You need to know this secret. It’s the biggest house hunting mistake, and well-meaning people make it all the time. I do mean all the time. House hunters don’t even know this one decision they make can cause chaos for themselves and among REALTORS®. House hunters also don’t realize that this one simple decision can cost hard working people thousands of dollars, essentially robbing them of their pay check.
You won’t believe what it is. Are you ready? The biggest mistake is to call the listing agent. (I told you you’d never guess…) How can that very common, normal act cause such chaos, right? Isn’t that what people are SUPPOSED to do?
Why Not To Call
1. They’re Not On Your Side!
The listing agent represents the SELLER. Their whole purpose is to SELL that particular house, and it doesn’t matter to whom. Their goal (as it should be) is to sell for the highest price. It is NOT their goal to get you a great deal or even the kind of house you want. They don’t represent you, they represent the seller. I’ve seen A LOT of buyers suffer remorse after caving under pressure from the selling agent. Happily, it’s completely avoidable – just don’t call the listing agent!
2. Your phone call “Implies a Relationship”
This is the hugest secret! It doesn’t impact you much, but it sure causes chaos for every agent who ever spoke to you – even if you’ve had a long-standing relationship with them! Basically, this is a rule for REALTORS® that whoever first established a ‘relationship’ with a buyer is the one entitled to the commission. A phone call or email is enough to legally “imply” a relationship.
Think about it –if you phone a listing agent, and then phone ‘your’ agent to make an offer, the agents now have to duke it out for commission. ‘Your’ agent could do all the work, invest the time, serve you well, and the the person you first called could steal away the commission because of your phone call which ‘implied relationship’. This is how it works. this is especially true when you view the home with one agent and write an offer with another! (Ever notice how, if you call a Real Estate company, they will ask if you’ve already spoken to someone in the office? This is why.) If you already work with an agent, do them a favour – call them first!
3. You Don’t Need To
Your agent – the one representing YOUR needs and goals – can show you ANY property. Listing agents do not have ‘special access’ and you do not need to get their permission, REALTORS all have access to MLS listings. Also, your agent welcomes you to call them. It is not a waste of their time as some worry. What might be a waste of their time is calling a host of other agents (listing agents) and then coming afterward to get your agent to do all the work, risking that they might not get paid because of all the many ‘implied relationships’ made.
I know it’s counter-intuitive, with all the ‘call me’ signs at driveway ends, but seriously – resist the urge! Please call one agent – your agent – to work for YOU. Get YOUR agent to represent YOU as you search for that perfect property. It will keep your interests protected, and also guard your hard working agent against having to duke it out for a pay check.