Home Buying in Seattle>Question Details

Diane Farber, Home Buyer in Seattle, WA

My agent will be on vacation for three weeks. How to see houses & be faithful to her..?

Asked by Diane Farber, Seattle, WA Mon Jun 16, 2008

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In my experience, agents who only get "a back up" and don't discuss how the agent who is filling in will be compensated if the buyer finds a property and buys it during those three weeks, leave the buyer inadequately represented.

Make sure you meet the person who will be filling in before your agent leaves town. Discuss how that agent will be compensated. If they are working for "free" you usually get the equivalent of a "free" service.

How available to your needs vs. the "filling in" agent's own clients, can you expect? Often the money determines that. If the "filling in" agent is doing your agent a favor, that could be a problem, especially during this time of year. In October through March, that is not so much an issue as it is now.

Will the agent only be available if you find a house and call them? These are important questions to ask before your agent leaves town.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
Hi Diane,

A good agent will always have a helpful back up agent for you. Everyone enjoys a good vacation, but as a business owner (i.e. REALTOR) one should always have someone just as wonderful as themselves to help their clients while they're away.

Just tell your agent and I'm sure they will leave you in good hands while they're gone. After all, moving is tough and it's our job to help make your life a whole lot easier!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
Diane,
I want to chime in here again. Stopping in at an open house you pass by should do no harm. But be careful calling the listing agent and requesting s/he shows you the property. This act may reduce your agent's ability to collect a full portion of their commission. I agree with Keith that Listing Agents should be doing whatever it takes to sell their clien'ts home. Especially something so simple as opening a door and escorting a potential buyer around the property. But the onset of discount brokerage services has put some full-service agents on the defensive. The result is a reduced commission if the (buyer's) agent is not present at the showing and other required visits to the property. So if you want be 'faithful' to your agent and help retain her full share of the commission then make sure she provides you a contact for just such situations. In a pinch you can always ask the listing agent if your agent will be monetarily penalized if she is not present at the showing appointment. At that point you've gone above and beyond in honoring your relationship with your agent.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
Your agent should have a colleague assigned to cover for him/her while he/she is out on vacation. You shouldn't be in a position to have to worry about this. Most agents and agencies have something in place already. Did you ask your agent who is covering?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
I agree with Patrick; make the arrangements ahead of time to avoid any confusion.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 18, 2008
These are all great answers--This is definately a question you should be asking your agent though...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 17, 2008
Diane,
First I would like to start of by commending you for being loyal to your agent. I have not seen anyone so far say that that is a good thing. Agents need vacations too. And I think it shows bad character if other agents try to get you away from your current agent. Now if you don't like that agent it is a different story. But you would not of asked how to stay faithful. So again I commend you for saying faithful I wish the rest of the people out there were like that.
Now to answer your question.
When we do a buyers appt with our buyers we will leave them with a stack of business cards. The reason we do that is because sometimes buyers are driving around and they see an open house that they are just driving buy and they don't feel the need to call their agent if they are sitting in front of the house. So you can give them a card if you are out looking on a weekend our your agent is out of town.

The agent should give you a contact person of who can show you properties while they are out of town. That is normally someone your agent trusts to take good care of you.

And lastly. Try calling the listing agent. Sometimes they have an open house. But if you call the listing agent and explain to them that you have an agent and your agent is out of town and you would like to look at the house. The listing agent should understand and the bottom line is the listing agent should let you into the house because they should be doing everything possible to sell their listing. And that means showing you the house then they should be doing that. Now they do not have to show you any other homes but they should show you the listing they have. That is a sign of a good agent. But just be up front with them and let them know you have an agent and when you go look at the property give them your agents card.
I hope that helps. Good luck in your home search.
Web Reference: http://www.tk2homes.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
If your agent is going away, then she will make arrangements for a fellow agent to assist you. In her preparation to skip out on the gloomy skies of Seattle, she may need a nudge to address your situation. Ask her what you should do to continue your home search while she is gone. If no assistance is offered or available then it may be time to find a new agent with your needs in mind. But most likely she will have you work with someone whom she has a reciprocal arrangement. It's no different from any other business that requires providing good service in the absence of one or more individuals. And don't forget to have her send a postcard!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
You should first ask this question of your agent. Then ask if they will be keeping you updated or if they are only expected to wait for you to call them. Your agent should have somebody already briefed on your search and introduce the two of you before leaving. All of the agents that I know well have at least one agent that they trust to take care of their clients during vacation. Compensation (if any) to the agent depends on the specific arrangement between the two agents.
Web Reference: http://www.homehounds.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
All experienced agents know to have a fellow agent ready and waiting to cover his/her business while they are away. Compensation for the agent filling in for your agent is handled between the two agents, and should not be anything that you need to be concerned about. If your agent hasn't already offered the information, ask her for the name and telephone numbers of whomever will be covering her business in her absence.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
Hi Diane -
I always have a back up plan in place with agents who can show houses for me if I have to leave town. This is at my expense and not my client's expense and worked out between myself and that agent so that it is no detriment to my clients and their house viewing schedule or their pocketbooks.
Just aks her who will be showing you the houses while she is out of town. Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
Thanks for all the answers and that's enough, it's been resolved. I did get into the "conversation that ensues." I didn't know the protocol. She wanted me to wait until she got back and I didn't like that option...even though that seems to be happening (except for open houses). The problem is I still have a house for sale so if I buy it will be a contingent offer.....But then again, there are so many houses for sale in Seattle that I want to keep up on the market and be ready when my house DOES sell. We worked it out. But it was helpful to know that most agents have a covering agent available. When I asked her who that was for her, she got one. I wish I could just go in on my own and see the houses I want to see (as shopping for anything else), but except for 3 short hours a week (if there are no holidays), I need one of you to go along. That's a little frustrating for me.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 5, 2008
It always surprises me that the person asking the question doesn't get into the conversation that ensues. I sometimes wonder if they come back and read the responses :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 3, 2008
The best thing to do, is to ask her for some of her business cards. Then when you go to open houses, present your agent's card to the listing agent. This way there is no misunderstanding. You can make a record of all the Open Houses you have seen, to review with her when she returns.
If really IS in your best interest to work with a buyer agent..they will protect you in the transaction.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
LOL, good point Roger--As agents we LOVE clients who seek ways to continue working with us vs. spending time and money on them, only to have them use another agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
All the answers are good. A good agent will have everthing under control while they are out of town Also, cell phones and fax machines can work wonders. I sold a house once while on vactaion. It only took a hour or so of my time. If you find something you want to buy you agent will have someone to walk you through the process. Oh buy the way, do you have any good friends like you who need a good agent.
We all need good clients like you. Good look on your home search.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Wonderful to have a faithful client... Like a few have said the Agent should have somebody cover for her while she is on vacation. Showing houses while she is gone shoud not stop and it is amazing how many times when you go on vacation those perfect houses seem to pop up. I am sure she will make sure you are going to be taken care of....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Diane,

Deal with it directly....tell her it is important for you to continue looking in her absence. Ask her to refer a colleague that could possibly support your interests.

With this approach she may be able to work out a referral with another agent and share the commission, should you be lucky enough to find a home.

It is unreasonable, that she expects you to sit on the sideline while she is out here playing... You need to set her streight.

Good luck,
The "Eckler Team"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 26, 2008
Well Diane, aside from dedicating Journey's "Faithfully" song to your agent on the radio show "Delilah'" -- I think it is all about open communication, and it really shouldn't be a problem. Do you think your agent does not want you to go house hunting at all while she is away? She may not want to miss out on the excitement, but If your agent hasn't discussed back up plans and people for unseen contigencies in the purchase of your new home, now is a great time to have the discussion. Best wishes and happy house hunting!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 26, 2008
Your agent very likely has someone handling his / her business while away. I suggest you call his /gher office and ask the broker who is handling your agent's business. The broker should have a list of agents who are out of town and who is handling their business. I greatly apprciate your loyalty. We agents work hardest for our clinets who are loyal to us. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 19, 2008
If you see the right house, are you going to write an offer on it today?

If so, your agent should have an associate ready to work with you and make you a top priority. If not, your agent may have an associate on "standby" to field your calls & send you listings, & show you homes.

Ask her what you should do to keep seeing homes while she is gone! If she is as loyal to you, as you are to her, she will have made arrangements.

EXIT Realtys are great because most agents have a sponsor nearby, who is happy to take over for their sponsoree. The sponsor has a direct vested interest in the sponsoree's success, so they have a similar priority.

You are a good person. My best wishes to you! Linda
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 17, 2008
Diane
I also commend you on your loyalty to your agent, we all need vacations and are better at our jobs when we do take breaks. Most agents will explain who will be helping you when they tell you of their vacations plans and make arrangements with another agent who meets their professional criteria to cover for them while they are away. They may pay this agent a percentage of the transaction when you do purchase or pay them an hourly fee or just trade services. I, personally, think this is up to the agent(s) involved. The caliber of service should not be reduced whichever method they have selected. I'm sure that they have an ongoing relationship with an agent in their office to do this. If you have concerns, please ask them what their procedures are while they are away.
Mary
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
That depends: Are you in a monogamous relationship, or you open to seeing other people?

In my opinion, viewing homes is not considered "cheating", but that depends on your "arrangement".

In the future, I would not recommend sleeping with your agent.

It tends to confuse things.

My best,

Mark
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
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