Friday, January 07, 2011

Ms. Really Really Really Bad Listing Agent

To the same music as this, Mr. Really Really Really Bad Dancer.

Bud Light presents... Real Agents of Genius
(real american Einsteins)
Today we salute you, Ms. really, really, really bad listing agent
(leave a message, I'll get right back, wink-wink )
On any given day, some optimistic seller wakes up thinking their property might sell today
(doesn't know your voice mailbox is full again)
Hey, you've already got the blazer. Why not get into magic and make inquiries disappear.
(ooh yea)
Who's got time to respond to an offer when Real Housewives is doing an all-day marathon.
(buyers are so annoying)
So crack open an ice cold Bud Light oh Empress of incommunicado. Thanks to your overwhelming personal life another pesky buyer has moved on.

This little ditty was inspired by a recent rash of mind-boggling slacking by a handful of listing agents who are too busy to respond to emails or voice mails from buyers attempting to see or purchase their listings. It ranges from agents who never answer their phones (but actually return messages) to agents who don't respond at all or not until days later. If you have a property listed it would be prudent to occasionally call both your agent's cell and his office just to see if the calls are being answered. Especially important are those busy weekend days. When your agent isn't available, your property is not for sale.

As always, there are many really good listing agents who do their jobs well. However, I think a fair number of listing agents are chosen because they are relatives, friends or friends of of friends, not because they are good at what they do. As long as these agents can occasionally get a listing based on acquaintance and not performance they have incentive to continue unchanged. I am reminded of another example of perverse incentive. In Hanoi, under French colonial rule, a program paying people a bounty for each rat pelt handed in was intended to exterminate rats. Instead, it led to the farming of rats. Giving a listing to an agent without researching that agent's record is akin to rat farming. Consequently, the rats abound.

"You want to learn from experience, but you want to learn from other people's experience when you can."
___Warren Buffett