Ways to improve professionalism

Professionalism Tip: Leave it as you found it

When the occupant is absent, leave the property as you found it (lights, heating, cooling, drapes, etc.), unless otherwise instructed by the listing agent. If you think something is amiss, contact the listing broker immediately.
When showing a home, it is critical that the showing agent ensures that the home is left in the same condition as it was found. This can be a challenge when your clients have small children. The parent(s) are expected to oversee the behavior of their children, but if they fail to do so, it then falls to the agent to protect the home and it's contents. 
In addition, it is critical that the home is properly secured upon exiting. If, for some reason, there is a problem re-locking the doors, the Listing agent should be informed immediately so that the property owner can be notified of the problem.


Professionalism Tip: Timely Communication

As Realtors® who handle transactions daily, we sometimes forget how stressful it is for our buyers and sellers to sit by the phone waiting for feedback on showings or about offers. As a Realtor®, taking the attitude of "why bother calling the client when there's nothing to report" is not always best for the client. Sometimes they need to hear from us even when there isn't anything new to tell them. Going the extra mile always results in a better Realtor®/client relationship.

Professionalism Tip: Quick Feedback

Respond to agent's calls, faxes, and e-mails promptly and courteously. Sellers are always asking for feedback after showings and it makes everyone look professional when we can respond in a timely fashion. After the showing, the selling agent fills out the quick and easy 'feedback form' in Showing Time. It's then sent directly to the listing agent. Easy and courteous! 

Professionalism Tip: Courtesy Call

If a prospective buyer decides not to view an occupied home, promptly explain the situation to the listing broker or the occupant. Have you ever been in a situation where your buyer-client refuses to go into the property once you drive up? Take a minute to knock on the door and call the listing agency to acknowledge it. We're in this together!

Professionalism Tip: Tell People what you know - not what you think

Buyers and sellers rely on us, as professionals, to share information which is many times critical to them when they are buying or selling a house.  We are the experts and it is important that we as professionals share the facts and only the facts.  Our opinion or worse yet what we might think, right or wrong, does not matter.  We are the trusted professional for our buyers and sellers and MUST make sure to be getting and sharing only true and accurate information.

Professionalism Tip: Call when Canceling

Call if you are delayed or must cancel an appointment or showing. Most Sellers’ take time and pride in getting their property ready for us to show. If you are delayed or something comes up that you can't make the appointment, common courtesy is to let the listing agency know.

Professional Courtesy Tip of the Week: Respect for the Public

“Follow the “Golden Rule”—Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

What was Bob Thinking… 

Disclosure of Existence of Offers to Prospective Purchasers

Senario: Seller Sally listed her home for sale with Realtor® Bob. The property was priced reasonably and Realtor® Bob was confident it would sell quickly. The listing agreement included the seller’s authorization for publication in the MLS and authority to disclose the existence of offers to prospective purchasers.  Within days, Realtor® Bob had shown the property to several prospective purchasers and one of them, Buyer Zachary, wrote a purchase offer at close to the asking price.

Realtor® Bob called Seller Sally to make an appointment to present the offer. After hanging up with Seller Sally, Realtor® Bob received another call, this time from Realtor® Alan. Realtor® Alan explained that he represented a buyer who was interested in making an offer on Seller Sally’s property. Realtor® Alan explained that while his buyer-client was quite interested in the property, price was also a concern. He asked Realtor® Bob if there were other offers on the property, indicating that his buyer-client would likely make a higher offer if there were competing offers on the table. Realtor® Bob responded telling Realtor® Alan, “That’s confidential information. Please tell your client to make his best offer.”

Taken aback by Realtor® Bob’s comments, Realtor® Alan shared them with his buyer-client, who chose not to make an offer and instead pursued other properties.

Buyer Zachary’s offer was accepted by Seller Sally later that evening and, sometime later, the transaction closed.

Several months later... Seller Sally and Realtor® Alan met at a social event. Realtor® Alan related his conversation with Realtor® Bob. Seller Sally asked Realtor® Alan if he thought that Realtor® Alan’s buyer-client would have made an offer on Seller Sally’s home absent Realtor® Bob’s refusal to disclose whether there were other offers pending. Realtor® Alan responded that it was impossible to tell for certain, but his buyer-client had certainly not been favorably impressed by Realtor® Bob’s response to a seemingly routine question.

Seller Sally subsequently filed an ethics complaint against Realtor® Bob alleging violation of Article 1 as interpreted by Standard of Practice 1-15. She noted that she had clearly authorized Realtor® Bob to disclose to buyers and cooperating brokers the existence of pending offers and that Realtor® Bob’s arbitrary refusal to share information he was authorized to share could have been the reason, or part of the reason, why Realtor® Alan’s client had chosen not to make an offer on Seller Sally’s home.

Realtor® Bob defended his actions indicating that while he agreed that he had an obligation to promote Seller Sally’s interests, his obligation to Realtor® Alan and to Realtor® Alan’s buyer-client was simply to be honest. He had not, in any fashion, misrepresented the availability of Seller Sally’s property. Rather, he had simply told Realtor® Alan to encourage his client to make her best offer. “I’m not required to turn every sale into an auction, am I?” he asked rhetorically. “I feel that I treated all parties honestly and fairly,” he concluded.

The Hearing Panel did not agree with Realtor® Bob’s reasoning, indicating that he had violated Article 1 as interpreted by Standard of Practice 1-15. They noted that Standard of Practice 1-15 requires Realtors®, if they have the seller’s approval, to divulge the existence of offers to purchase on listed property in response to inquiries from either potential buyers or from cooperating brokers. Realtor® Bob had not met that obligation and, consequently, the Hearing Panel concluded that Realtor® Bob had violated Article 1. (NAR Case Study 1-28 Adopted November, 2002)