Reasons to Stop Repeating Are You Working With an Agent?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold DRE #00697006

Agents just think of it sometimes as that hard question nobody wants to ask. It's personal, too. Plus, they might not want to hear the answer. I think that's why some agents say, Sure, I'll show you that house. Meet you there in 10 minutes. Without a moment's hesitation. Then, they show up and the buyer says, "Hey, I thought you were the listing agent. Thanks for driving over here for nothing."

So the agent slaps her head, blaming herself: darn, if I had just asked the stupid question I could have avoided this. But the problem is the way an agent asks the question. Nobody should ever ask: are you working with an agent? That is a set up for direct failure. There is a better question to ask that serves the same purpose.

You can read more in my personal blog today at this link: Sacramento Agents Should Never Ask if a Home Buyer Has an Agent.

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elizabeth weintraub



Weintraub and Wallace Realtors



Elizabeth Weintraub reviews




Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to


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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

You have an intersting take on this. It never would have occurred to me that people would feel embarrassed not to have an agent.

Sep 21, 2018 02:03 PM #22
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

There are always alternatives to almost anything, however, a direct approach IMO about this question works for many agents but another question may be as effective, so it depends, doesn't it on how comfortable an agent feels about their position?

Sep 22, 2018 02:36 AM #23
Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

A current client of mine was "working with" 4 agents because she kept calling those "suggested" on websites. I was the 5th she called. To my mind, she was not "working with" an agent, she had no written agreement with any of them. And we went out and found the home she is closing on next I found for her and not any of the ones she had seen before. Did I break the "code of ethics"...not in my mind.

Sep 22, 2018 07:07 AM #24
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® You're not breaking the Code of Ethics unless the buyer indicates they have a relationship with another agent and you try to change that relationship. Which you're not doing. Sounds like this buyer shopped around and found an agent who said, "Hey, stop shopping. Work with me."

Sep 22, 2018 09:27 AM #25
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Love your positive approach to asking if someone is working with an agent.  I typically go ahead and answer questions until they get technical.  Then ask if they have someone who has helped them that they feel is good at helping them with their needs.  It fits in a conversation and doesn't put them on the spot.  Great post! 

Sep 22, 2018 02:54 PM #26
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


                                    Thank you, Elizabeth. 

Sep 22, 2018 05:52 PM #27
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Elizabeth- - - thank you for the perspective of the age old theory.  It's all about the discussion and any resulting conversation. 

Sep 23, 2018 08:29 AM #28
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Michael Jacobs Nice to see you, Michael. Hope things are going well for you.

You know, I think half of the problem with the "conversation" is some agents are too nervous sometimes and overly self-conscious to truly engage with a prospective client.

Sep 23, 2018 08:35 AM #29
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Elizabeth- - -that may be correct. Afterall, some people need a script to have a conversation,  don't they?

Sep 23, 2018 08:41 AM #30
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Elizabeth -It all goes to style of asking and conversation  -bottom line is asking questions --lots of clicking going on here

Sep 23, 2018 09:55 AM #31
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Absolutely! And when you ask a closed question such as "Do you have an agent," then the answers can only be yes or no. And many will say no just to keep you off their scent.


Sep 23, 2018 01:31 PM #32
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Thank you, Elizabeth. I just wonder how many Realtors actually ask this question in my area :)

Sep 23, 2018 03:44 PM #33
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

Yes, this question is drilled into agents heads. Who could say no to the way your question is worded? I prefer to ask "Do you have an exclusive buyers agreement?" 9 times out of 10, they'll ask "what's that?"

Sep 23, 2018 04:10 PM #34
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Well, I am not shy.  I ask in a multitude of different ways. Even then, spoiler alert, some people claim to not have an agent and they do. 

Sep 23, 2018 04:28 PM #35
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

It is part of our Code of Ethics and should be asked right at the beginning. There are better ways to phrase it to get a true answer.

Sep 23, 2018 05:48 PM #36
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

You don't have to twist my arm with this one Elizabeth. Your method should open the door to many more successes. Well said! Here via Kathy Streib 

Sep 23, 2018 07:45 PM #37
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

I like to ask, "Who is your agent?" because if they do have one, they usually blurt the name out without thinking about it. If I said, "Do you have an agent?" they seem to be more likely to say no, even if it's not true.

That being said, your suggestion takes the question in a different direction. Great point!

Sep 24, 2018 12:20 PM #38
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Awesome post, great idea to switch this statement up

Sep 24, 2018 08:02 PM #39
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Kathleen Daniels If I get that inkling, I also ask in a different way. I explain in an assertive manner that if we show them the house, we are representing them and writing the offer. Adding, they cannot ask another agent to help them to buy this house, just in case they still don't understand.

You'd be amazed at how fast they suddenly remember they have an agent.

Sep 25, 2018 08:21 AM #40
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR

Interesting perspective Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents .  I've asked, are you working with an agent, but I can see why your way is better.  I'm asking a yes or no question.  Kat Palmiotti 's suggestion was a good one too.  Guess I'll have to rephrase my question.  Thanks for the great tip!


Sep 26, 2018 07:41 PM #41
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