Realtor Loyalty To Their Own

Asked by William, 18951 Wed Oct 31, 2007

I have been told by a couple of realtors that many realtors favor inter-office and inter-company homes over "outside" homes (the argument is that even though I'm listed on the MLS, paying a full commission, and my broker is handling offers, that I still have a disadvantage that no amount of marketing and networking on my part can ever overcome because I'm not "in the club.")

I know that it's illegal to do this (so even if you practice this don't admit it here!) But this is the real world, and people are people. Discount broker antitrust cases lends credibility that there sometimes is a larger agenda. Social pressures and unspoken corporate pressures are real.

So - is there any truth to this tendency - have you seen evidence of realtors "taking care of their own" by favoring inter-office, inter-company, and local listing agents? And if yes, should this effect your decision when you choose a sellers realtor - bigger office is better, consider corporate social practices, etc?

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Answers

37
Ute Ferdig, Agent, Auburn, CA
Fri Nov 2, 2007
William. I don't know what you are reading in my answers that says anything about the intelligence or lack thereof of discount brokers. I have read all my answers and don't see anything and that's because it's not there. Help me out with a quote here. I referred to "most real estate professionals these days have professional backgrounds" and did not exclude discount brokers. I also said that "most people who post these FSBO - discount broker questions here come with a preconceived notion and not an open mind." This is my opinion based on having read hundreds of these questions and answers and it always comes back to the same result. Hardly ever does a poster concede that some of the answers have helped him/her to see things in a different light. Most of the times the posters considers our answers self-serving. That's why I think we are for the most part wasting our time here engaging in these type of debates.

If you read the questions that were previously posted, you'll notice that they are not all posted by FSBOs and hardly any by discount brokers. That's why I said "most people." Unless a real estate pro identifies him/herself as a discount broker, I would not know whether the comments are posted by a discount broker nor do I care as it's mostly irrelevant to the subject at hand. What's your basis for claiming "[t]here are many very knowledgable realtors with discount brokerages who contribute in these forums." How do you know that?

I also did not say anything about you at all as far as preconceived notion. If you think you are one of the "most" than that's you who's saying that, not me. Let me point you to your original question. You came here presumably because you wanted to know whether you should be concerned about how your listing would be treated by other local agents. You did not say anything about being FSBO or having listed with a discount broker. As far as I can tell, I am the only one that reported that I had heard about it and referred a client to someone else to make sure they would not suffer just in case it was true. The fact that you are FSBO did not come out until you posted a later comment. So, what started out as a very different and entirely legitimate question was turned into a FSBO - discount broker issue. How did that happen? Who got that ball rolling?

I did not mention anything about discount brokers until after you suggested that Jodi's "company model is the future of real estate" and my main comment was that if discount brokers become the norm they won't be discount brokers anymore and I asked the question "why some consumers think that they should hand over the sale or purchase of one of their biggest assets to the the cheapest service." I don't think I received an answer to my question. Just want to know why. There is no hint of disrespect here. I am asking the consumer a question.

In terms of analogy. I'll use a non-post graduate example this time. I have seen many people who agonize more over whom to trust with their haircut than whom they should choose to sell their house. In the end, if you do your homework, you can find a very good discount broker who will do a great job for you. Paying more does not guarantee you anything, but paying less commission also does not guarantee you savings in the end. The more you pay, the more you are entitled to expect. You still have to do your homework even if you go with a traditional brokerage. Unfortunately, you don't know what you are going to get until you are in it. It's just a lot easier to get over a bad haircut than a bad investment.
Web Reference:  http://www.theMLShub.com
3 votes
Ute Ferdig, Agent, Auburn, CA
Fri Nov 2, 2007
William. Way to much time and energy is being wasted on these debates. Most people who post these FSBO - discount broker questions here come with a preconceived notion and not an open mind. They really don't want to hear the other side. I am not ridiculing you and I am not comparing myself to a doctor or attorney. I am comparing what's at stake (i.e., high value assets). By the way, most real estate professionals these days have professional backgrounds and they did not just crawl out from under a rock. So when you say "stop comparing yourself to doctors" you really seem to be the one who is underestimating the real estate agents. What's with the hostility ("real estate agents ain't rocket scientists")? I did not see any answers that suggested that FSBOs were dumb or uneducated. Who is ridiculing whom here?

The great thing about the United States is that this is truly the land of opportunity and there's room for everybody. Discount brokers do not pose a threat to me in the least. If being a real estate agent should become a business no longer worth having, I'll go back to my former career or find a new career. It's wonderful to have options and I'll be eternally grateful to my parents who allowed me to go to college and get the education needed to never depend on one particular job. For now, I am happy and proud to be a real estate agent and I am proud to be part of the Trulia Voices community of high minded real estate professionals most of whom never seem to get tired of answering the same questions for consumers at a highly discounted rate (i.e., free). Have a blessed day.
Web Reference:  http://www.theMLShub.com
3 votes
William, Home Seller, 18951
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Ute, thanks for your answer. It's interesting to me that, whenever "FSBO" or "discount broker" is mentioned in any capacity in any posts, the eye doctor and attorney analogies come out. With no disrespect, realtors ain't rocket scientists and you know it. I finished the basement in my last home. When I mention it to a carpenter, they don't attack me, ridicule me, demand my credentials, and complain that I shouldn't be able to buy a 2X4s and drywall at Lowes. Please stop comparing yourself to a doctor.

Josh - thanks for the clarification, I didn't want you to get yourself in trouble!

But... don't minimize the effect that realtors have on their buyers. You establish yourself as an authority and your buyers are looking for your guidance - your comments DO effect their decision. There are many posts inthese forums with examples of realtors outright bullying their clients towards certain homes.

Now ... is is anticompetative to advise your client that a discount broker sale might be difficult, you may be better off with these properties listed by nice full service realtors instead? I'll argue that if the basis for that comment is simply the fact that it's listed with a discount brokerage - yes!
3 votes
Josh M. Boggs, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Well, it sounds like possibly this whole thread was for nothing but sh*ts and giggles! ha ha... Seriously... if you do sell William, Congratulations! And to you as well Ruth!

Ruth, it is apparent that you fully understood what I was trying to say. Thank you for helping me clear that up!

As for Ute, I will defend her as I've read several great comments from her as well and I believe that she is a fantastic agent! I guess what I am noticing is that you really must re-read and proof your comments w/ a fine tooth comb before posting them on the Trulia forums, because it's almost like politics... everyone will take one perspective of it and blow the rest to heck...

To all have a great weekend!
Web Reference:  http://www.jmbsa.com
2 votes
Ruthless, , 60558
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Gee, I wish I would have gotten into this one sooner. I also think Sylvia needs to enter the picture to calm folks down. Let me start at the beginning as if I hadn't read any of the posts.

William: I can think of five areas that don't like outsiders. Two I have lived in, one I have worked in, and two I have avoided. It's like the Stepford Wives. If a husband wants to live someplace were all the wifes are domestic robots, that's fine for the husbands, but it is the wives who suffer. There aren't many towns like Stepford and there aren't many towns where the "Realtors Club" are the husbands and the home buyers and sellers are the wives. Everyone that I have spoken with privately from this forum agrees that these Realtor Clubs are unheard of and wrong.

Now on to the posts. Ute's first post is rare but a reality. I tried to buck the system and I was "run out of town".

I too was in your situation William where the listing agents trying to win my business said, "We don't show discount broker listings" and "We are the biggest and have the most buyers and agents to get your home sold" and "The agents from outside the area don't know what they are doing here. You'll get bad advice." That is why I am a FSBO. Not because I want to save the commission or because I want to do it myself. I'm a FSBO because I refuse to be blackmailed into giving someone my listing. One of the reasons that I am PRO FSBO is because it gives the seller a chance to find the good/exceptional agents. When a FSBO is threatened instead of being wooed, that's when you know you don't want to list with the local full service traditional real estate office.

The fact that Realtors are independent agents and that reputation and referrals are their life blood is why you should pick the Agent, not the size of the office.

I'd like to defend Josh's first post. I read it differently than others did and I thought his first post was better than his second. I believed that Josh was putting his clients first. What I read out of Josh's post was that HE was going to WORK to get it sold. He's not going to just list it in the MLS and wait for agents in other offices to bring their clients that say, I want to see Josh's new listing. Josh is going to get on the phone and try to CREATE buyers. "Hey, Mary, Congratulation on the twins. I bet that house I sold you five years ago is looking a little small now. I just listed a new property and instantly though of you. You'll love it. Let's go see it."

Now, the issue of working both sides comes up here. Would you rather work with someone you trust for a fair price and a win win situation or would you want to hard nose bitterly negotiate and come out better financially but have ulcers? Read this thread: http://www.trulia.com/voices/Home_Selling/Dual_Agency_is_it_…

I'm a little tired going through this debate. I don't know how it turned into a discount/FSBO topic either but I have seen far more FSBO on this forum change their minds than Realtors have. Ute said "I am also wondering why some consumers think that they should hand over the sale or purchase of one of their biggest asset to the the cheapest service. What's the obsession with the commission all about?" Excuse me but that sounds hostile and close minded to me. It has nothing to do with commission. It has to do with not finding someone who you can trust to do a better job than yourself. I have seen the discount brokers identify themselves on posts where this is an issue. I don't think we are reading the same posts. I will say, I'm seeing more people like me, William, Tom a buyer in OC, and even Fence Sitter who are challenging the agents comfort level and contradictions.

That's my take on all of this.
Ruth
2 votes
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Josh........Glad to hear that you will show buyers all active listings that fit the buyers criteria. And, if all, or at least the majority of agent function based upon that code, the seller benefits from the agent/company that provides the best marketing and representation because that will reach the buyer no matter whose client the buyer is. Yes, Josh, William's question and your post do strike a passionate streak in me. I think it is confusing to clients to hear information that indicates a brokerage is putting the company needs ahead of the clients. I am not saying you do that, but your first post emphasizes you and your buyers, not the sellers' needs.

William.....Yes, I do think the vast majority of buyer agents put the buyer needs first.....I even believe Josh, when he says that he does. I think the sales pitch about listing with company x because they have buyers is misleading to sellers. It's a sales pitch to get your lisitng. In reality, most buyer agents put their buyers first. That's why I said choose your agent/company based upon who will market and represent you best as a seller, not based upon how many buyers, or how many double ended deals an agency does. In fact, a high number of double ended deals would cause me to ask why. And, in some cases, there may be a very good reason why. ie. a small brokerage with a well developed niche market may attract both buyers and sellers for that niche. i.e. equestrian farms.

Ardell......very well stated. TY.

Deborah
2 votes
Ardell Della…, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Fri Nov 2, 2007
As a Broker I find that I am better able to influence the way agents think and act. No one would dare talk about anything except what is best for our buyer or seller client...period. What's that saying? Sh*t flows downhill? Find an office that boycotts or puts Company before Client ,and you will find a Broker who shares in those sentiments.

Our electronic keyboxes would offer a means to check if certain offices were not showing the properties of certain listings. Someone should do a check. If a Company is found to be showing only their own listings or every home in the price range except that listed by X company, there should be stiff penalties.
2 votes
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Thu Nov 1, 2007
Hi William,

I was formerly w/ a large brokerage that had many offices with several thousand agents. Today, we are independent .

When functioning as a buyers agent with the Big Brokerage, the idea of selling an in-house lisitng over a coop listing was moot. I looked for the best property for my buyer. Yes, then, I looked to see who the listing agent was. (I do that still.) If the LA (listing agent) held a good reputation and experience, I was optimistic that any transaction arising from the showing would go smoothly. The listing agency was irrelevant. While I would prefer a hard working Realtor on the other side of a transaction, it wouldn't affect whether I would show the property or not. I simply want a great property for my buyer and a smooth transaction. I believe most full time agents operate similarly as I described above.

Realtors are independent agents building a book of biz for themselves. They are interested in meeting the needs of their clients and getting referrals. I had no financial incentive to sell an in-house listing when I was with a Big Brokerage.

Today, with a small independent, I have more flexibility to bring about effective results for my sellers. I have a strong administrative support staff. We aggressivley market to coop brokers and the public. If I thought being independent would cause any compromise whatsoever to a sellers ablity to sell for highest and best, I would affiliate w/ a larger brokerage.

I do believe that a hiring decision should take into account both the agent and the company, and that a seller should gain insight into who (agent or company) bears responsibility for what part of marketing. In some instances, the agent pays for all marketing and does everything themselves. In other instances, the company provides substantial support. Neither one is better. It only matters that you, as seller, evaluate your confidence in the combined efforts of the company and agent to market aggressively and represent you well. I do not recommend having size of company as a criteria. Interview agents and do inquire why they choose to align with the firms they do.

Buyers do not choose properties based upon who listed the property. They look at property features and pictures to choose those that represent potential matches. Many showing appts are driven by buyer inquiries to their own agents resulitng from thier active participation in the process. There may be times when an agent may favor an in-house deal, but I think that is by far, the exception. Most agents are interested in getting the best property, getting the sale (commisison), and getting a referral.

good luck!
2 votes
William, Home Seller, 18951
Thu Nov 1, 2007
Thanks Jim! Interesting to see the wide variety of experiences with this topic.

Jodi - I've mentioned before that I think your company model is the future of real estate. It's only a matter of time - anti-competative practices are being exposed and eventually the industry will swallow it's pride and adapt. It's happening, but many are hanging on. Frankly, I'm suprised at how casually some realtors show their bias on these forums! Posts I see talking about how realtors handle discount broker listings with their clients - well, I consider many borderline at best!

Several realtors have stopped by and flat us told us that the way we're listed "is questionable" and "should be illegal." Ha, would they show our home? The sentiment is real.

In my situation - we gave ourselves a time limit to try this out and now it's time to move forward. It cost us $2k and a couple months - money and time well spent for the potential tradeoff, and there were legitimate prospects. But at this point, we want our home to be sold. And we can't afford even the potential for any bias against our listing.

I'm happy to a poster child for "the converted FSBO" at this point. Heck, maybe it will benefit us - wouldn't it be a great for our new realtors to list the home and it be sold in a week? Would be a pretty strong argument for using traditional brokers - something I hope isn't lost on our local realtors. I know they're watching us :)

I'll gladly take the lemonaide for now.

I think in a year or 2 your business model will be the status quo. Unfortunately, the pioneers have to take a few arrows at the start...
2 votes
William, Home Seller, 18951
Thu Nov 1, 2007
Jennifer - thanks for the answer.

Actually, I *do* see that practice as unethical. I'm paying a realtor alot of money to get my home in front of the maximum number of people and have the largest potential choice of offers, buzz, and competition, thus giving me the best chance of getting the highest amount of money for my home. THAT is my realtors job.

What you're telling me is that for 48 hours, certain realtors market to a select few leads, giving them an exclusive, non-competative chance at the home with the kicker that it benefits the realtor financially. When if it was put on the MLS immediately, there is a potential for multiple bidders which could increase my bottom line.

This is not serving my best interests! This is serving the realtors interests. It's wrong. (But I do believe it happens alot, business is business!)

That aside - my choice will be based on the individual realtor first - the FSBO process has allowed me to meet a number of great realtors and screen their personality, skills, abilities, creativity, ethics, and reputation. I have a short list of top producers who I would love to work with. They actually want me to *increase* the list price of my home! (CMAs are all comparable...) Marketing plans consistent (and I've done most of the items on the list already anyway.) So, I'm looking for the edge - what is the "next step" criteria to choose the realtor?
2 votes
William, Home Seller, 18951
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Ruth missed your first post when I was typing. U rock!

Congrats to you on your contract! Papers aren't signed yet on our side, but I think my buyers want the house enough to get to the right price. In our case, I was able to discount the price significantly because of no commissions, putting these first time home buyers in a great situation and still giving me a much better bottom line that I would have had with a full price sale at full commission. A true win/win, and I feel great about being able to help this family get their dream house to boot!
1 vote
William, Home Seller, 18951
Fri Nov 2, 2007
In the end, in my case, I think I'll be choosing between 2 very good realtor options - not sure that I can go wrong with either of them. Not sure if I should even try to look much deeper. We're leaning towards the one based on their personality - we have the feeling that their particular personality and style will appeal the to the type of home buyer we expect. So that will be the decising factor between 2 great options...

That is, if I even have to make the move!

We unexpectedly got an 11th hour offer from a direct sale buyer that has been through a number of times today. Might actually pull off a "full FSBO" direct sale this weekend! Woooo Hoooo!
1 vote
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Ute.......You have many great posts. This is definitely one of the best from one of the best. If I could give you 3 TU, I would have! Loved your analogy about hair stylists.

William.......I, too, like Ute, missed the turn of this thread to a debate of full svc vs. discount brokers. I believe in full service, but completely and wholeheartedly respect the consumer right to choice. I have thought long and hard about offering a limited service option, although my offering, if I did one, would include a disclaimer that the seller was aware that this option may net less $$. I was never a fan of Foxtons....Am I allowed to say that now?? My reasons of frustration w/ Foxtons was the lost, confused, angry clients of Foxtons that I encountered, as well as the obstacles I encountered in ever setting appts to show Foxtons listings. I wasn't anti discount; but I found working w/ Foxtons a challenge. I can admit that now, right? Still, despite my challenges with Foxtons, I remain very open to limited service options for consumers. This is predicated upon honest representation to the clients about the limitations of the service offering. I am adamantly opposed to using another person or firm to fulfil duties, as some rebate buyer brokers have done, and consider that a form of theft. I really have a deep commitment to the consumer right to choice. I just wouldn't want anyone to misconstrue that commitment as an endorsement to the discounters who do misrepresent or piggyback on another Realtor. Not all disocunters do that. Not all service agents give great service, either. I support honest work for honest pay.

BACK TO THE RANCH....... William......You said that if your Realtor favored your listing, that was a good thing. I agree. I think every Realtor promotes their personal listings. I certainly do, and I don't see myself as a minority in that camp! Still, any Realtor's personal sphere is a limited, so choosing a Realtor to represent you based upon their personal pool of buyers limits you. While it is certainly great for your Realtor to promote your lisitng, you don't want that done to the exclusion of other buyers. You want your Realtors commitment to bring you every buyer, not just his/her buyers. You want your Realtor to foster good relations w/ other agents and encourage them to bring their buyers, even if one of their buyers beats out his own buyer.
1 vote
William, Home Seller, 18951
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Ute - you're generalizing FSBOs, discount brokers, and me. It won't go unchallenged. The only hostility I've seen on this thread is towards discount brokers and FSBOs. And now you suggest that I probably don't have an open mind either. What else do you know about me?

(btw I apologize for using the wrong analogy - what I meant to say is that real estate isn't rocket science, yes there is knowledge needed but it's not so complex that it can't be learned by many with a bit of effort. Many fsbo and discount broker realtors come from a professional background too, realtors don't have the market cornered on smarts needed to do real estate!)

There are many very knowledgable realtors with discount brokerages who contribute in these forums - are your words treating them with respect? I think you may have forgotten that this isn't a private pitch to a potential customer... many interests are represented in these forums. Pssst - hey buddy, your agenda is showing.

Ardell - I agree, very well said!

Back to the ranch ... so let's spin it this way. With all other factors being equal as far as marketing plans, realtor competence, reputation ... what things can I look for to benefit me most as a seller? Quite honestly, if I'm selling, if my realtor is going to favor my listings, push my home to his buyers ... well, I don't really care how ethical it is to the buyer if it gets my house sold faster! Hmmm... but then could I trust them to negotiate the best possible price for me...
1 vote
Ute Ferdig, Agent, Auburn, CA
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Hello William. I suppose if discount brokers become the norm, they won't be discount brokers anymore. I am also wondering why some consumers think that they should hand over the sale or purchase of one of their biggest asset to the the cheapest service. What's the obsession with the commission all about? Nobody gets paid unless the house sells. If you go FSBO, you'll be out of all the advertising $$ you spent to market your property and you wasted all your time. If you hire a full service agent, the loss is on the agent when the property does not sell.

Would you advocate discount lawyer services where the attorneys only prepare a little bit of paperwork, but they don't go to court with you and they don't negotiate with the other lawyers. It could be called Assist to Sue. I suppose they are called paralegals and can't give legal advise.

Would you go to an eye doctor just because he has a buy-one-get-second eye free special? Trust your eyes to the discount service (get the first eye screwed up and you have a chance at getting the second eye screwed up for free). Yes, you can sue them, but maybe you won't be able to recover and most likely your lawsuit will bankrupt them as they will not have adequate insurance coverage (that costs a lot of money).

What do you do that is so special that you will stand out from the norm (statistics show that FSBOs typically sell for less and the difference is higher than the commission that you save by going FSBO)? What do you do to beat the odds? Do you want to sell your property now or do you want to wait until the real estate world becomes perfect and everybody does exactly what they are supposed to do. No question that there are a few bad apples, but the great majority is ethical and does not blackball you.

When I got into real estate, I had a long conversation with a highly respected veteran agent and I still remember that he told me to just hang out with like minded people and learn who the few bad guys are and deal with them in the most professional manner you know how. As you can tell from all the answers that you received to your question, the bad guys are in the minority.
Web Reference:  http://www.theMLShub.com
1 vote
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Fri Nov 2, 2007
When I worked for a large company, no agent placed an emphasis on selling my listing. (And they should not.) The agents I worked with were interested in getting a sale, and that meant showing the best property for the buyer. If my lisitng was a potential contender, it was shown. If my listing did not meet that agent's buyer's needs, the agent was not concerned with my need to sell a listing. The agent who sat at the desk next to me was concerned w/ getting their buyer a property, and getting paid. That agent was not concerned about my needs, or my seller needs.

As a small independent, we have picked up listings that were carried by a competitive Big Boy for 2 years, and sold it within a few months at a higher price than previously listed. Why? Because the right buyer was in the market and our marketing outreach was/is aggressive.

Josh.......If I have a listing that is perfect for your buyer, are you going to bypass my listing in favor of the agent who sits at the desk next to you? Is that what you explain to your buyers?

A buyer agent owes their loyalty to their client.

William, you can hire an agency who is focused on double ending the deal, getting both buyer and seller side, and reach their pool of buyers (50 agent office, 24 work, 26 do not....26 working agents x an average of 2 buyer clients each....some will have none, some will have 4....buyer pool = 50 buyers? Ok, lets be over the top generous in our numbers......200 buyers clients.) So, do you want your listing agent to be focused on that pool of 200 buyers, or do you want your agent and company to be focused on marketing to any and all buyers regardless of source? Do you want your agent and broker to be focused on an aggressive outreach to all buyers via internet marekting, or do you want your agent and broker to be focused on double ending their deals, to your detriment? If the agent tells you, hire them because their office has buyers, ask them how much they are going to do to market to the other xxx thousand agents and the public buyers? If they say a lot, then why is their pool of 50 buyers more important? If they say none, how much do you think that will cost?

If it were all about the agency on the corner and the 50 agents who reside there, internet exposure of listing data would not have exploded over the last 5-10 years.

Here's my other concern w/ an agent who is focused on "their office" vs. marketing their sellers listing...

When a buyer calls in to our office inquiring on a property, we ask if they have an agent. Sometimes they tell us yes. We tell them that we will be happy to answer any factual questions about the property. We do. We don't shoo them away because they aren't a buyer lead for us. Our inquiries are handled by licensed staff who are completely and sincerely committed to selling the properties we have listed without prejudice to whether the buyer comes through our doors or a cooperative brokerage.

I have seen in many large brokerages a system where the person who answers the phone is a licensed agent doing "desk" or "up" time in the hopes of securing a new buyer lead. That agent, if not the lisitng agent, has no incentive to help the buyer inquiry who has called and stated they have their own agent. Depending on who the agent is, the buyer inquiry may be rushed off the phone, or redirected to call their agent. Or, the buyer inquiry may be subjected to a solicitation to beocme that agents new client.

When I send my buyer clients lsitings, they never ask, "Who listed it? I want to know because that will influence whether I want to see the proeprty or not." A buyer looks at the property data and pictures. From the property info, the buyer determines if he/she wants to see a property or not.

The job of the listing agent/lisitng company is to market your property, negotiate the best price and terms, and protect your interests through and post closing. The company and person best committed to reaching the largest pool of buyers, directly and indirectly (via coop brokerage marketing), and who knows the marketplace should be your choice for representation. In your discussions, probe deeply for an agents commitment to finding your buyer from wherever that buyer may be.
1 vote
Jim Walker, Agent, Carmichael, CA
Thu Nov 1, 2007
I was an agent at a big office from 1994 to 2002. I never had any advantage and never gave any significant advantage to CB colleagues.

Insignificant (and basically meaningless advantages)

The office mates got to tour my listings on tour on Wednesday Caravan, the MLS Caravan was scheduled for Thursdays.. That meant either a 1 day head start for the office or a 6 day head start for the outside realtors. It never made a difference.

On a dual disclosed transaction. most paperwork between agents could be handled "in-house" this resulted in an extremely minor savings in time for the agents. This time savings was offset by the time spent explaining dual agency disclosure requirement, and having those forms signed.

There was no financial reward or incentive whatsoever, offered by the CB borker or by the office mates, to transact an inhouse disclosed dual agency transaction with an office mate.

The only transactions which were more personally more profitable due to dual disclosed agency were transactions where my wife was the cooperating agent. This would also be the case in our our smaller brokerage, where we work now.

In those 8 years at CB and y 5 years at 1st American there has never been any discouragement or encouragement by management to favor an inhouse listing over a cooperating MLS listing.

Peer to peer and social networking does occur. These are called "pitches" people from my current company, my old company, independents, builders and FSBO's all get a chance to pitch their listings and their buyer wants and needs to me.

No successful Realtor relies primarily on the pitches heard at their own office meeting. We generally study the MLS, Loopnet, CO-Star, Trulia, Realtor.com and other listing sites to have a broad view of the inventory on the market. An office meeting "pitch" may deliver a tiny amount of additional, incremental "buzz' to a listing, but it is in the grand scheme of the business - INSIGNIFICANT.
1 vote
Jodi Strober-…, , Bucks County PA, Montgomery County PA
Thu Nov 1, 2007
William,
Just to let you know, in the MLS you are listed by a real estate company that also lists a lot of new home builders and their name is all over the place. Just by looking at your listing, one would not quickly know you are a FSBO. AND it is not a brokerage with a bad reputation like some in this area.
Since you are on MLS & Realtor.com and the broker is handling the offers - AND you are getting a lot of showings - I think this proves that you are not at a disadvantage.
You know my agency and the barriers we face with offering less than 3% and sometimes we have agents balk at it or threaten not to show one of our listing - but the fact is, if you are out there in the Buyers Faces - your house will be seen and if it is right for someone, they will make an offer on it.
I know you are getting frustrated but hang in there.
Web Reference:  http://www.cityservice.com
1 vote
Ruthmarie Hi…, , Westchester County, NY
Thu Nov 1, 2007
Jennifer:
This IS unethical - technically, its called a "pocket listing" and is not allowed. Why? Several reasons:

1. The seller deserves full MLS exposure and promotion in order to see what the "best offer" is. More eyeballs, more offers, more money. An agent who does this is NOT living up to their fiduciary obligations.
2. It is anti-competitive and puts newer agents and their buyers at a terrible disadvantage if half the listings in the world are SOLD before they even hit the MLS.
3. Its bad for that listing agents buyers....the agent is trying to cram if not SHOVE their own listings - appropriate or not- down their buyer's throats.

There is absolutely NOTHING OK ABOUT THIS. This is the kind of nonsense that gives agents a very bad name. You need an update on what comprises and ethics violation.
1 vote
Ruthmarie Hi…, , Westchester County, NY
Thu Nov 1, 2007
I've worked with a large and a small brokerage. Right now, I'm working in a smaller office.

1. The INDIVIDUAL AGENT IS KEY! There can be bad apples in any brokerage - big or small.
2. Sometimes smaller brokerages put money into advertising individual listings on a steady basis. This is primarily advertising for the brokerage - but the client benefits.
3. Unless its a large listing - you can be just a number i n a larger brokerage.
4. Turning your concerns around...if you are with a larger brokerage, there is a higher probability that the property will get in-house offers. If you are not very sure of your agent, can you be sure they won't "push" an in -house offer over an outside offer? In a smaller office, this is far less likely to happen and the agent is not as likely to be tempted into pushing an inside offer because they are very unlikely to get one in the first place.
1 vote
Lynn Roberts…, Agent, Seattle, WA
Wed Oct 31, 2007
Hi William,

What you have heard can and unfortunately does happen although I am happy to report that I have rarely seen it, and I have been selling real estate for an unbelievable 21 years now.

Quite honestly I can't imagine why an agent would take this risk; yes it's true they would to some degree control where the commission would go, but frankly by holding the listing not only are they jeapardizing their license, but they are limiting their own potential to get a commission at all.

Taking a listing is simply being hired to do a job, and if that job is done thoroughly and well I get paid at the end of it. For me to do my job well there has to be a team of committed people who include the listing agent, the selling agent, the buyer and the seller, along with the lender, escrow and title companies. A job well done not only insures my continued success, it is simply smart practice as if my buyer is happy I am more likely to get repeat and referral business. So from both a practical and ethical stand point, manipulating a listing is just a bad idea.

Whether this happens more in large of small offices I can't answer as I have seen it so rarely I don't have enough information to attempt to speak to that point. Your question does bring up a fantastic point, however, and that is that choosing your realtor is KEY. Not only do you have to feel a sense of confidence in their abilities and ethics, you really have to trust in their guidance and direction. As I said, it's team work to get the job done, and working together will help create a smooth and successful transaction.

Thanks for the opportunity to give my two cents worth,
Lynn Robertson
1 vote
William, Home Seller, 18951
Wed Oct 31, 2007
Realtyexec - I don't think realtors are bad at all! In fact I entered into this project looking forward to working with realtors and happy to pay a full commission to the buyer's agent. This "in the club" scenario was told to me by more than one *realtor* (albiet they are realtors trying to get my listing...) As we all know, buyers agents can show a home but still flavor the perception of a home deal with their comments - letting your client know what you think certainly can steer a deal.

So is this just a clever bit of doubt these realtors are planting in my mind to get the listing? Or is there more truth to this than just an old school mindset? Ute has heard about it on a small scale. The DOJ is filing lawsuits. Maybe this is just more true with discount brokers?

In the end I don't really care, I just want to sell my house!

This question matters to me because we're interviewing realtors to take over the listing. So, if there is a "social advantage" with some offices, how do you choose a firm that will give you the best chance at getting to the top of the pile because of an inter-office connection or loyalty? Large firm? Likable realtor? Do some companies like Century 21 or ReMax have corporate social practices that provide sellers with an advantage in that regard? Or will just being out from the "discount broker" classification do the trick?
1 vote
Salt Lake Ag…, , Salt Lake City, UT
Wed Oct 31, 2007
I don't know of agents favoring homes of their company over others. That is an old school mindset. Today’s buyers know what the inventory is. I would say that there may be more attention drawn to in house listings because agents will talk about them at office meetings and such. It is obvious that a broker would promote selling company listings, but I don’t search based on that.
Now there are agents that develop reputations of not being ethical and being very difficult to work with. That has nothing to do with the agency more the agent.
If there is more than one offer and one has a reputation of being unethical and hard to work with, I will certainly let my client know what I think. On the same token I will also let my client know that the agent has a great reputation.
1 vote
Ute Ferdig, Agent, Auburn, CA
Wed Oct 31, 2007
Hello William. While I have never experienced what you describe myself, I have heard of it happening and I once referred a client to a brokerage just outside a gated community as rumor had it that listings of agents from out of the area (just 30 minutes from the subdivision) were blackballed. Although I had not solid evidence of the rumor being true, I did not want my client, who had bought the house through me, be the test rabbit. While I don't agree with the practice, the reality is that things that should not happen unfortunately do happen.
I have also heard of companies that actually offer their agents a higher commission split when they sell a listing in-house. Again, to me that's not right because it at least gives the appearance of favoratism.

If I were a seller, I'd probably be rather safe than sorry. The seller just wants to sell the property and not fight the system or prove a point. In the end that's what it boils down to. If those practices are rumored, I would encourage the seller to get a referral from the agent who the seller would have chosen if it were not for the unethical practice. At least that way the other agent does not lose out altogether.
Web Reference:  http://www.theMLShub.com
1 vote
Patti Pereyra, , Chicago, IL
Wed Oct 31, 2007
I can only speak for myself, but I can say with 100% honesty that I have never considered a listing over another simply because it was one of my colleague's. I consider all listings - even FSBOs - that fit my client's needs. Period. If a few of those happen to belong to a listing agent from my office, so be it, but I don't push one over the other for that purpose.
1 vote
Jodi Strober-…, , Bucks County PA, Montgomery County PA
Sat Nov 3, 2007
William and Ruth - I hope all goes well for both of you. Wouldn't it be great if you sold your homes on the first National Open House weekend!!!! wooohooo
Best,
Jodi
0 votes
Perry Hender…, Agent, Austin, TX
Fri Nov 2, 2007
I feel like you take care of your own by finding the best place... I couldn't even imagine that this is a real practice.
0 votes
Ruthless, , 60558
Fri Nov 2, 2007
That's awesome!!! Congratulations! I'm under contract too by the way. The buyer's have an EXCELLENT buyer's agent.
Ruth
0 votes
Josh M. Boggs, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Fri Nov 2, 2007
wow.... are we all running for President on this forum? Did some of you used to be on the debate team in college? j/k ha ha

Ok, to answer your questions Deborah and Jodi.... in my first response I didn't really even address the issue of "borderline in-ethical" practices of outside brokerage's listings being "blackballed"! so here I go....

IT IS WRONG>>>WRONG>>>WRONG!!! I hope I'm being as clear as I possibly can on that subject.. almost as clear as the fact that: Joanie loves Chachi.. ha ha

Of course Deborah... I'm going to show ALL ACTIVE LISTINGS to my buyers if they fit their search criteria! In fact, FSBO listings have received showings from my group as well. BOTTOMLINE: it's going to be the buyers that pick out the homes, NOT ME!

Now... I've been told that I've been blessed with some good sales abilities, but it would be laughable for me to believe that I could get the Cleaver Family to fall in love and move into the charming Transylvania Mansion across town at 1313 Mockingbird Lane! COME ON PEOPLE.... BUYERS PICK THE HOMES!! Especially now adays in this Internet age.... however Realtors can great contribute to WHICH homes a buyer sees in front of them.... but I'm sure the majority of us are all being as ETHICAL as Mother Theresa was when she was picking out which hungry vagrant would get to have a stab at the potato stew first! :)
Web Reference:  http://www.jmbsa.com
0 votes
Dani Pearson, , Bradenton, FL
Fri Nov 2, 2007
I would have to say that as an agent working for a larger firm in the area, we do sell the majority of our own listings.... I think that is because we have a larger agent base (all full time agents too), we are dedicated to viewing all our companies listings by caravanning which leads us to become familiar with the office listings. Sometimes while previewing a home an agent is standing there in the home on the phone with a potential buyer, because thru this preview the agent has realized that the home and their buyer’s needs are one in the same. Therefore the Buyer may be matched to the home through the agent expertise and the Buyer is thankful for the agent's insight and work in finding the home for them. That is a HUGE benefit, to listing your home with a reputable, full-service real estate agent.
0 votes
Jodi Strober-…, , Bucks County PA, Montgomery County PA
Fri Nov 2, 2007
Josh,sure larger brokerages have more agents in house to show their inventory to, but the other agents in that same office have no incentive to sell an in-house listing over another brokers listings.

I think the point is marketing. It would SEEM that a larger brokerage would be able to spend more money to market a listing - but I worked for the biggest Centruy 21 company on the East Coast and the marketing dollars on my listings came from the agents - not the company. Sure - they spent money on brand awareness - everyone knows C21 - but if I was having a bad month, my listings suffered.

It all depends on the individual agent and what they are going to do to get the house sold. Great if the company pays for some of it - but we can't just assume that a larger company automatically will get the job done.
Web Reference:  http://www.cityservice.com
0 votes
Ruthmarie Hi…, , Westchester County, NY
Thu Nov 1, 2007
Yes, Jim, but by LAW you have to present EVERY OFFER. Now I have seen situations in certain larger brokerages where they try to push in-house offers at the expense of other - perhaps better positioned offers. Yes, your job is to SELL THAT HOUSE. BUT - are you trying to get a bigger slice of the pie at the expense of the seller? I'm not saying you would, I'm saying it happens.

One might think this would work in the seller's favor, but think again. That agent is focussed on his/her buyers first - then the buyers associated with his/her brokerage and only then - the buyers associated with all the other brokerages in the area.

Bigger brokerages are less powerful then they once were - although they absolutely HATE THAT FACT. But the bottom line is this: In my immediate area there are 9000 agents. Now, would you want your sellers agent focusing on the 300 agents and their buyers or would you prefer your agent to focus EQUALLY on the buyers presented by all 9000 agents? Let's say a brokerage has 20 agents. Do 20 agents stand much of chance against 9000? As I said before, the temptation is more or less removed in a smaller brokerage. Under what conditions do you think you would fare better...it IS simple math.

Also, more ATTENTION is given each individual listing at a smaller brokerage. Many larger brokerages treat your LISTING as a NUMBERS game! Some we will win, some we will lose - but no one listing is all that important....simple math again...You can spin it a thousand ways!

Smaller brokerages are mushrooming all over the place. One of the problems bigger brokerages are having is that they can't control things the way they used to. Just my opinion.
0 votes
Josh M. Boggs, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Thu Nov 1, 2007
William...

First off, I haven't noticed anybody here yet say this and it's a HUGE shame.. but I'm going to be blatantly honest with you. As a seller's agent: I MARKET AND SELL MY LISTINGS FIRST! If I've promised the sellers that I will get their home sold... you'd better freaking believe it that I am going to put all my energy in trying to get my groups inventory sold FIRST! I'll let you in on a huge secret... most agents that you see brandishing their nice pearly whites next to a handful of listings in the local Realtor magazines are promoting OTHER IN-HOUSE brokerage listings!

It's a numbers game!
If you do the math, it's really quite simple to see how the larger the brokerage, the better odds at getting it sold quicker are:
LISTINGS ARE LEVERAGE... that's how Realtors market! What do buyers want to see? LISTINGS?
Well, if my brokerage carries 40% of the market share and holds about 18% of the area's Realtors... then multiply the number of Realtors vs. number of listings held by the brokerage and .... BAM.. you'e got MORE exposure as a seller listing w/ a large brokerage vs. a 10 agent office.... it's just plain math.

HOWEVER.... my ending comment will be an analogy!

If you are hungry and want a hamburger and own a TV, you'd probably think of McDonalds or Wendy's first because of their millions spent on capturing MINDSHARE! However... the mom and pop place's juicy burger across town could kill a Big mac anyday of the week hands down! You'd just have to look a little harder to find it!

By me stating the whole numbers of it, doesn't necessarily mean that I am promoting ONLY large brokerages. Large brokerages can span a larger audience, but that still doesn't mean a smaller office can't provide you with a TOP NOTCH service as well.

Hope you can accomplish your goals w/ your new Realtor, wherever their from!
Web Reference:  http://www.jmbsa.com
0 votes
Ruthmarie Hi…, , Westchester County, NY
Thu Nov 1, 2007
I should say that I have nothing against big brokerages, but smaller brokerages have their advantages as well. Often these are lost in the "noise" of the "big names"
0 votes
Infinity Rea…, , Saratoga, CA
Wed Oct 31, 2007
William

Sorry if i sounded like you were biased in any way, but it did seem like someone was planting some ideas in order to push there own objective.

Your best bet is to look around your area, who is selling and ask yourself why do you see a certain person always popping up. Do you see more signs in your area than others. Real estate is not a popularity contest and i am know way suggesting just to pick a realtor based on this principle. But if your going to go that route than just choose that as a basis as to who to interview and what office to check out.

All you have to do is interview, educate yourself. This bulletin is a tremendous way to learn. You will find someone that you feel comfortable with, and you will know when you do.

Good Luck.
0 votes
Laury Macaul…, , Lafayette, CA
Wed Oct 31, 2007
In our market in Northern California, a realtor will be eager to present and receive any offer--there is no way that not being "in the club" would be an issue. However, that being said, the more realtors and buyers that know about your property, the more likely the right offer will be received. And, if the realty company is good about getting all of its agents to know about your property and/or to view it, that is an advantage to you. Similarly, if the realty company is providing a great deal of advertising for your home (especially Internet advertising), that will also give a great advantage due to increased exposure.
0 votes
Infinity Rea…, , Saratoga, CA
Wed Oct 31, 2007
I dont see this as as big as an issue as someone has told you. Even if it is from a couple fo sources, there are always going to be excuses why someone cant sell there listings. Or this might be one of those underlying sales pitches where they might hope you work with them in some manner.

There will always be a tendency to look over your companies listings first if they in fact have a listing that fits your clients needs. But this is not to keep things in "In the Club" so to say. Its just that if you can walk down the hall, and ask a fellow realtor about his listing and how its shows the sellers concerns it is easy to get communication going. This leads to easier transactions sometimes, because there is no distance barrier. Other than that if there isnt a fit you always go into the MLS and pull properties that fit your clients needs.

So in general dont give in to the paranoia, Realtors are not all that bad.
0 votes
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