There's a trend in Houston, and I don't like it. More and more situations are being created to squeeze out the buyers agent. It's happening with home builders, inventory homes, existing homes and without question PRE-MLS properties.
Home Builders (1st place winner!)
A good portion of the home builders in the Houston area have their fair share of unethical practices. In fact, unlike Realtors, they have no industry Code of Ethics to which they are required to abide by. One minute they’re inviting us to parties and wine tasting events and the next they’re telling OUR buyers that if they show up without a Realtor they will pass on a huge savings to them. The only reason a builder would pay you to show up without a Realtor is to minimize losing even more money through negotiations. In addition, the builder wants ultimate control throughout a transaction, even if it doesn’t put the buyers best interest before their own. The contracts builders provide are nearly one sided and the last thing the want is contractual exposure or any other type of interference by a Realtor who knows not just the area, but the way a deal is supposed to goes down. And don't get me started on the builders "preferred Realtor, lender, or inspector of choice."
There are real estate brokers in town who not only suggest, but demand that their Realtors show their own listings to each and every buyer they do business with. Not only is this ridiculous, but it’s unprofessional and a waste of time. If my buyer is interested in a purple house with a green door then that is what I intend to find them. I do not try and steer buyers to my office listings when they don’t match what my buyer is looking for. I don’t drag my buyers to my office open houses to appease my broker or to appease another home seller. My buyer isn’t a prostitute. The day my broker demands I show an office listing is the day I pack my things and find a new office. Not all buyers are stupid. It won't take them long to figure out that your cramming your own listings down their throats.
Pre-MlS properties can have their place and they can be extremely productive if orchestrated with ethical intentions. There’s been numerous times when I used a “Coming Soon” rider on a real estate sign in the yard 3 weeks before I entered the home on the MLS – with the approval of the home owner.
It’s not uncommon to sit down with a seller who is ready to sell their home, but still needs 2-3 weeks to get the property prepared for showings. Many homeowners want to paint a room, declutter or rearrange some furniture. Why waste any time marketing? A sign out front could create a very nice interest list, especially in a market that is starved of inventory. Ethics are violated when a Realtor lists a home and deliberately does not put it on the MLS (without seller approval) for an extended period of time in hopes to “find the buyer or tenant” without the involvement of another Realtor. There has been discussion that during a lease it’s actually to the Landlord's benefit for the listing agent to “work both sides of the deal” in order to meet, learn and get to know a tenant on a more personal level. That school of thought is debatable.
Overwhelming statistical data supports that 9 out of 10 buyers who purchase a home do so with the assistance of a Realtor, especially when they begin their home search on the internet. And just about every buyer with a nose on their face does.
Yesterday a Realtor told me that “his boss” told him he had to be present for each and every showing that took place at his listing as this was the best way for the home to sell. In his Supervisors opinion, only one agent is necessary and the listing agent was the sales person, not the buyers agent. There are so many problems with this attitude & approach that it gives me a headache.