What do agents really want this holiday season? Consideration, honesty and a dose of reality all made it into this year’s top agent wants.

With Christmas mere days away, Realtors across the country are dreaming of things they would like to see show up in their stockings this year. My team of 30 started out making a top 10 list, but after further discussion, we ended up with a long list of wants and decided to limit it to 15.

Here’s what real estate agents really want this Christmas:

1. Realtors who actually answer their phones

Regardless of who we asked, this came in at No. 1 every time. It seems there are a significant number of agents out there who believe their phones are for ordering takeout, checking Facebook posts, texting and numerous other uses — but are not to be used as an actual phone.

It’s also useless to leave a message because many either do not have the voicemail boxes set up or refuse to listen to messages.

2. The ability to do Yelp reviews on their clients

Most agents can think of at least one unwarranted negative review from a client who was impossible to please. The fact is, some of us have even received reviews from individuals who never even utilized our services!

Instead of just being on the receiving end for reviews, agents we interviewed wanted a site to post reviews on individuals with whom they have had dealings. One agent also suggested a Karen List.

3. Buyer’s agents who can read

Listing agents go to great lengths to post critical information for buyer’s agents, including showing directions, instructions for writing offers and so on.

Most MLSs provide a Confidential Comments section that gives listing agents the opportunity to provide critical information to prospective buyer’s agents. All a buyer’s agent needs to do is actually read the instructions. If only.

4. Buyers who accept the fact that Realtors know more than they do

In this brave new world of ours, it seems everyone knows more about real estate than the professionals who ply the trade every day for a living.

Whether they are relying on information from a friend who bought a foreclosure 10 years ago, a work buddy who dabbles in real estate investments, or a well-meaning family member who has spent way too many hours watching HGTV, I cannot think of any other profession where clients think they “know” more than the professionals they are hiring to represent them.

5. A ban on lowball offers

We have all had clients who believed a seller would be motivated to accept a ridiculously low offer. Some agents interviewed suggested that if it’s impossible to enact a law banning silly offers, perhaps we could enact a version of hockey’s penalty box where sellers could send buyers who insisted on writing “cheap-shot” substandard offers. 

One agent even suggested a Mission Impossible scenario where the contract would self-destruct if it did not meet reasonable standards.

6. Buyers who understand agency and honor agency relationships

Many agents interviewed asked for buyers who would:

  • Only work with one agent
  • Willingly sign a buyer-broker agreement
  • Never ask a listing agent at an open house to write an offer for them
  • Not dream of contacting the listing agent in any way

7. Clients who know that AVMs are not accurate

Regardless of the AVM source (automated valuation method, think Zestimate), there are plenty of them out there that are checked religiously by buyers and sellers alike who believe the values are accurate. 

The very fact that the “estimates” provided for any given property vary significantly from one website to another should be a clue in and of itself.

8. Clients who understand how hard Realtors work

For those of us who are tired of the “What do you actually do, anyway?” questions, a few of us would like to get clients this holiday season who understand how hard we work behind the scenes to make their transactions go smoothly. Not only do we labor long hours, but we also work weekends and have clients who expect to reach us 24/7.

9. New construction salespeople who check to see if potential buyers are working with a Realtor

Because most buyers do not understand how new home sales work and do not bother to read the 3-by-5-inch card that mentions (in tiny print) that their Realtor must accompany them on their first visit to qualify for a commission, it would be wonderful to have new home salespeople who honored prior agent-client relationships.

10. A truth serum for buyers

Instead of serum to slip into their beverages, maybe we could get a truth meter to point at their foreheads like the temperature sensors we have become accustomed to in this pandemic.

11. Clients who do not ask for part of our commission

Most of the clients we work for don’t have jobs where they serve clients who expect rebates or donations of up to half of their salary to be happy.

Many of the agents we surveyed want clients who would never consider asking for a piece of their agent’s commission, much less actually expect the cash.

12. Listing agents who put appropriate prices on listings

In our region and some other corners across the country, fake prices abound in hopes of generating multiple offers. The practice is so prevalent that some listing agents, attempting to clarify that their list prices are realistic, use the word “transparent” to describe their offerings. 

Agents surveyed in our area wanted all agents to list their properties with prices a seller would accept in the event they only received one offer at the advertised list price. 

13. Disclosure that HGTV is for entertainment only

You would think this would be obvious, but apparently, there are buyers out there who believe they only need to view three properties, write an offer on one of them, get it accepted, and then have it remodeled in a week. Strange but true.

14. Children who behave during open houses

If you have ever had children running through an open house unattended, I need not explain this one in detail. The corollary to this would be parents who control their children while viewing homes — or even better, leave them with a babysitter.

15. Buyers who understand the difference between cosmetic items and serious repairs

Some buyers seem to think that cosmetic items such as a coat of paint or dirty carpets are as bad as a cracked foundation or a leaky roof. They refuse to write offers on homes that fit all their criteria but might need a bit of cosmetic attention. And they insist on only viewing homes that are entirely move-in ready.

Although we had many more items on our Realtor’s wish lists, we decided to stop at 15. 

Please make our holiday bright by adding your wish list items to the comments! Happy holidays!

Carl Medford is the CEO of The Medford Team.

IDX Real Estate