Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Loyalty: Is Your Agent Really On Your Side?

So many people tell me that they wonder if their real estate agent is really on their side? It's a good question that smart people need to ask before they hire an agent. That's why referrals and introductions are so important.

I had a case where we had an accepted offer on one of my listings and I drafted a seller's condition that they would only sell if we were able to purchase another house within a few weeks.

On the buy side I knew the listing agent, in fact he was from my Sutton office. But with designated agency you are represented by one agent and not an office.

I was negotiating for my buyers and the other agent was acting for the sellers. Although what I see out there is that many agents in different markets, regardless of which company they work for, are far too chatty with other realtors.

In my case even though I knew the agent, my loyalty was to my clients 100% (as it should be). I don't like divided loyalty such as dual agency. How can you act for the buyer and the seller at the same time? It reminds me of ICBC after you get in an accident. You scratch your head and ask yourself who are they acting for because it's sure not me?

But what is worse is when I see agents do things and say things that do not reflect loyalty to their clients. My loyalty is never divided and my buyers made a very good purchase. It was at a value that the top agent in the local market told them was impossible to find when I took them to another showing.

The seller's were divorced and the subsequent inspection revealed significant problems and we negotiated a price reduction that allowed them to undertake needed repairs and to support their renovation plans.

My clients removed subjects on the sale of their home and the purchase of their new home and we moved to a smooth completion. In fact the other agent told me that the next time he/she purchased a home they would use me as their buyer's agent.

Months later the agent expressed bitterness over how well my clients did on the purchase? I was surprised as the home had been neglected and the sellers were motivated to sell.

I was friendly, professional and cooperative at all times and provided the inspection results to the agent who passed them on to both sellers to review and consider prior to agreeing to the price reduction. They could have easily said no or made a counter offer.

As for my loyalty, it was clearly not to the other agent or his/her clients. I don't do favours, side deals,  or not negotiate because I know someone, or want to do a quick deal. My job is to use my skills on behalf of my clients and to act in the best interests at all times and protect their negotiating position.

Be careful with loyalty. It is something that many agents don't understand.

As a footnote if you are serious about working with me I will be happy to arrange for you to speak directly to my client who I represented in these two transactions for a direct reference. This is the best validation on my loyalty and performance.

In addition, all real estate agents have obligations to their clients under the Real Estate Services Act:

Loyalty
Not act for both parties
Not act for parties whose interests conflict
Avoid all conflicts of interest
Not misuse confidential information
Obey instructions
Act honestly
Exercise care and skill
Disclose information concerning other party's maximum/minimum price or terms
Disclose information concerning other party's motivation
Disclose information concerning material defects
Disclose other confidential information obtained from other party
Provide confidential advise on any or all relevant matters
Help negotiate and draft favorable terms