I recieved a call on a listing from someone who wanted to see one of my listings this weekend. I am booked, and with a holiday weekend, I didn't have an available agent in the firm on short notice. Being the mensch that I am (and keenly aware that I work for the seller, not myself), I dutifully researched a local agent with another firm and asked her to take the referral.
The same buyer called me today, asking about the house, and he did confirm that he got a call from the referred agent. He asked if she was with my firm. I explained she wasn't, but that was better for him in terms of representation. Then he explained that he had an agent, but she wasn't available today, and that's why he called me.
Shame on me for forgetting to ask if he was working with an agent. It amazes me how often the bread lands on the buttered side down with this issue-invariably, if I forget to ask if a consumer has an agent, they do in fact have representation already.
Inasmuch as I appreciate that his logic was that as lister I have an interest in showing him the property, I explained that if he needed an alternate person to unlock the door of the place, his call should be to his agent's office, not mine. I have no problem with helping, but I am not going to deal with another agent's client directly unless that brokerage authorizes me to do so. Moreover, there has to be someone else on that agen't team who can help. They have to do some of the heavy lifting. As a matter of fact, finding out that a buyer already has an agent when you meet them at a showing is not good, not good at all.
Consumers need to know that if they have an agent, they should use their agent. They have to schedule through them, and they have to use them for the whole process. A buyer agent fee is not a royalty paid because the buyer signed a piece of paper with you, it is earned by doing one's job from opening the door onward.
Some firms have a reduced commission if they showed the buyer a property and the buyer agent shows up on the scene later. I am reticent to go there; but if these buyer agents felt it in their wallet, they might do a better job of educating their clients.