Member Perspectives -- Professional Courtesy

I would encourage agents to illustrate the same qualities that make you respectable and dependable among working colleagues and other members of your community. However, draw the line when it may come to gaining an advantage in earning a commission over the best interests of your client. Fair and friendly, but firm, is the best policy! – Eric Casto, Immersion Realty Services

The advice I would give new agents is as follows. I am a sales manager for a large bank and I look at residential loans every day in all shapes and sizes. I would tell a newer agent it is critical to communicate clear expectations to your lender, borrower, seller and co-op agent. Lenders need a signed accepted contract ASAP for the appraisal; this is important for speed of loan process. In addition, make sure you set expectation for time in your contract that different loan programs will take longer for approval like OHFA or rural housing. Often the listing agent is unaware of these expectations. Getting buyers preapproved with your lender is always recommended to make the process more successful. Lenders are not permitted to provide private information about the borrower to agents, however sharing the time table and progress should always be shared with agents to create less stress for all parties. It’s critical for REALTORS® to communicate and encourage the borrower to provide any and all conditions quickly for loan approval, since borrowers often do not understand the sense of urgency. Finally, I would encourage agents to work with a trusted loan officer that has experience, products and reputation for good customer satisfaction. The REALTOR®, lender and title company become trusted partners to make everyone successful. – Dave Dewey, Huntington Bank

Communication is very important! Agents rely on texting and emails when at times a phone call can be the answer and it will get problems solved more quickly. Arrive at the scheduled time, and if for any reason you’re running late or can’t make the appointment cancel or reschedule! Feedback is crucial. Respond the way you would want to be responded to, as if it were your listing. Don’t be negative, no one ever looks good by making someone else look bad! Real estate is a fun job and there’s enough business out there for all of us! – Gwen Rader, RE/MAX One

I have found in the last couple of years that some of the newer agents don’t bother calling and saying they are sending an offer over. It’s very important in this market to let the listing agent know to expect an offer. I had one home last year that I got seven offers. I had six agents call or text stating they were sending offers. I presented all offers to my seller. My seller was going to let me know in the morning. Before going to bed that evening, I checked my email one last time. I then discovered a seventh offer that expired at midnight. Had the agent let me know in advance that they would be sending it, I would have been able to present it at the same time as the other six offers. It was after 10 at night and they only gave me until midnight. – Connie Cox, Coldwell Banker King Thompson

Professionalism is a very important matter to me and it always has been! I have always viewed professionalism more than just dressing nicely and responding to emails, calls, and texts in a timely fashion. I see professionalism more a way of life. What I mean by this is I don’t need to try to be professional only at work because I know the way I carry myself outside of work matches exactly who I am at work. For example, if I miss a call from somebody outside of work, I’m always going to do my best to return the phone call as soon as I’m able to, regardless of whether or not there’s a known relationship. This is one of the most important foundations of professionalism and it roots back to communication, which I truly believe is one of the main culprits for any failures in life. Poor communication happens every day. It’s crucial for me to do everything I can to always improve my communication with people in general, let alone at work. My main point is you shouldn’t have to try and be professional at work, it should come naturally as a result of your constant endeavor to improve yourself as a person. Once you make this commitment, being professional will come naturally. My goal, when working with other REALTORS® isn’t just a one and done deal. I know I’m going to be working with many of the same local REALTORS® for the rest of my career, so I will always do my best to network and build solid relationships with them to improve our ability to work together in the future. It’s as simple as saying “good morning”, or “hello, how are you doing?” One pet peeve of mine is when REALTORS®, out of the blue, have a question and fail to have a polite form of introduction. It really doesn’t take any effort to simply ask someone how they are, or say “good morning/afternoon.” It’s the small things that can make or break a relationship from the start, which is why my main emphasis as a REALTOR® is to establish rapport immediately when working with other agents. Another tip I have for newer agents looking to improve themselves is to dress appropriately. I can’t say how many times I’ve seen REALTORS® go to showings wearing jeans, cargo pants or even shorts. This not only affects the images of other local REALTORS® as whole, but that specific agent's dress as well. Reputation is one of the most important things to me. First impressions are everything! When I work with newer clients, I know the first impression I give off is one of the main keys to winning them over. I want to do everything I can from wearing a nice fitted suit, to wearing a clean fragrance and a watch. I know by doing this, my clients will not only see my respect for my career aspiration, but also trust me more because of the image I relay out there. This not only provides me with more credibility from the start, but my clients typically trust me more because they see me as a professional. This is exactly what I’m looking to build from the start. – Hasan Ali, Key Realty

My advice to new or any agent is to be professional at all time. Work together and do your best to always look out for your client’s best interest. It is important to know that we are all trying to get to the closing table. If your clients would like to do a round table closing, this can always be an option because the transaction went so smoothly as there was open communication and expectations were met throughout the process. Always respond to voice messages and or text/emails in a timely manner. One of the most important things is to stick to the contract and meet all deadlines per your timeline that’s put together once you go into contract! Remember, once you are in contract, you are all part of a TEAM! – Helen Conway, Keller Williams Consultants Realty

I would say there are a couple things I would advise new or seasoned agents to do to show professional courtesy. I would say that the biggest thing is returning phone calls and emails. There are a lot of agents that do not return calls or emails in a timely manner. Getting a deal done is already stressful and when the other agent doesn’t get back to you it only makes things worse and can ruin a deal. We are all in this together and things go smoother for everyone if the line of communication goes both ways. Another thing I would advise is being early to appointments. Time is valuable and last thing you want to do is make another agent wait around for you. It will not only look bad for you, but it makes it look like you don’t value other agents or clients time. I have only been an agent for a couple months and these courtesies have helped me immensely. So, if you take the time to return phone calls, emails, and you show up early to appointments, you will start to see the dividends of your professionalism. – Cole Griesinger, HER, Realtors®

The real estate transaction is already an emotional endeavor for the client. The agent is doing their client a disservice if they act in a way that is unprofessional to their colleagues or affiliates. I try to approach each deal as if I'm the coach and the people involved (clients, co-op, inspectors, appraiser, bank) are the team. I need to do what I can to keep a positive experience and keep moving toward the common goal of closing. When an agent acts in a unprofessional manor it causes undue stress on the people involved. REALTORS® will not remember all the transactions that go smoothly, but I promise they won't ever forget the ones that are difficult. – Eric W. Saxton, HER, Realtors®

Be communicative. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone in the beginning and have a brief conversation, “Looking forward to working with you” etc. This can begin the transaction by setting the tone of a cooperative, helpful, working relationship with the agent on the other side. Hopefully a problem never arises, but if it does, it may be far less challenging if both agents have already established effective and courteous communication with one another. – Erika Watkinson, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Crager Tobin Real Estate

All agents need to have a good understanding of the purchase contract and stay on top of all dates associated with the contract. A couple of the most important steps include a detailed explanation of the contract to your Buyer/Seller and maintaining a good calendar that includes all dates associated with the contract. Additionally, we must stay in constant contact with all parties associated with the contract (buyers, sellers, co-op agents, lenders, inspectors, title companies, etc.).  This can be a smooth process if we stay on top of all the details. – Karl James, Century 21 Excellence Realty

While our primary objective is to look out for our client’s best interests, I think it is imperative to keep an open mind of what the other party is going through as well. We are REALTORS® and it is crucial to handle ourselves in that manner throughout the entire transaction. It may be often overlooked, but simply being polite to the agent you are working with will go a long way to help complete the transaction successfully. Treat others as you would like to be treated! – Cory Whetstone, Coldwell Banker King Thompson

If you're a new agent, just remember that everyone was a new agent at one point and everyone has/had questions about the process. Don't feel like you need to come off to other agents as though you've been doing this your whole life. Besides, it affords you a little more leeway if you do make a mistake! These are the agents you're going to be working with your entire career, so professional courtesy is incredibly important and it will always benefit yourself and your future clients. – Constance Leeson, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Calhoon Company

There are two courtesies that I have found to be extremely beneficial when co-oping with another agent. One is to pick up the phone and call the other agent when you are writing an offer and introduce yourself and ask the listing agent what, other than price, is important to their seller. Also, once in contract, I put a timeline together with important deadlines and share it with the other agent so that we are on the same page and that we both agree on the due dates for home inspections, loan approval, earnest money, etc.. Some agents consistently complain about their co-op agents in every transaction, which is a red flag to me saying that it isn't the co-op agent my's YOU! – Eric Eckert, HER, Realtors®

My personal experience since becoming an agent has been mixed. Many agents (about 3/4) respond to requests for forms or information regarding a purchase. Many do not respond or do so erratically. I realize that we are all busy but sometimes days go by without a response. I find that to be far too long. Buyers and sellers want answers to questions like "How old is the roof? or How old is the HVAC?" so that they can make an informed decision. Or they are forced to choose another home. To new agents and more seasoned ones, just communicating is so very important! – Diane Argabrite-Thurston, ERA Real Solutions

Always be courteous, honest, and professional. When I am speaking with an agent I have not dealt with, I welcome them into the deal as if we have known each other for years. As REALTORS®, we work for our clients and we do not want our clients viewing us as unprofessional; this could leave a bad mark for their broker and other agents within the brokerage. Be prompt with responses and back away for a minute if conflicts arise. Enjoy the career! – Cody H. Adams, Coldwell Banker King Thompson

Exhibiting professional courtesy is key to building relationships and facilitating a smooth transaction. With the competitiveness of today's market, specifically in regard to multiple offer situations, please extend the courtesy of letting the buyers agent know if you have currently received other offers. There's nothing worse than having your buyer find their dream home just to find out that the seller is already in negotiation with someone else. As for buyer's agents, the biggest courtesy to me is to let the listing agent know if you are cancelling your showing, as most likely the seller has made specific arrangements to leave the home. Also, please follow showing instructions as requested and provide feedback. – Heather Smith, e-Merge Real Estate
Be kind, courteous, and responsive. When a challenging situation comes up, stay positive and make sure to communicate clearly and often; collaboration is key. If you don't know, don't be afraid to say so, most agents will be happy to help you.  Above all, have fun. This business will introduce you to fantastic people and open doors you didn't know were there. Good luck! – Haydn Zeis, Parker Realty Associates

The truth is, we are hired to provide a service to our customers and the best way to ensure that we serve our clients is by being able to work together. Being respectful of timelines, answering emails, responding to lender requests, and following up on phone calls in a timely manner is our job. It becomes very frustrating when the “co-operating” agent impedes communication during a transaction. Texting is a great way to send a quick notice to one another, however I think texting full terms of offers is inappropriate. The worst feeling is having to tell your buyer/seller that you don’t know an answer because the other agent isn’t responding to phone calls or emails. We’re in a fast-paced market, so when buyers enter into a multiple offer situation and don’t get a response, a mass email to all of the agents letting them know their bid wasn’t awarded is a courteous way to handle multiple offers and definitely shows professional courtesy. I reiterate that communication is our responsibility and a requirement of being a REALTOR®. – Heidi Sutter, Coldwell Banker King Thompson