An Observation About Agents Representing Themselves or Family

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA VA License # 0225089470

An Observation About Agents Representing Themselves or Family

In the past twelve months, I have had the opportunity to work with four agents representing themselves or family.  Three of these transactions have one common theme.  Complacency.  Complacency for deadlines.  Complacency for contractual obligations.  It's really disturbing.

In all these cases, I was the Listing Agent.  And since only one of the agents seemed to have a clue about how a contract worked and actually CARED, I am left to think that agents that represent themselves or family, have fools for clients.  The one exception to the careless rule was a MEGA top producer in our market.  This guy didn't get where he is by not knowing contracts.  The other agents are average agents, producing multiple transactions per year, but not setting the world on fire.  Here's some of the misrepresentation I've seen:

Agent (representing himself) removes financing contingency, signing a notice stating the earnest money was now at risk.  He makes a declarative statement that just because he's signing off on that, doesn't mean his earnest money is really at risk.  Really?  Yeah.  That whole thing about things being in writing in a contract is just baloney.  What really matters is what you THINK.

Agent (representing himself) doesn't have his loan funded on settlement day and thinks he is not in default.  Thinks he can just reinstate the contract (a short sale no less) and get back to gettingg his loan that had been denied twice.  And this guy has a license to advise other people?

Agent (representing herself) doesn't return addendums or finally, a contract release, requiring her signature, in anything less than two week's time.  Sometimes it took three to four weeks!  Would that be acceptable to one of her clients?

Agent (representing her son) allows a home inspection contingency period to EXPIRE without realizing it.  No inspection was ever scheduled to allow her son the opportunity to inspect the home and actually get out of the contract if he found out something that was a deal breaker for him.  Thanks, Mom!  Is this how you treat your other clients too?

I did have another transaction that settled just weeks before this post where a real estate agent, licensed in our state, had another agent represent him on the purchase of my listing.  There was never a deadline missed, misunderstanding about the contract, or delay in getting paperwork.  It was great!

I'm not saying that all agents that represent themselves, or family, are this careless, but my experience is that 75% of the time I can expect things to go haywire.  Why? I think these agents are prioritizing their non-relative clients or clients in general, over themselves.  They take their family for granted.  They let their own transactions take a back burner.  All I know is that when it comes time for me to sell my house, I'm likely to call Cindy Jones to represent me.  I don't want to be my own worst enemy.  Everyone can use someone to look out for them.


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
ActiveRain Community
ActiveRain Rockstars
Art of Professional Salesmanship
America's Best Agents
Bartender, Make it a Double

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

My office requires another agent in the office to cover the listing for a fellow agent and the two agents work out an agreement, that may or may not include a fee.

Jun 21, 2012 08:14 AM #57
Gretchen Bradley
Meridian Capital-Giving Back 4 Homes - Roseville, CA

I think one of my biggest peeves about agents representing themselves is they act like "know it alls" about every aspect of the transaction just because they own the house.  They may know more about the house but rarely do they act professional throughout the transaction (they act more like a cocky seller) and don't make the transaction go smoothly.  And if they aren't paying a listing agent (since they are representing themselves), what are they thinking by going ultra cheap on the selling agent fees (I have seen many at 2.0%).  Usually that is a good indicator that the agent is greedy & will screw you on the deal if possible.

Thanks for the post.

Jun 21, 2012 08:24 AM #58
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Sandy:  I think that's a good requirement.

Gretchen:  Being stingy and selfish is what those decisions say about the agents.

Jun 21, 2012 08:48 AM #59
Terkel Sørensen
Real Estate Places - Temecula, CA
Realtor, 951.805.0773 , Bank owned and Short Sales

Yikes, that is a result of just how easy it is to get a license - and the fact that most of these people don't do this for a living - if at all...

I had one a couple of years ago, who didn't schedule the appraisal until after the inspection was done, and the pool inspecting, and the repairs were complete... Some people I will NEVER accept an offer from again.

Jun 21, 2012 08:49 AM #60
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Your Guide to Joyful Colorado Living!

Chris Ann,  That is so bizarre.  Its like the deal doesn't have to follow the rules because they are representing themselves.  in fact, these deals probably have the most liability exposure.  Silly agents.

Jun 21, 2012 09:22 AM #61
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

I have successfully represented family and am comfortable, I have been doing this for 20+ years, so that might be part of the reason.  :)

Jun 21, 2012 09:25 AM #62
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

There are a lot of people with license who don't actually do a lot of work.  Sounds like it is little better than a FSBO. 

Jun 21, 2012 10:33 AM #63
Kim Mulligan
Cooper Jacobs Real Estate - Seattle, WA
Selling Homes for the 21st Century

One would think when one represents family one would work harder. After all, those people are the ones that have the agents name and number in their phones at all times and would be a happy to spread word of mouth referrals to everyone they knew.  As many of us have learned the hard way, often instead the family member is taken for granted.  Too bad, it would be so much easier to have it go the other way.

Jun 21, 2012 11:07 AM #64
Brenda & Ron Cunningham
West USA Realty - Phoenix, AZ
Realtors, Homes for Sale - Phoenix Metro

Hard to believe that an agent wouldn't give family great service!  Sad and unprofessional.

Jun 21, 2012 11:29 AM #65
Justin Dibbs
Pearson Smith Realty - Ashburn, VA
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

That is just friggin' re-dic-u-lous!  I've had the same experience, but haven't had it nearly as frequently as you have.

Jun 21, 2012 11:51 AM #66
Kunni Biener, Esq

Years ago I did a settlement for an agent,acting as sub agent (remember I said years ago, before buyer agency) with her sister as the buyer. The agent mistakenly wrote seller will contribute 3% of closing costs instead of 3% of sales price. The seller acknowledged that he knew it was a mistake, but would not allow the credit to be the larger amount. Lender missed it, too.  Agent ended up kicking in her whole commission to make up the difference, but it wasn't pretty. I hated to think what Thanksgiving that year was like.  She said that they wrote late, everyone was tired.  I have often suggested that agents read what they write out loud, it would help catch those kinds of errors. 

Jun 21, 2012 01:22 PM #67
Cyndi Carver
John L Scott, Inc. - Issaquah, WA
Issaquah & Bellevue Specialist

I believe many of these agents are part time agents or "hobby" agents. They work a full time job and work real estate as a "hobby" to help out their friend and family. It's sad to say that they only look at this business as making money and not a valuable service to their clients, friends or family.

Jun 21, 2012 01:52 PM #68
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Terkel:  Again...think it's important to point out that these folks regularly represent others.

Belinda:   It's really sad.

Joy:  I have backed out of some family deals, helped others.  It depends.  

Gene:  These were agents that do a fair amount of business.

Kim:  I'm thinking family gets put to the bottom of the priorities because these folks may think they will appreciate them no matter what.

Jun 21, 2012 05:14 PM #69
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Brenda & Ron:  I know, but clearly, some of us shouldn't be representing family if we can't handle it.

Justin:  I'm a magnet for it.

Kunni:  Ouch!  That's a rough mistake.

Cyndi:  I point out these agents work this job full-time and do decent production.  It would be nice if they were part-time hobby agents, but they aren't so I am left scratching my head.

Jun 21, 2012 05:16 PM #70
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton

Dear Chris Ann,

Errors & Ommissions does not cover you, if you represent yourself, so hire some help. If you represent family, you do not get paid until the transaction closes either, so do a good job. Family is the hardest to impress anyhow, so it is better to do an extra-good job.

Jun 21, 2012 07:08 PM #71
Sylvia Jonathan
Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties - Irvine, CA
Broker Associate, SFR

I had a listing a couple of years ago where an agent desired to buy the property but did not know how to write the contract. This I found out after he had me show him the home because he does not have a SUPRA (of course not, the cheapskate). Except he forgot to mention that he is a licensed agent when he called me to make the appointment. Snake!

Jun 21, 2012 07:26 PM #72
Sylvia Jonathan
Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties - Irvine, CA
Broker Associate, SFR

Oh yes. Then there was the mom who represented her daughter in a hot market. Inspection done by her husband. When there was a problem with the dishwasher installation, guess who the buyer called? Me, the listing agent, not the mom, her agent! I did not know about the dishwasher. The seller never lived in it so could not disclose any faults. That's what inspections are for, mom. Spend the $ 375!

Jun 21, 2012 07:30 PM #73
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Chris Ann, the very first deal I did was a pro-bono for a relative.  Hopefully, never again!

Jun 22, 2012 11:44 AM #74
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Dorte:  Great points.

Sylvia:  So annoying.  There seem to be so many more examples of agents representing themselves or family that screw up than those that do it and don't screw up somehow.

Jun 22, 2012 11:46 AM #75
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Bob:  It's tough when there is a family relationship.  

Jun 22, 2012 11:47 AM #76
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?