Don’t Trip Over Your Ego.


Laurie did a great job writing this post.  It’s very worthy of a re-blog.

Via Laurie Mindnich at Options Realty:

If, like me, your state has fiduciary requirements when you engage a seller client, or a buyer client, it’s important to understand this: in real estate, you need to park your ego at the door.


Fiduciary duty: A trustees responsibility to act solely in the best interests of the owner, or beneficiary of the trust. *

Typically, one reason that a seller goes through the aggravation of selling a house (yes, it’s aggravating, to the extent that strangers are entering a “home” at various times) includes an objective sell it for the best possible price. For the listing agent hired, the end result (best possible price) trumps the aggravation- at the end of the day, price is what matters to a seller. It’s not about you- it’s about their wallet.

Buyers are looking at numerous properties- your sellers home is a duck in the row. That row is navigated efficiently, and there is much competition. Knocking out your duck takes as little as the occasional listing agent stating, “That time doesn’t work, because I have an appointment- how about three hours later?”…

*POOF*. Unless you have an irresistibly priced property perfect for the buyer, you’re gone. Maybe next week…but maybe the buyers will find something else in the meantime.

BUYERS DON’T WORK WITH THE SCHEDULE OF A LISTING AGENT. THEY DON’T WANT TO, AND THEY DON’T HAVE TO. FURTHER, THEY NEVER DID- there are always alternative properties to see in this, or any, market. As a listing agent that eschews a lockbox…are you sure that you’ve never lost a showing/potential offer? In a fiduciary state, that certainty is a requirement.

As a believer that real estate is a numbers game, sellers are owed the reality that providing access for potential buyers, when buyers are out looking, is an essential part of the process- no buyers, no sale. Fewer buyers, fewer offers.

If a seller a. insists on being there for every showing (which begs the question, why hire a listing company) or b. refuses a lockbox, insisting that their listing agent is present, there is little to be done, short of explaining the significant benefit in the additional buyers/additional offers equation, which a lockbox provides- fiduciary intact. If you can’t be there within every showing window, and have explained this potential (very likely) limitation/loss of an offer to your seller, it would appear that you’re aok.

If, however, a seller is presented only with the need for a listing agent being present at every showing, or not told that seller presence can be, and often is, a hindrance…fiduciary is being violated.

What would your reason for this dicey choice be?

If you doubt the integrity of the selling agents or buyers, be there. Follow them around to make certain that they, or their buyers don’t lift the lipstick on the bathroom counter. But be willing to be there for the window offered as the time that works for the buyers, not the time that works for you as a listing agent. Every, single time, for every single showing. You chose it.

 And don’t be offended when you are asked to please allow us to look alone. It’s nothing personal; we’re just there to put your listing in the top three, or not. The buyers will not be offering feedback to you- they know better.

If you heard buyers, after the fact, wondering what on earth you were there for, it might be OK with you, but if they were put off by being trailed, creating a negative experience on “behalf” your seller…dingding! That fiduciary thing reappears, if you have a seller unaware of the downside.

In the interest of fairness, I’m going to presume that all sellers who have elected not to use an easy showing tool have signed off that they understand the potential for limited showings; understand that their listing agent may well not be able to accomodate appointments every time (thus reducing offers), and are aware that their own presence at a showing may be an issue for potential buyers.

Real estate isn’t about ego (“I need to be there!”) or local customs that might violate fiduciary requirements, if it is not carefully navigated with sellers; it’s about the best possible outcome for sellers and buyers, and our own ability to enhance and facilitate that outcome.

 *definition from the sixth edition Real Estate Law authored by James Karp and Elliot Klayman




About susanmorrison

After living in Walpole, MA for many years, our family was transferred to the west coast when I was a senior in high school. In 1983, I graduated from Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, California. I am also a 1987 graduate of Providence College with a major in liberal arts and a minor in business administration. I bring to the table many years of sales experience beginning with thirteen years in Corporate Sales at Delta Air Lines. I'm the mother of three children and I'm very active within the Franklin, MA community. I am also a cancer survivor and support the American Cancer Society Charities.

My husband and I have built five homes and I've lived in a variety of other locations including Toronto Canada, Irving Texas and my current home in Franklin, MA. As a result of all my moving around, I came to the conclusion that I was an expert at moving...why not become an expert on the other side of the table? I earned my real estate license in 2004 and believe that I have found my true niche'. I can empathize with my clients on a variety of levels; whether they are buying or selling. And, like so many other good realtors out there, I believe that possessing good communication skills is one of the many keys to success.

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