When I was a broker in D.C. , Maryland and Virginia, I refused to search listings, make appointments and load buyers into my car to show them properties unless they signed an exclusive agreement for me to represent them.
Call me arrogant, but I wouldn’t even show them property in one of those three areas, say Washington, if they told me they wanted to work as well with another broker who they already had met in Virginia.
Perhaps you can sympathize with my reasoning.
Unless a buyer was willing to be loyal to me, I could be stuck working many hours and providing considerable expertise for nada, nothing, zilch. I would explain that they wouldn’t donate their time to their employers and that I wouldn’t either. Almost always, my clients understood. Or went away.
After I moved back to the Big Apple, I was in for a shock: It is not the custom here for buyers to sign agreements with their brokers. I never asked for one, never, therefore, obtained one and occasionally paid the price for tending to expect the best from individuals.
Unsurprisingly, I’ve often been disappointed, and an article in the Real Deal a while back made clear that such disappointment has less to do with me than with the buyers. (I’d like to think so anyway.)
According to the monthly publication, more and more agents say buyers with whom they have worked – often for months at a time – are cutting them out of the transaction when it’s time to pay the commission. Said the Real Deal:
In a declining market, they say, buyers are fixated on paying the lowest price possible, and many think the seller will give them a better deal if they aren’t represented by a broker. Moreover, in a market where buyers expect rock-bottom prices, they’re more likely to be disappointed with a broker’s performance in still-expensive New York City.
Only occasionally will a seller have to pay less of a commission to the listing broker if the buyer is unrepresented and a special provision has been written into the listing contract; it is not the buyer who benefits from that situation. In any case, it is the broker who benefits (and the seller, if the commission is reduced): He or she doesn’t have to split the commission with the buyer’s representative.
And bear in mind, the listing broker is charged with looking out for the seller’s best interests, not his or her own and certainly not the buyer’s. (Of course, that commission check is too often the listing broker’s highest priority, to the exclusion of anyone else’s.)
Wouldn’t everyone be better off if the convention here were the same as virtually everywhere else in the country? I think so.