April: Mr. Howard's endorsement of anything I say is allays a pleasure to receive. He has a wealth of knowledge and does his homework carefully. His assessment that Procuring Cause is a complex issue and that you might be able to use the agent of your choice is also very true, though somewhat ambiguous. You should know that who gets the commission is an internal matter in the industry and buyers and sellers just have to follow their contracts and let the industry, through arbitration, settle out who gets the proceeds. I mistakenly said mediation but arbitration it is. Further, it also makes a difference as to what the agent told you at first meeting and what documents, if any you signed. This is an important point. Please don't engage in legal affairs of any magnitude without doing your own homework. It can lead to badly burned fingers. You have seen the rumpus caused already.
The second part of his last answer was less about you and more about the state of our industry. The public, by and large, seems to understand but little of the relationships that we offer and the essence of the work we do. As Mr. Howard says, there are too many unqualified agents crowding the field. I believe that part of this is because the requirements for entry are about the same as they were eighty years ago but the business has become much more regulated and complex.
I personally also believe these things:
We need to tighten up to the point where "gifted amateurs," playing part time roles, are effectively excluded (perhaps a brief period getting started under supervision might be an exception.) We also need to allow senior members of the industry (brokers) to be properly qualified to act independent of a brokerage agency.) This would eliminate the "whole office" being an agent to every transaction the brokerage does. We need to solve the problem of dual agency and buyer representation in a way that causes less controversy. We need to compensate agents for work they do as it is being done, so that clients who are dissatisfied can move to other agents without an "all or nothing" outcome, which is the way we do it now. This practice, in my opinion, causes agents to hang on to clients for dear life, often long after the relationship is comfortable and in some cases, even productive. If a physician or lawyer proves unsatisfactory, their patient-clients move on, with the professional compensated for the time spent to the point of the break. The real estate field does not usually do this and I think, in the final analysis, to our own detriment.
April, I hope that you get the home that best suits your needs and that it makes you very happy. I further hope that you can look back at our industryâ€™s efforts in your behalf with appreciation for a job well done. I apologize for any confusion that you might have suffered because of the way we do business but do suggest that you get a primer on what those methods are, so you can obtain the most that we can give.