If your real estate client is calling me, you are probably doing something really wrong.
Lately we are seeing a pattern of clients of other agents that I am in transactions with, calling me. In the last three months:
- One seller asked me if I had heard from their agent, because they can’t seem to reach them.
- Another seller asked if their agent relayed their response to our repair request, because they didn’t trust their agent.
- Last week an agent and their buyers from one of my listing transactions, were on a conference call with me. The buyers wanted advice on how to best proceed with their loan. Their agent was not as well versed on VA loans as I was.
- The craziest one is where the seller’s agent (a principal broker) asked me to meet with their clients at my office and do a contract signing. To make it even crazier, they wanted me to explain the contract to their client. What were they paying their agent for?
I know you are thinking they were limited service agents or discount brokers. That wasn’t the case, all were full service brokers. Maybe not yours or my idea of full service, but that is what was advertised.
If their client is calling me instead of their agent, they probably hired the wrong agent. Shame on their agent if they are not properly communicating with their client and giving them a great experience. You can be sure of one thing. Those clients will not be a source of repeats or referrals for that agent.
For me it is extremely uncomfortable. I have to walk on egg shells to be sure I do not say or do the wrong thing. It is easy to cross the line with the code of ethics in those situations. It can also increase my liability tremendously. On the other hand I also have to protect the interests of my clients, to ensure the transaction keeps moving to the finish line.
When contacted by the other agent’s client, I do a few things.
- Speak positively of their agent and recommend they call them.
- Be friendly and supportive.
- Keep the conversation as short as possible and professional.
- Contact the other agent and inform them of the call. I also update my client.
There are some clients that will just contact everyone, including the other agent no matter what their agent does. That hasn’t been the case the majority of the time.
If you are working with an agent and you do not feel things are going in the right direction and you have concerns about your representation, here are a few things you can do.
- Speak to your agent and let them know about your concerns. Give them the opportunity to correct the problem.
- Get their broker involved. Every real estate company has a managing broker or brokers. Their job is to oversee that activity of their agents and to protect the consumers.
- If your agent is a Realtor, call the local Board of Realtors. They offer Ombudsman service to help you resolve issues during and after the transaction. If they are unable to resolve the problem, they also offer mediation and arbitration, along with a professional standards committee. They will have a person, who can walk you through the process.
- If it becomes serious and is a legal issue, contact a local attorney for advice.
If you are on Oahu and looking for an agent who puts your needs first and will always respond to you. Give me a call. If you are in other parts of the country, we provide a Realtor® referral service that is free to you and can help pre-screen potential agents.