27 April 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Would you go to work for free?

I was in a phone conversation a few weeks back with a person who had contacted me about viewing one of my listings that was for sale.

Originally the prospective buyer had emailed me from some web marketing I was doing about the property and had asked if he could come view the condo I had for sale at 12:30pm that day (I had received his email at 11:15am same day).

When I replied back, certainly…but first I would need to gather some information (experienced Realtors call this qualifying a prospect) upfront before we could go out and see the place.

Here are the three questions I had asked of the buyer:

  1. Are you currently working with a realtor in your search for a home and are you currently signed up with any brokerage under a Buyers Representative Agreement with anyone? (FYI- all Realtors must ask this question to determine agency relationship and potential liability issues)
  2. If you haven’t signed a B.R.A. you would need to do so ONLY regarding this one property and the contract time would be for a 1 day period (will go into further explanation on this) and our agreement would only apply to the property we were viewing
  3. How long have you been looking for a home and have you been pre-qualified by a bank or mortgage professional?

Three simple but necessary questions to help me ascertain if this prospect is someone qualified and serious about viewing this property or not? I should also mention that whenever I do have a web lead/sign call/lead contact me in situations like this I ALWAYS have them sign up as a “customer relationship” and not a “client relationship”. This way I can look after my clients interests first (my seller) and the buyer can still view the property without feeling the obligation that I will have to be their agent.

Back to the buyer who emailed me…

His reply was “no I am not working with an agent” and “no I will not sign anything” and finally “don’t worry about me…I can afford the place”.

I understand the hesitancy for some people in signing documents so I had asked him to call me to further discuss and maybe I could better explain my reasoning in doing so. When he called I could tell by his tone immediately that he was on edge and as he pushed hard in asking me to just let him see the condo, there was no interest in all from his side on why I wanted answers to my three questions.

I declined his request and stated why…that I was under signed obligation by the seller to market and only show the property to qualified interested buyers and then assured him once again that I was in no way interested in becoming his agent (and pointed out that he doesn’t need to have an agent but regardless still needs to sign the B.R.A. claiming customer representation). His final reply was that he was not interested in working with an agent (he obviously wasn’t listening to a word I said) and then we parted ways.

Thirty minutes go by and do I not get a call from an agent (yes you guessed right) asking me if I wouldn’t mind showing his client the condo today at 12:30 as he could not because he was unavailable. Now I have done this in the past for agents who I at least have a vague idea of who they are and only if their reasoning is legitimate in why they cannot show their client. This agent was vague on why he could not and I reminded him that the showing times for viewing the condo were fairly flexible. If you can’t make 12:30 then go at 2pm? Can’t make that try 7pm etc.?

Ready for this…the agent comes clean with me and tells me that he has a “family business” that he runs and cannot get away to show his client until after 8pm daily. He also tells me that if his client likes the unit he would be willing to pay me back half a percentage point of the commission for my time! I had to give my head a shake before replying back to the agent reminding him that it is I (on behalf of the seller) that is paying HIM to show the unit (called a co-broker fee) to his client. Suffice to say I was pretty annoyed at this point with both the prospective buyer and his part time agent.

Which brings me back to my question. Would you go to work for free? I would think not! I would love to tell you that the above scenario was an isolated occurrence but after fifteen years in the real estate business sadly it is pretty common ground. Frequently I get asked for my expertise, time, opinions and skill set without any hope of being compensated in return for it. If you wouldn’t work for free why do you expect me to?

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