the price you've told us you want to sell at, otherwise you'd have listed it at a lower price, right? So telling another agent they can have the property for less money than the list price violates our duty to you. Instead we tell them to have their clients make an offer and that we will (as required) present all offers to the seller.
Some agents get downright belligerent when you tell them this and will insist that you're just not giving them the "whisper price" for whatever reason. We've been cussed at, yelled at, hung up on, and called every name in the book - if their clients knew how unprofessional their agent was acting...
This isn't Million Dollar Listing New York where you need to list $10,000,000 over ask to make sure you get your asking price. Pricing in "wiggle room" only prices you out of the market and will reduce or stop all showings. This adds up to increased time on market, which leads to more bottom-feeding buyers calling and asking how flexible you are. Price your listing at your sell price and stick to that price. If you're not getting any showings or offers it's not because the market is soft, it's because your property is incorrectly priced.
2) Are there any offers on the property yet?
Lazy agents like to ask this for two reasons - 1) if there are offers they don't want to bother writing an offer because they feel like it would be a waste of time and 2) if there are no offers it means they can come in with a lowball offer or a very weak offer knowing you have nothing else on the table which strengthens their negotiating position.
In either case we tell them we can't disclose whether or not there are any pending offers and if their clients are interested they should make an offer and (as required) we present all offers to the seller.
3) There isn't a 3rd question. Agents will ask a random question about the property only to break the ice so they can ask question #1 or question #2.
We always tell agents if they have specific questions about the property that aren't covered in the MLS listing, the Seller's Disclosures, or the mountain of other docs they seller has already spent hours filling out that are mostly posted to the listing, that the agent can simply email the question in, we'll forward it to the seller, and we'll get right back with them. If it's material to their offer they're going to want the response in writing anyway.
There are other legitimate questions that come up from time to time but even a minimally seasoned agent (meaning an agent that has done more than one or two deals) can very easily submit an offer that gets around these questions. The written offer gets them on the playing field to see if there's a possibility of a deal. Once the offer has been made, issues like which title company to use, or finding out if a seller has a survey available or not can be haggled over and sorted out before both parties sign. Negotiations over an offer can sometimes take 2-3 weeks to finalize and this often means dates and values have to be adjusted as the calendar days roll by.
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