By Kim Murphy
Murphy & Murphy Southern California Realty 

Stopping smash and grabs


Last updated 1/28/2022 at 11:37am

Realtors who never answer their phone but will respond immediately to a text

Personal contact is in short supply these days. Customer service has become a phone tree with more limbs than I care to count. You can get lost in that tangle of limbs. In real estate, however, buying a home or selling a home is a very personal experience. So, when a listing agent does not answer their phone, but will immediately respond to a text, that just rubs me the wrong way. The simple courtesy of answering your phone shows a degree of camaraderie that sets the stage for a cordial transaction. Texting is cold, unresponsive, impersonal, and has no place in real estate, except to confirm or acknowledge an appointment.

Realtors who hide behind their transaction coordinator or assistant

This is just one step better than texting. Sad but true there are many “top” Realtors who do the initial “meet and greet” and then have someone else handling everything from that point on. Can you imagine meeting with your surgeon for rotator cuff surgery and then after that meeting, the surgeon didn’t even show up for the surgery, or for the recovery or rehabilitation? You would not be happy. That is what happens when only the TC or assistant do all the in-person activities. No bueno.

Realtors who represent sellers and do not live in the community of the seller

I would never sell property in San Francisco. I lived there a lifetime ago, but the intricacies of that town are well beyond my knowledge. It is no different than me selling real estate in Del Mar or Cardiff. I lived there previously, but my local knowledge is outdated and not complete. That is the same situation when a Realtor lists property outside of the neighborhood in which they live and work. The seller is not going to receive good representation because there is more to selling a home than writing up the listing contract, putting a sign in the yard, and posting the property on the multiple listing service. Selling a home includes selling the neighborhood and the town. Buyers want to know about schools, activities, the feel of the community, churches, etc. A Realtor from out of the area, is just that, an outsider.

Realtors who do not fill in the entire purchase agreement

There is a phrase; the devil is in the details. Nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to real estate documents. Realtors that represent buyers need to find the name of the seller, and if the property is in a trust, the names of the trustees. They also need to find the license number for the listing broker and listing agent. They need to find the APN number of the property, and many other particulars of the property. When the buyer’s agent does not fill in all the required blanks on a purchase contract, the listing agent must correct all the missing information on the counteroffer. That is unacceptable. The counteroffer should be just over the terms of the offer, not over the missing data.

Realtors who send over endless amounts of paperwork, required by their broker, even though they did not include it in their offer or counteroffer

The real estate transaction requires many documents. They are enumerated within the purchase agreement. The core documents are very inclusive and protect the interests of both parties. Unfortunately, many larger brokerages require additional documentation, beyond what is state required. That in itself is a fine policy. The thing is, the buyer’s agent needs to list all those documents in the original purchase agreement, or there is no legal requirement for the seller to acknowledge or sign any of these add-ons. I always love it when an agent tells me that her broker requires something that I don’t require, as if her broker trumps me. Not so. If it is added in when the purchase agreement is presented, the seller has the option to accept the documents or counter the documents out. Throwing them in, after an offer has been negotiated and escrow is open, does not automatically insert them into the transaction. Sellers can choose to acknowledge or choose to ignore. No hard feelings.

Realtors who represent buyers outside of the area of expertise

This is very similar to Realtors who represent sellers with properties outside of the Realtors personal neighborhood or sphere. Especially now, with inventory being very low, Realtors are traveling from Los Angeles and Orange Counties to represent their buyers, from those same counties. The thing is those agents aren’t an asset to the buyer when it comes to writing the initial offer. Agents from out of the area don't know the trends in our community; they don’t know about septic systems or propane tanks. They don’t know about parcel lines or surveys. They don’t know about the sound of freedom we hear from Camp Pendleton or Miramar’s helicopters. They don’t know about agricultural designations, or animal zoning.

One of my favorite examples of this happened years ago, when a Realtor from the coast thought the way to inspect a septic system was to dig up the entire leach field. She could not understand that the way to inspect it involves a water flow test, pumping and tank inspection. No leach field digging unless there’s a problem with the system. We got through it, but she thought we were pulling one over on her. Local agents know about all our local items, or at least, their broker will, if they don’t.

There’s a lot more pet-peeves, so maybe there will be a part two to this, but for now, have some fun reading. I bet, when you think about them in your day-to-day life, you will agree, we can do better than this, in real estate and in our general lives.

Kim Murphy can be reached at [email protected] or 760-415-9292 or at 130 N Main Avenue, in Fallbrook. Her broker license is #01229921, and she is on the board of directors for the California Association of Realtors.


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