Most consumers sort of understand how real estate works. These days, if they see a home they are interested in, they'll contact their buyer agent and have them arrange a showing. If that is THE place, that agent writes the offer, guides the transaction, and gets paid at closing. It is an uncomplicated process, and one that the vast majority of souls who have mastered walking on their hind legs grasp.
However, there is a misguided minority of prospective home buyers who, due to either ignorance or selfishness, don't get it. Ignorance is not their fault. Selfishness, however, is. This past Sunday I received an email from a new buyer who saw a property on my IDX site that they wanted to see right away. I emailed and called them a number of times, and several hours later I got the following response:
Our realtor decided not to go out of town so we will continue with him
Thanks so much anyway
I actually breathed a sigh of relief that I did not waste my time re arranging my Sunday to accommodate them, only to find out that I was a pro-bono tour guide for the day. These people do not understand that real estate agents are not interchangeable. If I had shown them this property and they used their agent to buy it, I would have had the double whammy of losing not only that commission, but whatever I would have earned spending my time in a more productive endeavor.
I averted a disappointment. One of my licensees was not so lucky this past week. I referred a buyer email inquiry on one of my listings to him, and he contacted the prospective buyer to set up the showing. At the showing, a "friend" accompanied the buyer, who identified herself as a licensee. Not so much as a business card. A friend. Of course, this "friend," a week later is now claiming to be the guy's agent (she didn't even set up the original appointment) and entitled to the commission. There is no meeting of the minds yet, but guess who the buyer keeps calling and emailing? You guessed it, my agent.
This "friend" is not a board or MLS member, has not produced any representation or agency paperwork, and hasn't adhered to the usual protocols when a buyer oversteps their agent. She is a licensee; that much has been verified. But she did nothing to earn her fee! She didn't set the appointment, write the offer or hold the buyer's hand this past week! If this deal goes together, I'll have to jump through extra hoops to avert a mess, and my guy has a baby due in a month.
If you are buying a home and use an agent, use your agent from the start. You have no idea the can of worms you'll open by not doing so. Agents are NOT interchangeable. We are not free tour guides, and we have mouths to feed just like you do. Think about that before you ask for our time.