South Florida Realtor Colleagues – Please Refrain.

A Little Decency Goes A Long Way

South Florida real estate colleagues I understand because I am in the same trenches every day. It’s a super saturated market we compete in and it’s tough to “make it” in our industry. Oftentimes we are competing with multiple agents over listing contracts and with a prospective buyer’s myriad of other realtor relationships for that opportunity to represent on the buy side of the transaction. Most real estate agents struggle to make a living solely off of their real estate sales endeavors. Like any other entrepreneurs we experience our ups and downs and some years are better than others. With all of the pressures we face from our customers’ demands and with the effort it takes to get every deal to the closing table with the various parties involved, it baffles me that some real estate agents add an additional stress to our industry through some very “shifty” practices that they have picked up throughout their years of travails in the South Florida real estate hustle.

It’s no news and we are all well aware that consumer trust of our industry representatives in the marketplace (we the agents) does not score very high with many South Florida residents. There is mistrust in the public eye. It’s unfortunate that the actions of the few are oftentimes conceived as the norm of the many by the public. There is a code of ethics that licensed agents are supposed to abide by, and at the end of it all of the unethical practices of the few make it difficult for the many to conduct business efficiently for the consumers we are supposed to be helping achieve their real estate goals. 

As of late I have been surprised by some of the tactics employed by a few agents I have come across while working with buyers and sellers to negotiate and ink contracts. Below I will highlight some of these adapted practices by a few of my industry colleagues to I suppose in their mind gain them an edge in the competitive marketplace. Unfortunately these methods are ultimately to the detriment of their customers. A little decency goes a long way my fellow realtors, and with all sincerity I wish everyone success as there’s more than enough business to go around if you focus on growing your business and building relationships through proper work and ethics in your real estate service to your customers. Below are some of the behaviors I implore the few to refrain from partaking in. These actions are only going to end up getting you in trouble eventually and wreaking havoc in our marketplace.

 

The “Double Dealing” Listing Agent

I’ve been working in the residential side of the general real estate industry for a little over three years now. The first time I came across one of these was a few weeks ago on the hunt for a single family home for a couple that is looking to purchase their first home together – I’ve sold one of their homes and they are currently occupying the other until we secure a contract on a home so as to not leave them homeless by selling their remaining home first. Inventory in the particular west Broward market they are looking in is scarce. 

On the portal search I have them set up on they expressed interest in a home and I attempted to reach out to the listing agent to schedule a showing via ShowingTime as per the instructions on the MLS, then text messages and phone calls (several) to which he finally responded and informed me that he had two offers on the table and I should check back in a few days but that he thought they were going to be under contract within a day or so. I informed my customers and we decided to move on and continue our search with other properties. A week later the home was still on the market so I reach out to the agent again and leave repeated voicemails, texts, and try to schedule via ShowingTime to no avail again. So my customers decided to become proactive and they reached out to this agent via his company website – to which he immediately responded…of course. My customers spoke with him about the listing and he said he could definitely coordinate a showing with them. My buyers then mentioned to him that they are working with an agent and that I would reach out to him to coordinate the showing…to which again he never responded to my calls, emails and voicemails. Yes my customers tried calling him back as well…and he blew them off. 

This agent is /was (took this home off of the portal search and waived it good-bye) looking for a buyer that is not working with an agent so he can land both ends of the commission. Just think if you were the seller and were receiving this sort of “service” from your listing agent? This is completely unethical behavior and to the detriment of the owners of this home that have entrusted this agent to be a professional representative of their interests as customers. 

The “Bait & Switch” Listing

Not making this stuff up – this one happened almost simultaneously with the one above on a different listing in the same market as well. This one started off the same way with my buyers expressing interest and me attempting to schedule a showing via ShowingTime, then phone calls and text messages to the listing agent. Crickets. No response for days to any of the various attempts. My customers are very driven and want to find their future home together sooner than later so they ask me if it’s okay if they reach out to which I respond yes. We’re working toward the same goal so let’s get it done right? Guess what? The listing agent picked up on their second call the same day after they left him a voicemail message (I told them not to mention they are working with a realtor on the voicemail) and informed them that the property is going to be under contract by the next day but that he is an expert in the local market and he can find them their future home. My buyers thanked him very much for his offer but they informed him that they are working with me (they gave him my name and he must have recognized it because of the various messages I left him through various platforms) and that they were just interested in seeing this home in particular. So a week went by and it was still on the market. Both the buyers and myself inquired about the status and informed him we’d like to schedule a showing via calls, emails and I requested it through ShowingTime again but we received no response. Another week went by and it was still on the market. And another…

This agent is using this listing to drum up calls from potential buyers and tries to get them to work with him to look for other properties as this one is apparently always just about to be under contract.

The “Gamble” Listing

Some properties are unique and very difficult to analyze for most probable sale price. Some but not the many. South Florida has many cookie cutter subdivisions with very similar sized homes with almost identical appeal, and of course there are the multi-family town home subdivisions and the high rise condos. It’s not often that you’re pricing out a Tudor style home in a neighborhood primarily lined with Mediterranean design properties – there’s generally uniformity in most South Florida communities. I bring this up because it’s relevant to my commentary below.

I have heard agents in passing conversation say to other agents that they just take the listing regardless of how overpriced it is because eventually the seller may reduce to market value within the listing agreement contractual timeline and they (the listing agents) will get paid. To which they have added – do not spend much money on marketing because if it doesn’t sell then you’ve just lost some time and a little money, which was a gamble worth taking for a possible payout as more times than not sellers eventually cave. I just have to shake my head on this one.  If as a real estate agent you inform the seller that the price he/she wants for the home is unrealistic and you back the analysis with data and he/she still will not budge and you decide to take the listing on anyway and market it like you would any other listing – that’s transparent and you’ve disclosed. You may end up with a sale or you may not, but you’ve put your best foot forward as a professional. If you know  your analysis of a property’s most probable sale price does not line up with the seller’s opinion of the value of the home, and you do not disclose to the seller because you want to tell him/her what he/she wants to hear to get the  listing anyway, intentionally over promising and under delivering then you’re preying on the seller’s ignorance of the market in hopes of lining your pockets with commission once reality hits and the seller succumbs to his / her necessity to sell. 

In It To Win It Long Term

I’ve had success in my real estate career in the short time I’ve been working in the general real estate marketplace, having transitioned from new home sales for a developer previously. I’ve been told by agents that have achieved great levels of recognition in the industry that this is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s my sincere wish that those of us working the South Florida market would embrace this concept and see this as a long term business venture as opposed to a desperate frenzy for short term gain. If you are broke and have no customer base to start, perhaps this is not the best option for you. This is a high income earning field that requires an ethical approach to interaction with the public. We owe it to the consumers and to ourselves to raise the level of professionalism in our industry. We work in one of the hottest global real estate markets and there’s less and less tolerance from both the agents and the public of the types of characters that play the games mentioned above.

Thanks for the read.