9 Things Home Sellers Do That Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy

Xavier De Buck
Published on August 15, 2017

9 Things Home Sellers Do That Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy

9 Things Home Sellers Do That Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy

Things Home Sellers Do That Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy!

Things Home Sellers Do That Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy!

How could home sellers possibly drive real estate agents crazy?

Your home is your castle.


Which more than likely means that you’ll defend it with all you’ve got.

But that also means when it’s time to sell the property, emotions can get the best of the home seller.

Real estate agents can take more of a subjective (or business-like) approach to the entire home selling journey.

Isn’t that one of the reasons you get them involved in the first place?

Sometimes <cough> often <cough>, these two opposing views might conflict, whereby the home seller might become his own worst enemy, make the entire home selling experience more difficult than need be, and hereby drive the real estate agent crazy in the process!

However, I won’t disagree that many real estate agents probably drive their home sellers nuts as well!

I’m sure we all know a couple of those!

Most of the time, those tend to be the agents who aren’t doing what they said they would, and the home sellers will eventually just fire those real estate agents!

But what type of behaviors do home sellers exhibit in order to make their agents go bunkers?

Isn’t your agent trying to sell your home for the highest price possible, in the least amount of time, and for the least amount of trouble?

Thus, why would a home seller hamper his agent’s activities in getting that done?

Well, here’s a shortlist of 9 things home sellers do that drive real estate agents crazy:

No.1: They Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy by Refusing Advice

Isn’t the whole point of hiring a real estate agent to get professional advice and guidance during the house selling process?

And if that advice possibly entails news the home seller doesn’t want to hear?

Say, some necessary adjustments in the presentation of the property based on initial buyer showings?

Or price reduction? 

Subsequent price reductions might be a necessary reaction to market developments.

But, any decent real estate agent knows very well that the most important discussion on price will be the initial listing price!

Real estate experience forewarns the sequence of events to come if that price isn’t correct:

  • Fewer buyer enquiries
  • Fewer buyer showings
  • Fewer (if any!) offers
  • Higher Days-On-Market
  • Higher odds of price reduction
  • Higher odds of the property getting stale

Can you see why refusing professional advice can drive real estate agents crazy?

They have seen it firsthand over-and-over again what will happen!

In the end, after a series of price adjustments, the property will eventually sell at a price below where it would have sold if it was priced correctly from the get go!

Does it mean it will happen for sure?

Of course not!

But, are you as the home seller willing to take that (expensive) risk?!

No.2: They Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy by Sticking Around For Showings

Walking through a total stranger’s house isn’t necessarily the most natural environment for most of us.

Nevermind now having the homeowner following the showing party around from room-to-room!

Recently, I had the sweetest older home seller insist she wants to hang around for open houses.

So, whenever interested buyers came through, she’d be following us around and be sharing stories of things that happened in every room.

Even though I had asked her showing after showing that we would come and see her at the end to ask any questions we might have, she kept joining in.

She finally got the drift once I introduced her to the next set of interested buyers as the tea lady of the house.

(Was I too harsh there? It still haunts me whether I should have done that!)

The point is that home buyers feel awkward having the home seller listening in on every conversation.

Not only that, but those type of showings end up being those where the buyers barely ask any questions!

And that’s not exactly what you want to see happen during those ‘hot buyer’ showings!

Can you see how home sellers sticking around during showings can drive real estate agents bunkers?

No.3: They Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy by Making The Agent Do Open Houses

Things Home Sellers Do That Drive Real Estate Agents Nuts

Things Home Sellers Do That Drive Real Estate Agents Nuts

Back in the day when you bought your property, open houses were the way to get to know what’s available on the market by visiting the respective houses.

It’s only normal to think that this is how interested home buyers still go about finding their new home, right?

Nope – those days are over!

According to recent NAR reports, more than 90% of buyers start the home-hunting journey online.

And when something worthwhile pops up on their radar, the real estate agent is only a text message, WhatsApp message, email or phone call away!

Or, do you really think that those home buyers won’t be interested in a property just because there’s no open house organized this coming weekend?

And if that were the case, they’ll be more than likely just wasting your time (known in the real estate industry as tyre-kickers).

Whereas in certain markets it might be the only way to draw in buyers; in other (more upper-end) markets, it might be a complete time-wasting exercise to hope that the perfect multi-million buyer will just walk in!

With a good marketing plan in place, any property advertising and exposure will create enough hype in the market to draw those interested home buyers to view your property.

Therefore, it would come as quite a surprise to any decent real estate agent that the home seller is actually insisting on holding open houses!

No.4: They Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy by Leaving a Mess Ahead of Showings

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, home sellers ought to make sure to have the home ‘presentable’ during buyer showings!

You only have one chance to make a first impression with an interested buyer, so why would you try to mess that up by skipping a quick cleanup that might be needed ahead of showings?

The agent assisted you in getting the house ready for the professional photos as he knows the importance of great photography in real estate!

The home seller has been a great help in going through all the efforts in getting the home beautifully photographed and professionally presented.

Yet, when it’s time to show your property to those buyers (who were drawn to your home because of exactly those pictures), you forgot to pick up this morning’s mess?! (i.e. used clothing in the children’s rooms, wet bath towels laying around, unfolded laundry, etc)

This will really drive real estate agents crazy, thinking they’ve got these hot buyers all excited about the property, and now they’ve arrived for the showing, they get to see the house ‘like that’

It doesn’t have to look like a museum – we all know life (and kids!) will get in the way – but at the end of the day, it is the home seller’s responsibility to keep a minimum level of cleanliness at all times.

Sometimes the real estate agent might get there a few minutes early, and quickly do some last minute cleaning ahead of the clients’ arrival (ever noticed how those bedroom pillows sometimes look extra puffy – you may want to stay away from picking them up as they might be hiding quite the treasures underneath), and the situation will be saved.

But the outcome will be completely different if the agent arrives together with the clients and opens the door unbeknown what’s ahead!

Can you imagine the expression on the home buyers’ faces to see your home as if a hurricane had just passed it?

No.5: They Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy by Falsely Promising Upgrades

Over-promising and under-delivering come to mind.

And for once, we’re not actually referring to the real estate agent, but rather the home seller!

The real estate agent may have done a great job with the presentation of his marketing plan and convinced them how he will go about in getting the home sold.

During more detailed conversations with the home seller, it might appear that certain repairs or upgrades need to be done ahead of the marketing.

And the home seller agreed that ‘everything will be sorted’ way ahead of the first buyer showing!

For whatever reason, things didn’t get fixed in time, and now the agent will have to explain to the interested buyer that the malfunctioning air conditioner, major crack in the wooden entrance door and few broken kitchen tiles will be taken care off by the home seller in these next few.

The agent wasn’t lying – the home seller did say those things would be fixed.

However, now fast forward and deep into negotiations, the agent finds out that the home seller has decided not to do those repairs anymore, yet the buyers have now calculated their numbers based on certain expectations of things to be fixed!

Will this potential buyer now back off and walk away from the deal, or can things still be remedied?

What’s the agent to do now?!

You can see how falsely promising upgrades by the home seller can drive real estate agents crazy!

As a home seller, you need to make sure that those promises of repairs or upgrades are 110% sure of actually happening!

If there’s any doubt those upgrades will actually take place, you rather not create any home buyer expectations before things get too complicated!

No.6: They Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy by Demanding Way Too Much Notice For Showings

When a home seller is eager to sell his property, why would he be restricting the real estate agent by demanding an unreasonable notice time for buyer showings?

Any home buyer nowadays has ample of choice of properties, and if there’s too much resistance (or reluctance) in gaining access to a certain property, there’s a very good chance that they’ll just move onto the next property.

It’s only fair for them to immediately question whether that home seller is serious about selling his home?

Yet, quite a few home sellers like to come up with excuses as to why a buyer can’t see the property “until tomorrow”.

I know that the process of selling your property isn’t the most fun thing to do, and buyers don’t always pick the most opportune times to view the property.

But getting as many potential buyers through is a crucial part one cannot jeopardize by being difficult or restrictive in providing access to the home!

Think of it this way: wouldn’t you agree that every canceled buyer showing is a missed opportunity to sell the property?!

Next time you’re thinking of asking your agent why your home isn’t getting as many buyer viewings, perhaps having that minimum 24-hour showing notice in place might have something to do with it!

No wonder this can drive real estate agents crazy!

No.7: They Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy by Requiring Feedback ‘Now’

The home seller has finally decided to put his property on the market.

But the owner clearly stated that he won’t give it away, and will make sure to be involved in the marketing of the property as much as he can!

“After all, the agent might drop the ball and cost him dearly!”

With a simple example like this (yet, very real life), how is a real estate agent to react when he gets calls and WhatsApp messages at all hours of the day, insisting on immediate response, regardless of the urgency?!

Whereas some feedback information can indeed be provided immediately following the buyer showing, the valuable follow-up with the clients within hours or day after the showing will reveal a lot more information!

Sometimes I think that buying real estate or holding open houses is a lot like first dates?

Would you be calling or texting your first date within minutes of leaving that first date appointment?

Ideally, the home seller and real estate agent have some arrangement in place regarding feedback.

Doesn’t it come down to managing expectations?

Which medium (i.e. text message, WhatsApp, email, phone call etc) does the home seller prefer to use for communicating with the real estate agent?

How often will the real estate agent provide the home seller with feedback following buyer showings/open houses?

Perhaps give the agent some space and let him do his job.

Believe me, your agent is as eager as the home seller to sell the property; he isn’t purposely stalling any forthcoming sales!

No.8: They Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy by Shooting The Messenger

9 Things Home Sellers Do That Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy

9 Things Home Sellers Do That Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy

Following a buyer showing, the feedback details might not always be the kindest.

Selling a house involves a lot of emotions, and while it’s easier said than done, the home seller shouldn’t take the buyer feedback personal.

“They loved the house but didn’t like the entertainment areas.”

“Open space was awesome, but the bedrooms were somewhat small.”

Even though the agent might try to filter it down to keep the peace, certain facts cannot be circumvented.

An example that immediately springs to mind is how to handle a low ball offer!

After all, the real estate agent isn’t the one who wrote the offer, yet he will very likely be the one getting the brunt of the home seller’s reaction upon seeing the offer!

By shooting the messenger, you can really drive the real estate agent crazy!

Just realize that not everyone will see some of the unique features of your house as charming and cute as you do!

No.9: They Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy by Getting Greedy

The house has been adequately prepped ahead of the professional photographs, some amazing pictures were taken, and shortly after, the agent’s marketing plan kickstarted with a bang!

Within a few days of going live, a number of hot buyer showings took place, and lo-and-behold there’s an offer coming in pretty much at asking price!

“Yay, if we got such a strong offer within days, can you imagine how much higher the  offers will be in a few weeks’ time?!”

By a non-real estate professional, this might be viewed as somewhat as a cliché, but the first offer is most of the time the best offer!

“Why?” you ask.

Well, every interested buyer on the market right now has been closely watching whatever new property comes onto the market!

Can you now imagine how excited these buyers must be once they saw your property as a newly-listed home popping up onto their radar?

It’s exactly what they’ve been looking for all these months!

They hurry up to make the necessary arrangements to go view the property, and guess what?

They love it!

There’s no need to continue searching – they’ve found their dream home – and decide to put in an offer right there and then!

After all, they don’t want to lose it now!

Yet, seeing the interested buyer interest from the onset, the home seller is all of a sudden of the strong impression that his home should easily sell above asking price!?

Maybe one of the many home selling myths he heard over the weekend is starting to sink in?

Whatever it is, getting greedy like this can really drive real estate agents crazy!

Setting a market-related asking price doesn’t necessarily mean it will sell for that amount (or more)! 

If the agent genuinely believes the quality of the offer warrants the home seller to accept it, why not follow that advice?

Closing Thoughts

Having read some of the things that home sellers do that drive real estate agents crazy, you are now hopefully more aware of how some of the actions might affect the agent’s job!

This list can be easily be further expanded by discussing how selling a home with pets might alter things, or how certain awful odors in the house will negatively affect the showings, and let’s not forget, leaving the house in a total state of chaos upon handover of keys! 

Plenty of additional things that can drive real estate agents crazy!

Additional Home Selling Resources:

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About the author: The above article “9 Things Home Sellers Do That Drive Real Estate Agents Crazy was written by Xavier De Buck, your top-producing Johannesburg real estate agent. Xavier has been nationally recognized and awarded for providing service excellence, exceptional property sales, whilst exhibiting the highest level of professionalism. With over 15 years combined experience as a real estate agent and real estate investor, if you’re thinking of buying or selling luxury real estate in Johannesburg, Xavier would love to share his property knowledge and expertise.

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