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Hire the first agent you talk to

Posted by Rona Fischman October 9, 2012 01:55 PM

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The business specialists who advise real estate agents consider it a Holy Truth that a consumer will hire the first agent they talk to, who they like. So answering the phone and being likable is an agent’s road to fortune.

If you hired an agent when you bought or sold, did you hire the first one you had a good conversation with? If not, did you hire the first one you talked to, whether you like him or her or not? Did you go straight to a friend’s recommendation? Did you interview multiple agents?

The reason I ask is that I just had a conversation with a fellow agent about a potential referral. She and I started sharing referral stories. I noticed a hole in the theory that people hire the first agent they talk to. She agreed. She said, “I think they hire the last agent they spoke to.” She and I agreed that some people will take all that you are willing to give, but some will forget all about you when they hire their next agent.

A couple of years back, I gave a listing referral to a friend of one of my clients. The owner who was selling had bought a house in Medford seven or so years ago. She was leaving the area and needed to sell. She was asking around for listing agents to interview. My client asked whether I could supply some contacts.

When I spoke to the homeowner, I asked her who she worked with when she bought and if that was good experience. She said something like, “Yes, Tom was great.” I asked if she was still in touch with him. She said that she was, and that she depended on him for advice about repairs. He’d been really helpful and responsive.
I think to myself, “OK, the agent did everything right, but she wants to do some comparison shopping. I will give her two other agents who are as good as Tom, but have very different personal styles.” And that’s what I did. I also told this owner that she should give Tom a shot at the listing and that I would like to tell Tom that I am the person who is giving her other options.

I called Tom to tell him that I was sending these referrals and that the owner thought he was great. I’ve known him for years and he is a great agent. I even told Tom who the other agents were. He agreed that they were good agents, too. A couple of weeks later, I get a call from Tom. “Well, she bonded with C____. I did everything right, but she bonded with C____.” The last agent was “C.” The listing sold and Tom’s old client left the State.

Is this a case of someone speaking to as many people as she needed to before something clicked? I will never know. Did you have an ongoing relationship with an agent, picked his or her brains regularly, and then hired another person? If so, why?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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