Buyers without Agents At Opens

Real Estate Agent with Real Living | At Home DC / MD / VA

"Please Respect Our Relationship"


I've scheduled an Open House in Mount Rainier, MD this weekend.

This afternoon, I get a email that says:

"I just wanted to let you know that I'm sending my client (and name) to your open house tomorrow. Please respect our relationship."

I responded, sure, thank you.  I didn't know the agent but even though the Washington DC market is big, it's not so big after all.  He acknowledges and thanks me, and then goes on to say that he lost a buyer like this a few months ago when the listing agent snagged his buyer at an Open.


There was likely some missing paperwork, but at the core, this was an unethical agent holding the Open.  It just doesn't make sense to me that someone can operate that way.  Rather than focus on that, I'll ensure this agent's client gets an extra special smile & welcome tomorrow.  That's how I'd like to be served as the consumer.



Posted by

Claude Labbe, Realty for Your Busy Life

Real Living | At Home
11 Dupont Circle #650
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 518-8781 bus / (703) 868-7774 mobile


Comments (59)

Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Claude, some agents believe if the buyer doesn't have a written agreement, they are fair game. We have a moral obligation to respect an agent's relationship and send the buyer back to their agent. What goes around comes around.

Jun 21, 2014 11:45 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Good, bad and inbetween ... like grading produce on a USDA scale. And agents, brokers, their set of ethics under the hanging, swinging bright lightbulbs over the grading table.

When you list, market, sell in a small rural market, all of that is gone. No sides drawn, no my buyer, your seller and delays in what you can and must wait for in communication ping pong.

The buyer wants drive through quick, now and if the "agent" looking out for them is on the bleaches at a little league game instead of touring a house, rut rho. Their priorities are admirable...but the relationship does not stop. We don't do open houses, our buyers are 8 states away and want us to on demand open house deliver to their front door. Videos make it work so so smooth. Help yourself. Late at night we're still open. May doze but never close.

Jun 22, 2014 12:35 AM
Jim Shaw
Premiere Plus Realty Co. - Naples, FL
Real Estate Sales Associate, Naples Luxury Real Estate

Hi Claude,

How do you know the other agent actually does have a business relationship with the people coming to to your open house?

I know of an agent who get's a phone call from a prospective buyer (never met the buyer) and during the call the buyer says they want to see a certain property.  The agent looks it up to see if there will be an Open House and if there is the agent either calls or emails the Listing Agent that his "Clients" will be attending!



Jun 22, 2014 01:05 AM
Vanessa Saunders
Global Property Systems Real Estate - White Plains, NY
From Manhattan to the Catskills of New York

Mutual respect for our fellow professionals should front and center of our business's a shame when a few bad actors spoil the the show.

Jun 22, 2014 02:12 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Claude- well done.  There's nothing but bad will and a bad reputation to be gained otherwise.  Being ethical and professional will come around in a positive way. 

Jun 22, 2014 03:36 AM
Pat Champion
John Roberts Realty - Eustis, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

I'm with you we treat others the way we want to be treated what goes around comes around. Have a good day.

Jun 22, 2014 03:46 AM
Graig Griffin, SIOR
Utah Advisors | Windermere Commercial - Salt Lake City, UT
Commercial Real Estate - Utah and Nevada

In commercial where we typically specialize this becomes tricky.  We see the same competitors over and over and work in a much more directly competitive environment with a much smaller pool of prospective clients.  We have to build the best industry relationships we can while still competing for those we want to represent. It's a tricky dance sometimes and it really makes sense to be respected and liked in the market so that when we compete and win, it falls under fair play.

Jun 22, 2014 03:50 AM
Carole Webb
Fairfax Realty Greenbelt - Bowie, MD
" Selling Prince George's County "

I agree you should treat others as you would want them to treat you. I will always respect the relationship and a call to let the agent holding the open house usually works out find.


Jun 22, 2014 04:14 AM
Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES

Claude I am very happy that we are in the same Real Estate Market. Knowing this,I hope that we can close many deals together. Happy Sunday to you. Great post.

Jun 22, 2014 04:45 AM
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

Dear Claude. Thumbs up. That's the sign of being a pro! I have no problems with a peer sending one of their clients over. I would welcome the 'customer' and give them extra special service as a matter of professional courtesy. Reputation goes a long way in our business.

Jun 22, 2014 04:51 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

This was a good gesture as buyers normally do not understand buyer's agency.

Jun 22, 2014 05:44 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

I will always respect another agent's client and will always ask first if they are being represented by another agent. There's no excuse not to do so, even if you can.

Jun 22, 2014 06:21 AM
Marc McMaster
RE/MAX Centre Realty - State College, PA
Putting my clients before myself

While I agree we shouldn't be snaking other agents clients at open houses it makes me wonder what the other agent was offering that the first agent wasn't to make them ditch the initial relationship. 

Jun 22, 2014 06:39 AM
Dan Dee McGinnis The Pumpkin Man
Berkshire Hathaway - Phoenix, AZ
The Pumpkin Man


thank you for sharing this educational and valuable post with us today

Jun 22, 2014 07:00 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Why would an agent who is hired to sell a home not cooperate with a buyers agent who takes the time to contact you and register their client. We are not builders who do their best to cut an agent out of the transaction, we all have to work together. It is not just ethics, it is simple professionalism.

I often have people come through an open house and tell me so and so is our agent, I will usually drop them a line afterwards and say, your client stopped by, hope they liked the house, let me know if you need any further information.

Jun 22, 2014 07:05 AM
Teral McDowell
Referral Patners LLC - Murphy, TX

There sure is lots of conversation here but you can you tell me why the buyer's agent didn't come with the buyer?

Jun 22, 2014 03:12 PM
Althea Kippes, Esq.
A.T. Kippes, Real Estate Broker - San Francisco, CA
Serving San Francisco to Silicon Valley!

My colleague went with her buyer client to an open house listed with another agent in our office.  The listing agent knew my colleague was representing this buyer, since they had discussed details in the office and she had seen both of them at the open house.  

After they went to the open house, they looked at several other properties.  The buyer then wanted to stop by the open house again just to check something.  She said it wasn't necessary for my colleague to go with her.  

At the open house, the listing agent talked to the buyer.  The listing agent implied that if she wrote the offer for the buyer, the buyer would have a better chance of getting the property.  The buyer decided to have the listing agent write the offer.

Needless to say, when my colleague found out about this, she was livid.  She had been working with this buyer for six weeks, showing properties every weekend.

What was most upsetting was how willing the listing agent was to "steal" the buyer, despite both of them being in the same office and the listing agent knowing my colleague represented the buyer.

Bottom line:  Never let your clients go to an open house unattended.  

Lesson learned:  Don't trust other agents.  Always look out for yourself.

Jun 22, 2014 07:54 PM
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

Sorry all, it's been a crazy week, end of  month and all. And a few responses now.

Firstly, to all who read and commented, thank you.

Mark (#30)  "The unethical don't care and never will." what profound wisdom.

Jim (#42) You are correct, and the core of the problem is if I trust the other agent to truly have a relationship with the buyer.  I'll submit that even if the agent came with the buyer in hand, that still doesn't truly prove they have a signed buyer agreement. It's all based on trust.

Lanre (#48) I'll have to keep my eyes on the lookout for you, and sure...send your buyer.

Teral (#55) The agent wasn't there because of a whole set of possible reasons.  Conceivably the agent has multiple clients and can't be at every open with every client at the same point.  I find myself become a pretzel some weekends, and I'll consider that was his problem too.

Nick/Trudy (#58) I love that strategy.  When a buyer goes through and gives me their agents name, that's a great way for me to reach out to the agent and provide more info, and often, get more discussion.  Evidently, you've figured that out too.

Jun 27, 2014 02:58 PM
Janis Borgueta
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley - Newburgh, NY
LIC RE Salesperson

I've had agents surprised when I've extended the courtesy. Seems that there are some vultures in my neighborhood. Oops! not good form for sure!

Jul 24, 2014 02:04 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I just had an open house where the family stopped by by accident( they noticed my open house signs), liked the property and decided to write the offer asap. Their agent had no idea that they shop the house, since they were back up buyers for another house in that area. Some clients are loyal, some not. If they respect relationship, they will disclose that they already work with another agent.

Sep 17, 2014 05:54 PM