Realtors: Watch Your Clients
Realtors should be careful of losing their clients to agents holding open houses. Some agents are very aggressive in trying to poach buyers at their open houses. We have had two separate recent incidents where the open house Realtors tried to steal both of our clients despite telling them that they were already working with us. Fortunately, both sets of clients are fabulous and remained loyal to us.
I know what the text book Realtor instructor will say - Don't let your buyers go to open houses without you! That is just impossible. Some buyers want to go to every available open house on Sunday and it is just ridiculous to even try to attend every open house with them. That is not good, real world advice.
If buyers walk into my open house and say that they are already working with a Realtor I am not going to try to steal them. Regardless of whether or not it is a violation of a Realtor ethics it is just plain wrong. Agents can spend tons of money and months or even years to cultivate clients. Don't be a weasel and try to steal that client when they are already represented.
I called the Florida Association of Realtors (FAR) legal hotline and spoke with the ethics expert about this. According to them, it is not an ethics violation for an agent to try to steal a client when they mention that they are already working with a Realtor. However, if the buyers indicate they have an exclusive relationship with a Realtor then it becomes a violation of article 16.
Standard of Practice 16-9
REALTORS®, prior to entering into a representation agreement, have an affirmative obligation to make reasonable efforts to determine whether the prospect is subject to a current, valid exclusive agreement to provide the same type of real estate service.
Standard of Practice 16-13
All dealings concerning property exclusively listed, or with buyer/tenants who are subject to an exclusive agreement shall be carried on with the client’s representative or broker, and not with the client, except with the consent of the client’s representative or broker or except where such dealings are initiated by the client.
Before providing substantive services (such as writing a purchase offer or presenting a CMA) to prospects, REALTORS® shall ask prospects whether they are a party to any exclusive representation agreement. REALTORS® shall not knowingly provide substantive services concerning a prospective transaction to prospects who are parties to exclusive representation agreements, except with the consent of the prospects’ exclusive representatives or at the direction of prospects.
Sooo......how do you deal with this?
- Have your buyers sign an exclusive buyer representation agreement. Then file an ethics complaint when the open house agent tries to poach your buyers. ;-)
- Attend every open house with your buyers. (pretty unrealistic)
- Only work with loyal buyers.