Downtime

Becoming a successful realtor requires a lot of self motivation. Realtors have to learn how to make the best use of their down time to secure future business. But sometimes the slower times can cause a self esteem and/or self confidence crisis of sorts.

greatskills

 

What to do when…

Sometimes real estate agents find themselves in troubling situations that fall outside of the proverbial training box. While realtors are typically schooled on activities like completing a purchase and sales agreement, and writing contingency clauses that read as if lawyers wrote them, training does not always cover real world challenges that include, but are not limited to: prying open a rusty lock box, figuring out before entering a home if the seller is still inside, quickly determining which key out of ten opens the first of four units in a multi-family house in sub-zero temperatures, or handling arguments that erupt between buyers. In these situations an agent has to think on their feet, and essentially just wing it.

argument

Uncomfortable home disclosure questions

In New Hampshire, sellers typically fill out a standard disclosure form. For the most part the items covered are predictable, such as the age of a home’s roof or the estimated annual heating costs. However, there are a few somewhat unexpected questions on the disclosure form that catch sellers off guard. For instance, one asks simply, “Do you have knowledge of methamphetamine production ever occurring on the property?” The seller has the option of checking either “yes” or “no”, and if “yes” they are prompted to explain. While I have never yet seen a disclosure form with the box checked “yes”, it has obviously been an issue before since it made its way onto one of many pages that make up the property/seller disclosure form.

meth-lab

Here, not here

Technology makes it difficult for people to remain fully present in any given moment, giving all of their attention to those in their immediate presence. Still, in the world of real estate buyers try to select an agent that not only knows what they are doing (or seem to at least), but also one that gives them their full attention while showing them properties, writing up offers, or otherwise conversing with them.

pokemon_done

Tenant occupied

There comes a time (or two-hundred) in the life of every listing agent when they are asked to list a home, condo, or townhouse that is occupied by a tenant paying rent to live there. Many that rent a property owned by a person, versus an investor or management company, know that at some point the owner may choose to sell and they will have to move out once the lease concludes or upon receiving proper notice; however, once in a while an agent encounters a tenant that appears to have no intention of moving out. Ever. And this can contribute to a variety of complications and challenges when it comes to completing a sale of the property

On the purchase side of the equation, a buyer and their agent may be mindful of certain red flags that hint to potential purchase difficulties regarding these situations down the road. They should not ignore them, but rather they should address them directly if a buyer is interested in such a place.

tenants

That awkward question

Realtors are advised to ask buyers if they are currently working with an agent before pursuing them as a client. This can help to avoid the kind of conflict that comes with learning that the buyer a realtor thought was working with them exclusively is really playing the field and going on showings with other agents – probably without having any negative or deceitful intent (some might, but I choose to believe that is not typically the case), but because they are learning the process as they go and rely on an agent to guide and educate them.

If a buyer discloses this information outright, upon being asked, then I would think most agents would be respectful of their candor, and thankful for it as well. If a realtor asks a buyer if they are working with another agent and the buyer says “yes” then the realtor (should) know to back off and politely advise the buyer to work through the agent they have chosen, unless they decide it is not working out and both parties agree to part ways. However, if the buyer says “no” when in truth they are working with one or more other agents it can cause interpersonal, ethical, and perhaps even legal problems down the line.

That said, the responsibility to ask the question falls on the agent in terms of broaching the topic. Asking the question, and receiving an answer, provides the agent with the information needed to determine how to handle the situation, because many buyers simply do not know how the process works, or what problems some actions could cause down the line, and so they may not proactively offer the information as they do not know it is important. Most buyers are likely not trying to hide it at all; they just do not know it is critical for the agent to have that knowledge.

While asking the question during the first interaction may feel awkward or uncomfortable, it is essential, and gives the agent an opportunity to offer the buyer an explanation as to why they asked the question to help them better understand the complicated mechanics of home sales. This may also open the door to further discussions about the buying process and the buyer’s needs if it turns out the buyer is not working with another agent.

On the realtor side of the equation, it helps agents preserve relationships with other agents in the industry by respecting existing agency relationships other agents may have with one or more buyers. This is important because many agents encounter ones they have worked with before on numerous occasions – especially in smaller markets like Litchfield or Merrimack, New Hampshire – where specific agents do a lot of business in those towns. Negotiating with an agent that feels another agent has been unethical or has behaved in an unpleasant, or dishonest, manner in the past becomes exceptionally difficult and can impede a sale, or make one much harder than it has to be due to hostility or distrust among the agents. This is always best to avoid so that negotiations are focused on the best interests of the clients and not the agents.

not exclusive

And then…

not exclusive part 2