Anyone who’s seen Ozark knows that Marty Byrde is the epitome of cool, calm, and collected in even the most stressful situations. It’s enviable for anyone really, but real estate agents can certainly relate to how he keeps his composure in any situation more than most people.
While the stakes aren’t nearly as high as what Jason Bateman’s character faces on a daily basis, agents know all too well how to bite their tongue and respond in a calm way to things that are making them scream on the inside.
Let’s take a look at 11 things an agent encounters where they’re most likely channeling their inner Marty Byrde to cope with the situation:
1) When waiting for a closing
Real estate agents don’t get paid on a weekly basis, or even a monthly basis for that matter. They only get paid when a house they sell closes, and the stretches in between closings can be quite long sometimes. As much as they may be worrying, nobody wants to see or hear their agent sweating it, so they’ve gotta keep calm and carry on.
2) When a buyer says bye-bye
It hurts to the core when an agent shows a buyer houses for months on end, only for the client to ghost them, buy a FSBO, put in an offer with another agent, or simply decide not to buy at all. It’s time and knowledge that’ll never get compensated for sharing. Though they may want to scream “Where’s my money!?” for all the effort they put in, they just appreciate the clients who stick with them all the more.
3) When buyers buy boats
A boat is exaggerating it a bit (although not entirely out of the realm of possibility). But when a buyer who is in the process of buying a house the last thing they should do is make a big ticket purchase, like a car. All too often a buyer rolls up to an appointment in a shiny new set of wheels, which makes the agent wonder if they just made a mistake that’ll cost them the ability to qualify for their mortgage. Rather than immediately presuming the buyer just splurged and getting angry, it pays to take a deep breath and ask if there’s anything they’d like to tell them, like they were just given the car as a gift from their parents or something. One can hope, right?
4) When a listing isn’t selling
Houses don’t always sell overnight with multiple offers! Sometimes it takes weeks, or even months of marketing a property before it sells. But when that happens, some sellers start pointing a finger at the agent for not doing enough to get their house sold. It’s easy to get angry and defensive, but it’s wiser to just assure the client that they’re doing everything they need to do to get their home sold, and that sometimes it just takes time for the right buyer to come around.
5) When they feel like a cleaning service
People presume homeowners go to great lengths to make their house look its best when it’s on the market. But not every seller tidies their home, let alone spruce it up or stage it to impress buyers. There are times when an agent shows up for the photo shoot to get the perfect pictures, or just an open house, and the owner left it like a bomb went off in every room. While it’s not their job, and they may want to say so to their client, there’s a good chance they’ll scurry through the house doing what they can to make it look good before the photographer or buyers walk through the door.
6) When buyers run late
How long do you wait for a buyer to show up to a showing appointment? That’s a question agents ask other agents all the time! Because it happens, and it happens so often. It happens to the best of clients, and is understandable, but there are some people who take it to the next level. A few minutes late isn’t a big deal, but some buyers take their sweet time to get there, only to show up with a Venti soy latte with extra foam in hand. While the agent may be going crazy because every other appointment they have later on is getting backed up, they’ll most likely just call or text to see if they’re on their way and say, “OK, see you in a bit.”
7) When someone wants to take a peek
While standing outside a house they’re about to show to one of their clients (who may or may not be running late), another person may roll up and roll down their window to ask if the agent can just let them inside to take a quick peek at the house. First of all, no, it’s dangerous; the agent has no clue who that person is. But beyond that, they’re there to show a client who has an appointment to see the house. It’d be poor form to have their actual client show up and have to wait while their agent is showing some random person the house they may want to buy. It’s a lot to explain to someone who probably doesn’t care one way or another what the reason is, so it’s easier and more tactful to just say, “Sorry, I’m expecting somebody else.”
8) When a seller oversells
Many homeowners take pride in their home and rightfully want to make sure an agent knows about all the great features and updates their home has, so they can showcase it to potential buyers. But when a seller starts bragging about brand new high-end formica countertops installed 17 years ago, an agent needs to choose their words and reaction carefully. They don’t want to offend the owner, but at the same time there’s a fine line between diplomacy and aiding and abetting someone boasting about something that won’t appeal to buyers.
9) When they bring up their Zestimate
Zestimates are appealing because you can get a sense of how much your home is worth without asking an agent to do an extensive market study. But they’re also appealing because they can be inaccurate and lead an owner to believe their house is worth more than it actually is. It’s not the easiest news to break to someone who may have been banking on money that never existed, and they can get pretty upset. But an agent has to be honest about the true market value of their home and calmly explain that their online valuation simply isn’t true.
10) When their listing expires
When a homeowner lists their house with an agent, it’s for a specific amount of time. If the house doesn’t sell within that time frame, the seller can opt to extend the listing period, entirely relist it with that agent, or hire another agent altogether. While it’s not always the case, the reason a house doesn’t sell before a listing expires is often due to the seller not listening to their listing agent’s advice. It was probably due to the seller not listing at the proper price, or making it difficult for buyers to come and see. But inevitably, a seller who makes those mistakes will also be the first to blame the agent and decide to hire a new one when the listing expires. It stings, but the agent who loses the listing is better off just saying “It’s yours if you even want it” rather than hold a grudge against the new agent who’ll probably be taking on a headache of their own.
11) When they get bad news
From a low appraisal, to inspection issues, to a buyer backing out of the deal, or a buyer’s offer not getting accepted, there are so many moments an agent may have to break bad news to a client. It’s never easy, and an agent may be feeling the pain as much as their client, but they have to do their best to break the news gently and get their clients focused on moving forward despite the setback.
So the next time you’re working with an agent, pay close attention to how cool, calm, and collected they are! While Marty Byrde is just Jason Bateman playing an impressive role, your agent is playing a real life role that takes a special kind of person to fill it.