Active Rain May 18, 2011

Why “Call Around” When You Can Call the Broker?

Straight talk for consumers: 

When you hire a real estate agent, in the eyes of New York law, you are hiring their brokerage. The broker, owner or manager is directly accountable to you, and is, by contractual obligation, the “go to” guy if something seems amiss. In a sense, you are quasi-married for the term of the listing in the real estate world. 

Speaking of marriage, I’ll ask a question before I make my point. If I have an “issue” with my wife, to whom should I address the matter? 

  1. Cry in my beer down at the Kitty Cat Club to the 20-something talent?
  2. Post my question in the “serendipity board” at 
  3. Sit down with my wife and respectfully discuss the matter.
Do you think choices 1 and 2 might have a slightly different priority than my best interests? When I married my wife, that made her the “go to” person for anything that was on my mind. That’s the agreement. Anyone else does not have an agenda with the same goals. 
When you are scratching your head about something your real estate agent is doing or should be doing but isn’t, you can go to the agent’s broker or manager to get to the bottom of things. It is that simple. Anyone else, such as a competing broker or agent with no familiarity with the file other than your version, is not privy to the full picture. And that’s when problems start- just like if a spouse goes elsewhere for input that does not have the same stated intention. 
In our company, all clients have direct access to the broker & owner if they have a question or concern. And the well-being and best interests of our client is paramount, even if we have never met personally. That’s how we’ve built the firm, and that’s why we’ve grown despite the horrendous market. 
I have been found on search engines dozens of times by people from California to Long Island and asked by the consumer if what their broker was engaging in was kosher, or if something was amiss. Now, why I have any more credibility than the person they presumably vetted and interviewed before hiring is beyond me, but one question I ask is often met with stunned silence, as if they never thought of it. 
“Why don’t you ask your broker?”
At best, when I am asked about a sensitive matter from someone who is not my client seeking a second opinion, I only get one side of the story, and it is the side of the person who is the novice. When the consumer is in my market area, it can get ticklish. Many agents will seize on the opportunity to cultivate a vulnerable client out of the doubt and questioning. Other firms’ clients can be manipulated. But most of the time, an honest assessment of the facts will get the answer that yields nothing more than justified actions by the agent. 
If I knock the other agent with just one side of the story, I am working for me, not the consumer. But why would I contribute to mistrust when it isn’t deserved?
Got a problem? Don’t call the competition. Ask the broker or manager first. They have the most skin in the game, and a vested interest in your best outcome. Asking their competition puts you at risk of being in the middle of a feeding frenzy, and when that happens, nobody wins. It is a privilege to be able to speak with the boss so easily. Use it. And if need be, use it often. It is your right, and it ensures the best chance of your concern being addressed with your best interests in mind.