Real Estate Agents Lack Etiquette Basics

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Knowledge is power, so they say. As a professional who realizes the importance of education and staying current on trends, I dedicate a few hours each day to my continued real estate education.

Last week, I read an article that made me feel embarrassed to be a real estate broker. The article “33 Professional Etiquette Tips” was published in the March 2008 Illinois REALTOR magazine and gives “professional etiquette” advice. While I do not think that it can hurt to remind people of the common courtesies of doing business, I found some of the tips pretty basic. Basic, as in behaviors that should have been learned by young adulthood.

Here are a few of the points:

“1. Don’t answer your phone—or check your Blackberry—during a closing. This is the time when everyone’s efforts and hard work come to a successful conclusion. Show all parties involved the respect they deserve by focusing on the closing.”

Do my peers need to be reminded how to use common sense or common courtesy? I mean come on! Does any adult need to be told not to talk on the phone during a business meeting? When I was in corporate America, no boss ever had to tell me not to answer my phone in a meeting. Doing so probably would have gotten me disciplined. Why do real estate agents just need an extra reminder?

“3. Please pronounce who you are correctly: REAL-TOR, like DOC-TOR. (Not REAL-A-TOR or DOC-A TOR!)”

Is comment even necessary for this one?

“6. Spell-check your remarks in the remarks section of the MLS.”

How about being reminded to use spell check? We are supposed to be professionals’ people. Business 101, wait is that English 101? Check your work!

“19. A buyer’s broker was eating a sandwich while walking through my listing. I politely asked her wait until leaving my listing to finish the sandwich.”

That is just wrong. What did the brokers’ client think? How could the broker be effective at answering questions or pointing out the features of a home while her mouth was full of food? The fact that the broker had to be reminded by the listing agent is pathetic.

“27. Delete the expletives from all of your communication.”

When I was old enough to talk my mother taught me not to swear. Now, I’m human, and of course I swear on occasion. But not in writing! Common sense tells me it’s a bad idea.

“34. When showing a property and the seller is home be sure to thank the seller before leaving home. Many sellers expect this courtesy and are offended when they discover the agent and his/her client have left without saying a word.”

The last point is my favorite, or is it the least favorite? To express gratitude. Again, something I was taught as a child. Do adults really need to be reminded? Uttering the words “Thank you” is not only simple, but so effective. Again, it is called common courtesy.

What scares me the most about the article, in addition to the fact that it was even written, is how much many of the real estate agents in the industry today need to read and heed the advice.

Sari Levy

Sari Levy is Managing Broker of Lucid Realty.

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