Just met with a fairly new agent who was frustrated. Since so many of our homes are vacant, we require our agents to do some serious pre-qualifying prior to agreeing to show a home. Some potential buyers/tenants take offense to this. I hate to disclose this but some of our clients think we should just, at any request, show up to a property and show it to whoever asks. I am getting tired of the ignorance that comes with this expectation. Our agent had just been spoken to in a rough fashion by a prospective buyer who expected to be shown a home without being willing to share any information about themselves. Well, we don’t do that. We want to know who you are, why you are looking, contact information, and some other things such as if you are pre-qualified or willing to go through a tenant screening.
Why are we this way? Well lets start with why would anybody expect us to do business any other way? First, the obvious. The time invested in situations that clearly will not work out. When you only get paid by a client when you accomplish a goal, we should all agree wasting time on things that will not produce the desired result is a waste for both parties. It is also actually a waste for the third party involved- the prospect. Unless they have a viable chance to accomplish a transaction. When you think about it, a lot of prospects don’t know if they qualify and we provide a service just getting them on the right path to accomplishing their goals. Anybody who is a prospect who is offended by our trying to actually help them also causes me some alarm.
The reasons for alarm involve the dirty secret of this industry. Agent safety. Much more important than making clients or prospects happy is our agents own safety. Being expected to meet strangers in vacant houses is not something many people would consider a great career opportunity. Real estate agents love their careers and the opportunity to help people achieve their goals. Sometimes, they love it too much. Even the best screening methods don’t always identify every nut case that thinks calling agents to look for a way to hurt somebody is a great way to channel their anger or whatever sets them off. It does not take long to complete a quick search to find news about the dangers our agents face.
Bottom line..we take every measure possible to not put ourselves in a situation that is uncomfortable. If the prospect does not like it…fine..play along. Understand why. Just don’t expect us to be able to help you if you refuse.