Accredited Buyer Representative Tina Plett

How Safe is your Private Listing from Real Estate Agents?

You’ve advertised your house For Sale By Owner.

Soon after, a real estate agent lands on your doorstep saying they have a buyer for you.

All you have to do is lock yourself into a listing contract, and the buyer will appear.

If you’ve ever agreed to sign based on that promise, you’ve also probably noticed that the elusive buyer never shows. Perhaps they conveniently changed their mind. Maybe they never existed.  Either way, you’re left empty handed, wondering if signing was the right thing to do.

Ever been there?

You’re not alone.

It’s an age-old tactic agents use to acquire listings. People easily fall for it, so the method continues to be used.

“But what if they really have a buyer? I don’t want to miss out!”

It’s true, they may have a buyer for you.   I let my buyers choose if they want to include private sales in their search. There are a lot of good agents who go to such lengths to seek out a property for their buyers. And they should be compensated for their effort. (No one likes working for free)

But here’s the thing – YOU certainly don’t need to fork over the entire listing with full commission!

Two Ways to Protect Yourself

You Can Offer the Agent a  Fee Agreement for Bringing a Buyer.

You want to sell, they want to be paid for working.

Both are great and make sense. Neither requires giving them the whole listing though.

Offering a set fee for bringing a buyer assures them you won’t swipe their contact (and paycheck) away from them if they do bring a buyer.

It also allows you to keep your private seller status, and saves you the cost of a full commission.


Sign for Only That Particular Client, or for a Specific Time

If the agent really has a buyer, they’ll be glad to be paid a commission for bringing their buyer. They did the work, and should be paid. They will gladly agree to a fee agreement.

If they balk, you can have a pretty good idea that they’re after the listing, not trying to bring a current, existing buyer.


*Please note that if you sell your house with the buyer’s agent that the buyer’s agent is representing the buyer and not representing you as a seller. You will still be legally responsible for your representation and documentation.

Tina’s personal thought. “If your goal is to sell and someone wants to buy it, then sell it. It does not make sense to turn away a sale in this market.” Negotiate a fee and start packing.


And, as always, if you know someone who is selling privately right now, share this with them!

Help them protect themselves, and save them a load of cash!



What Single Moms Can Do Now That Was Impossible Before

imageOnce upon a time I was a single mom, and didn’t own my own home. I could only rent, and it stunk. What stunk even more though, was that at the time, the culture was such that a single mom couldn’t really buy. They could be looked down on and judged, but to acquire a loan or mortgage was a hurdle too high for most.

But times have changed, and a single mother can now make a loan. I cannot tell you how excited I am to see a single woman buy a house on her own.

I recently had the honor of receiving three referrals, all of them single moms. I was so happy to help them find and buy a home. Having come through divorce and being a single mom, I know how hard it is. It means so much to me to help women get on their own feet, and to be part of the celebration of starting fresh. It’s especially rewarding to watch them take these steps if they’re coming from a difficult path – I understand the pain behind, and celebrate with them the newness ahead.

I’m so glad that the lending institutions and schools and workplaces are willing to acknowledge these mothers. They are single for different reasons, and ought not to be turned away just because of their singleness.  Back in my single mom days, I was led to believe I would never accomplish anything – that I would never have a rewarding career, or maintain a mortgage. It was a terrible label to slap on a woman.  Today though, these women are being validated – their money is as good as a man’s. Things are different than the generation I came from, and I LOVE to see that.  Even better than seeing it, I get to have a part in their reward and success by helping them find a home of their own.

Talk about job satisfaction.

Real Estate Secret #37: What You Can Authorize Your Agent To Do

pen money and open bookThere are a lot of little behind the scenes Real Estate secrets that most people just don’t know. Some we’ve already talked about, like the existence of hijackers and the legal way people can spend your money after they buy your house.  Today’s little secret is about what you can authorize your agent to do.

Did you know you can authorize your Real Estate agent to do all the negotiation for you – even counter offer or close the deal – without your input? And it can be a big relief, or a big problem if you don’t know how to handle it.

Why You Might Want To Give That Authorization:

*If you’re too busy to take phone calls or sign papers
*If you do not like making decisions and prefer someone else do it for you
*If you trust your agent implicitly with your life, finances, and decision about the home in which you live

Why You Might Not Want To Give That Authorization:

*You want to be involved in choosing your home and how much you will pay for it

I can’t think of any situation in which I would recommend handing this power over to the agent. (Conflict of interest much?) If there is inability to meet these demands or make these decisions, that’s what trusted family and friends are for. I do not recommend handing over authority. I also prefer not to work with clients who want to assign this authority to me. I want to work with clients, not make their decisions for them.

Scary Truth: Some agents assume this power without their clients’ knowledge.
It really upsets me when I bring an offer to an agent who immediately rips it open (that’s for the clients to do, not the agent), and then proceeds to dismiss the offer without presenting it to their client. They assume decision-making power, and their client never knows the offer they missed out on. (or, if they do find out, it’s far too late) It happens often, and it really, really bothers me. A lot. That’s why I write – to let you know what’s happening and hopefully equip you with ways to protect yourself.

How can you protect yourself?  Unfortunately there is little chance you’ll catch a sneaky agent. The best protection is found waaaay at the beginning of the process when you’re choosing them in the first place. Be careful. Study them. Test them. Find agents of integrity. (I can recommend several!) Awareness and wisdom are really your best protection.


Real Estate Negotiation For Buyers


Real Estate is a tough, competitive industry, whether you’re an agent, a buyer, or a seller. As happens in life, there are those with integrity and those without, and those motives impact your transactions whether you like it or not. For buyers to navigate these waters smartly, there are several vital tools to have on board, one of which is negotiation.

The best thing a buyer can do is get a professional in their corner to help them navigate these choppy Real Estate waters. An Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) is a sea captain, sail, and compass all in one. You’ll be informed, protected, and valued as a person. You’ll be served, not sold.

If you still plan to set sail on the high seas of Real Estate on your own though, I’d like to at least send you off with a few tips on Real Estate negotiation.  There are a lot of elements to negotiating, like drafting effective offers, collecting all the necessary information, and generally knowing what one needs to know.

Here are a few tips to get you headed in the right direction with your Real Estate Negotiatons.

Be Prepared: It’s More Emotional Than You Think

Buying and selling homes is a strange mix of business and personal. We’re buying and selling homes – places where families create memories and express themselves through décor – yet we are also negotiating a transaction. To walk the line between guarded browser and compassionate human being is tricky, tricky, tricky. (Which is probably why there is a whole industry assigned to mediate these deals)

Try to leave your emotions at the shore – don’t get attached to the house, the people, or your desire to compete.  Instead, look at it as “just a house” from your own purchasing perspective. The less emotionally attached you are, (while still respecting the emotions of others) the more logical and effective you’ll be in the process.

Risks, and Other Ways To Accidentally Cripple Your Transaction

This is where what you don’t know will bite you. You’re the swabby among captains. You’re outmatched, it’s that simple.  You won’t win with tactics, but with some knowledge and understanding, you might be able to defend yourself against the unforeseen.

Predators: One of the Risks Of Sailing Alone

5 Ways To Force A Sale In Any Market
9 Ways To Tell You’re Hiring A Bad Realtor

Ways To Accidentally Cripple Your Transaction

If this describes you during the buying process… you might want to make some course adjustments

Trying to be all powerful and stuff

Committing the Big Fat No-no

The Biggest House Hunting Mistake Buyers Make

Why agents will not “keep an eye out” for properties for you to buy

Other good advice

Don’t Call The Listing Agent

Interviewing an agent – What to Ask (and not ask)

These tips are helpful, but the safest, most effective (and painless) way to buy a house is with your own seasoned Captain of the high seas, and ABR.  Why? These are people who sought out specialized training in how to excellently represent buyers.

When you work with an ABR, you’ll be served, not sold. Your interests become their interests.
You can expect your ABR to:

  • Understand your specific needs and wants, and locate appropriate properties.
  • Preview and/or accompany you in viewing properties
  • Advise you in formulating your offer
  • Help you develop your negotiating strategy
  • Provide a list of qualified vendors (inspectors, attorneys, lenders, etc) for other services you may need
  • Keep track of every detail throughout the transaction-to-closing

When you have bought in the past, did you use an agent, or go it alone? 

Would you do it again?

Hijacker – A Real Estate Adventure

I’m doing something quite different today. This time I just want to tell you a story- a two part fictional tale set in the grand world of Real Estate.  Enjoy 🙂


Rain pelted the windshield as she sped down slick highways. She turned onto the gravel road, and slowed to maneuver around potholes and bump across wash-board patches. Even so, she arrived early at the little farmhouse her client wanted to see.


Ellie eyed the farmhouse as wipers continued to sweep the windshield. It was smaller than the other houses they’d seen – a lot older too. She opened a file folder and calculated how many hours they had spent looking at different houses – and they were different. They’d seen two new condos, two older bungalows, each in a different town, a log cabin in the boonies, a new build in the suburbs, and now this little farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. All these wildly differing homes did have one thing in common: research, driving, (oh, the driving!) and the actual showing itself, together took about 3 hours for each. She sighed at the math of it. As Celia’s car approached, Ellie tried to push from her mind the bills that needed paying, and focus instead on Celia and the farmhouse.


*          *          *

 tall-skyscraperThe next week, Celia set her sights on a two-storey house in the sticks. Her close friend Alexis insisted that they both go meet the listing agent, who happened to be Alexis’ REALTOR®. Not one to say no, Celia agreed. Now, as the two sat across from Gary in his huge office, Celia began to have doubts.

Celia shifted in the leather chair with an awkward squeak, and smiled sheepishly. Gary seemed to tower behind his desk. He leaned forward and grinned a wide, white smile. Even with her friend Alexis seated next to her, Celia felt small in his office, seated at the over-sized desk across from his looming frame. Alexis had been a client of Gary’s for years, and had insisted Celia come see him.
“Whatever questions you have about that property, Gary can answer them.” Alexis smiled, waving a hand across the desk in an oddly dramatic introduction. He waved and grinned.


“Thanks,” Celia offered a muted smile, “I don’t really have a lot of questions I guess. I really just wanted to look at the property, I-“
“-Absolutely!” Grinned Gary, checking his calendar, “When would you like to see it?”
“I’m already looking at properties with Ellie. I don’t know-“
“-I completely understand,” One palm clutched his calendar, and the other he pressed against the desk. He leaned forward, arching his tie, “Here’s the thing. That’s not going to work for the seller. They really only want me to show it, and don’t want other Real Estate Agents in their house, you know?” He smiled and cocked his head slightly to the side as one does when explaining the obvious. Alexis breathed a chuckle, and nodded in apparent agreement. Celia had never heard of such a thing, but wasn’t about to say so.


…Stay Tuned for Part II 


By the way – how would you respond in Celia’s position? 


The Intimacy of Real Estate


This job is so personal. We see the inside of people’s homes – from their bookshelves and master bedroom to how they and their children behave.  We act differently in our own homes than we do in public, don’t we? Real Estate agents get to see the inside of someone’s home and life like most people never will. We’re the outsider on the inside.

It’s a unique perspective to have.

There is so much pleasure in glimpsing the personal lives of people. Hang on – I`m not talking some kind of creepy voyeurism here. What I mean is that I love seeing those couples that joke with each other, and respect each other. It’s a joy to watch their children play together, help each other, and be awesome. (The opposite of how movies and commercials depict children.) I also delight in the whole process of helping these wonderful people find their dream home.

The thing about pleasure though, is that it often mixes with pain. Sometimes what`s behind the scenes is painful. Homes get sold because of divorce, death or financial desperation. People struggle so hard sometimes, and it’s difficult to watch -especially from that up-close view we get sometimes. Those are the moments I sometimes wish I didn`t care, and could heartlessly go about the business of buying and selling.

Do you ever wish you could stop feeling pain? If so, I just want to encourage you with what helps me in those moments. It`s okay to feel sad. More than that, it`s actually necessary  -how would we know joy without sorrow? They are inseparable.

“And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?”

-Khalil Gibran, “On Joy and Sorrow

What also helps is, after I give myself permission to feel the sadness of it, I then make myself find the joy. What am I thankful for or glad about. And I move forward with both tucked in my heart. If you are discouraged or sad this week, know it`s okay. Sad is allowed.

The secret is not to stay there.


What helps you step out of sadness?


Serving the Homeless



I pulled into the parking stall and walked toward the restaurant. I was about to meet with my buyers to write an offer on their first home. As I approached the building, I noticed a couple seated on the curb. I wondered if maybe they were  hungry. Maybe they were homeless. As I neared though, I recognized the couple – they were my buyers.

“Excuse me,” I called to them with a smile, “You look homeless – would you like to buy a house?”
They laughed, (I’m so glad they get my humor) and together we went in and signed, all smiles.

It got me thinking though. I joked that they were homeless, but technically, they were! They were about to buy their first home. It reminded me of my time volunteering at a homeless shelter in Winnipeg. It was years ago, but I still remember the joy of interacting with guests and working with caring volunteers.  I also remember the fear and sadness in the faces of those with no home. We all need a home.

There is something about having a place to call your own. The difference between renting and owning is staggering. As a long-time renter turned home-owner, I know. It changed the way I live. Lifestyle change aside, the permanence of home ownership also gave me a sense of safety and belonging.

I love being able to help others – especially first-time home buyers -step into that new lifestyle, and experience that pride and safety. It’s a beautiful thing to escape homelessness, whatever the form, and I’m so glad to have a part in making that happen.



The Key To My Success in 3 Industries


I’ve been a reflexologist. I’ve also been a hairdresser. Check out my handiwork here.


Sweet eh? Hey, it was the 80s. That was high style at the time, okay?

Even back then, I was sought for my quality customer service. Clients stayed loyal, and were like friends – they shared their hearts with me, and I took seriously the responsibility of speaking into their lives.

My clients at the salon did not necessarily know I was having a bad day. My reflexology clients were unaware that I was going through some rough times at home. Our time together was about them. I put myself aside to serve. That is customer service. It’s sadly becoming a rare thing, this serving attitude. But, good news for us who win clients by going the extra mile – there is not alot of competition at that level, but there is a whole lot of customer loyalty. But we have to work to get there.

It doesn’t seem to matter what industry a person works in, principles of stellar customer service apply. The kingpin though – the thing that holds it all together – is consistency.

Anyone can give fabulous service to a customer once. Everyone can serve happily and willingly when they feel great and their customers are easy to love. But when service becomes inconvenient, or the clients are unlikeable, most businesses (and their staff) forget about customer service.

What does this look like practically?


Do what you say you’re going to do. Every time.


When you’re on the clock, put your client’s needs above your own. Every time. Even when it’s inconvenient.


Give the same level of service to all clients. Ugly, beautiful, smelly, rural, city, rich, poor, foreign, … doesn’t matter. Treat them well. Consistently.


For me, the most difficult time to do this is when a difficult client demands the extra mile. I give it, but it’s a whole lot easier to serve someone appreciative, isn’t it? But in the interest of consistency – integrity really – I do it. And I do it with a smile on my face.


What’s the hardest thing about being consistent with your clients?
What can you change to improve your level of consistency?


What Do Real Estate Agents Do?

Real Estate Agent What I do photo

9 Things Real Estate Agents Don’t Know

Don't know
I like that people think I’m awesome and have access to all knowledge related to the property we’re looking at. Being put on a pedestal has its pleasantness. But in the end, people fall off of pedestals. You need to know the truth.

When you are touring houses with your agent, definitely ask questions. Find out everything you can about the property. That’s just prudent. But don’t be surprised when your agent doesn’t know some things on the spot. She may need to look them up or consult with a professional. Because the truth is, there are things Real Estate agents don’t know.

9 Things Real Estate Agents Don’t Know:


  1. Furnace components. Their age, brand, reliability- even their names and locations- may all be a mystery to your agent. We know where the furnace is and can tell if it’s old. Plumbing and Heating 101 was not in our training manual.
  2. Concrete. Age, density, or techniques used to pour are all gibberish to me. I’ll be passing your concrete related questions to a specialist
  3. Location of all light switches in every property. Nope. I really don’t. Sorry.
  4. Whether there is condensation in the attic. I know. It’s surprising that I wouldn’t poke around in the attic and moisture test the insulation. I do a lot of things, and go above-and-beyond like crazy, but that is not a REALTOR® thing. It’s a home inspection thing.
  5. What kinds of bacteria are in the water. Banks often require a water test for financing, and it is a necessary thing to be aware of, but I don’t have that knowledge on hand during the showing. Water tests are done later.  As part of the financing process.
  6. How many nests are in the chimney. I rarely walk on a roof, and never do so in heels. Home inspections (by professional home inspectors) should cover this.
  7. Whether the roof trusses are constructed and attached as they should be.
  8. To what degree the water is rusty.
  9. When the house was first built, by whom, and what building codes they did and did not follow at the time.

There might be a few more things Real Estate agents don’t know,  I just don’t know what they are right now.
What else would you add to the list? (Did any of these surprise you?)

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