Rant: Why Are Listing Agents So Stupid?

For anyone who doesn’t know, my wife and I have been in the process of buying a new house and moving and, as anyone who has ever done it before, you know it’s a hassle.  But the more we’ve looked at listings and tried to find good properties, the more convinced we both are that real estate listing agents are completely morons.  Or they just don’t care and are crappy at their jobs.  Take your pick.

See, if you go look at something like Zillow, or any of the actual real estate listing sites, the overwhelming majority of listings are just shit.  Not the homes, necessarily, but the care put into getting those listings online.  From really, really, really awful, out of focus pictures to having no clue how many rooms are in a house, I have no idea how these morons actually make a living.

But we’ll start with the pictures.  Someone ought to teach these people how to take photographs.  And I don’t mean one or two that are slightly out of focus, I mean pictures that you can hardly make out what the picture is of.  Do these people not look at the pictures before they upload them?  In one case, the agent apparently took a picture of a painting on someone’s wall and they put that up on the site.  Not the room.  Just the painting and that painting is clearly not going to be included in the sale. Why would anyone want to see a painting when they’re looking for a house?  In another, we got to see someone’s bed.  Not the room, just the bed.  They had some nice stuffed animals, I guess, but who cares?  It shouldn’t be too much to ask for one or more pictures of every room.  Apparently I’m wrong.

And on the other side of the coin, these people clearly know nothing about the houses they’re selling.  Or they don’t care.  I vote for the latter.  On a majority of listings, they can’t even count how many rooms there are.  A four bedroom, two bath house might be listed with 6 rooms.  Um… no kitchen?  No living room?  Nothing but bedrooms and bathrooms?  Seriously?  Or how many floors does it have?  Most of them are listed as zero.  Yes, zero.  I guess these are all two-dimensional houses.  You pretty much have to have one, don’t you?

Yeah, I know they’re putting up a bunch of houses, but this is their job!  This is how they get paid!  If they can’t be bothered to do it right, why do it at all?  I asked my agent about this and she said these people are just morons.

On top of that, there are a lot of these houses that you just can’t see at all until you make an offer on the property.  And I mean no pictures of any kind, you might get a shot of the front of the house if you’re lucky, but nothing inside.  You expect someone to offer you a lot of money for a house sight-unseen?  Yes, you can rescind your offer, yes, I know they don’t want a bunch of looky-loos, but come on, put up some pictures so people at least have some idea about the quality or layout of the inside of the house!  It’s a waste of time to draw up an offer, sign an offer, submit an offer, only to find that the house is trashed or badly laid out or whatever and then have to rescind your offer.  How can you expect someone to be serious about a house if you refuse to let anyone even see what it looks like?

So it’s just been one frustration after another and if anyone was at all organized, it wouldn’t be.  So why isn’t it?  Why can these people not do their jobs competently?  It mystifies me.

5 thoughts on “Rant: Why Are Listing Agents So Stupid?”

  1. My Condo has to be the worse ever advertised. After viewing it on line I thought WTF? Only after my wife actually agreed to see it in person after we both had said no way. did we find a true gem. Marketing 101 is not what the I.T. people know, or are good at. A picture is worth a thousand words, but not when taken by an Idiot.

    1. Yeah, but there's supposed to be someone with a little common sense trying to sell these houses. The listing agents, the people who actually put these listings up, work for the sellers. It's how they get paid!

  2. Depends on where you are. Here in San Diego, prices are down about 20% from peak. If that fits your definition of a crash, it has already happened.

    How leveraged is your market? What percentage of people can afford homes? Have unethical practices caused your price of housing to continue accelerating when it should have leveled off? These factors and others will determine whether there's going to be a crash.

    1. The peak was unsustainable, it was a bubble that should never have happened, brought about largely by the repeal of Glass-Steagal and Clinton pushing Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac to accept ridiculous loans from people who had no business owning property in the first place. Add to that, the appearance of fly-by-night mortgage companies who didn't care if the paper they wrote was any good because they were just going to chop it up and sell it off to big companies that didn't have a clue who had what and if it was any good at all, that's what caused the crash and lots of people knew it was coming all along, just like we knew that the .com bubble was going to burst long before it did.

      So no, we aren't going to see that kind of peak again, nor should we. Prices are rising, my mother's house has risen in value 30% in just 3 years and the house I just bought has risen in value in just the month that it was in escrow. When things are too good to be true, they're not, no matter what crazy people throwing money at things might want you to think.

  3. Clients of mine were interested in a house that has been languishing on the market. No. Not languishing. More like, rotting. It’s been listed for months in a hot neighborhood and yet, no contract. You need a HazMat suit just to navigate the inside of this place and it’s clearly overpriced. At the right price though, my clients would buy it. I called the listing agent to talk about the houses across the street that are fully renovated and sold for less than her price. She started screaming, “That’s a good neighborhood!”

    Whoa. It’s never good when agents get emotional about listings. It’s a sign something isn’t right. I wasn’t getting far with her so I called her partner who wasn’t much help either. He did tell me they received several offers that were about half the asking price — which is pretty much what my clients thought it was worth as well.

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