When home buyers and even sellers contact me they are often surprised when I either pick up the phone, return their phone call within an hour or maybe two or answer their email the same day or even the same hour that it comes in. Anyone who is in business and wants to stay in business as a real estate agent knows how important it is to respond to buyers and sellers.
Buyers often complain that they wanted information about a listing but no one responded to their email. I had a similar experience last week. I went on the internet and I found one of my listings on Realtor.com and I filled in the little form and asked for more information about the listing. My email went to the local office of a big brokerage. That was five days ago. I have been checking my spam filters and still no response.
I used to work in one of those big brokerages and I understand why my email isn’t being answered. The inquiry goes to a central department that mainly works during day time business hours. From there the inquiry may go to an office manager or directly to an agent.
If it goes to an office manager then he or she selects the agent that it will go to. The agent can accept or reject the “lead” if they accept it they agree to give the real estate company a significant portion of their commission and this is in addition to the cut that they already give the brokerage.
When I used to get company “leads” I had to think long and hard about taking them. Did I want to do all of that work for almost nothing or did I want to go out and find my own clients? Leads are not a sure thing either there is work involved in getting them as clients and then getting paid less for the work. Sometimes finding better business is the best use of our time and sometimes taking the lead makes more sense.As a buyer you don’t care about any of this you just want to see the house. If that is the case your best bet is to call the listing agent directly, or contact the listing company. If they show you the house and you want to buy it you will then have to decide if dual agency is OK. Dual agency is when one agent represents the buyer and the seller. I won’t say that I am against dual agency in all cases but I am against it for myself in most cases. I really don’t want to represent both parties.
Buyers should find an agent to work with early on in the home buying process. My buyers will tell you that when they ask about a listing any listing I get them answers quickly and if they want to see the home I can make that happen very quickly. They don’t have to wait for their inquiry to get routed through a call center and then onto an agent they go directly to the agent instead, an agent that they screened and that they trust.
The web sites that have our homes for sale listed on them give real estate agents a bad name. Buyers may think that I am not returning phone calls or emails with questions about my listings when what is really happening is the inquires are going through a third party and being held hostage in someones “lead routing” system. Home buyers don’t always understand broker reciprocity which means that any agent can show any home that is for sale and listed in our MLS which includes most of the homes that are currently for sale.
If you have an agent and he or she isn’t responding to your questions find another agent and keep in mind that there are plenty of us.
Also see Finding someone to show you a home