Monday, April 4, 2011

Everything You Say Can And Will Be Used Against You

Do you really understand "AGENCY" in the real estate world?  Probably not.

To me, the number one duty of a real estate agent when you are in an agency relationship with them, is to protect your confidentiality.  If you are a buyer and have a written buyer agency agreement with an agent, then you have your very own buyer's agent and they are required to keep their mouths shut and not share with others the things you tell them, except on a need to know basis and with permission.  If you are a seller and have a written seller agency agreement with an agent, then you have your very own agent, and the same thing goes. 

HOWEVER, when you meet another agent, whether you're a seller and you meet the buyer's agent or you're a buyer and you meet the listing agent, be forewarned:  Everything you say can and will be used against you later in a negotiation. 

I think real estate agents get a bad wrap for this, but it's our job.  Unless you have a written agency agreement, then we don't represent YOU.  We owe you no duty of confidentiality. And, in fact, we may owe another party an obligation to share with them everything we know. 

I sort of touch on this a little when I explain in this post why I like to do my own open houses and show my own listings.  This is the sign of a good listing agent (in my humble opinion).  But, a smart buyer won't open themselves up to it... at an open house they will be courteous, give the name of their agent, look at the house and leave.  Why?  Because in addition to selling the home, my job is to get the highest amount of money and best terms for them as possible.  Yes, to be a spy for my clients.  I am supposed to seriously check out the buyers, watch for body language, listen to their phrasing, hear their questions and even more importantly their statements.  With casual conversation I am usually able to determine how qualified the buyers are, how motivated, how our home compares with others they have seen and maybe even just how much they're willing to pay.  It's called sales.

I'll admit I haven't (yet) sunk to the level of checking the facebook page for the "other party" (be it seller or buyer).  But, after reading this story out of LA, it may be going on my list of reconnaissance activities

This post is not intended to make you afraid of real estate agents.  We're not evil people, we're nice people (most of us anyway) and once we're hired to do a job, we do it.

Representation in a transaction makes a difference.  I recommend every buyer and every seller have their own agent.  This goes for new home sales, too.  A salesperson, whether a listing agent on a resale or a builder's rep, does not represent the buyer.  Buyers need to have their own agents if they hope to be on an even playing field with the builders.

Ready to hire your own agent?

Vicky Chrisner

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