When leaving an agency properties listed by you while with that brokerage are the property of that firm but?

Asked by Bob Pace, Riverhead, NY Tue Nov 18, 2008

How do you go about professionally contacting those people(clients) that have put their trust in you when you took the listing. Can you contact them by E mail or phone just to tell them you are changing associations? It would seem unprofessional not to thank them and wish them well. Would the broker you are leaving accuse you of unethical or illegal activity?

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Vicky Chrisn…, Agent, Purcellvile, VA
Fri Nov 21, 2008
I don't know about other brokerage policies; well, I've heard things like RIchard says... boy, hope you're not going to his agency.

At Keller Williams, as an international brokerage (yes, in NY, too), specifies in the agent contract that you can and should take with you any listings or clients that are not under contract. (Unless the client has an objection, or unless the new brokerage does - theoretically, that's not likely.) If someone's under contract, then they can't switch, so you are supposed to pick an agent you trust, professionally explain to the client the need for the business transition (not the ugly details, but the general concept) and tell them you will be behind the scenes available to the agent who is taking over should there be any questions or concerns...oh, yeah, and split the commission as you agree with the agent that's taking over (subject to approval from the broker). Not sure where you're going, but wouldn't you LIKE to have this spelled out in the very beginning? Not only that, but if you are vested in the profit share program, it continues to pay you after you leave the brokerage, and pay your heirs after you're gone.

I have no clue about your area, but go to kw.com and look for an office near you - check them out. If there's not an office near you, think ahead and negotiate this with whatever brokerage you join. No matter where you go, eventually you will leave.
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Carol Bromm, , Babylon, NY
Wed Nov 19, 2008
Once you have left the company, it is considered unethical to contact them, becasuse technically they are someone else's listing.
If you had a good relationship with your broker, jumping ship could be messier because the former broker might take it harder that you are leaving for another agency. Although I thought I "left well", I was shocked when my former broker refused to pay me on sales that I had in contract and continued to service (advised, attended final walkthroughs and closings, etc.), when I left. I now have to take him to court for payment.
Jeff has offered good advice and it would seem his former broker was much more professional than mine.
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Jeff Davis, , Lapeer, MI
Tue Nov 18, 2008
Hi Bob,
7 months ago I left a brokerage and was able to take all my listings with me. What I did was I talked with all my clients before hand and let them make the decision. They could stay with the brokerage or they could come with me. It went like this "Mr and Mrs. Seller I am changing brokers in next 3-4 weeks, the listing contract is with my current broker technically. But this is your home so you have the choice if you would like to stay with your current brokerage or would like to change with me? " They all said they would like to come with me. I then talked with my broker and asked him if he would unconditionally withdrawal the listing so that I could relist it with my new broker. It was a lot longer talk with him then that, he understood my reasons and respected that I came to him and was very honest about everything that he agreed to let the listings go.

If you haven't changed brokerages yet you can talk with your clients and should. If you have changed already then I would say it was unprofessional of you that you didn't talk with them before you ditched them. You have to remember that while the listings are contracts with your broker, the clients only know you, they don't know or have a relationship with your broker. Hope that helps.
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