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Realtors, we really need to get over ourselves already

A letter from the child of a Realtor.

Real estate now vs. 1987

In Real Estate, some things are always changing, like financing, education, laws, rules and technology. The two that will always remain constant, as long as they are within the law, are following our clients’ directions, and working with their best interests in mind.  I’m not sure we always follow through with this, though.

Some of us knowingly take over priced listings.  Some of us take listings that are out of our area of expertise.  Some of us won’t show short sales or REOs.  Some of us won’t show homes with low co-op splits.  Some of us don’t have Supra/e-Keys, and miss out on those listings entirely.

Putting our interests first

When these things occur we are putting our own interests first, not our clients’.  We may think that by having as many listings as possible is a good thing, that’s what we’re taught after all, isn’t it?  It may not matter that some are overpriced, eventually, whether one month or four months down the line, the price will be reduced.  It’s just a matter of time and money, for our clients, after all.  The same can be said when we take listings outside our area of expertise, just to add on to our inventory.  If we don’t know what we’re doing, on a short sale listing, for example, it will only cost our clients a lot of time and money.  A lot.

By eliminating certain houses our clients see, that may already fit their criteria, we’re taking away their choices.  Distressed sales account for close to 40% of the market.  This is probably higher in some local markets.  There is no legitimate way to ignore roughly 1/3 of the homes being sold.  Co-op fees are often a touchy subject, especially when they are, not “enough.”  If everyone utilized a Buyer Broker Agreement that stipulated what their fee was, the issue would take care of itself.  Not being able to access listings with the use of Supra/e-Keys is a choice.   Choosing not purchase one will mean agents will not be able to access Fannie Mae (and eventually, probably additional Gov REO homes) along with the listings that are already using them.

Our priorities versus theirs

We totally need to get over ourselves already.  We are not bigger than our clients.  Our priorities are not more important than theirs when it comes to the actual listing and selling of homes.

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Recently, my awesome parents dug through a few boxes and rounded up one of my first art projects. About 25 years ago I did the poster featured above about my Mom, and her Real Estate career.  It was for an Open House (no pun, honest!!!) for the elementary school where I attended first grade.  It was just, what she did according to me way back then.  Things are way more complicated now, than when I was six.  There’s a heck of a lot more paperwork for one.  But the same basic principle still applies.

Written By

Katie Cosner, occasionally known as Kathleen, or KT, is a Realtor® with Cutler Real Estate and is active in her local Board of Realtors® on the Equal Opportunity & Professional Development Committee. She has been floating around online for a number of years, and is on facebook as well as twitter. While Katie has a few hardcore beliefs, three in the Real Estate World to live and die by are; education, ethics, and the law - insert random quote from “A Few Good Men” here. Katie is also an avid Cleveland Indians fan, which really explains quite a bit of her… quirks.



  1. Joe Loomer

    July 20, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Well said. It's the clients' interests that better always be your primary concern – even if those interests conflict with what you'd prefer to do (illegal activities not-withstanding).

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • Kathleen Cosner

      July 20, 2011 at 8:25 am

      Thanks, Joe. We're in a customer service industry, not a "me first" industry. Actually ponying up & admitting that is sometimes hard.

  2. Rachel LaMar, J.D.

    July 20, 2011 at 8:58 am

    How VERY true this is! The client always needs to be first. Once personal interests are put before the client's needs/goals one is not only being untrue to her client, but also to herself. Bravo for a great post.

  3. Greg Eckler

    July 20, 2011 at 9:07 am

    This is a great article and I agree with most of it. Its often hard to refer business out to another agent in my city but there are areas I just don't know – I have setup partner agents to do just this. I have enough leads that I don't take over-priced listings (just not worth it). Low co-ops suck but I don't limit the buyer seeing them – if its too low we make it part of the offer and see what we can do. I'd rather have a great client that will refer business than an extra $500 now.

    The one thing I disagree with is the short sale market – I'm fine showing clients a short sale but I spend time explaining to them how much an ordeal it can be. Most people looking for a home want to find it and move in, not wait months to figure out if they can. I think this issue is a mutual "Con" for me the agent and the client. Maybe I'm lucky in Denver that we don't have a flood of short sales and other options are usually available.

    • Kathleen Cosner

      July 20, 2011 at 10:57 am

      That's the way to do things. If only everyone thought the same way!

      Short sales here, are a huge part of the market. The majority of the LA's who list them, are very, very good. They have systems down to a T. Only so much can be learned via a classroom. If more would be willing to co-list, or refer out, when trying to tackle the niche for the first time, WOW, what a diference it would be!

  4. Park City Home Search

    July 20, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Very true! Thanks for the great article.

  5. April @ Deer Valley Real Estate

    July 20, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    What else can I say!? This article simply truthfully explained. Two thumbs up for you!

  6. Jonathan Benya

    July 22, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Wow, way to knock it out of the park with an incredible debut article! You're very right when it comes to putting the client first!

  7. Kathleen Cosner

    July 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Thank you guys so much for the comments & for sharing via Twitter and F/B!!! This is a little overwhelming to say the least, but in a good way!

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