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Designing New Possibilities for Your Home and How You Live ™

Real Estate Agent You’re Fired!

by Debra Gould
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Ready to fire your real estate agent?Finding the right real estate agent is so critical whether you’re buying or selling a house. Unfortunately, with about 1.3 million Realtors® in the US and approximately 98,000 in Canada, there are bound to be a lot of agents who aren’t at the top of their game.

Unfortunately you may not realize you are talking to the wrong real estate agent right away.

Watch for any early warning signs and pay attention to those little alarm bells you hear. They won’t get any quieter the deeper you get into the relationship! The sooner you find the right real estate agent to work with the better, not only for you but for them too! Here’s one of my personal stories of why I fired a real estate agent.

I was moving to a new city and an agent spent a day showing me properties. She was supposedly an expert in the neighborhood I was moving into, so I gave her a try. I was highly motivated and the type of client most real estate agents dream of because she wasn’t going to have to spend a year showing me properties. I was only in town for two weeks and needed to buy on that trip. I had already sold my house and the deal was closing within 60 day so any agent who found me the right property would be hitting their payday within 60 to 90 days.

I stopped working with this real estate agent after one day of appointments because she hadn’t worked out a system for where to put her purse down in her car, and despite supposedly being a real estate expert in that neighborhood, she seemed to always get lost on the one way streets to our destinations.

Before you dismiss me as an overly critical client consider the messages she was sending me as a new client. I had limited time, needed a pro, and was having to decide if she was “it” based on the little clues she was sending along the way.

After each showing, we’d get back into her car and she’d put her purse between the two buckets seats. With the first stop light it would tumble onto the floor dumping all the contents. Then with each next showing, I’d have to cool my heels on the sidewalk for a few minutes while she put the contents of her purse back together so we could get on with the appointment.

One day, 6 showings and I vowed never to work with her again!

This woman supposedly made her living showing and selling homes. Yet, she didn’t have enough common sense and self awareness to put her purse on the floor behind her seat? How many times had the scene I witnessed only 6 times played itself out over a year? And if she knew this small neighborhood so well, how could she possibly never remember which streets ran in which direction? Each appointment required an additional 10 minutes to find as she circled back on her route trying to figure out how to get there!

I considered how likely she was to be showing me the best properties for my needs, given how flaky she seemed. I considered how savvy she was likely to be when presenting and negotiating my offer.

All these thoughts had lots of time to run through my head as I watched her waste my precious time getting lost and scooping stray keys, lipsticks, and the other detritus women carry in their purses off her car floor, and she was history.

How well did the new agent do?

I bought a house with a different agent who appeared to be more in control of herself and her surroundings, and she especially cashed in when I listed it with her again within a few months. She made about $25,000 in commissions because she knew what she was doing and here’s what she had to do for it:

* showed me 14 houses over two days
* handled one purchase negotiation that lasted 24 hours because I insisted we keep the pressure on the sellers
* within 2 months of closing on the house, I staged it and put it back on the market with the same agent
* sold with two offers within the week, with a 3 week close

Client/Real Estate Agent relationships are largely a matter of faith. If you have lost your trust in your agent, move on. There are plenty to choose from!

I invite you to share your comments and stories here about working with real estate agents. I know it will help other readers with their own struggles.

Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging

Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould, creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program, has staged millions of dollars worth of real estate, including seven of her own homes. She is president of home staging firm Six Elements Inc. and has trained over 4000 home stagers to start and grow their own businesses. Debra is the author of four home staging guides and offers a Directory of Home Stagers to help homeowners and real estate agents locate home stagers who will decorate homes to sell quickly and for top dollar.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori June 27, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I had to laugh at the story with the realtor who was fired, whose purse kept flying and dumping. Just a week ago I had interviewed a realtor who seemed to have all her ducks in a row until she told me the story of how she got a ticket because she was in a hurry. The she said she was too busy to stand in line at the court house to pay for the ticket, so when she finally did pay the ticket, her license was suspended for not paying the ticket. And she said she needed to leave my house early because she was going to the DMV to reinstate her license…which means her driving priviledge had been taken away, but she was too special to stop driving and decided to break the law anyway. So, I wondered, if she is too busy to take care of a ticket which resulted in a suspended driver’s license, which means your driving priviledge has be taken away…when is she going to have the time to show my house?

Derenda Calhoun December 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I am a Realtor in Panama City Beach, Florida. I specialize in selling coastal properties, both condos and homes. I want to grow my listing business, and as part of my business plan, I am considering adding staging services for my sellers. I did a search for stagers in our area, and did not find any affiliated with your program, therefore, I had the idea of taking the course myself offering my sellers my staging services. Do you have realtor members that have been sucessful with providing staging services to their sellers, and if so, could you share with me their experience.

Debra Gould March 18, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Wow Lori, that’s quite a story! What an excellent example of a real estate agent you want to stay away from. Not only will she be too busy to show your home, she has no trouble with breaking the law or cutting corners. What does that say about her integrity? How would you ever trust anything she says. This woman’s life is clearly totally out of control.

Debra Gould March 18, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Hi Derenda, Many real estate agents take the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program. It’s key to note that these are agents who want to start making money from their home staging services. Many of them are tired of being on call 24/7 or being totally dependent on real estate commissions.

If your intention is to stage your own listings for free (which I don’t recommend), then taking the Staging Diva Program won’t make sense for you.

Staging Diva is about the business of home staging, in other words, how to make a living at it. So if you want to be a home stager who happens to also be a real estate agent, the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program is perfect for you. In fact, home stagers make more money than real estate agents so it’s a great way to boost your income significantly without increasing any of your business costs.

Home staging is also a great lead generator for real estate because many home sellers contact home stagers BEFORE they’ve listed their home. You can build the rapport with them as a home stager (and earn money from it) and you’ll have the opportunity to also get a listing from a highly motivated seller. After all, if they weren’t serious about selling right away, they wouldn’t have invested in staging in the first place! So home staging is a great way to recession proof your real estate career.

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