Stupid is as stupid does

Recounting a tale from the trenches in the Charlottesville Realtor/real estate world …

Another Realtor was showing buyers a development in Charlottesville and an agent was onsite holding an open house. As the buyers looked around, the Buyer’s Agent (BA) and the sellers’ agent (SA) got to talking.

BA: This road in front of the development:  It goes into a neighborhood, correct?
SA: Yes, but you don’t want to take them that way.  It looks much better the way you came in.
BA: I understand, but I want them to see what’s around this property, going both ways.
SA: If you go back the way you came, you can show them how close the grocery store is.
BA: Thanks, but I can do both.
SA: You should really go out this way – it’s much better.

When the Buyers and the Buyers’ Agent got in the car – the wife asked, “Which way are we leaving?” To which the Buyer’s Agent replied – “this way – I want to make sure that you see what’s around the house.  Then, I’ll show you how close this is to grocery store, restaurant, etc.”  Turns out, the wife had heard the Realtors’ conversation.

1 – Your Buyer Agent is supposed to look out for your best interests.
2 – Had this been a Dual Agency situation, do you think the buyers would have been more or less likely to see the “other” areas?
3 – Realtors don’t have an obligation to assess an area’s safety level, but they do have an obligation to be the “source of the source” – provide references by which the clients can determine for themselves.
4 – Recognize two things – not all Realtors are focused solely on “making the sale”; but some are.

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  1. Pingback: Stupid Is As Stupid Does | The Long List of Odysseus Medal Nominees | Realtors and real estate, mortgages, lending, investments

  2. Maureen Francis February 18, 2008 at 03:41

    I have been a dual agent on more than one occasion. Its not my favorite position to be in, but I certainly would have driven the couple both ways.

  3. Joe Vita February 18, 2008 at 16:28

    Suppose the agent in this situation was both a buyer agent for this couple as well as the listing agent for this owner of this partucular house.

    Does he have an obligation to recommend designated agency?

    At what point might it be appropriate for him to recommend that designated agency come into play?
    1. Does he show it to them first?
    2. Does he wait until they express some interest
    after the showing?
    3. Does he wait until they have discussed
    possible terms, values, sellers motivation or
    negotiation strategies?
    4. Does he wait until an offer has been prepared?
    5. At what point should he introduce them to
    their new “designated agent”?

    If he does it after any of the five time periods above, is he acting as a dual agent himself until designated agency is invoked?

    At what point should the “designated agent” prefer to get involved?

    Who showed the potential buyers the other way to access the property?

  4. Jim Duncan February 18, 2008 at 16:44

    Joe –

    Thanks for the comment. I’ll take the hypothetical one step further –

    Say this is a new construction development and unsuspecting buyers come into the open house …

  5. Mark February 18, 2008 at 23:11

    Not constrained by the professional constraints of the more diplomatic posters above, I have three comments:

    1. ed note: name removed (the dominant local new home seller’s agent) new home sales division is fundamentally crooked and deceptive about dual agency, and

    2. Since there is no current way to check the blatant conflict of interest, anyone who can’t use his common sense and figure that out dual agency, ed note: name removedeven the practice of using a RE agency to market new homes–are all bad ideas, the buyer deserves the screwing he’ll probably get.

    3. If I’m buying a house I’m damn sure going to explore the areas around the neighborhood ON MY OWN, including but not limited to looking at all the roads in and out. Anyone who needs a Realtor to figure that out had better hope their Realtor cares more about their clients’ well-being than 3%. Common sense = an oxymoron.

    This is 2008. There is no excuse for putting your fate in the hands of a real estate agent (or an accountant, or a salesman, or a stock adviser, or the government, or…)

  6. Jim Duncan February 19, 2008 at 06:37

    Mark – I agree with almost everything you say. The concept of singla agent Dual Agency is a legacy that needs to go away.

    I’d be curious to know also if any companies out there, big or small, offer bonuses to their agents for selling one of their own listings, whether new or resale.

    A lot of buyers just don’t understand the value of agency, and don’t get the opportunity to learn from the first agent they meet what buyer’s agency is.

    See also –

    All the agents wanted my business and Default Position.

  7. Jim Duncan February 19, 2008 at 06:38

    Joe –

    What do we have to do to rid ourselves of Single Agent Dual Agency?


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