Date: February 12, 1998
Published in the Ventura County Star – Thank you Myrtle
There is hardly a business like real estate. The nuances and subtleties are complex and profound. Realtors are rather independent people who operate their own businesses within the business of the broker, or completely on their own if they are one. For members of the public who have not purchased or sold a property for a few years, the shock of new paperwork and legal requirements for a valid real estate transaction is real.
Realtors and real estate agents are constantly reminded of their duties to clients and customers. One of the greatest challenges is to stay current with changing requirements of the California Civil Code and the Business and Professions Code.
Fortunately, the business is still very up close and personal with clients and other Realtors. We are usually the first line of defense when problems arise during and after the close of escrow. We are also sometimes the last to know when there is a problem.
One of the most unique features of a Realtors business is to share their inventory with competitors through the Multiple Listing Service. While websites, high performance computer programs and flash forms come and go, the constant factor is the personal relationships between clients and Realtors and their competitors.
The line is usually drawn, however, when it comes to Realtors having to share clients. This element of our business can be most hurtful and distressing. It is often unintentional. It occurs when buyers engage the services of more than one Realtor at a time.
New relationships can begin with a simple phone call. Realtors shine here because the caller is considered to be a new client and the red carpet is rolled out. Typically, appointments are made to show property; time, gasoline and materials are provided, conferences with lenders are held, and educational information is shared—all at no charge.
Sharing clients occur when the public decides to make another phone call in response to an ad—to a different Realtor. No mention is made of previous activity in the market or the efforts made by their previous Realtor. The new Realtor benefits from the efforts of the other—an unfair advantage often innocently provided by the public.
Once the situation is revealed, the results are distressing for all parties. To this point in time, neither Realtor has been compensated for their time and talents. It is not uncommon for a client to feel embarrassed or irritated and to move to a third agent.
Most Realtors will admit that our way of doing business needs to be overhauled. We also will admit that not all relationships are productive and that a client may simply choose one Realtor over another.
One solution and trend is to utilize a buyer’s broker agreement. It is a contract between buyers and Realtors and guarantees compensation for time, talent and materials. An interesting benefit is that Realtors might have to limit the number of clients due to requirements under the contract and that the public might receive enhanced services.
Another solution would be for Realtors to be retained by clients at an hourly rate, as are other professionals. This would solve the problem of client loyalty and would level the playing field for all Realtors.
Until such a time, the public can make a nice difference if they would utilize the services of one Realtor at a time. A few helpful hints are to let your Realtor of Choice obtain information on any property where you see a sign. If you are visiting an open house, let the host Realtor know that you are working with another. Let your Realtor call around for information on properties you see rather than taking the time of Realtors you do not intend to engage.
All a Realtor has to offer is time and talent. We are used to being compensated when everyone wins. We simply ask that you find a winner and stick with him or her until you do too.
Editorial: January 23, 2018. Editor’s Note – Nothing has changed.