Last night I participated in a lively discussion here on the Rain about whether or not to require buyer pre-approval and/or a buyer agency agreement prior to showing a home. The author of the blog and most of the commenters agreed that it's a waste of time to work with a buyer who does not have a pre-approval stamped to his forehead and/or hesitates to sign a buyer agency agreement upfront.
Such discussions always rile me up and I couldn't help myself from approaching rudeness on someone else's blog (sorry). But I have to ask myself... are real estate agents in today's market So Darn Busy with qualified buyers and motivated sellers that they need to actively turn away those who show up at their doors looking for help? Wow! As I always say in these situations - I LOVE a full pipeline! Send ‘em my way! I'll take great care of them and probably sell them a house eventually... as well as to all their friends through the years. And I'll be happy to pay you a referral fee.
I have used the services of many real estate agents in my lifetime and I promise you that if any of them had shown more interest upfront in my financial qualifications than in my housing needs, I'd have found someone else ... who showed me the respect I think I deserve. And I certainly would not be interested in obligating myself to anyone I barely know. Oooooh, I get bristly just thinking about it.
I submit that many agents are chasing away perfectly good buyers who are 100% sincere in their desire to purchase a house -- and are likely perfectly well qualified to do so. But with these disrespectful efforts to tie them down, all they're accomplishing is sending them elsewhere... fulfilling the prophecy that buyers are liars and confirming the belief that stronger "rules" are needed in the future.
I disagree. I believe that this approach simply irritates buyers, so they look elsewhere for more respectful assistance. I have to wonder if spending time with a buyer without a hint of obligation or pressure might be a much better use of time than fussing so much over whether or not they're worthy of a little time?
Relationships take time. There's no way you can know upfront if a buyer will buy, regardless of the pieces of paper they bring with them or are willing to sign. If an agent can't afford the $20 in gas or the two hours of time it might take to create some trust and rapport, then by all means, he'll probably do better referring his potential clients out. And please don't forget - we get serious paychecks when someone buys. Our paychecks more than offset the risk of a little gas money and time.
My friends, most buyers are not liars... Most buyers have better things to do than waste our precious time. Their time is precious, too. They simply want to be treated kindly, and with RESPECT.
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