I belong to a lot of Realtor Forums and I feel like lately, they have been inundated with stories of friends or family who said they would use a Realtor and then at the last minute used someone else to buy or sell a house.
This, unfortunately, is part of the fabric of real estate.
There is no single reason that this happens, but over the years, I have assembled a list of reasons that I believe contribute:
- We work odd hours, including nights and weekends, and often from home, so our friends and family don't necessarily see us in a 'professional' setting.
- Everyone knows 5-10 people, personally, who are Realtors.
- Few consumers understand how we are paid. Since most professionals earn a salary, I believe a lot of consumers don't understand that if we are independent commission based contractors. If we are not at the closing table, we are not paid anything. Those hours spent searching for and showing homes mean nothing but out-of-pocket costs to us unless they buy from us.
- People get squeamish about their friends and family knowing their true financial situation. This s just a fact!
- Many folks see real estate as a hobby and assume that we do, too (exacerbated by item #1). HGTV has done a lot to promote this idea that buying and selling is a fun game/challenge.
- They don't know that we pay for EVERY SINGLE THING: gas, mileage, search sites, websites, lockboxes & keys, multiple list service, and on and on (some may get websites from their brokerage, but they still pay the brokerage in one manner or another).
- I think we are less likely to ask a trusted friend or family member to sign a Buyer Agency agreement. After all, we trust them.
- As professionals, we might 'back off' and give friends or relatives more space than we would another client. That space becomes a void and they fill it with another, more attentive, professional.
Unfortunately, for those of us who treat the business of real estate as a serious profession, these last minute agent swaps can be devastating, both personally and financially. As professionals, we need to step back, brush off, pick ourselves up and get back out there and find new clients. But we also need to do some soul searching and evaluating to see if we, in any way, contributed to the change of heart.
I made this a public post because I think it is valuable for the public to see how going with a different agent for the purchase can really devastate a Realtor who thought they were working for you. If it helps just one person to understand I will feel like my job is done!