I have a problem and I admit it... I call agents directly and ...

Asked by Guy, Sacramento, CA Tue Apr 22, 2008

Why don't agents like to get call from buyers directly?

I am sort of a control freak and I have called agents on listings to ask questions about the house. My questions are usually limited to bank type questions (is this a short sale, is the loan with one bank, do you have a relationship with the bank, is the list price agreed to by the bank, etc) and I never take more than a few minutes.

Without fail, the second question I am always asked by the seller's agent (the first question's is always 'are you an agent') is "why isn't your agent calling me?" My answer is that I like to get the information first hand.

Why don't agents like to take calls from non-agents?

Just wondering.

PS I have an agent.

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Answers

20
Robert Byrne, , 02118
Thu Apr 24, 2008
Guy,
Just a follow-up to my answer...When speaking about a property agents have a duty to be honest in answering questions posed by agents or customers such as yourself. Further it is in the best interest of all involved to let it be known if a property falls in to a short sale situation as more time will be required to close. Agents who represent a seller can not answer questions which are personal ie: is the loan with one bank, is there a lower price that the seller or bank will accept, etc because of their fiduciary duties under license law. You are free to ask all the questions you want, just know that you may not get all the answers you seek. Best of luck.
RMB
2 votes
Sandi Chenow…, Agent, Encinitas, CA
Tue Apr 22, 2008
As long as you identify yourself as someone with an agent I don't see it as being a big threat...but many times the less professional agents have their buyers do all the footwork and then write an offer and collect a commission...an agent should be the middle person so agency lines are not compromised in a transaction...once you have an agency relationship with a buyer or seller it is improper to counsel another party in the transaction unless it is dual agency.
2 votes
Aaron Opfell, , Citrus Heights, CA
Wed Apr 23, 2008
I am a loan officer, but if i was a practicing agent, and you called me, I would most definately ask you "why isn't your agent calling me?"
Such a question serves several purposes
A) it determines if you do, in fact, have an agent. If you dont, those types of calls are sure fire sources for buyers leads.
B) ok, you have an agent, perhaps they are incomptent, you are frustrated, and that is why you are calling. See A)
C) ok you have an agent, you like them, but it appears this question was too unimportant to ask YOUR agent about it. By implication now you and the question are a waste of time. A commissioned salesperson is not going to want to discuss it in detail, especially if they are busy. (if things are slow, they perhaps answer it)
D) it can also offend the agent because it confuses the relationship of everyone to each other, in other words now the listing agent needs to keep track of what he told you and also the other agent.
E) a majority of the population is uneducated in real estate and thus need agents to represent them. a listing agent may take offence because the gig he signed up for was to work with other real estate professionals.



I am being as candid as possible. Thi
1 vote
Guy, Home Buyer, Sacramento, CA
Tue Apr 22, 2008
Sorry, Erin. You were great. Honestly, when I think of an ideal real estate professional, you're the first that comes to mind.

Regards,
Guy
1 vote
Robert Byrne, , 02118
Tue Apr 22, 2008
Guy,

It's not that the agents don't want to answer questions from a non agent, they don't want to answer those questions no matter who asks. Sellers agents are free to discuss the property but not the people who own it. They have a fiduciary duty to the seller to keep confidential information to themselves. You can ask but don't expect a reply. Agents for the seller can not give the answer without written permission from the seller who most likely will not release the agent to do so.
1 vote
Margaret T.…, Agent, Conroe, TX
Tue Apr 22, 2008
Mary Jane was not only right in her answer on the matter of respect as well as not wanting to spend time replacing the home you called about if the answers are not to your liking BUT in Some states it is the law of agency. Most Realtors are happy to speak with you but are required to disclose certain rules of relationship to the public if they are to represent them. It is therefore a must to find out if you are speaking to another agent, or someone looking for answers from you as a sellers agent or someone that already has a buyers agent. I myself am happy to see some of them follow the Real Estate Laws.
1 vote
Erin Stumpf…, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Tue Apr 22, 2008
Hi Guy,

We as agents tread murky water when we deal with another agent's client directly. This is an agent ettiquette and fiduciary responsibility question...I think other answers have pretty well covered it...

I have answered this same question on other consumer forums as well, however most of the time the question is more directed at "What was agent x rude to me when I called them?" I hope that none of the agents you spoke with were rude to you - because that is, regardless of agency relationship, completely inexcusable.

Erin
Web Reference:  http://www.erinattardi.com
1 vote
Vicki Moore, Agent, Roseville, CA
Tue Apr 22, 2008
The issue with speaking to any buyer is that an agency relationship may be created. As soon as a conversation with a buyer about a particular house becomes substantive, that agent is creating an agency relationship with that buyer. The agent is now legally liable for any information that is given to that buyer and now the agent has put them self at risk for being sued.
1 vote
Aaron Opfell, , Citrus Heights, CA
Thu Apr 24, 2008
Guy, thank YOU for the laugh now. I try to play the devils advocate on here. What it boils down to is, in general, listing agents normally and prefer to deal with other agents directly. This is for a variety of reasons (some legitmate,some possibly petty) that differ from situation to situation and from agent to agent.
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A response to your response- Occaisonally picking up a new buyer's lead from a listing could mean a "double end" to the deal for a listing agent (similar to hitting the lotto ;). In this situation if it was you the client's listing the agent's behavior here could benefit you. This is tough to explain to anyone not in sales, but, it is near impossible to ignore a potential, obviously interested client especially when it is such a short distance away. I am speaking for me when I say, I wouldn't be shoving it down their throats(rarely does this happen) but you calling does indirectly signal the possibility. Of course the listing is the first priority, but is there a conflict of interest? I doubt it.
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For your response to my C., allow me to clarify: In your line of work, does not the source of a question determine how hard you work to answer it? In other words, if you, as the buyer, call an agent, you could be percieved as not serious, asking frivolous questions. It implys you may only be serious enough to nibble for bits of information rather than having your agent call and do some manuevering in preperation to write an offer. In this situation I cant name many people who would do more than answer your question and attempt to escape. Time is money as we well know.
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You may have better sucess emailing the agent. As the internet and the real estate industry evolves, the role of agents is less central. Personally, I believe that every short sale, without exception, should have the data you're requesting in the multiple listing. I personally instruct my agents to only write offers on approved-approved short sales where a BPO has been done and signed off by the brass. Otherwise one is waiting 60-90 days for an answer.
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Good luck in your search.
0 votes
Guy, Home Buyer, Sacramento, CA
Thu Apr 24, 2008
Aaron,

I appreciate your candor.

I should have clarified why I call agents directly. My motivation is solely to learn more about a house I am interested in buying and hearing the answer first hand. I don't call to waste anyone's time or to get information for any other purpose than noted above. From my perspective, this is a business decision. It is potentially the largest investment/purchase I will make, so I want to hear the answers for myself.

From your reply, A & B seem to serve the selling agent alone. I would hope if I hired an agent to sell my home and someone called to ask about it (another agent, non-agent, Martian, etc), their first motivation would be to sell my home - not get a buyers lead.

I take issue with your answer for C. A commissioned sales-person should want to discuss, in detail or whatever length, a home they are selling with anyone who might be interested. Other than details an agent is not able to disclose for legal reasons, does it really matter who is calling?

Thanks for answer E. I needed a good laugh.

Guy
0 votes
Laarni G. Om…, , Orange County, CA
Wed Apr 23, 2008
Hi Guy,

I am talking about the mindset of agents. I know that your intentions are good but you must understand the number of "silly" calls that most agents think are serious buyers all for naught. If you have an agent, let the selling agent find the general info you need and get on with as you go along. There is nothing more frustrating for agents on both sides not to be able to do their job to the best of their ability. That's why I put the word in quotation marks -the other word that might explain the agent's attitude towards your question is not that good either. please don't take it personally.. this is an agent's state of mind i am talking about.

Friends?

Laarni
0 votes
Guy, Home Buyer, Sacramento, CA
Tue Apr 22, 2008
Hey Laarni,

I am surprised by your post. I have seen your comments around and thought they were well founded. I don't think my intentions were ever "nefarious." I don't hound agents nor would it consider asking a handful of questions "feeding me info." I have made less than 5 calls altogether.

http://www.dictionary.com/

Guy



My own "nefarious" reasons.....
0 votes
Laarni G. Om…, , Orange County, CA
Tue Apr 22, 2008
Hi Guy,

Please have your agent earn his keep. By doing that, the listing agent feels that you are using him/her for your own "nefarious" reasons. If the listing agent keeps feeding you info and then you will say by the way.. I have an agent, he feels like your agent is being paid for not doing anything. I think you are being hard on yourself and you are making it hard for your agent to negotiate for you. Loosen up a little bit- this si supposed to be a teamwork.
All the best,

Laarni
0 votes
Erin Stumpf…, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Tue Apr 22, 2008
Awww shucks - thanks!

I thought maybe you said it was ironic because I mentioned that being rude is inexcusable, but you had spoken to me and I had been rude to you! Phew! ;-)
Web Reference:  http://www.erinattardi.com
0 votes
Erin Stumpf…, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Tue Apr 22, 2008
By the way your comment is worded it is tough to tell if you are saying I was or was not "friendly and helpful?"
Web Reference:  http://www.erinattardi.com
0 votes
Guy, Home Buyer, Sacramento, CA
Tue Apr 22, 2008
Thank you for your replies.

I will admit the first time I called an agent, I was not aware that I should disclose that I have an agent. Since then, I have spoken to a few agents on the phone and with the exception of one, were just a bit short of rude. I now will never call an agent and maybe that is why I have representation.

With regards to the "respect" argument, I have a difficult time buying that rationale. I cannot count the number of business cards I have been given by agents at open homes saying "if your current agent doesn't work out...." If anything, I think that's the easy answer.

I mostly agree with a post below (EW) that an agent might be less motivated if they think it's just waste of time or as it was put "no money in it for them." I don't think all agents are like this, but I have run into my fair share.

The irony is that I called Erin Attardi late last year and she could not be more friendly and helpful.

Guy
0 votes
Vicki Kubal, , 60540
Tue Apr 22, 2008
In the state of Illinois, where I am a Realtor, when I have a listing contrat with the seller, I work for the seller. Most Realtors, myself included, do not work as a duel agent, that is, working for both the seller and the buyer. In order to do this, the Realtor must have written agreement by both the seller and the buyer. To answer your questions about a home I have listed is against the License Law. I hope that answers your question.
0 votes
Mary Jane Fe…, , Honolulu, HI
Tue Apr 22, 2008
As several competent agents have already stated, it is a matter of respect for another agent and also to clarify the situation. If you have an agent, then the polite and common sense course of action would be to simply answer your questions. After all, they are representing their Seller. If you do not have an agent and it turned out that you did not like the original house that you called on, then they would be free to offer you alternative homes. They would not suggest alternatives if you were represented already because of ethics and laws.
0 votes
Jim And Tammy…, Agent, Palm Springs, CA
Tue Apr 22, 2008
That's a good question and as a broker I have never been in that position, but I can tell you that I don't mind speaking directly to the buyers. I agree it is better to get the information first hand considering some of the agents i have dealt with in the past. The problem comes in when the buyer starts getting into the details with the listing agent and it is very hard to to give them advice when they are working with someone else who might have a different opinion on how to handle the offer or deal. Fell free to call me on any of my listings in Palm Springs.
Web Reference:  http://www.FranklinPS.com
0 votes
Shari Gross, Agent, Destin, FL
Tue Apr 22, 2008
Hi Guy, If I get a call from a buyer about one of my listings, I always ask if they are working with another agent because if so, I want to show respect for the other agent and the work they have done already with their buyer. Your agent works on commission and would ultimately like to find a property that fits your needs and write an offer on your behalf. If you do not have an agent, a listing agent is certainly happy to work with you, and that listing agent becomes your agent. Also, in the state of Florida, an agent can be a Single Agent (works only for the buyer) or a Transaction Broker (works with both buyer and seller). This type of "agency agreement" has to be disclosed to the buyer. So, an agent would need to know if you already have an agent or if you are potentially to become their customer/client.
0 votes
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