Summer of 1982, when all the other kids my age were either, playing Pac-Man at the arcade, waiting in line at the theater to see “The Breakfast Club,” swimming at the Bountiful Bubble (not the official name), listening to the new Def Leppard album on cassette tape, riding banana bikes up and down Hawaii Hill (again, not on the map) without a helmet (a few of us have been knocked pretty hard on the noggin as a result), I was sitting at a desk, donning professional attire, in a cool (read cold) real estate office. I was planted there every weekday for the entire summer. My job was to answer the phone.
This was a time when all phones were connected to a phone jack in a wall. Although we had long, curly cords that reached around corners and into bathrooms and through kitchens, we were still limited in distance. As a result, due to the importance of availability in said industry, it was imperative that someone be there to take a message and assure the person calling that there would be a return call forthcoming within a reasonable time period. Of course, there was the beloved answering machine, but it was an untrustworthy bedfellow.
Two weeks ago, I phoned an agent to ask about a listing they had. My client had some questions before submitting an offer. I left a message. I followed up with a text requesting they call me when they get a second. I even referenced the property I was calling about. As Realtors, especially in this market, we are all very busy and I, too, will not answer a phone call when I am out with a client. However, as will most of us, I’ll call back as soon as possible. When I hadn’t heard back from this agent by the end of the day, I called and texted again. The next day, I left several more messages and sent texts. This went on for four days. I finally got a phone call back. The agent said they were very busy (as are the rest of us) but finally sent the information requested.
Three days later, we submitted an offer. Once again, I called, emailed and texted. No reply. I wasn’t worried at this point about a competing offer. This agent was apparently unavailable to respond to anyone. The property had been listed for over 940 days; go figure.
As Realtors, we sign up for this gig with full knowledge that our clients are going to need us on nights, weekends and most holidays. We do get Christmas and Easter off (for the most part). I gave this agent the benefit of the doubt. Despite what most of us do, there are really some agents who choose not to work weekends. Most of the time, this is apparent because all of their listings include verbiage in the agent remarks which state that any offer submitted after 4 p.m. Friday will not be responded to until Monday night. Cush job. Not the same job most of us work.
I gave this agent the benefit of the doubt. It was a weekend. Perhaps they were out of town? We do go out of town occasionally. However, any responsible, reputable Realtor will have someone standing in for us while we are gone. Few of us have ever been on a beach without our laptops and phones.
The least that was needed was an acknowledgement that the offer had been received. Surprisingly, that came within two days. The agent will present it as soon as they can get ahold of their client. Two more days passed. A full 48 hours after response deadline and many unanswered texts, phone calls and emails later, after informing this agent I needed to go over their heads, I get a short text: “Will you resend the offer? It’s missing some pages.”
Umm, what? I was told it was received. I assumed it had been read. I went to my computer and pulled up what I had sent. It was a complete offer. All the pages were there. I resent and asked the agent to acknowledge receipt. That was yesterday. This will come as a shock ... no response.
At this point, I will be going over their heads. My clients deserve a response. I am under no illusion that this agent’s seller has any idea that an offer has been cast into the net. For the love of everything that is holy ... be sure the Realtor you choose answers their phone. Those of us who value what we do will.