What if I have a dysfunctional Realtor?  This may sound like a silly question, and it does have a certain ring of humor to it, but there’s much more to this question than meets the mind at first thought.  Much has been written about dysfunctional families, and in a moment I’ll show you the relevance to the subject of real estate.

“A dysfunctional family does function; it just does not function very well. Many comedies have been written about such families like the Chevy Chase vacation movies. For example, to take a trip a functional family will get in the car and simply drive from point A to point B. With a dysfunctional family, the people get into arguments, get distracted, the car breaks down because it wasn’t repaired, they take a wrong turn, and so on.”  Rick Doble

Dysfunctional Realtor

A Dysfunctional Realtor in My Transaction?

A real estate transaction involves many parties.  Most people think of the obvious parties–the buyer and seller.  In addition to the buyer and seller, there’s a buyer’s agent (and his broker), a listing agent (and her broker), a loan officer, an underwriter, a title officer, an escrow officer, an appraiser (and an appraisal management company who appoints the appraiser), a home inspector, and sometimes a contractor or other professionals brought into the transaction.  We all understand that professional incompetence on the part of any of these parties could hinder or kill a transaction.

Something very few buyers or sellers consider, however, is how a dysfunctional party to their transaction can hinder or kill a transaction because personal issues get in the way.  I cannot tell you how many times I have seen dysfunctional Realtor behavior hinder a negotiation on the price or the terms of a transaction. 

What is a Dysfunctional Realtor?

I like to say, “We are all dysfunctional.  It’s just a matter of degree, and I hope that I am less dysfunctional than most.”  There’s no judgment in my heart at all in this discussion.  It’s not about being judgmental about other professionals.  It’s about you as a buyer or seller.  It’s about getting the best possible price and getting the best possible terms on your transaction without any unnecessary glitches, hindrances, or failures on the part of a dysfunctional Realtor.  

How can a dysfunctional Realtor hurt your transaction?  Imagine a Realtor who lists a home for a widow who desperately needs to sell her home.  The Realtor has serious pride issues and as a result rejects a very reasonable offer by the only buyer to come along in two years.  The widow takes her dysfunctional Realtor’s advice to reject the offer, but two years later she has reduced her price to what the original offer was.  Of course, that buyer has long since moved on and purchased another home.  The widow sits in her home alone.  The widow’s own Realtor made a serious error in judgment because of pride issues and perhaps other personal issues that cause him to give his own client such bad advice.

Imagine a listing agent losing her cool and just going off on the buyer’s agent for no reason at all during sensitive negotiations.  Could the transaction be saved?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But a dysfunctional Realtor can kill a transaction, and chances are his/her client will never know the difference.  The reason given for a failed transaction is always something else.

The Dysfunctional Realtor

All of these examples are real life stories.  I could give 37 years of examples, but I won’t.  You get the point.  One very important quality you (whether you are a buyer or seller) want and need in your Realtor is emotional and psychological maturity.  I cannot over emphasize this.  What a difference it makes in a real estate transaction if the Realtors are both functional in a healthy way.   If all the Realtors on the other end of the transactions I’ve worked on were emotionally healthy and mature, things would have gone so much more smoothly, and I would have closed many more transactions.

If all the parties to your real estate transaction are like a family, is it a dysfunctional family like the Chevy Chase family was in the movie Vacation?  Just like the movie, in a real estate transaction dysfunctional behavior can cause a variety of problems for you on the entire trip from the day of the offer to the closing and everything in between.

Next time you hire a Realtor, after you have done your due diligence to make sure that he or she is competent, experienced, professional, and trustworthy, stop to ask if he or she is a dysfunctional Realtor.  It’s important, because the answer could cost you tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention a lot of stress and anxiety.

I admit I’m a dysfunctional Realtor, but I think I’m less dysfunctional than most.


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