Thursday, April 14, 2022

Loyalty: Is Your Agent Really On Your Side?

So many people tell me that they truly wonder if their real estate agent was really on their side in the last real estate transaction that they did?

It's a good question that smart people need to ask before they hire an agent. 

I had a case where we had an accepted offer on one of my listings, and I drafted a seller's condition that the sellers would only sell if we could purchase another house within a few weeks. It is called a Seller's Subject To Buying. 

Most agents do not know how to use it, or they won't use it because they don't want to lose the first transaction if their client can't find something to purchase. 

In this scenario, with the second transaction, or the buying side, I knew the listing agent; in fact, he was from my Sutton office, one of the top brokerages in Metro Vancouver. But under designated agency you are represented by the designated agent on the transaction. 

I negotiated for my buyers, and the other Sutton agent acted for his sellers. However, what I see out there is that many agents in different markets, regardless of which company they work for, are far too close with other realtors.

In my case, even though I knew the agent, my loyalty was 100% to my clients (as it always should be). For the record, in 35 years, I have never done a deal under a limited dual agency when it was permitted. 

How can an agent act for the buyer and the seller simultaneously? It reminds me of ICBC after you get in an accident. You scratch your head and ask yourself who is ICBC acting for because it's sure not me?

But what is worse is when I see other agents do things and say things that do not reflect loyalty to their clients. 

My loyalty is never divided; in this case, I negotiated a very good purchase for my clients. They bought at a price that the top agent in the community told them could not be done when we viewed one of his listings. He said it was "impossible". 

Just so you know, I love it when other agents tell me that I can't get something for my clients.

In this case, the sellers were divorced, and the subsequent inspection revealed significant problems. We negotiated a price reduction that allowed my clients to undertake much-needed repairs on the property and do some renovations. 

My clients then removed their subject on the sale of their home and proceeded with the purchase of the new home. And we moved to a smooth completion. 

Following that, the seller's agent on their newly purchased house told me that the next time he personally purchased a home, he would use me as his buyer's agent because of what I was able to achieve for my clients. 

Months later, that same agent expressed bitterness over how well my clients did on the purchase? I was surprised by his demeanor as the home had been neglected by his clients, and one of them was very 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 before agreeing to our price reduction. 

They could have easily said no or made a counteroffer, but they accepted our offer.

The truth is that my loyalty is not to another agent or to the other party in the transaction. 

I don't do favors, side deals, or not negotiate to my full ability because I may know another agent, or because I want to do a quick deal like some agents that I see. 

My job is to use my skills on behalf of my clients exclusively. To act in their best interests at all times and protect their negotiating position.

But when it comes to loyalty, you better be careful. It is something that many agents and cultures do not understand. I negotiate very good outcomes on my listings with Asian buyers because I refuse to do under-the-table deals or reveal my client's bottom line. 

They look at me and know that they will not get away with what are normal practices in their culture. 

Because our law says that all real estate agents have obligations to their clients under the Real Estate Services Act that include:

Not to 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
Not to disclose information concerning your maximum/minimum price or terms
Not to disclose information concerning your motivation
Duty to disclose information concerning material defects
Duty to disclose information obtained from other parties
Provide confidential advice on any or all relevant matters
Help negotiate and draft favorable terms

Personally, loyalty is my highest value. If we work together, you will know whose team I am on.