Realtor and their team - but we did not sign up the team!

Asked by Foo, San Francisco, CA Mon Nov 19, 2007

I signed with a Realtor to sell my condo. Prior to showings, he made no mention of any 'assistant' or other'partners' until we drove by our unit this Sunday, only to see the company's sign - with a different broker's name. This was not even mentioned when we spoke after the open house and he said 'all went well.'

I raised this with him today and he then informed me that he cannot attend all of his open houses and works with this team...

Here I am wondering who these people are and wanting him back... is this common or shady?

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George Anton…, Agent, Madison, CT
Mon Nov 19, 2007
HI Foo,

There are many agents that refer to their office and all of the agents therein as “the team.’ As most have mentioned earlier, they often use other agents to run the open house. There are also agent teams as well. They often get together to either support each other or an experienced agent may recruit someone newer or with less experience to help manage their workload.

In any case, you should have been told before the open house. It’s a good habit to introduce the agent to the seller for two reasons. The first is to introduce the agent to the seller so that sellers know who is in their home in the event that they come home early or like you, drive by and see a strange name on a sign. The second reason is to do a thorough job at the open house. If the agent is in the home for the first time at the open, how could the adequately represent the home?

You are justified in your feeling however, it is in common.

Best of Luck

George Antonopoulos
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Madison, CT
2 votes
Jed Lane, Agent, Petaluma, CA
Mon Nov 19, 2007
What we have here is a failure to communicate on the part of the agent that you signed with. It is very common for an agent to have other agents sit open houses. While it is common you should have been told and given you consent. The sign you saw should have been the same broker but possibly a differernt agent name. The broker or brokerage is the company that you have a contract with to represent you in the sale of your condo.
There are benefits to having many agents from the company hold the property open. The biggest advantage is that more agents are familiar with the property and therefore better able to sell it to whomever they may be with or meet at other open houses.
If you "want him back" talk to him. It is not at all shady but probably nothing more than an assumption on his part.
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2 votes
Liz Stevens, , Berkeley, CA
Mon Nov 19, 2007
this is a way that realtors start their own business under the brand and paid overhead of the Broker. It is very nice for the realtor, but questionable for everyone else, including the client. I would have wanted to have this option explained to me if I were the customer, and you have every right to question both why it was not explained, nor why you had no choice in the matter.
2 votes
Susan, Home Buyer, San Francisco, CA
Mon Nov 19, 2007
This is the classic agency "bait and switch" where you hire a person based on a reputation and relationship you built with that person, and once hired, they "switch" with someone else in the office or a more junior staff member.

This happens in all industries, which is why it is important to ask who will be working on your account, and meet those people, interview them and make sure you feel comfortable with them BEFORE you sign any contracts.

If you only want to work with one person, it might be a better idea to work with a smaller organization or someone who works alone, and has the time to manage your sale. If you dont mind working with a group of people, than your current situation might work for you; however, from experience, it is much easier and more effiicient to work with 1 contact, not a team.
1 vote
Kevin Boer, , Palo Alto, CA
Mon Nov 19, 2007
Definitely should have been disclosed ahead of time that the agent is part of a "team" but yes, as Carrie has mentioned in her answer, this is quite common practice. Some weekends, perhaps only 50% of open listings are being hosted by the actual listing agent.
1 vote
Carrie Crowe…, Agent, Southaven, MS
Mon Nov 19, 2007
It is very common for Realtors to have help with open houses. If I have 6 listings that are being held open on a specific Sunday, you know and I know that I cannot possibly be at all open houses at the same time. In order to do each house justice, it needs to have a single host for an open house. It is a very common practice. That in itself should not cause any undue alarm. I think that maybe communications could have been better to keep you informed that he would not do the open house personally and that he would have an agent he trusted and works with at your home. I don't think it should have a different broker's name.....not sure what to say about that.
1 vote
Lorie Gould, Agent, Duluth, GA
Fri Nov 23, 2007
Foo... I agree that you have reason to be upset. Communication is the key to all good relationships. It appears that there was a failure in communication on the part of your agent. This does not mean that he is a bad agent. It simply means he made a mistake. We all make mistakes. In my opinion it is how one handles their mistakes that separates them from the competition. Did he apologize for not communicating upfront that your open houses could be hosted by another agent in his office? You as the seller need to communicate your likes and dislikes with the agent. If you want him and only him to hold your condo open then you need to communicate that to him.

To me it sounds like the "team" he is referring to are other agents in his office and that he personally does not have a team. Either way this is not bad for you. The more agents that see your condo the more opportunity you have to find the right buyer. Many agents carry more than one listing so we enlist the help of other agents within our office. It sounds like your agent was in communication with the agent that held your home open which is great. As long as he knows what is going on and can follow up with the potential buyers that came through the door you have nothing to worry about. I usually provide a cheat sheet for agents holding my listings open which outlines all the details I want them to point out to prospective buyers. I am just a phone call away if the buyer shows interest to answer questions that the host agent may not be able too.

This is a very common business practice that does not mean he handed you off to a less experienced agent. It simply means he needed help with an open house. Just communicate with him and ask him to keep you in the know on who will be showing your home.
0 votes
Diane Glander, Agent, Spring Lake, NJ
Fri Nov 23, 2007
Hi Foo,
Some agents do work with teams, and it can be to both a seller and a buyer's advantage when that is indeed the case. As most of the agents have stated, it should have been explained to you at the time your agent took the listing. Then, before the open house, you should have met each member of the team; they should have seen your house (as your listing agent did). This way, they would know all the "ins and outs" of your specific property.
By the time your first open house was run and you questioned your agent about the open, for sure you should have been advised that he/she was not there. It was a perfect opportunity to tell you how he/she handles opens.
Make an appointment to meet his team. If there is any one you are not comfortable with, let your listing agent know. It is our job (as agents) to keep our customers happy.
By the way Susan, this is not a typical "bait and switch". It is standard practice. The only thing wrong here is that the agent didn't advise the seller firsthand.
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0 votes
Erin Stumpf…, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Tue Nov 20, 2007
This practice is common, but it seems that the manner in which your scenario played out lacked professionalism on the part of your agent. Your agent should have called you a few days prior and asked if you were ok with another agent holding your listing open.

I can relate...Like many agents, I have more than one listing at a time, and it is impossible to be in more than one place at a time.

This topic usually comes up when I first meet with a potential client to list their home, so it is not a surprise later. I ask other agents to hold my listings open for me all the time...I always obtain the seller's permission first, and they have the right to say no of course. I have had a seller tell me that they only want me to hold their home open, and I can fully understand that. I work solo other than a behind the scenes assistant who helps with paperwork, and do not have a "team" as they are referred to these days. I do network with a lot of agents in my office and in other offices within my company, and do not just ask any old warm body to do open houses for me.

On the other side of the coin, depending on my work load, I occasionally do open houses for other agents too. Even with many listings, some are occupied, and others I do not want to hold open every weekend.
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0 votes
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Mon Nov 19, 2007
Thank you for your question.
If the Realtor had told you upfront that he was working with a team, how would you feel?
Probably better, than if he was working solo.
I agree, he should have told you. After the fact, do have a face to face and ask to see his marketing calendar for the next month.
If you do not have ten showings or two offers in the next two to three weeks, what is his plan?
0 votes
Wendy Taylor,…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Mon Nov 19, 2007
REALTORS can't be at every open house. You should receive a call a few days before to tell you who is hosting your open house. You should have been introduced to everyone on a REALTOR's team. The open house agent might not be part of their team. Many companies broadcast open house availability for their newer agents for the upcoming weekend. That may be why you saw someone else's open house signs. Your house is open, the new agent gets a chance at picking up a few buyers. It can be win-win.

Your REALTOR should let you know what is going on.
0 votes
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