To Refer or Not to Refer...

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty

Wednesday I had a former buyer client come into my office.  He is looking to purchase a second home and would like for me to handle the deal.  This is great, right?  Well, kind of. 

What he is looking for is a condo in Atlanta.  That's about a 45 minute drive from where I am (that's not the problem).  I'd be happy to drive to Atlanta to make a sale (he's looking to spend about $400K).  The problem is that I have never sold a condo before. 

I got online and started searching.  I found an agent's website that has all kinds of info about the location my buyer wants to be.  I e-mail the agent and get no reply.  The next evening I call the agent.  I leave a message and a little later the agent calls back.  I had already talked to my broker to get a list of the questions that I needed to ask.  I start by telling the agent that I have never sold a condo before and I know that it is a totally different process, but I am willing to learn.  I ask for covenants and restrictions, and HOA (or equivalent), and he tells me "Oh, you wouldn't want to read all that".  Then I ask if he would be available to meet me and my buyer to view the condos.  He says, "No", not since he would not be working for the buyer.  He then begins to give me all the reasons that I should just refer my buyer to him. 

Part of me thinks the agent may be right, but part of me says I should keep my buyer to myself.  I mean, there was a time when I had never sold a home before, and I didn't just refer that buyer off.....

What would you guys do?


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Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY
It's up to the individual.. Some are comfortable with a big range, others aren't . I''m sort of in the middle.  But agents have to work that out fr ethemselves.
Feb 23, 2008 03:59 PM #34
Scott Gephart
The DELTA Group powered by eXp Realty - Medford, OR
CRS - Medford Real Estate

You should refer the client but definitely not to that agent. find a CRS agent that has experience with condos. You will be doing the right thing for your client and can concentrate on your niche or area of expertise.

Feb 23, 2008 04:05 PM #35
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.
Refer.  I use an agent when I am out of my area to buy for myself even though I could do the research and learn the area.  The point is that there are things we may not know about the area, and our buyer is the one who suffers if that happens.  We need to practice what we preach.  Use a Realtor...what would you want someone to do if you were the client and didn't know the area nuances?  That answer is usually the right answer for you.
Feb 23, 2008 05:00 PM #36
Audrey Hoffman
VoteAudrey blog - Columbia, SC
You can set up a referral right here on Active Rain!
Feb 23, 2008 08:37 PM #37
Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239
Real Estate One - Commerce, MI
Michigan homes for sale ~
Looks like you want to learn the process while helping your client and getting paid.  I probably would not want another licensed agent tagging along.  What keeps you from doing the sale in the end?  Another person putting in input makes a deal tougher.
Feb 23, 2008 09:32 PM #38
Michael (Mike) Elliott
Nottingham Real Estate Group - Hamilton, NJ
Be honest with your client. tell them you may make some wrong turns are are not familiar with the area. But since they trust you, they may sacrifice your lack of local expertise for working with you. Make it about your client. They will likely choose you over the stranger.
Feb 23, 2008 11:28 PM #39
Susan Walters
Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor, MI - Ann Arbor, MI
Krystal, By this point in the post nearly all the points have been covered but I still want to throw in my two cents.  My first sale was a condo with my mentor at my side - our office requires them for newbies for the first couple of sales.  I was terrified and in the end that was the only sale I had in my first six months of business.  I spent the rest of that year educating myself on everything I could, asking my mentor and broker (and everyone else!) questions.  THEN, I felt more competent.  I wrote a few deals in the meantime and sat in on some of my mentor's deals.  Many people have said it - you can't learn if you don't try, and occasionally fail.  In your scenario, the biggest problem for me would be the 45 minute commute, but at least the buyer already knows the complex.  If they were going in wanting to look at everything, that would be very, very bad.  This one is a toss-up in my opinion.
Feb 24, 2008 01:04 AM #40
Robert L. Brown - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic
Refer it and keep a close eye on the transaction. Always stay in the loop. That way you will keep that buyer. And remember the referrals from that buyer.
Feb 24, 2008 02:50 AM #41
Linda Futral
Newnan, GA
Kristal I say go for it.  New learning experience and challenges.  Keep the buyer and take what you have from here in the comments.
Feb 24, 2008 03:57 AM #42
Mary Bowen
Coldwell Banker United, Realtor - The Woodlands, TX
Real Estate At Its Finest!!!
I would keep the buyer. That guy just wants your client. Go for it.
Feb 24, 2008 04:31 AM #43
April Hayden-Munson
Brookfield, WI
Brookfield Wisconsin Real Estate

Kristal...I haven't read all of the replies,  Just please don't refer your customer to the other agent you mentioned!  If you decide to refer - get a different agent - one that will look out for your clients' interests - not the sellers.

You could get the help of an experienced agent in your office or network.  I have been selling real estate for over 20 years and I have helped MANY new agents through transactions.  Many veterans like to help people and will have pride in helping you.

I have helped many clients who prefer to work with me and not an agent I may refer them to.  As long as my commute is less than an hour I go for it.  ( The average commute I have is probably 30 minutes - an hour puts me 45 to 60 miles away).  This client may refer you many, many transactions that will take up less time for you.

 Good Luck!

Feb 24, 2008 05:29 AM #44
Christy Powers
Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners - Pooler, GA
Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent
I agree with the other comments, don't refer your client to that particular agent. If you want to try and have office support, you can try. If you decide to refer, I would definitely steer clear of him. 
Feb 24, 2008 07:12 AM #45
Karen Parker
Parker Holdings of Tampa Bay, LLC - Brandon, FL
I too think you should hold on to your buyer yourself. Now is the time to learn something new. So what if you make mistakes? This is how we learn and grow.
Feb 24, 2008 08:01 AM #46
Heather Benson
Windermere Real Estate/West Sound Inc. - Silverdale, WA

Maybe let your buyer decide, let them know that you aren't AS experienced in condo sales as you are in other areas. Let them know that your broker is there to back you 100% and then tell them that if they do not feel comfortable with that, you know a great agent that has plenty of condo sales experience that you would like to refer them to. That way you not only gain their trust and hopefully their future business, but worst case scenario you get a referal fee. Good Luck!

Feb 24, 2008 09:09 AM #47
Paula Hartwick
Royal LePage Gale Real Estate - Kanata, ON

We all have to start somewhere. I mean when we did our first residential agreement, we didn't offer them up as a referral. We buckled down and learned the process. If you really feel uncomfortable with the idea of going it alone, another option is to offer a referral fee to your broker or someone else who has done them before to guide you through the process.

Feb 25, 2008 03:44 AM #48
Richard Parr
ADT Security Services - Slidell, LA
Home Security Specialist - Greater New Orleans, Louisiana
Here is something you should be aware of.  Check out Condo Buyers Beware by Kathy Drewien Atlanta CRS.  This is an issue that she had with condos.
Feb 25, 2008 01:36 PM #49
Kristal Reid
Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty - Zebulon, GA
Zebulon, GA
Richard - WOW & Thanks
Feb 25, 2008 01:42 PM #50
Richard Parr
ADT Security Services - Slidell, LA
Home Security Specialist - Greater New Orleans, Louisiana

You are welcome.  I thought you could use it.  You might try to contact Kathy Drewien to get more advice on condo sales.

Feb 25, 2008 03:30 PM #51
Doug Jones
Mortgage Magic - San Jose, CA
Mortgage Broker - NMLS 286668

How else are you going to learn?

Feb 27, 2008 11:52 AM #52
Joyce Heffner-Williams
Keller Williams Clients' Choice Realty - Monument, CO
Owner/Broker/EcoBroker - Monument Real Estate

Not sure if I would refer your buyer to him, but it sounds like a situation where I would refer the buyer to someone.  Find the best condo agent in the area and get your 25% (or ask for 30%).  Focus on what you know and where you know.  Bottom line, do what is best for your client...

Feb 28, 2008 10:10 AM #53
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Kristal Reid

Zebulon, GA
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