Letting the Cat Out of the Bag ... Office Chat & Confidences

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

Love to go to the office.  I have an office within our real estate office.  For me, it is a place of serious work and a convenience to meet clients and have all my files, equipment at my finger tips.  It gives me a separation from home and a better atmosphere for my assistant to work as well. 

Being in the office also has the advantage of being around other agents and interacting.  There is a proper time and place for quick visits.  One disadvantage is watching what is said and being on my guard not to improperly visit regarding a client.  When hiring my assistant that was a discussion I had with her as well.  In innocence, during a conversation, one could easily give out confidential information.  You must always be on your toes not to slip.  I know because I hear it from others all the time.  Simple statements like, "I'm so frustrated with my client because I told them their home is priced too high and they are upset at the lack of showings"  Guess what, I now know that the listing is overpriced so any buyer I represent and show that home that conversation will be recalled.  Or the comment about the seller is going through a divorce and is now very motivated.  Again, unless the seller said broadcast my motivation there is no permission given for that information.   Also the spirit of friendship in the office may tend to make negotiations involving your friendship a little too friendly where suggestions of the seller or buyer will act a certain way is divulged. 

Office chat can cause ethic violations when no one really intended to act against their responsibility.  The key is to always keep in mind who you represent, that even your friends do not get inside or confidential information, and that you must always be professional.  Never utter what you do not want spread around like the Grapevine. 

I still love being in the office.  I just keep my cards close and don't expose my hand (OK I'm from Texas and play poker, secret out).

Comments (11)

Jim Crawford
Maximum One Executive REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR

Great post.  That is why I choose to wrok from home.  There are too many distractions at the office, besides, no one walks into the office anymore looking for a Realtor.

Feb 04, 2009 09:56 AM
Roseann Annis
Prudential Homesale Services Group - Camp Hill, PA

Connie, you are right on target.  We must wear our agent/representative/advocate caps at all times. I l like your poker analogy. Great blog!

Feb 04, 2009 09:59 AM
Dinah Lee Griffey
Windermere Peninsula Properties - Allyn, WA
Managing Broker Windermere Peninsula Properties

That is a great point we should all keep in mind EVERYDAY-Dinah Griffey

Feb 04, 2009 10:17 AM
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Connie, I love being at the office, sometimes. I did, however, move my work area to the farthest back corner so that I wouldn't be in an area where "mindless chatter" would keep me from getting things done. You're right it's very easy to slip and say something you shoulding. My assistant has also been very well instructed not to have any client conversations with anyone but me.

Feb 04, 2009 10:18 AM
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

Hi Connie, Our office is very small and open and most of our agents work out of their home offices for the majority of the time.  It can be difficult to carry on conversations on the phone with so many people trying to do their thing in a small space.  But most of us do stop by the office once a day, and sometimes sharing a problem can help work out a solution, but it is extremely important to keep confidences.  I am a retired attorney, so I am more sensitive than most to keeping privileged information to myself.

Feb 04, 2009 10:43 AM
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Good alert re the confidentiality aspects of our business.   

Feb 04, 2009 11:26 AM
Sharla Sossamon
Keller Williams Realty Red Stick Partners - Gonzales, LA

Tell Me about it!!

Feb 05, 2009 01:14 AM
Sylvie Conde
Sutton Group-Associates Realty Inc., Brokerage - Toronto, ON
Broker, Toronto Real Estate

This is a great reminder about chatting at the office (or maybe not chatting at the office).  I don't go there often, because I have a home office, but when I do, I'm always surprised at how much information some people are willing to give away.

Feb 05, 2009 05:15 AM
Larry Riggs
Century 21 Redwood - Frederick, MD
GRI, SRS Your Frederick County Specialist

Connie,

     Very true. I keep my office door closed most of the time. Other agents know they're welcome to knock and, If I'm not in the middle of something, they can come in. I have one to add to that. I am the immediate past president of our board. I found out the hard way that, when you're in leadership, nothing is "off the record". I evidently upset an intern at our local paper so he did a rather nasty story on me, misrepresenting some of my statements and posted a link to my blog site  in the online version of the paper. I was shocked by the vicious responses I got. Most referenced his story rather than actually reading my blogs. We are always in the public eye. In a way it's a pain but responsibility is part of leadership.

PS also learned that there are some people who just sit and wait to be offended. Fortunately they're in the minority.

Feb 06, 2009 02:04 AM
Trey Thurmond
BCR Realtors - College Station, TX
College Station , Texas Homes

Connie

You make some terrific points.  I can't stand it when a loud mouth, or an innocent starts discussing his or her transactions in a public setting ...you never know who is listening.

Feb 06, 2009 10:09 PM
Tom Boos
Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Providing the very best of service to Sellers and

Hey Connie:  You are SO right.  One "slip of the lip" could easily put your client at a disadvantage in the event an office colleague wrote an offer after learning compromising information regarding your listing.  Good advice here!

Mar 07, 2009 01:55 AM