If You’re Working With an Agent, the Agent Needs to Show You Homes

Jonathan Dalton, Phoenix Real Estate AgentI pulled this comment out of a post on Redfin’s blog yesterday. The post was about an idea a friend of Glenn’s had for a web-based lockbox anyone could access with sufficient documentation … everything just short of DNA testing. The comment wasn’t.

“What really needs to be done is to force a seller’s agent to actually act as an agent solely interested in selling the property. It should be an ethical construct that a seller agent actually show (or delegate the showing) the property instead of the “you should use a buyer agent” rant or, in the Redfin areas, deter buyers from using Redfin (which is what happens everyday).”

Redfin’s not in the Phoenix market and the home prices here likely would make the margins so thin that it wouldn’t make sense to come here. But even without Redfin it’s not uncommon for a buyer to call a listing agent to see a house even if they’re working with their own agent.

Reasons vary … they can’t get hold of their agent. Their agent is out of town. They don’t want to bother their agent. Whatever.

If asked, I still will show one of my own listings to a buyer who wants to see it. I’m trying to sell a house. Just don’t ask me any questions. And I mean ANY questions outside of “how ya doin’ today?”

It’s not that I’m trying to be unhelpful. It’s that I can’t really answer any questions without creating an implied agency with the buyer. And that’s not what either the seller or the buyer is looking for in this situation.

Joe, who left the comment, apparently doesn’t want this – he even says he wants the “seller’s agent to actually act as an agent solely interested in selling the property.”

If you’ve got questions about the property, though, you need to ask your own agent. Otherwise, in the eyes of agency laws, I’m not going to be an “agent solely interested in selling” the home.

SIDE NOTE: As was leaked to the Bloodhound, Redfin now is offering four two-hour buyers’ tours with no upfront cost. It’s not quite the seven-hour tour many of us provide as a service to our buyers, but it’s another step toward the traditional real estate model.

In some ways, though, the more Redfin moves toward the more traditional model, the lone differentiating factor becomes the rebate. Cool software is a plus but won’t necessarily drive the business since buyers are shopping for homes, not agents (pr in this case brokerages.)

[tags]Redfin, buyers’ agency, real estate negotiating[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.

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