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Top 3 Things Your Broker Hates About You

3 things real estate broker hates

You can trust me, really.

Author Bio: YFS is owner and author of Your Finances Simplified. He was born and raised in West Philadelphia and is now a financial adviser, IT contractor, landlord, and treasurer of a non-profit. He created his blog partly due to his desire to help people with their finances.

It may be interesting to note that surveys show that one of the professions that people trust the least are real estate brokers. So it’s quite possible that real estate brokers, no matter how trust worthy they really are, tend to be approached by buyers with care because of the social stigma attached to them. In some cases, buyers (the spiteful kind) may even choose to have the broker run around in circles for them, just for the fun of it.

If you’re one of those people who feel like taking real estate brokers out for a ride, or if you just unknowingly have the habit of annoying them, below are the top three things your broker absolutely hates about you:

When You Shop Around Without Plans To Buy

Here’s the scenario: the buyer introduces himself to the real estate broker and expresses his desire to buy a new home. Naturally, the broker would do his best to assess your need and show you properties in his listing which you might be interested in.

Normally, brokers will ask you how soon you need to buy the home, and the problem just starts here. The buyer (perhaps you), would feign a sense of urgency, telling your broker that indeed you’re in the market to buy a home as soon as you find the one that fits your requirements. So the broker breaks his back touring you around different neighborhoods, showing you different properties, even introducing you to different financing schemes, only to find out that boom! You’re planning to buy a house perhaps two or three years down the road.

Ouch. Talk about time and effort wasted on the broker’s part. If you’re really a good person, tell your broker honestly when you really plan to buy. Anyway you can always postpone your grand tour to buy properties at the time when you’re really serious about buying.

When You Cancel Appointments At The Last Minute

Nobody likes being canceled on, whether it’s being stood up on a date, or being shot down on a business deal over the phone. Believe me, your broker hates it when you cancel house viewing appointments at the very last minute, especially if you do it several times in a row.

You might be thinking, it’s just a house anyway, it’s going to stay there whether you go today or not. Although that’s true, you do have to realize that some sellers still live in their house during the period that they’re selling. So the seller, and most probably the broker would have spent all the time just fixing up the place to make it look neat and tidy for your eyes. Plus, you have to take into consideration where your broker lives.

There’s a minimal chance that they live in the same neighborhood as the property. And it’s possible that they’ve traveled several miles just to accompany you to the viewing.

And finally, sellers who are expecting a buyer might just turn sour on the broker who keeps cancelling on them. The sad part is, it’s not even the broker’s fault – it’s yours. The next time you cancel appointments, make sure you do so at least the day before.

When You Don’t Pick Up

And finally, the most mortal sin that any buyer can inflict on their broker is when they no longer pick up. This hurts many times over if you and your broker have already gone around checking different properties in several areas.

What makes it hurt even more for your broker is when you’ve expressed a desire to purchase a property, and you leave the broker with the hopes of you actually buying. If you don’t know how this feels, just imagine being dumped by a girl you’ve had a crush on since high school.

Keeping communications with your broker would help ease their minds. Telling them you’ve decided to put house shopping on hold for a while, or telling them that you’ve decided to buy another property is a whole lot better than leaving them hanging and calling your phone every now and then.

So if you notice these behaviors in yourself while you’re house hunting, then you might want to cut your broker some slack. After all, they’re still humans just doing their job.

photo credit – flickr skyfaller

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{ 25 comments… add one }
  • BE @ BusyExecutiveMoneyBlog February 8, 2012, 6:55 am

    Good read. This is why I learned finances and manage my own money. That way, all I need is my online brokerage accounts.

  • Dollar D @ The Dollar Disciple February 8, 2012, 7:51 am

    I think that this sort of comes with the territory. Some people think that brokers are lazy but I believe that they really do work for their commissions. As a broker, it’s the same as any customer service oriented position: some people are just going to waste your time.

  • Edward Antrobus February 8, 2012, 9:28 am

    Regarding #1 & 3, I’ve had the opposite experience. Before I moved, I contacted a realtor because I had a question about prices for the new area. I told her what my budget was and my time frame (2-3 years in the future from that point). She put me on her list to send listings to. To this day, 3 years later, I get an email every week from her. A few times, we’ve clicked one “send more info” links on realtor websites, and then the realtor keeps contacting us long after we’ve decided we aren’t interested. And said so.

    #2, Yeah, it sucks. But realize that I have a job too. Due to the on-call nature of my job, I never know if I am going to work tomorrow, let alone next week. Or if I am going to work until 3, 5, or 8.

  • krantcents February 8, 2012, 1:03 pm

    All sales people hat people who waste their time! Most people cannot be really honest with sales people because they are afraid of the sales person. You know talked into a sale that they do not really want or can afford. Those are just afew of the reasons people are not honest with sales people.

  • Kevin Mzansi February 8, 2012, 1:33 pm

    Any good salesman should clarify the the scope of the engagement up front, before any expectations are created. This way the prospective client will not feel rushed into a step they are not ready to take. They will also be aware of the background work that is being done to set things up for them and not engage is time-wasting behaviour.
    I’ve been on both sides and neither like being forced into doing something or being run around with no intention of a possible purchase.

  • Bill Clifford February 8, 2012, 4:45 pm

    I think the key is to put yourself in the shoes of the person you are dealing with. I’m a mortgage lender and when I first talk to someone I always have the “honesty talk” with them. I’m going to be open and honest with you, please show me the same courtesy. I promise I won’t get mad or make you feel bad if you tell me something that I may not want to hear. I promise not to push you, please tell me if you feel overly pressured. Those types of things. The buyer can have the same talk with the salesperson too.

  • Shilpan February 8, 2012, 6:53 pm

    Honest conversation is the key to all of these issues. As an old-age expression, “Treat others the way you wanted to be treated” applies to every bit of our behavior.

  • Darwin's Money February 8, 2012, 7:38 pm

    ahh, the dreaded broker scenario. There are decent people out there like every other profession, but often times it’s a slimy profession. They wheel and deal amongst each other and basically do whatever it takes to get a deal done (with little regard for the wellbeing of the buyer and seller) so they get a commission. I witnessed it first hand last year with the sale process for our home. Whatever it takes, ethical or not…

  • Dan February 8, 2012, 8:41 pm

    I couldn’t even finish the article. Real estate brokers do very little to earn their commission in this day and age. Let me explain

    If you are investing in real estate (as the case in my past experiences) chances are you are savvier than the agent. Not to belittle the profession but it’s one the easiest professions to get into and doesn’t require a whole lot financial moxie. In Vancouver, there is one agent for every 162 people. I do my own research, find my own properties and simply ask my agent to let me in the front door.

    If you purchasing a home you are largely purchasing based on emotion. Yes, it is an investment, but a great deal of your decision comes down to how do you feel about it. Does it give you a warm fuzzy feeling. Now in this case, the agent may doing slightly more in the form of property research. With the invention of the internet this literally takes an hour to search every square inch of a city with a given set of parameters. Again, generally not earning their commissions.

    I don’t have a great deal of respect for the profession as a whole, I respect those that realize the service they are offering is minimal compared to what they offered 15 years ago. These types have started or joined a low commission brokerage and in my opinion will thrive in the future. Those operating on the classic 7.5%/3.0% scale and only offer the traditional services will begin to fade away.

    • retirebyforty February 8, 2012, 9:40 pm

      3% is quite steep for the amount of work that you gave them. There are a few low commission brokers in my area, but the business is still heavily dominated by the traditional brokerage. I’ll have to give fixed commission brokers the next time I buy a property.

    • The Wealthy Icelander February 9, 2012, 12:48 pm

      From my personal experience I very much agree with you. Although the fees you mention seem rather steep, I still feel that the agents that I have dealt with have received way to high commission compared to the amount of work and value brought to the table. Few percentage points of the price of a real estate is a lot of money.

  • YFS February 8, 2012, 11:34 pm


    Thank you for featuring my article I really appreciate it!

  • Lisa @ Cents To Save February 9, 2012, 3:45 am

    After going through our Short Sale, I have much respect for our Real Estate Broker. She did a great job, and never gave up the fight. And it was a fight. Before her, we had other realtors that I contacted but did not follow up. I told them where I wanted to buy, that I was pre qualified for a certain amount and we never heard from them.

    Elizabeth Larsen was referred to me by a friend, and she was an angel. She helped us out so much!

    • retirebyforty February 9, 2012, 9:29 am

      My buyer agent was very helpful when I purchased a short sale too. It took many months to find the right property and then fighting with the bank took another 3 months. If she does that much work, then I think she is worth the price.

  • Invest It Wisely February 9, 2012, 6:04 am

    I guess it goes both ways. There are some decent and honest brokers out there, but at the same time, people have to be skeptical because they don’t want to fork over a big commission for nothing. It reminds me of when I went to see the mortgage specialist at the bank and he said I was cold since I was focusing on rate and overall interest costs and not on the relationship. Eh… what relationship? Of course the rate and overall interest costs are most important, and over time, that is what has proven to be correct as the “relationship” ended up consisting of 2 or 3 meetings. He did match the discount I was looking for in the end, so I did stay with him.

  • Thomas - Ways to Invest Money February 9, 2012, 7:57 am

    If brokers started doing what my dentist does that last minute cancels wouldn’t happen. If you dont cancel with 24 or 48 hours you get charged a fee. So many people want to window shop but have to realize you are wasting someones time who is trying to make money.

    • Edward Antrobus February 9, 2012, 12:54 pm

      Frankly, if my dentist charged a fee for canceling, I wouldn’t use that dentist again. Life happens. Not all of us can make firm plans.

      • Dan February 9, 2012, 5:53 pm

        Ever had your boss cancel on you last minute? What are your options? Not a whole lot – I work in a service industry where cancelling and last minute complications are the norm, not the exception. Brokers work for me, as Edward said, if they start charging me a fee I’ll find 1 of the other 5,000 brokers.

      • Money Infant February 9, 2012, 6:36 pm

        You should move to Thailand, they have the same attitude here. Plans to meet at 7? No problem show up at 9 or cancel at 7:15.

        If you can’t make firm plans then I suggest you may have an issue with time management. An appointment is made so that people can be efficient with their time. To make an appointment of any kind and back out at the last minute (short of some emergency…very rare IMO) is at the very least rude and uncaring. What makes you think that your time is more valuable than the time of the person who you kept waiting or simply blew off?

        • Dan February 12, 2012, 8:15 pm

          Pretty simple, I’m paying him/her.

          I’m very good with commitments and very very rarely fail to meet those commitments. I was just making the point I wouldn’t pay for cancellations, or work with someone that wanted to charge me for them.

  • Edward Antrobus February 10, 2012, 9:06 am

    I guess I do have an issue of time management. The issue being that I am not the person who gets to manage it!

    Very rarely is my work schedule within the realm of my control. I find out the day before if I’m working (or sometimes the hour before or “how soon can you come in” if someone gets sick on a day I’m off).
    I’m usually done by 4 this time of year, so I try to schedule appointments for 5 or later. But in the nature of my job, sometimes things happen. There could be an accident, or a traffic signal could go out, or a myriad of other problems that are unforeseeable and keep me at work.

    The realtor I’m working with knows and understands this, and knows that I will give him as much notice as I can, but that isn’t going to be much time at all.

    • retirebyforty February 10, 2012, 9:50 am

      That sounds stressful. I don’t think I can do that with a baby.

  • Young and Thrifty February 11, 2012, 3:48 pm

    Way to hit the annoying nail on the head. The “window shopper” with no intent to purchase and last minute cancellations are the types of things that can raise your blood pressure, especially if you postponed other opportunities in order to be available.

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