The Great Game of “Real Estate Chicken”

J Philip Faranda January 4, 2010

This post is inspired by Carla Muss-Jacobs outstanding reply to what appeared to be smartypants buyers sending her an “interview email” a while back that made a senate confirmation hearing look like a walk in the park. You really should read the post. I’m all for interviewing agents prior to hiring them; more people should do that, and I have argued in the past that people spend more time choosing a blue tooth or refrigerator than their agent. Carla’s people were over the top, however, and speak to a catch-22 that exists in real estate all too often between licensees and prospective clients. 

Here’s the catch-22: Some buyers don’t want to be committed to a lame agent and agents don’t want to work with disloyal buyers. The buyers “play the field” with  different agents, and agents are reticent to jump headfirst for a buyer who may be two (or three) timing them and have all that effort gone to waste. It’s like a staring contest, or a game of chicken- who’ll break first? And will they break bad or break good and stick as a loyal client? 

There is no easy answer except for being excellent. We’ll always get screwed once in a while, but overall, if a buyer sees that you are a cut above, they’ll stick with you. It helps to educate them about how we are paid, the importance of loyalty, and the benefits of a buyer brokerage agreement if need be, but that falls on deaf ears if you aren’t good. Like the adage that says “dance like no one is watching and love like you’ve never been hurt”, I’d add “Treat the client like they never knew another agent.”

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