A Consumer Asked: Can I have more than one agent?
Hmm... The short answer: Maybe, but not if you're *my* client.
But let's back up a bit. When you begin working with an agent, there's an important discussion that should be had - right up front. It's about the difference between being a client and a customer. (Yes, there is a legal difference.) If it's determined that you will hire that agent to be your agent, then you will likely be asked to hire them exclusively. This means you will be asked to pledge your loyalty (in writing via a contract called a listing agreement or buyer/tenant agency agreement) to work with that agent, and only that agent, to help you with your real estate need (be it buying, selling or renting).
I admit I always laugh a little when we talk about loyalty in a brokerage agreement... it feels a little like asking a guy to go steady; except it's one sided: "I don't want you to see other girls. But, I will be seeing other guys." Doesn't sound fair, but let me finish:
You see, REALTORs do not get paid by the hour, for their effort, for their gas, or the many tools that are required to do the job sufficiently. Together, these things cost thousands of dollars every year. We only get paid if we are successful in helping someone buy, sell, or rent a property. As a result, it seems unfair for you to work with more than one REALTOR, since - unless you're planning to rent, buy, or sell more than one place - only one REALTOR can get paid for the job.
On the other hand, when you ask us to help you buy, sell, or rent a property, you're not guaranteeing us payment... You're just representing that you are ready, willing and able. So, we can't only spend time with you... If we want to pay our own mortgages next month, we will have to have more than one client.
It is for that reason, that the REALTOR community has established rules that prohibit us from "stealing" another agent's client. If you have a written agreement with another agent/brokerage, there are legal and ethical issues that prohibit me from being able to work with you while that agreement is in place.
It is also for that reason that I only work with people who are working exclusively with me and no other agent. I'll post more about agency later. But since I got this question twice today, I thought it was an important post. I hope it makes things seem a little more reasonable to you the next time an agent tries to explain to you how they work, and why they work exclusively.
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