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August 5, 2014

My Phone Fell in the Lake…And Other Wild Excuses

by mark mclean

blast offFrankly there are times when I just want to spit. I’m a pretty chill guy so saying I want to spit is really just a total exaggeration meant to demonstrate my frustration. So what has me so riled up? Agents that don’t call you back.
Agents spend lots of money to attract potential sellers. When they list and subsequently sell homes, they make money. It’s a petty simple concept really. So I’m a bit at a loss to understand why agents don’t call back an agent who has a bone fide offer on you property.
Over the last few years I have seen and heard of so many examples of agents who are horrible at returning calls that I’m almost ready to call the Centre for Disease control. This is turning into an epidemic. While there is a small possibility that the agent can’t call because they are currently on their way to the space station, most likely they are killing time and hoping that another offer is going to come in. Okay, I get that. But the problem exists on the other side of the transaction. If the agent you are trying to reach isn’t getting back you, how do you explain to your client, without looking incompetent yourself, that you are doing your best to get things done?
Last week an agent in my office put together an offer on a property that had been on the market for over a month. He registered the offer with the front desk of the listing brokerage and asked that the listing agent be paged so that he could set up a time to present the offer. The agent returned the call in a few hours and said that he would inform the owners and call him back with a meeting time. One hour passed, then another, than another. My agent called the listing agent for an update. The call went to his mailbox. Another few hours go by, still nothing. My agent sends him a text. “WHAT’S GOING ON? WHEN CAN I PRESENT?” Nothing. Now, my agent’s client is wondering what the status is and all my agent can say is that he is waiting for the listing agent to get back to him. A full day goes by and still nothing. My agent calls the Broker of Record and asks that the agent return his call. Meanwhile the Buyer client is wondering if my agent is really working on his behalf. After all, it seems nearly impossible to believe that an agent, with offer in hand, isn’t doing everything in his power to put a deal together. Finally, the listing agent calls my agent nearly 48 hours after the initial contact and apologizes. Apparently the Seller was away and he couldn’t reach him and further explains that the Seller will only look at an offer if it is for more than the list price. Right. Now we know just how serious the Seller is. Well the story made me think of some of the other wild excuses I have heard over the years. Here are some of the classics….

1. My Phone fell in the toilet, bathtub, lake, ocean, off the balcony. (blame it on an accident)
2. My wife went into labour. (blame it on the spouse)
3. I just got your message now. (blame it on technical difficulties).
4. I must have been out of range when you called. (blame it on your location)
5. My office didn’t pass the message to me. (blame someone else)

The fact remains that you cannot play the blame game. There is no excuse for not keeping the Buyer Agent in the loop, and quiet frankly, I have heard my fair share of excuses. But speaking to the big picture here, our industry is often painted with the broad brush of incompetence. Being a professional, full-time agent, means keeping the lines of communication open across the entire playing field. Returning calls is just part of the job. Sometimes you have to report good news and sometimes bad. At the very least just touching base is enough.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE

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