The Brother-In-Law Syndrome.

Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart SA541769000

Most real estate agents work hard for their clients. Their mission is to help the client, regardless of whether the client is a buyer or seller, to make the best deal possible. As a commissioned professional the agent generally does not get paid until the sale closes, which means no sale, no pay. It is very frustrating when you work hard to make a sale and something goes wrong to deter that sale.

There could be any number of reasons why an agent doesn’t get paid regardless of how much effort they put into the sale, but one of the more exasperating situations is one that I like to call “The Brother-In-Law Syndrome” or BILS. BILS occurs when a buyer contacts an agent indicating their desire to purchase a home in their area.

The agent believing they are acting in the buyer’s best interest spends a considerable amount of time researching homes, helping the buyer obtain financing and in general educating the buyer on the market. They often spend a lot of time and money driving them all over town until they find the perfect home. The buyer upon finding the perfect home, then calls their Brother-In-Law (or some other close friend) who has a real estate license, but no real expertise, to handle the sale.

While there is no known vaccine to prevent BILS and probably no cure, agents can help protect themselves from BILS by screening the client more thoroughly. Even using an employment contract, sometimes called Buyer/Broker Agreement, only provides limited protection for an agent because litigation can be costly and uncertain.

If you are afflicted by BILS, it is probably not fatal. The symptoms of BILS are easily treated, most often by joining with another well-qualified buyer or even better, by securing a new clean property listing. The after-effects of BILS will soon fade, so it is best to accept it and move on.

Hopefully, with a little luck, you will develop an immunity to the Brother-In-Law Syndrome because I do not see a cure coming anytime soon.


Joseph Domino sells fine homes and land in the Phoenix/Scottsdale metro area. He is available 24 hours a day at Want to read more about Arizona real estate or enjoy more of Joe's words of wisdom? Visit Joe’s real estate blog From The Outside Looking In


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MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
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My solution is to offer to partner with the BIL or other friend who has a real estate license, but no real expertise, to handle the sale.

Oct 23, 2017 03:28 PM #1
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