Saturday, July 21, 2007

An Unfortunate Stereotype

I had an interesting experience a couple of weekends ago, and I'll get to it in just a moment.

On TV, or in the movies, I often see derogatory stereotypes of real estate agents. I see us portrayed as less than intelligent, greedy, and not very scrupled. We aren't portrayed as dangerous, but rather ineffectual. It has always bothered me, since in most of my dealings I have dealt with agents that were honest and hard-working. Of course there have been a few that weren't the brightest bulb on the tree, but they weren't actively working against their clients or customers. That changed a couple of weeks ago.

I went to an open house to preview a property for a client that had mild interest in it. His time is short, so I try to make sure that when we get a chance to look at property, it is very close to what he is looking for. So, I walk into this open house and start looking around. There were a couple of people looking around, so the agent on duty didn't approach me right away. I picked up one of her cards from the dining room table.

After a few minutes, the agent approached me. She asked if I was working with an agent, and as I was getting ready to tell her that I am an agent, she interrupted to tell me that she'll give me a better deal if I work with her. I reached in my pocket and pulled out one of my cards (they have my picture on them). I said, "this is my agent." She didn't even glance at it. She told me that I could fire my current agent and then she would help me make an offer on the house. She would cut her commission some so that I would save money. Then it went down hill.

She said that the buyer's agent commission was 2% for this property. She would cut that from the price. That would save me $8000 on the property. Of course, she hadn't bothered to look at the card I handed her, so she was a little put back when I told her that the buyer's agent commission was 3.5% on this property. She said that wasn't correct. I pulled out a copy of the agent listing. Then she told me that I really needed to dump my agent. "It is unethical, and against federal law for them to reveal that information to you." Oh, really? Federal Law? And she is talking about unethical? I told her (as politely as I could) that there was no law preventing my agent from sharing the commission information with me, and that she should really think about ethics a little more. Trying to steal a client from another agent is not ethical,

I emailed her broker. I'm checking to see if she is a member of one of the several REALTOR associations here locally.

I was shocked at the brazen lack of ethics, and the blatant lies she was willing to say. I wonder what she might have said to others there.

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