The one thing that every transaction needs is honesty, even before anything is written on paper. Listing agents, well, some at least, put a lot of effort into marketing homes. Their time is very precious and worth money. So when a potential buyer calls them to request a showing, most agents will ask if the buyer is working with another agent. (Heaven forbid we get in the way of an agency relationship. )It is a well known courtesy, not to mention good manners, to inform a listing agent if you are currently represented or not.
However it happens every now and then that a buyer calls to inquire about a home and requests a showing and is less than honest about their situation. Just the other day I showed a listing of mine to a buyer who spent an hour in the home. I had asked my questions before hand to make sure I wasn’t stepping on a buyer’s agents shoes. But just as the buyer was walking out the door, he turned around and let me know that “by the way”, if he decided to put in an offer, such and such agent will be sending it over to me. You’ve got to be kidding me.
See, the whole problem stems from the lack of manners. The buyer’s agent should be the one showing the home, not me. Now I am OK with an agent calling me and asking if I could please show her buyer a home because the agent will be out of town. But I am not OK with an agent sending her buyer out to me, unannounced, so that I can do all the work. Trust me, there are plenty of agents out there that would much rather pick up a check then lift a finger or break a sweat, and they really annoy those of us that take this job seriously.
You know who they are…you have met them plenty of times.
One reason you really need to tell another agent if you are represented or not, is the fact we agents are bound by ethical rules. We can’t get in the way of another agents relationship with a client, or we might be found in violation of the Code of Ethics. No agent wants that headache.
Another reason is called confidentiality. If you walk into a listing without your buyer’s agent, and start gushing out your life story, then the listing agent is obligated to tell the seller anything she might hear. Since no fiduciary duties are owed to the buyer, it is fair game on anything you say. However, if you had been honest about your representation, then the listing agent will not play 20 questions with you during the showing. Well, I don’t at least.
Thirdly, time is money. Having to take time out to show a home, and then actively “sell” the home to the buyer, only to have another agent show up after the fact, really gets on a listing agent’s nerves. Not only is it bad manners, but it wastes time, energy, and money. We all hate to have our time wasted…so think about the other party before you lie about having a buyer’s agent.
Trust me, it will make for a smoother transaction if you are just upfront and honest from the very beginning. So next time, please let the listing agent know before hand if you are represented or not…for real.