New Agent Advice
When I first started in real estate, 20 years ago, John, a seasoned agent at a firm I worked at, offered up some advice with a smile. "Listen, kid, the only thing you need to know is that sellers are yellers and buyers are liars". I was shocked. These were our clients and our fiduciary duty meant we legally owed them obedience, loyalty, disclosure, confidentiality, accounting, and reasonable care. How could we talk about them like that? I never did ask him to elaborate, though I should have because over the years I came to realize that, in a way, John was correct. Let me explain.
"Sellers are yellers"....Selling a home is a very stressful event for most people. Are they going to get a high enough price? How long is it going to take? Why is it taking so long? Why haven't they gotten any showings/offers? Is the real estate agent doing their job? There is a tremendous amount of uncertainty and potential angst. I've trained agents for about 15 years and I always include John's comment as a training lesson. The real estate agent is, for lack of better terminology, the point person in the transaction so when things go awry, as they are known to do, we feel the brunt of it. Almost every real estate agent I know has been yelled at at some point in their career by a seller. As I tell the new agents, "Don't take it personally (unless you've done something wrong). Figure out what the problem is and fix it".
"Buyers are liars"......This one isn't as clear cut. While I've had some buyers lie about things over the years (one couple even admitted they didn't give me their real names) the majority of them aren't liars, in the traditional sense of the word. There are many types of lies; white lies, lies of fabrication, deception, lies of omission, and so on. I believe this belief stems from some buyers not necessarily trusting enough the real estate agent they're working with so they don't always give the whole truth, mostly about financial information. This is also a training lesson for new agents. Many new agents have come to me after a deal has faltered and have said, "why didn't my buyer tell me....X.....?". There are always oddball deals but many times it comes down to communication, understanding, and setting expectations with buyers, before even taking them to look at a house. Every buyer should be given a buyer consultation by the real estate agent to discuss how the agent is working for that buyer and to explain that when the real estate agent is acting in an agency capacity they have certain legally mandated duties that are called fiduciary duties (I mention them above) ; confidentiality and loyalty are two of those duties. So knowledge and understanding will go a long way to help put buyers at ease.
John is no longer with us but I will always think of him fondly and thank him for his advice which helped make me a better real estate agent. Bless you, John.