Thought provoking! Your agent only gets paid for the work they do for you if they sell you a home! Golden rule agents " how would you feel if someone did this with someone you had invested time with?
Everything was perfect. I had a first time buyer that was pre-approved and motivated to find their dream home. We spent countless hours together. He relied on my expertise and market knowledge, and I happily showed him house after house. We met for consultations.
Then we wrote two offers together. One finally got accepted, but the whole house inspection turned up sour, so we began the process over again. I thought everything was going great. Until the phone call...
John: "Hi, Kristina? This is John Doe. Did I sign anything with you saying I had to buy a house through you?"
Me : <stunned silence> "Umm, well not specifically. Why?"
John: "Well, I knew you had family obligations today so I was driving around on my own. I drove past one of the houses you e-mailed me, and I really really liked it. So, I called the agent on the sign. She came out right away and showed it to me. And you know, what? She told me I could actually get a better deal if I bought directly from her. We went straight to her office and wrote an offer and guess what? It got accepted by the sellers! Isn't that awesome? I just wanted to tell you thanks for all your hard work. I'll send you a Christmas present."
I felt like the wife that just found out her husband cheated on her. Did the buyer know any better? Probably not. He wasn't trying to keep me from getting a paycheck. He simply didn't know - because I didn't tell him any different. He thought I would be sincerely excited that he got the house he wanted. Did the agent know better? Probably, or he wouldn't have asked me if he had signed anything.
This was back in 2005, when I first got my license. Since then, I've found that I have to be the one to educate my buyers. Although I've still had a few buyers get cold feet, their financing falls apart, or they just flat out change their minds - I rarely have a buyer call the agent on the sign.
So how do you keep your buyer from straying? It's simple - just educate them about the process. If you don't focus on building a relationship with your buyer and explaining to them that they have responsibilties in the process too, who will? The answer is either no one or another agent. Remember, most buyers (especially first time buyers) don't know the inner workings of real estate. These are the five key points I tell all of my buyers.
1. Don't call the agent on the sign. I will do everything in my power to be available during the times that you need appointments, but I'll need some notice. If I can't show you homes at that time, my partner can.
2. I'm your advocate. I'm looking out for your best interests, and I want to get you the best deal. I'm on your side in this process and we are a team.
3. I don't get paid a salary, or per house I show. I only get paid when you buy a house.
4. I'm making a commitment to you to share my time, expertise and market knowledge. I need you to make a commitment to me that I am your agent. (After a few showings or when it's time to write the first offer, this is when I bring out the buyer's agency agreement.)
5. If we work together, we can have a successful outcome.
The key point is this - Never forget that although we do this every day, not everyone does. It may seem simple to us, but to others it's not. Help your buyers understand how the process works - it's not just for your benefit, but for theirs.
About the Author: Kristina Pratt is a REALTOR® with Goshen Realty Group at RE/MAX Preferred Partners in Edwardsville, Illinois. She and Nancy Milton help their customers buy and sell homes and investment properties in St. Louis' Illinois suburbs of Madison and St. Clair counties with special emphasis on the communities of Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Maryville, Collinsville and Troy. For more information, visit their web site at http://www.GoshenRealtyGroup.com or e-mail Kristina@GoshenRealtyGroup.com