If you read my latest post about the Biggest House Hunting Mistake you’re probably wondering what kind of advice I give exactly when I say “don’t call the listing agent”. Did I really mean that I don’t want people to call me when I’m the listing agent? Yes and no… allow me to clarify.
Yes, Call the Listing Agent When…
– They are your agent already
– The agent is someone you know and trust
– You’re willing to be represented by that agent (remembering that they represent the seller too)
– You haven’t called any agent yet. About anything.
No, Don’t Call the Listing Agent When…
– You have no intention of buying or selling with that agent
– You have an agent already
– You have already called another agent with even one question (read why here)
– You do not want the listing agent (who represents the seller’s interests) to represent you too.
– The agent is not of good reputation
If, according to these lists, you shouldn’t call but do anyway, it creates opportunity for chaos. It invites trouble for you, the agents, and others too.
For example, if you call the listing agent even though you have a REALTOR® you usually work with (perhaps because you’re trying to be ‘helpful’ and not waste your own agent’s time), here’s what happens:
a) you waste the time of the listing agent.
b) you compromise the commission of your own REALTOR® by establishing an “Implied Relationship” with the listing agent (do you really want to make your REALTOR® beg and fight to get paid for working for you?
c) the chances of litigation go up (see below)
Conversely if you call ‘when you should’, the agent you hire does not have to fight for their commission, and there is clarity about who is representing who and what their motives are.
One more thing – at the workshop I’m attending, we learned this shocking statistic. Of all the Real Estate litigation cases, 53% are where the agent represents both the buyer and seller. An additional 33% of those cases arise when someone from the same brokerage represents the other party. That’s 86% of legal actions taken when there is joint representation. (Does that make you as a buyer prefer your own representation?)
I know I’m really hitting this point hard but, like I said, it is the BIGGEST mistake house hunters make. One phone call or email legally creates an ‘implied relationship’ between you and the REALTOR®. Do yourself (and everyone else) a favor – think before you call.