Top 10 Surefire Ways to Fail in Real Estate


rejectedTimes are tough in real estate and you are working harder than ever for each successful closing.  Feeling down on your luck?  None of your buyers buying?  None of your listings selling?  Having problems even getting a buyer or a listing?  Tired of the whole real estate business and wishing for some other career?  Well, if you’re following the tips below, you could be on your way to your next career even faster.

#10  Don’t return phone calls or answer emails. Why bother? None of the sellers calling have sellable properties; they’re all overpriced or not showing very well or both. None of the buyers calling have two nickels to rub together or decent credit.

#9  Never host an open house. What a waste of time, right? Three whole hours and maybe one or two “lookie-lou’s” will come by. Or just the nosey neighbors. Or people who can’t afford this property. Or other agents – I mean, THEY’RE not bringing YOU business.

#8  Be a “secret agent”. Every time someone finds out you’re in real estate they ask dumb questions, like what things they should do or not do when remodeling or updating their house. Or they want to know how much someone else got for their house. Aren’t you tired of providing all this info for free?

#7  Only allow pre-qualified, pre-approved buyers into your car. Why would you waste your time driving someone around looking at homes when you don’t even know if they’re seriously looking or not? Why would buyers be willing to listen to any financing suggestions you might have? Don’t buyers already know which financing options best suit them? Don’t they already know about grant programs, tax credits, etc?

#6  Share your opinions about the property’s features and decorating. Hey, you look at a lot of ugly houses, don’t you? When you see something really outrageous, shouldn’t you clue them in to that fact? After seeing so many properties, don’t you feel that you have “seen it all” and are qualified to pass judgment on other’s decorating tastes? I mean, some of the properties are so funny looking!

#5  Never be on time. This is Atlanta, after all, and no one is punctual. If people are moving here, they may as well get started getting used to local customs. Besides, you are getting to your customers as quickly as possible; surely they understand that.

#4  When in doubt, make it up! To be in control, you must answer questions definitively and quickly, right? Don’t know the answer? Just guess, but do it with assurance and a bit of attitude. That will stop further questions, won’t it?

#3  Go ahead and make decisions yourself. After all, these are YOUR sellers or YOUR buyers, right? Didn’t they “hire” you to take care of this for them? Besides, it takes so long to reach them, try to explain whatever the question is and get an answer from them. And, darn it, they keep asking more or those pesky questions.

#2  Send buyers out to look at properties by themselves. They don’t really want you with them anyway. They want to be able to ask questions and find out stuff which takes a long time. And you don’t have to buy lunch! When buyers find the right property, they will call you to take it from there, right?

#1  Take lots of vacations. Leave no one to cover your calls, buyers and sellers. They know how hard you work and that you deserve a vacation. Besides, if the buyer really wants that property, everyone will wait till you return, right?

Okay, so we’re clear, be sure to do the opposite of everything you’ve just read. What are a few things that you sometimes see or hear others say that really get under your skin?

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13 Responses to “Top 10 Surefire Ways to Fail in Real Estate”

  1. Mary Ann Varner Says:

    Thanks Ann. Great post. #11. Join the nay sayers and be Negative! Yes! The market may be challenging, but to hear folks say that it’s going to be a long time before the market will turn around, is too negative for me. I just spoke with an excited buyer last night. She has picked out 6 houses for me to show her today. To hear the excitment in her voice is positive enough for me that the market isn’t so bad after all!!

    • Karen Lunak Says:

      I thought the article was very informative. I am new to the area and have thought about getting my real estate liscense for several years. I have always been interested in it and would love the oppurtunity. My hesitation is the current market. I know it won’t last forever. Is now the right time to take classes and get into the business? For me the timing is right as I am not working yet. What is the best way to go about getting into the business. I have been looking at Metrobrokers web site for about 10 months now and feet it is the best available web site out there to find out about houses in this area. How likely is it that I would be able to work out of their offices. I am a go getter and usually set my goals high. Thank You,Karen

      • ann bone Says:


        Your instincts are correct; there is no better time to prepare for a career in real estate! A lot of the “hobbyists” have dropped out of the business and sales are increasing, making more business opportunities available for go-getter professionals. Get the best training now and be ready for the recovery market. One of our recruiters will contact you today!

      • Tisha Gay Says:

        Thanks for the compliment…and welcome to Atlanta. I agree with you and Ann. Right now is the perfect time to get your real estate license. It sounds like you’ve been doing a little research, so you may have read a little bit about our training, technology, marketing and support.

        Good luck with whatever you decide. If you come in to meet the recruiter, be sure to say hello.

        In the meantime, I hope you’ll subscribe to our blog and continue to follow what Metro Brokers is doing. Best wishes!

  2. Lloyd Carver, Loan Officer Says:

    Thanks for the humorous post Ann but so, so true. With regard to getting buyers pre-qualified in advance, I have been a loan officer with Metro Brokers Financial for over 18 years now and I have never seen the underwriters more strict than they are today. Unless your borrower has the last name of Rockefeller (and sometimes that doesn’t even matter), get them pre-qualified by your Metro Brokers Financial loan officer or you could end up wasting a lot of time.

  3. Dennis Doll Says:

    Great Tips Ann! THANK YOU!
    Now is the time to be positive …ALL the time. HOW? Tune away from Talk Radio, Newspapers, TV News, Chain Emails and other sources of Bad News! If it makes you angry when you hear it, that anger and negativity surfaces in your personality and how your clients perceive you.
    This is the greatest time in my (our) real estate career(s) for someone to buy a house. Prices are at all time lows; similar homes cannot be built for the prices of most resales. The majority of people have equity in their homes, encourage them to transfer that equity to a home that better suits their needs.
    Search for a positive twist in everything around you and in all you do. Things may be slow going at first but people are attracted to positive people.
    All-in-all, a bright future is at the end of the tunnel, I will be there! I’ll not be stuck in the tunnel?

  4. Gaile Johnson Says:

    This is perfect for everyone who is still debating whether or not to stay in the business – come to my “FREE FOOD FRIDAY” on 8/21 11-1:30pm (FMLS # 3939826) Lasagna is great comfort food & you may win a MASSAGE to make you feel better in these tough times… PLUS you’ll see a unique house & your fellow agents!!

  5. ann bone Says:

    Mary Ann is so correct! Hangind around nay-sayers IS a sure-fire way to become demotivated, depressed and worse.

  6. Pat Viohl Says:

    I feel that these are all no-brainers, but I do take minor exception to #7. I will take prospective buyers out once or twice before they are qualified or pre-approved [even better] but after that, I expect some commitment on their part to the business relationship we are building together. If a prospect is not willing to hand over their financial info to a lender to insure they can qualify for a loan, they are not exhibiting a sincere desire to move forward. So many buyers now are looking at foreclosures and short sales that it’s fairly easy to convince them to speak with a lender – I simply tell them truthfully that most banks holding these kinds of properties are insisting that a pre-approvl letter be submitted with an offer. Minus that, their offer may not garner even a glance from the bank seller.

  7. Lyn Coltman Says:

    Great Anne, apart from the #7 others mentioned. Today I was at the Showcase and there was plenty of activity. Great course on the new FMLS upgrades; said hello to Johnny Isakson who gave a great speech about a new tax credit he is trying to get passed; introduced the speaker on “Helping Agents navigate the REO Process”; met Gaile Johnson; met the Realtor from Cartersville who sat next to me every day at GRI some years ago.
    All seemed positive!

  8. Dottie Wise Says:

    Great post and information. I would like to add to #10..Agents who do not return other Agents phone calls or respond to their emails!!!! They probably just missed a showing! Thanks and “keep on the sunnyside”

  9. Sandra Rodrick Says:

    I just happen to read your article on “10 Surefire Ways to Fail in Real Estate”- better late than not at all. Your pointers and remarks were all right on the money (or how not to make money) mark. The theme I found running through each one was one that never goes out of style no matter how things change and technology effects the human equation – customer service. Give the clients good old fashioned, excellent service and keep them informed and you’ll keep them for life. Actually I think this might work for other areas in our lives besides selling real estate.

  10. Charity Cason, Broker Support Says:

    I agree with Dottie’s point! Many of the issues we deal with on a daily basis in Broker Support could be solved simply by agents communicating with each other. Just answering your phone, your voicemails and your emails can get you so many deals each year!

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