Whenever you go into another office's listing, follow the code of ethics. Respect the other broker's agency as you'd want them to respect your agency at your listings.
Whether you are viewing the home for a buyer you are already representing, or just trying to keep up with the inventory in your chosen territory, the most important thing to remember is your professional image.
You need to gear your visit with the homeowner to leave behind two things:
(1) your business card, and
(2) a powerful, positive image of your business ethics.
Sometimes you'll be sorely tempted to let the sellers know how much better off they'd be with you and your firm than with the one they listed with. But if you yield to that temptation even with nothing more than a raised eyebrow at some strategic moment -- you're not only being unethical and unprofessional, you're also being stupid. When you're in another agent's listing, keep your eyebrows straight and your thoughts pure. Let no criticism of the other firm, or praise of your own, escape your lips. Never forget that when you're there, you personify the entire profession. Anything you do that harms the other agent harms the entire profession, yourself included.
Don't take this lightly. Unethical conduct, if allowed to feed on itself, will quickly take over in an area. Only you can stop that cancerous growth. If any of this unprofessional conduct is directed at you, don't respond by lowering yourself to that level. Both in the short run and over the long haul, the way to beat the unprofessionals is to be more professional yourself.
The rules and code of ethics vary from one real estate board to another. Find out what these are in your area and follow them exactly. In many cities, you are forbidden by the rules and ethics of your local professional organization to drive over and inspect a property listed in the MLS unless you call the listing agent first and obtain his or her permission.
Michael Carter Realtor Greenville, SC