Wow did I ever get feedback on the article about asking your agent the right questions.
One lady told me about an agent she had signed a sole mandate with who she didn't hear from again. In a situation like this you need to give it a reasonable amount of time (say 10 days) and then contact the sales manager. Even if you have a sole mandate in place you can cancel it due to non-performance. There are agents who collect mandates, sometimes far more than they can possibly work on. I suppose this is done to impress their sales manager or to lock other agents out of potential business.
Then there was a young man who makes web enquiries and doesn't get called back. Now Property24 generates a notice on email and by sms on the agent's phone the moment a potential buyer makes an enquiry. I always try to respond as soon as possible, even if just to say I am busy at the moment but will call back shortly. Often I am told they made contact with several different agencies and I am the only one to call them back.
A few years ago I was showing a client houses and they kept on saying to me how professional I was. After a while my head was getting so big I was worried if it would fit back into my car. So I asked why she was saying that. She responded, "oh you phoned us back." Obviously just doing the basics is becoming too much for some agents. Going the extra mile shouldn't be special - it should be your standard operating procedure.
I have heard from several industry insiders that 20% of the agents make 80% of the sales. Judging from my own experience this could very well be true.
On the positive side, the Estate Agency Affairs Board is working very hard to transform this industry into a hard core group of highly trained professionals. We are clearly not quite there - but we will be soon.