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Real Estate Blog

Agency relationships make sense. Get one first.

By - Last modified: February 28, 2012 at 9:20 AM

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My topic for the day is how real estate agents are continually perceived as “car salesmen” (nothing against car salesmen, BTW).

I just recently had yet another consumer interaction with a potential Lancaster County homebuyer who did not understand that buyer agents exist to serve as their sole representative in the marketplace. This person had scheduled multiple showings with the respective listing agents, and was suspicious of me when I explained this was unwise and the proper and effective method is to hire a competent buyer agent to show, negotiate and close on a property.

First, professional real estate agents appreciate an upfront relationship with a customer. They do not appreciate a customer who plays them against other agents, especially if it’s on purpose (happens).

Second, it’s legally and practically unwise not to retain a buyer agent if you’re looking to buy. There are significant legal issues. For example, any agent you “use” to see a home is under legal obligation not to disclose any information beyond the listing fact sheet without express permission from the seller. A smart agent in that scenario will just keep quiet if they have not been hired by you.

Third, you cannot expect to receive top-notch service (aka client service) from an agent if you are unwilling to reciprocally commit to them vis-a-vis a buyer agency contract, if even for a few days or a few homes they show you.

I am convinced most of this can be alleviated if homebuyers change their fundamental viewpoint of agents. If you’re a homebuyer, all the listing (seller side) agents out there exist to cooperate with your agent. They do not exist solely to show you the homes they have listed (like a car lot salesperson does). This viewpoint necessitates and assumes you will select and hire a buyer agent of your own — a wise choice.

Jeff Geoghan is vice president of marketing and communications for Coldwell Banker Select Professionals and Select Services, based in Lancaster City, with 10 offices in eight Central Pennsylvania counties. Jeff lives in East Petersburg where he also serves as mayor.  Jeff has been actively involved in local government and business and has been used as a source by local, regional and national publications.

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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