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Integrity in real estate or slime ball Realtors? How to rise above

Jumping in the car

The phone rings and you are asked if you can show a home to a potential buyer. Do you qualify the buyer or jump in your car and out the door you go? My guess is the less busy REALTORS, and those with less business or new agents would do this.

But, after a few times of being burned… lesson learned. With all the increased activity of agents missing or killed this is also not the smartest thing to do at any time. Never mind that nine times out of ten, this showing isn’t going anywhere.

Never fail to qualify callers

Most of the time when you receive a call like this, “Hey, I found this home on the internet and would like to see it,” it is from your IDX site or one of the major syndication sites.

Depending on where they found the home, I asked them to give me a minute to see if it is truly available. While they are waiting I qualify them.

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  • Is this the type of home you are looking for?
  • Have you spoken to a lender yet?
  • Are you currently working with a Realtor?

Besides trying to find out the above answers, while I search I am trying to engage them to see if it would be a good fit to have one of my Buyer Specialists work with them, while looking up the listing.

“Are You Working With a REALTOR?”

When I ask the question of are you working with a Realtor, most will say…”we haven’t signed anything?”

Sometimes I get, “we are working with my Aunt, Brother, Cousin, Friend of my Sister but she lives 45 minutes away and we don’t want to “bother them.” Once I was actually told, “my Realtor told me to call the listing agents to see homes, and then they would write up the offer.”

Ok, but at least they are honest. More times than not you have to pull it out of them, by asking enough questions to get to the bottom of the answer.

How do you handle that?

  • Do you still go and show?
  • Do you say call your relative?
  • If it is your listing do you behave differently?

I have shown my own listing to a buyer like this, because I feel an obligation to my sellers to get their home sold. If they were honest with me. If it is on a listing that is via IDX, no I don’t. I tell them to have their relative to show it or to have their relative call me and I will be glad to work with them since I live in the area they want to purchase in. Showing homes to buyers that you will not end of working with is a complete waste of time.

Here’s the kicker

The one thing that really upsets me is the attitude of the licensed REALTOR who has no respect or disregard for agents in other areas… someone in our profession! Seriously, you are telling your relative to call listing agents or agents in the area and go spend an hour or so to show a home, that you will write the offer on?

I know the consumers don’t have a high regard for REALTORS, that has been documented over and over again, but how can another licensed professional not have respect for what we do? Now if you didn’t take the time to qualify them before putting them in your car, then shame on you.

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Once, I had a potential buyer call me and request a showing. As I began to qualify her, and look up the listing, I told her give me a minute to look it up and see if it is available. She said, “Oh you’re not the listing agent, well just give me the listing agent information, I want to work with them, I only saw it on your site and thought it was yours.”

Kinda took me back…the raw honesty. Did I give her the name and phone number? You betcha!

How can we expect the public to respect what we do if other licensed professionals don’t? More importantly how do we respect ourselves if we do this? How do you handle calls like this?

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Written By

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. Steve Phillips

    July 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Most often realtors with a low level of ethics can ride booms but get weeded out during the busts and normal markets. No one wants to work with a person with less than stellar morals, especially when you are dealing with such a large purchase! Steve

  2. Sandra Bundy

    July 19, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I am amazed by the number of 'professionals' who tell their buyers to call the listing agent for showings but like you if I work for the seller a showing is certainly in order. I have also had agents actually showing my listings and 'show' buyers I sent to property to see if they might like the homes too & write & get accepted offers only to have the buyers come back to me begging for assistance while 'in contract'.
    We are in the business of educating buyers and sellers and at times even fellow agents. It is unfortunate that 'intregity' can't be tested prior to acquiring a real estate license.

  3. Jill Wente

    July 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Missy, Recently I wrote a post on a similiar topic of what to do if your Realtor's out of town and there is a house you want to view. A lot of buyers aren't aware Realtors have working partners that could and should be showing them homes if their Realtor is unavailable.

    I admit in the past I would go and show a home without pre-qualifying the potential buyer. Now with the tougher loan requirements I can't afford to run out and show homes to unqualified buyers.

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