Wednesday morning I was contacted by another real estate company letting me know they had a buyer lead for one of my listings. I thought it strange that they would be sending a buyer my way, without helping the gentlemen themselves. After some questioning, I discovered that they will only show buyers homes that enter into a Buyer’s Representation Agreement with their real estate brokerage.

Now, in Minnesota, you are not represented by an agent until you enter into a written agreement. Failure to do so means that most agents will not show you homes, because quick frankly, they are looking for loyalty from a client. They will also not give you any advice or answer any questions because of legal issues, state laws, etc.

Back to the buyer…he did not want any representation, so the other brokerage politely told him they could not help him. Since I represent the sellers of my listing, I had no problem showing him the home. He would just understand that I do not represent him, and thus anything he tells me I could, for the most part, relay to the sellers. By Minnesota real estate law, I owe no duties to him save confidentiality.

The real problem came down to when he wanted to see the home, which was Wednesday evening. Unfortunately, it was such short notice that I was not able to drop everything and meet him there. Reasons being,

  • I had other appointments to keep.
  • I had never met this person or spoken with him over the phone, so I was naturally concerned about my safety. Real estate agents have to be very careful when showing homes and take proper safety precautions. While it doesn’t happen often, we have been attacked by prospective “clients”.

Today I was finally emailed back by this gentleman. He no longer wanted to see the home because I was not able to meet his request for a short notice showing. I thought this strange. If he really wanted to see the home, then he should understand that short notices often do not work out, and to schedule another time for the showing that fits both parties schedule. It makes me think that maybe he did mean ill will towards the agent that would have shown him the home, or maybe he is just a looky-loo and has no real interest in buying the home.

Who knows….but the point to remember is that many real estate agents cannot show homes on a moments notice. Many of us have prior appointments, or often the seller cannot accommodate the request either. While we definitely want to sell a home, we do not done Superman attire that can make us be in two places at once. When you make a request to view a home, please have a couple of times set aside, in case one of them is not available. Much like you have to give notice to your doctor for an appointment, so must you do when looking at homes to buy in the Twin Cities real estate market.

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  1. Missy March 20, 2008 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Hi Jennifer, this post came through in my google alerts for real estate lead one of the terms I follow.

  2. Doug March 21, 2008 at 9:27 am - Reply

    I had an agent call the other day to schedule a showing. I met her at the property and upon entering the front door her phone rings. Supposedly her client calling to cancel. I went ahead and showed her the house. Four days later her residence around the corner is listed for sale. I sent her a tongue in cheek email wishing her success and hoping she did not have to deal with phantom buyers

  3. Minnesota Investment Property March 21, 2008 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Good for you Jennifer. I absolutely agree. I have new clients do that to me more often that I appreciate. Sometimes, I will get a call or email in the afternoon from someone that wants to go out the next day and tour 15-20 houses with no real idea what they are looking for!

    Worst case is the couple times I have been able to make that happen, these buyers turn out to be flakes and never buy a thing!

    I think it is OK for all of us to tell a customer that we are professionals and can not (and will not) be expected to drop everything because of their poor planning or compulsive nature.

  4. Estate Agents Finder March 22, 2008 at 8:45 am - Reply

    Its best that everything was in legal. I understand the point that Real Estate agents have no obligation on him at the same time they just concern with their safety.

  5. Jennifer Kirby March 25, 2008 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    Doug – unfortunately there are people and agents out there that cannot be honest. The agent should have told you she wanted to preview the home and that she did or didn’t have a buyer. Her actions are inexcusable and give the rest of us a bad name. I hope your home sells before here! 🙂

  6. Jennifer Kirby March 25, 2008 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    Scott – some people think we are a personal chauffer for their hobby of lurking through housing inventory. It is up to us as professionals to draw the line and say NO.

  7. Jennifer Kirby March 25, 2008 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    RE Finder – safety is so important. As a matter of fact, an agent was just killed this last week in Wisconsin while showing a home to a potential buyer.

  8. Stapeliad March 26, 2008 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    This is a really, really odd story…and I’m also glad you didn’t go. It raises my suspicions. If he was really interested in the house he would have been accomodating for an appointment.

  9. Kathy Drewien March 26, 2008 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    Hi, Jennifer. Read your post a couple of days ago, totally agree with your approach to time management. Jumping in the car at the drop of a hat is an action for real estate rookies – no matter how long they have been in the business.

    Anyway, tonight I got around to talking about your post on our blog.

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