Along with all the good and bad changes that the Pandemic of 2020 brought with it, came the end of customer service as we knew it.
I know that saying customer service doesn’t exist any longer is a strong statement to make, but I think that most of us can say we have experienced a shift in how we are treated as consumers.
I have been a licensed Real Estate Broker for over 30 years. During my career I have also owned my own Loan Brokerage and Property Management Company. During this past year, I purchased an investment property in Maui. I used a local realtor and a local lender. I know that with each state, there are different forms, rules and guidelines and I needed to rely on the local professionals I hired to guide me through the process. I am sadly disappointed in the service I received.
My Realtor never once made a pro-active call to discuss the disclosures. I just received them in an email saying, “please sign’. The disclosures, after review, were not filled out accurately. I asked my realtor if she reviewed the documents wondering why she would just forward them to me and ask me to sign and accept. She admitted to seeing the inaccuracies and agreed to send them back to the sellers for correction. This back and forth happened 2 more times whereby the sellers were not completing the forms accurately. In the meantime my agent told me that I needed to remove my contingencies. The fact that she would ask me to remove my contingencies when I hadn’t received accurate disclosure information is appalling. I refused. I was so shocked that my Realtor didn’t seem to be looking out for my best interests. She was just concerned with forwarding me documents with no review or explanation and asking me to sign.
I had a similar experience with my lender. Never once was I counseled on the benefits of one loan program over the other, or paying higher points in order to receive a lower interest rate. I received no ‘service’ from this lender. I had an initial greeting call over the phone and then was passed off to the loan processor to gather and submit my paperwork. During the course of the escrow, the rate went up .25% and never once did I get a call from the lender advising me to lock my rate prior to another rate change.
These agents were referrals and I did my due diligence as a consumer to check their reviews and tenure. Despite this, I still received less than favorable service.
I worry that other buyers and sellers here may have experienced the same frustrations. I know that in my Real Estate practice I assume that my Buyer or Seller would like an explanation of what they are signing and a roadmap as to how the transaction will unfold. I am pro-active in my efforts and explain each step in the home buying and selling process. Communication is the key to success. I thought every Real Estate professional did this. I have found out otherwise. I hope this has not or will not happen to you. Kudos to the Real Estate professionals who have maintained a high level of service and advice. These will be the agents that will be recognized and revered. They will be the ones who succeed when the market normalizes.
As consumers we must demand professionalism. It is ok to ask for clarification and answers and to pause if something doesn’t feel right. Many of us have bought and sold homes before, but each market brings with it idiosyncrasies that only your Realtor or Lender may understand. Buying or selling a home is a significant financial investment; demand that your Realtor and Lender educate you, explain your options and discuss your possibilities from start to finish. Realtors and Lenders are our advisors, if you aren’t feeling comfortable get a second opinion.
Let’s not allow our new normal to include inadequate customer service.
Until next time….
See you around town,
Janice Jordan is a third generation real estate expert. She has lived in Danville for over twenty years. In her spare time Janice loves to hang out with her daughter Jenna and go on outdoor adventures of all kinds.