Ironically, the better Realtors get at helping clients buy and sell real estate . . . the worse they can get at certain related tasks.

Here are three areas where it’s easy for agents to let their skills atrophy — or never acquire expertise in the first place:

One. Market reports/updates.

Show me a listing agent (representing Sellers) who’s hyper-proficient providing regular market updates . . . and I’ll show you an agent whose listings take longer than average to sell.

It’s axiomatic that, homes that sell quickly, don’t require explanations for why they’re not.

The two major exceptions: a) more expensive (“upper bracket”) homes, that routinely require longer market time; and b) Buyers’ markets (remember those??), where everything takes longer to sell.

Two. Arbitration/Litigation.

How do you become an expert in post-closing litigation (or arbitration, if both parties agreed to that)?

Be involved with a deal that went (very) sour.

I’m happy to report that, after almost 19(!) years selling residential real estate and handling hundreds of deals, I’m blissfully ignorant of how that process works (except that, as a former attorney, in my experience litigation is typically a “lose-lose” time sink).

Three. Post-cancellation “client disentanglement.”

Who gets the professional home photos after a listing cancels/expires: the homeowner or the listing agent?

How do “protected lists” work when the homeowner moves on to Realtor #2?

What, if anything, is the homeowner obliged to pay their Realtor if they don’t sell their house?

Happily, when you succeed in helping clients sell and/or buy the vast majority of the time you’re hired . . . you don’t have to sort out any of those questions.  

P.S.: Honorable Mention: listing presentations — essentially, Realtor job interviews.

As agents become more established, more of their business comes from existing customers and referrals who already know them — or their reputation.

As a result, the agent can dispense with a listing presentation (or at least, a full-blown one; call it, “listing presentation lite”).

See also, “Realtors, Standup Comedy, and Listing Presentations“; and “Exclusions & Protected Lists: Why They’re Seldom a Factor in Residential Real Estate“; and “Realtor True Confessions: Top Four Things Your Agent DOESN’T Know . . . and Isn’t Likely to Volunteer.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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