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Neighborhood Expert Lost the 7% Commission

Here’s a story about the Neighborhood Expert that had a 7% commission listing and lost it despite all his expertise.

Before I became a real estate agent, I actually used the services of Realtors many times. At one tme, I was living in a very popular ski resort town that was experiening flat sales activity after several years of double digit growth.

We decided to sell our home in the quaint mountain community we lived in. This was a little pocket community of winding roads with a mix of eclectic houses and cabins. It was a neighborhood that lended itself to the need for a neighborhood expert.

Here a few things that the neighborhood expert needed to know:

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  • What properties had sun exposure in the winter
  • What the snow plow schedule was
  • Where the school bus stops were
  • The issues with school busing
  • The water issues
  • The snowfall issues (10 to 15 feet a year)

We had noticed, in our seven years of living in this neighborhood, that Daniel seemed to have more homes for sale at one time than any other agent. He also lived in the neighborhood. So, we decided to give him a call.

Daniel explained to us that he charged 7% not the typical 6% because of his extensive marketing. This was in the day when Internet marketing was just begining to have an impact and Daniel had his properties on as many sites as possible in addition to ads in an abundance of print venues.

We were fairly motivated to sell – we had no time pressures, just wanted to make a change, but we were pretty firm on our price. We also had pets and needed agents to be considerate of them and to insure that they did not get out.

So, Daniel did his thing. He was good at his marketing and he was good at communicating. In fact he was too good at communicating. You see, one day, in his haste to get the sell, he revealed some personal information to the other agent that should have remained confidential. And that one thing mattered more than all his other expertise.

Whether times are good or times are tough, our clients depend on us to keep their confidences. The more we understand their situation, the better we can serve them, but with that trust comes a huge responsibility and though we may be desparate for the deal to happen – there is no deal worth the expense of our client’s confidence and our integrity.

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Written By

Writer for national real estate opinion column, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.



  1. Chantal in Florida

    January 19, 2008 at 11:24 am

    John, that’s a really excellent post. I suppose I don’t give these things that much thought these days. I all too often hear agents disclosing information to me that they shouldn’t be. I often feel that I would hate to be represented by these agents. It is so unfair, particularly when they let loose about how much their client is willing to drop in price.

  2. Robert D. Ashby

    January 19, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Violating a client’s trust and confidence is the best way to go out of business. Good job bringing that point home.

  3. Jason Mook

    January 19, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    It has never been more real for me than it was this week.

    We had mutual acceptance on a condo conversion, and my clients (Buyers) needed to get pre-approved with the seller’s preferred lender. My clients are already pre-approved with another lender mind you.

    Seller’s preferred lender cannot pre-approve my clients for reasons I’ll keep private. Preferred lender calls my clients and leaves a voice mail, then calls the listing agent. Preferred lender tells the listing agent that he could not pre-approve them (no problem there – it was part of the P&S and seller had the right to know), but doesn’t stop there.

    Preferred lender goes into detail with the listing agent about why he couldn’t pre-approve my clients, stating specifics from their credit report. My clients did not give preferred lender, their lender or me any right to share their person information with anyone.

    Listing agent contacts me and my client’s lender to find out what the heck is going on. I contact my clients and give them the rundown on what just happened, and they are furious at what the preferred lender had done.

    In the end, my clients decide to rescind because they are so angry at preferred lender – they now consider listing agent and seller to be just as suspect. My clients lost a nice home, and the listing agent, their lender and I lost income, because preferred lender forgot who his clients were.

  4. Vicki Moore

    January 19, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    That topic is always one for conversation in my office. Our broker has beat it into our heads: Ask. Don’t tell.

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