Most real estate agents are awesome – considerate of others, punctual and a pleasure to work with. But like every industry, a percentage of people make it their mission to drive others bonkers.

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Jennifer McIntosh
Jennifer McIntosh

Jennifer McIntosh, a real estate agent with eXp Realty in Calgary and the owner of The Big Pink Chair Real Estate, lists her pet peeves with other agents:

  • “Agents who refuse to talk on the phone when dealing with an offer, only texting or emailing (sometimes, things get lost in translation).
  • “People who don’t follow protocols for COVID-19 (not wearing masks in homes or having too many people in showings).
  • “When agents ask their clients to call the selling Realtor to show the listing because they are too busy.
  • “When agents feel that the negotiations need to be adversarial – you get more bees with honey…
  • “When you show a home and the Realtor hasn’t put a keychain on the key in the box (CRAZY EASY TO LOSE). It may fall into the porch or cracks and then we need to hire a locksmith (and yes, this has happened!)
  • “When your photos that you paid for or took the time to take yourself are stolen from a previous listing of yours (expired or terminated).”

Speaking of pictures, some sales reps use a heavy hand with Photoshop. It’s happened to most agents – their buyers find an MLS listing that looks perfect for them so you set up a showing. But when you get there, the home doesn’t even resemble the pictures that have been Photoshopped to the point of absurdity. What a waste of time! We won’t even get into descriptions of listings that don’t even begin to accurately represent the property.

Amber Jenings
Amber Jenings

Amber Jenings is the broker of record and owner of Peak Point Real Estate in Sauble Beach, Ont. (the location of my current favourite Netflix binge, Motel Makeover). I laughed out loud at a call she had from an agent regarding her location. “It triggers me when out-of-town agents call and ask if Sauble Beach, in fact, has running water and electricity. (Insert hand slapping own face emoji here.) Good Lord.” I doubt Jenings laughed at the idiocy as she was too busy cringing.

Incorrectly written offers are a huge annoyance for every agent I contacted for this piece. Jenings says it best, “The amount of offers I receive from other agents that are poorly written is literally mind-blowing. I’m not sure the multiple-choice exams for new registrants are doing anyone any favours. Back in my day, we actually had to write out the full answers on exams, not just pick ‘C’.” Offers that go ignored for days are not cool either, another peeve of many.

Showings are a hotbed of frustration when dealing with other agents. Not just being late for showings but overstaying past appointment times, causing the next appointment to have to wait. Or being a no-show without giving the listing agent (or anyone else) a heads up. It’s a blatant lack of respect for everyone else’s time.

Jenings has her own pet peeve with showings. “It triggers me when out of town agents call to book a showing but say they’ll just give their clients the lock box code as they can’t make the three-hour drive this weekend. Ya no, sorry bro. Is this an alternate universe? In what world are we sending clients to view properties on their own, much less giving out lock box codes to non-registrants?” We won’t even touch the safety issues with that scenario.

MLS listings are another deep well of frustrations when it comes to fellow agents. Not updating a listing for a ridiculous amount of time once it is sold is a huge irritation. Agents often slack on changing a listing to “sold” (or leave sold listings on their websites for months) with the hopes of getting their phone to ring, but it’s still irksome to other agents.

“I love when I see pictures posted to MLS with dark rooms, or ones that are literally upside down, or where you can tell the agent has taken a picture with their smartphone,” says Jenings. “It really underscores to the public the value of using a Realtor.”

A number of agents were happy to share their pet peeves about other agents off the record. Here are some of their comments:

  • While it is a few bad apples that make the rest of us look bad, agents who don’t ask for help when they are clueless are doing everyone a disservice.
  • Agents who are only focused on making a lot of money and could care less about the best interests of their clients.
  • Agents who don’t identify themselves when they call.
  • Agents who treat real estate like a hobby instead of a business; they are usually impossible to reach when they are working their day jobs.
  • Making statements that they have no knowledge about.
  • Agents who never call you back.
  • Realtors who suck at communication.
  • Agents who submit an offer to purchase before qualifying the buyer.
Boyd (Cowboyd) de La Boursodiere
Boyd (Cowboyd) de La Boursodiere

Boyd (Cowboyd) de La Boursodiere is president of Cowboyd Realties in Montreal, vice-president of the West-Island Brokers Association in Montreal and a real estate agent with Sun Realty in Naples, Florida. He shares one of his main annoyances with other agents: “It would trigger me when agents would call me on one of my listings and their first question was, ‘Why is the price so high?’

“I would then answer them, ‘Do you have a buyer for my property or are you just calling to bug me?’ Inevitably they did have a buyer, and I would say, ‘Why don’t you look at the 3.5 per cent commission you’re getting?’ Then they would say, ‘How do you work on ½ per cent?’ My answer was, ‘Why is that? My sellers are very generous and pay me seven per cent, not four per cent, and that’s why you’re getting 3.5 per cent. Now why don’t you just let your buyers decide if they want to visit the property or not? Then let them decide if they would like to make an offer or not?’”

Thankfully it’s a small percentage of real estate agents that seem to make it their life’s mission to annoy everyone else in the industry. No matter how much an agent bugs you, try not to let anyone ruin your day. As Cowboyd says: “Don’t let anybody irk you, nobody.”

19 COMMENTS

  1. My 2 pet peeve is when agents with vacant listings say they are seller occupied. The photos show vacant. They are lying to their fellow agents. Probably because they are too lazy to get the hold harmless signed. 2nd peeve. Vacant property showing instructions are requiring an agent to call or text for an appointment. IT IS VACANT. TThe usual excuse … “sometimes the seller visits the property..really… Call for availability and go. If another agent is showing we all know to wait until they are done…. don’t we? It works to the sellers benefit. One buyer sees other buyers makes them realize they might have competition.

  2. All very valid annoyances to say the least. Most are solved by having some basic common sense. I try to live by three words… Respect, Reciprocate, and Co-operate. If more people could do this then the world is a better place.

    BTW, of all the pet peeves noted, I’d have to say that a Realtor giving me a ‘loose’ APS on my listing tops the chart. Blanks are there to be filled in – all of them, not just some of them, including brokerage addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers, for ‘both’ brokerages, not just yours. I’ve had listings that noted a lengthy list of chattels, yet on the offer it’s fridge and stove only. Am I supposed to change this for you? I’ve received offers where the Buyer on the top line was different then the Buyer on the signing page. Are you just adjusting the blanks from an old offer from another client? I could go on… but bottom line is… offers take time, check, double-check, and then check it again. Fairly clean offers that require two or three final initials is way better then 22 or 23 sets.

  3. Hi Rose, sometimes even within our own Board demarcation lines, we had to resort to driving the streets, literally looking for new just installed for sale signs. Why? Because the listing agent had the opportunity to hold back the new MLS listing for “x” amount of hrs. Different on various boards. I don’t know if that still applies.

    I can recall selling various MLS listings that hadn’t yet been processed on any Board system. Sometimes the listing agent was just too busy; other times withheld on purpose with hope that a would-be buyer would contact the listing brokerage direct, from having seen the sign (did the sign introduce the property to the buyer?).

    Good luck if it happened to be that the office was closed at 6 pm and listing agent was not returning answering-service calls requesting for a showing appt. Broker Mgr was famous for not getting involved, saying call when the office is open or wait til the listing rep returns your call requesting an appt to show. We were in a vicious market (no listings). Oddly enough not huge multiple offers. Just everything selling same day listed on MLS. But you couldn’t research the property details on MLS when it hadn’t been loaded to the system yet.

    In one case in particular my prequalified buyer was so angry he himself knocked on the seller’s door (he knew the floor plan from having viewed other area listings) and said his agent had a signed full price offer ready to present subject to viewing and seeing details. And being allowed to see the seller’s copy of the listing.

    How fast do you think the seller was able to reach his agent? Within hours a sold sign was on the lawn. Dreadful dearth of listings.

    But a question was posed: was the listing properly “exposed to the market” long enough to get the highest and best price for his seller… should he have advised his seller to decline a first so quick offer that gave the seller everything he asked for?

    This particular offer was one I referred to on REM ages ago referencing “who introduced the buyer to the listing?” The buyer also driving the streets simultaneously and calling me to get him a showing while I had already placed several calls with no reply. Most agents carried pagers pre cell phone days.

    Rui at a Board meeting had just introduced the concept of bill the seller lawyer direct when selling an MLS listing, due to often debating in those years: WHO actually had introduced a buyer to a property, and the Board didn’t think his idea was doable; so the concept just got filed away. (Of course I wanted to know why not: no Board follow-up) Again I’m guessing it’s the old ham bone story: things had always been done a certain way. (Because grandmother always used that pot, theory.)

    I thought that in certain circumstances such as noted, that I would test the water, and carefully used Rui’s suggestion, constructing a custom clause. OREA’S legal head, Merv Burgard (d) had said years before: If you don’t like a particular OREA clause, create your own. (There had been a period where only lawyers could draft clauses.)

    The listing rep was so shocked to see a full price offer, presented immediately at the kitchen table, he told his sellers it was unusual in its construction and he had never seen such a clause, and although he had never seen such, but best they should accept it because of my sound reputation for not playing games but often working outside the box. He read the offer as the seller read it (no one spoke), and never invited me to speak. Fastest offer presentation ever. Sellers accepted as written.

    But unintentionally I had created a listing office accounting nightmare because no one in the listing office actually ever read the offer, and the listing rep ignored the offer concept when filling out his trade record sheet, and as always done the accounting system billed the seller law office for the full commission.

    But my brokerage had quickly invoiced the seller’s law office (but not the listing brokerage) including copies of all buyer contract details, the accepted offer well spelled out in the supporting correspondence, all noted and numbered for ease of understanding.

    I suppose it was handy that I had done years of business with that law office and was well-known there as doing no hanky-panky. Always known for clean paperwork.

    On closing day the law office called me to say transaction is closed; come pick up your Corp cheque. I did and deposited it immediately. The whole story is someplace on REM previously.

    My company had never invoiced the listing brokerage (clearly no need as details addressed directly in the offer), but the listing office manager upon closing day demanded from the law office to cancel my invoice paid cheque and pay the listing brokerage invoice who then would pay me, in the usual manner.

    Lawyer refused as his statement of adjustments followed the offer and subsequent (my) related invoice. (Follow the contract.)

    Word on the street was that the brokerage might have financial troubles. Not long after, that franchise independent office closed quietly. Maybe I would have got paid maybe not. But I was so pleased to have learned of Rui’s suggested clause. It worked out well for me but I never heard of anyone else using it.

    Carolyne L 🍁

  4. I agree with all the annoyances. The biggest annoyance for me are the Realtors that think they are too big time to deal with you. If and when you finally get a hold of them, they’re annoyed because you called them. If am writing an offer, I better hear from the listing or co-listing realtor. This isn’t million dollar listing, this is real life. Check your ego at the door. If you’re that busy that you are unable to take calls, don’t put your name on the listing. I know, you want to make yourself look good to your potential buyers and sellers in the amount of sale you’re doing annually. My clients, could care less about my numbers, they just want to know that they are going to be completely looked after when the time comes. If they paid to use me as their Realtor, then I’m there contact. Not anyone else in my team. I’m great and friendly to negotiate and work with until you show me that you’re not easy to deal with or find the need to be adversarial. I do what it takes in the best interest of my client to make the deal happen. When I’m done, my mental note is on and if I can avoid dealing with that “Realtor” again, I will.

  5. Thanks Amber , It seems we have been dealing with the same agents from “3 hours away”.
    We had one agent send a home inspector from Toronto with no one to accompany him. They got annoyed that we would not give access to a stranger in our $1.3M listing.
    Most of the listings in our area contain a clause in the (private) agent’s comments (approved by the seller of course) that if we get conned to show an alleged unrepresented prospect through the property, and then by some miracle get an offer from another agent who could not find the property on a map , the so called buyer’s agent will get only a $500 referral fee.
    Sad situation when agents try to manipulate the process to get huge commissions without doing anything.
    How can they pretend to be representing their buyer clients?

    • This. It’s always out of town agents. If you’re going to be showing homes outside of your board learn the rules and the systems BEFORE you come. I quite frankly don’t care if you drove from Alberta. If you’re late, you’re late- you’re not getting access. If you don’t know how to work a sentri-lock box- learn. I am always prepared for out of board showings, and if you don’t want to learn or prepare stay in your own area.

    • “Most of the listings in our area contain a clause in the (private) agent’s comments (approved by the seller of course) that if we get conned to show an alleged unrepresented prospect through the property,…”

      How can you pretend to be representing your seller?

      These very badly worded “threats” are the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen on listings since the no showings allowed nonsense that two clever by half double-ending seeing agents pulled until boards disallowed it. It will take just one lawsuit or one RECO complaint against a listing brokerage for this too to stop.

      Essentially, in defiance of MLS rules which say an offered commission may not be so changed, the inspidly worded clause intends for a listing brokerage to unilaterally change the offered co-operating fee to a co-operating brokerage who may have no clue that a buyer who was not their client at the time called you to do your job to show your client’s property. So because they opted for other representation, you decide that of all the jobs and levels of expertise needed to sell your client’s listing, the bulk of your value is on one 20 minute showing.

      I’d fire you in a New York minute if I were your seller client! When are listing brokerages and their sellers going to understand that is your offered value proposition?

      Further, in Ontario the fee is agreed to on the confirmation of co-operation. If you, the listing brokerage, upon seeing the buyer’s name chooses to unilaterally reduce the fee to the unsuspecting co-op brokerage it is non-binding – as you should well know because you deal in contracts. You will be bound to the co-op fee offer made on the listing. Any attempt to then unilaterally reduce the co-op fee on closing is going to get your rightly sued.

      If any brokerage ever shows my client a property and pulls that stunt you can bet I am bringing them up on charges for interfering in my brokerage’s contract because this I know, you would not have properly undertaken to discover if that buyer was under contract with another brokerage and instead is shirking that responsibilty under this shameful guise. And should a prospect ever hire me to represent them in a purchase after having been shown a property by the listing rep and this is tried, I am going to dig in like a pitbull and not let go until the brokerage is penalized for their anti-competition action for trying to penalize me over a third party’s action for which I had no ability to control or forsee.

      You see, there is no excuse or defense for a listing brokerage to do this. You are either doing the job your client hired you to do by showing the property to buyers who have no existing client relationship with a brokerage they are yet to hire or you didn’t make the required and proper attempts to ensure you’re not interfering with another brokerage’s client. Either way you have no lawful claim and will have to prove you were conned by the buyer’s Realtor.

      It’s an egregious offense to all members that their boards and brokerages are turning a blind eye to this and allowing these threats to be placed in the listings remarks where too all sorts of members see these wordings, jump on the bandwagon, parrot this nonsense and set themself up for the test lawsuit.

      None of these agents and brokerages who pollute the co-operating system like this have contacted RECO, of that I’m quite sure.

      • PED:

        You have identified the problem, and the problem is…scumbag pollution.

        In the movies, the scumbags are usually ugly bastards with sneering lips and beady little eyes. In the sales world they are usually just the opposite. I’ll gladly deal with an ugly bastard displaying sneering lips and beady little eyes—who tells the truth—any day over a good looking, always-smiling, hand-pumping slime-ball who belongs floating face down on the surface of a seventy-five-year-old backed-up septic tank’s stench-laden recycled shit-load of crap.

        (Any Realtor who can’t follow the gist of that last sentence shouldn’t have a license.)

        Septic tanks of the world…unite! Get these polluters sucked out of your entrails, pronto! What goes in must come out! Don’t let the bastards pollute your inner sanctums in the first place, and the world of influence- pedaling and effluence-meddling will be a better place for all. The buck should stop at the toilet of wasted incoming scumbag crap. Lock the damn stall doors! Let ’em crap in some other sphere of “Let’s try this, or that!” too-easy-to-get-certified “Johnny On The Spot” one-hole gambit.

        O.R.E.: You have devolved into the “Johnny On The Spot” of licensed one-hole scumbags purposely let loose to pollute the entire profession because you won’t put a proper restriction on what is seen by many wannabes as the shit house door to riches.

        REM readers: Please pardon my language, but I couldn’t come up with any synonyms worthy of expressing my thoughts accurately. My mind is very often in the gutter

        You pros—and there are a great many of you—need to get your acts together and clean this mess of incompetence and skullduggery up. The negative stereotyping of Realtors by the public remains firmly embedded in the tank. You are working in a cesspool of here-today-gone-tomorrow ineptitude…condoned by the bureaucrats and self-satisfied, financially benefitting directors. A network of Oligarchs controlling free marketers? How can you stand it…unless the money’s nevertheless too good to upset the applecart?

        I just thought I’d expand on your point PED.

  6. I agree with Brian… nicely put. I too have been in this business for many years, and yes before computers, before gps or cell phones… you new Realtors, think about that for a moment. It was hard to say the least. We were instructed to “fake it til you make it”… not to be deceptive, but to put forth enough confidence so someone would trust you with their Real Estate business.
    The lack of communication with other Realtors is probably my biggest beef in this business today, where a simple phone call can clear up most anything, but short texts or emails are received instead. Totally not the same and shows me they aren’t working in their clients’ best interests.

  7. Ignorant GTA agents coming out of their board acting as if they own the place. If you don’t want to follow our systems and deal with Sentrilock or how we do business- don’t go outside of your board. Plain and simple

  8. I’m surprised listing agents offering less than 2.5% co-op commission didn’t come up in this article. That’s a pet peeve of mine when the listing agent already negotiated the co-op commission lower on your behalf. Guessing they didn’t interview someone who deals with more buyers for this article. You’re already doing your client a disservice by doing so, but hey I’m going to negotiate my 2.5% prior to my offer coming. So offer 2.5% and negotiate your portion whatever that may be.

  9. A revealing article, to say the least. I have only one area of disagreement. Can you guess?

    Hint: First line of last paragraph.

    There is no way of knowing what percentage of agents/registrants are unprofessional on an ongoing daily basis. It’s just that some actually prove it via their behaviours when others can pick up on it. Professionals are not hatched via answering multiple choice questions correctly—sometimes luckily—seventy-five percent of the time on an exam. A low-life— lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon-wheel rut—can guess at the answers with the best of them, and eventually pass.

    I didn’t earn my steamfitter’s license until I too passed a final exam…after serving five years as an apprentice. I knew what the hell I was doing from day one once fully licensed and on the job. How many newly minted Realtors can say that…without lying? Thus, for them, the road of deception beckons, and too many embrace it. It’s all about acting for far too many. It’s easier to put on an act than to know when you don’t know what you ought to know. Practice makes perfect, they say. From that foundation Emmy’s are won. Those who know what they ought to know don’t need to act. No Emmy’s for them; just satisfied clients.

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