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  • Writer's picturePhilip Middlemiss

Your agent is Human

Having been in the industry for 20 years I have seen some amazing agents come and go. Why they come is obvious to me. I was attracted to the job after an 11-month backpacking trip around the world. After this wonderful experience I decided I wanted a job where I could admire architecture, meet interesting people, and one where I was not chained to a desk. There is also the potential to make some serious coin.


Why people leave varies but it is not uncommon to hear of long hours, immense stress, competition with co-workers, verbal / physical abuse, and other unpleasant situations. I am not qualified in any way to diagnose the effects of these conditions, but I can tell you alcohol and drug use is very common in our industry.


When the phone rings in an estate agency, it is likely the person on the other end of the phone has an issue. Lost keys, maintenance, theft, domestic violence… There are many reasons for the incoming call and there are normally lots of them. Often these calls are being taken by young, inexperienced, and unqualified (in relation to support work) employees.


Call after call, day after day the phone keeps ringing. The problems keep coming. So next time you ring your agent please remember you are speaking to a human. A human that has probably had several similar calls like yours. Please be patient and considerate. A please and a thank you will also go a long way to making their day a little more positive.


If you are an employer or manager, I challenge you to check in with your staff. Not by asking them in the weekly meeting if “everything ok?”. This will never yield the results you want. What about an anonymise survey? A small white board, two empty jars and a box of buttons is all you will need.




Place your survey in your staff room, away from the eyes of the public. Every week write a new question and encourage your staff to drop a button into the jar that suits their response. You could start by making this fun before asking the hard-hitting questions.


Which is better Cat or Dog?

Does pineapple belong on pizza?

Have you been yelled at by a customer this week?

Do you feel safe doing inspections by yourself?


If you are an employee and you are struggling with an aspect of your job, try having an open conversation with your employer about your concerns. Try starting the conversation with “I really need your help”. This should grab their attention enough for you to be able to convey your concerns.


This article is written by a real estate agent and not a psychologist, doctor, or qualified support worker. If you are having trouble at work, help is available at Beyond Blue or Lifeline.

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