Before You Call That Listing Agent …

Buyers love calling listing agents. Well, maybe not love, but they sure opt to do it often enough. Reasons vary. One compelling reason would seem to be that the listing agent has a vested interest in seeing the property sold so there would be some sense of urgency in returning phone calls. Another compelling reason would be the possibility, slight as it might be, that there will be a discount coming because the agent would handle both sides of the transaction.

One compelling reason not to call the listing agent is he or she may not pick up the phone regularly, especially if they happen to be agents specializing either in short sales or bank owned homes. You see, these agents tend to have many, many listings … so many listings that the last thing they’re concerned about is calling an actual buyer about a given property. Think of it as the difference between you sitting at a lake with a fishing pole and the folks on Swords trying to pull in fish en masse … when dealing with large scale, the individual fish – or buyer in this case – matters little.

Courtesy of Trulia Voices

“I’m trying to see a home that has been listed but the agent doesn’t answer his phone, agency he listed says he doesn’t work there anymore. Unusual? There seems to be something going on here but I am not certain what. Is it illegal to list a property under an agency you don’t work for any longer? Also when we call the supposed new agency they claim they are unable to reach him. We are actually getting ticked off about the whole situation.”

Let’s set aside the strangeness about the agent switching agencies, wondering which broker holds the listing (odds are it’s the original brokerage, though depending on who answers the phone it’s quite possible with the wrong question – can I talk to X agent – comes the wrong answer – he ain’t here no more) and why no one seems able to reach this agent (which I’ve run into myself trying to track down the buyers’ agent on a short sale.)

What makes more sense – getting ticked off because the listing agent can’t be found, or selecting any of the other thousands of agents in the Phoenix real estate market to serve as a buyers’ agent, show you the house and maybe even help you purchase the thing? I’d argue it’s the latter.

Can I tell you a little secret? Agents love sign calls, not because they lead to actual sales of listings more often than not but because it gives the agent the chance to capture a new buyer. This is why some agents will take listings at any price, sellable or not, just to stick a sign in the yard. This isn’t to say we don’t want to sell our listings – we absolutely do – but we also know the sign call rarely generates the sale.

Buyers love real estate signs. Anytime I take buyers out our trip is punctuated by “what about that one, what about that one” because there are signs in the yard. Once I was showing homes in Corte Bella, a Del Webb retirement community north of Sun City West, to someone with a price limit around $250,000 or so. The buyers’ friend insisted on looking at a home down the block because there was a sign in the yard. One issue – the house was listed at $460,000. In other words, there’s a reason it wasn’t on my list.

Agents love real estate signs because they help identify buyers. At the end of the day, it’s about them … not you, the buyer.

Get your own agent, have your own representation. If you’re one of the cynics who don’t trust agents because we are paid on commissions, what do you think you’re going to get working with someone already signed up to work for the seller?

Yep. Thought so.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at

1 Comment

  • Buyer Advocates 7 years ago

    my thoughts as well.. but i know agents are making time answering calls

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