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Give Way to Your Clients Needs


Regardless of what the sign says, it’s universal in it’s meaning. Caution, Yield, Give Way…. There appears to be much written about ethics lately. I wonder if it’s a result of agents desperate for business taking on business they have no business doing.

AG Gives Answers

I have seen a few posts come across from consumers who asked about what they should do because they felt their personal representation was shoddy. They did receive some good advice from the AG crowd and hopefully, they now believe they have reached an audience of agents who care. Agents who know what they are talking about.

It’s this caring attitude which makes the difference in agents. But…….the care has to be genuine and backed by knowledge.

Bad Representation

Last week in my representation of a buyer who is interested in a property which is a short sale, I came across what may be the lowest form of client care I have yet encountered. When I set the appointment, the agent said the key is in the mailbox. Not just the key, but the garage door opener, as well. The tenants just moved out and she had not had a chance to put a lockbox on. Okay, I get that. Well, kinda! This company also represented their client in the rental of this property. I don’t do rentals or leases, but assume an agent should check the premises when the tenant moves out, which would include making sure the keys are returned. This home is a mess, with all appliances gone, including the dishwasher.

My client is interested in the home, so I call to see if I can gather some information from the agent. Yes, she has an offer, but it has been at the bank for over 90 days and she hasn’t spoken to the buyers agent to see if they are still interested.  She tells me she is trying to get out of short sales and back into property management. The company she works for does both sales and property management. I let her know the heat is not working and the place is cold; she may want to check on it so the pipes don’t freeze. Three days later, she still has not spoken to either the bank or the buyers agent and the key is still in the mailbox. I wonder if the heat has been checked?

I submit an offer to which she responds she will send to the bank on Monday morning. But wait……the contract has not been signed by the sellers and she didn’t submit a counter. Is she just going to send the offer to the bank with no seller signature? No short sale disclosure? If so, it may be at the bank another 3 months, since the offer will most likely be relegated to the bottom of the pile. The banks do not have time for incomplete short sale packages, which includes seller signatures.

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Give Way for the Client

I know it’s difficult in the current market to resist the temptation to turn away business. We have to, though, in the best interest of the people we choose to represent. Yes, I said choose! Everytime we take on a client who has a transaction which we are not qualified to do, we have chosen to misrepresent them. As professionals, we must Give Way to business for the good of our clients. Refer them out or let them know their situation is outside of your personal expertise. They will appreciate the honesty and you will ultimately be glad you did.

Written By

Paula is team leader for The "Home to Indy" Team in Indianapolis . She is passionate about education and client care and believes an empowered client is better prepared to make good decisions for themselves. You'll find her online at Agent Genius,Twitter and sharing her insights about her local real estate market at Home To Indy.



  1. Clint Miller

    December 11, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Paula — Great post! I couldnt agree with you more about turning away business. Sometimes, when your gut tells you its a bad idea to get involved…it is a bad idea to get involved. 🙂

  2. Benjamin Bach

    December 11, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Paula, you’re right.

    Yesterday I took part in a discussion about principles and values that we hold true in our business, and the one that kept coming up was that we’re our client’s fiduciary – we are legally required to do what is in their best interests, and to protect their interests (as long as doing this doesn’t run foul of the law).

    When people forget to act as a fiduciary, they’re doing a diservice to their clients, and likely breaking the law (at least here in Ontario) by doing so.

  3. Vance Shutes

    December 11, 2008 at 11:44 am


    Like you, I have encountered some awful representation of lender/seller interests in our marketplace. If any of those lenders/sellers read AG, then wake up! You can do MUCH better than some of the agent representatives you have in each marketplace around the country. And who knows? Maybe you’ll actually get some of these short sales and foreclosures moved through the REO inventory a whole lot quicker.

    Last I looked, banks are in the business of lending money, not homes. The quicker they convert the REO to money, the quicker they can get it back in circulation. Seems simple to me.

  4. Missy Caulk

    December 12, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Paula, I have often thought and said, “if these sellers only knew how their agents were representing them”. You hit the tip of the iceburg with careless agents.

    I am dealing with a short sale now and the bank is being fantastic, the buyer agent is going to end up not getting this house 130K under value because he has NOT a CLUE what he is doing.

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