Every Agent Should Read This and Be Prepared
Just before new years, I received a referral from R.com – wow. It came in the form of an email from a husband and wife who stated they had a builder selected, a location narrowed down, and a floorplan they loved- neat! They requested that they be in contract no later than December 31, 2007 – fantastic. They requested that I call them and schedule a meet to discuss negotiating and writing the contracts- groovy.
Based on the area (and more specifically the builder they had chosen), I opted to send the best man for the job- George. George has a specialty in dealing with this builder and even further, he plays golf with the regional sales manager. Even more, George plays poker with the lead sales agent of the community in which the buyers had selected. Taking his credentials one step further, George has sold numerous build-to-suits, resale, and inventory homes in this same community, and had they asked, George has a degree in International Business as well as in Communications, is fluent in several languages, and has been in business 10 years. It’s a slam dunk on qualifications- George obviously has an edge that these buyers will sincerely enjoy all the way to the bank.
George called and arranged a meeting to “set up the offer” and write the contracts with the buyers, made an initial contact with the builder, got a list of available inventory, prices, and did a CMA of the area to give the buyers some additional edge in options with the builder. George arrived at said location, met the buyers, and sat down to empty the contents of the folder on the table to present the buyers with some outstanding options.
Before George could get a word out, the buyers said, “we’re not here to hire you today.” Perplexed, George asked, “then how can I help you?” The buyers basically told George that he was there to be interviewed along with five other agents. George casually filed the folder back into his bag and listened- never once being asked about his qualifications.
As the buyers talked incessantly through the meeting, leaving very little room for George to talk, he learned very quickly that this meeting was about commission, and not about any of George’s qualifications, nor about what George could do for them on pricing, nor was it about his established relationships with the folks at the builder’s office that might lead them to a hotter buy. The buyers flat out lied about their intentions in meeting George, and they honestly did not care that they had offended a rather well connected, well seasoned professional- honestly, being the professional he is, they probably never even caught on that they had offended him.
All I can think is that it is a sad sad day when buyers have been led to believe that the only thing they’re paying an agent to do is “write a contract.” I sincerely doubt that this is going to improve any time soon as long as the techies have anything to say about it.
Needless to say, the buyers still have not contracted, nor have they hired George, and even if they decided they wanted to, George would not hire them. The reality is, what George brings to the table is George’s to sell or not, and George has every reason in the world to move down the road away from buyers who are liars.
So, here is a tip for anyone who wants to use this method of interviewing over commissions- don’t. That should be the very last reason to interview an agent. Qualifications run more deeply than the commission- the commission is what the qualifications are worth- a conversation George was most willing to have.
I wish these two buyers much success in their endeavors and pray they find an agent worthy of their approach. I hope from my heart that they save a couple thousand in commissions, and can negotiate blindly a sales price they can live with. We support the idea of interviews of agents and their qualifications, but we do not support the idea of being lied to in order to do it.