If You Are Not A Weintraub Client

not a weintraub clientJust because I deal honestly with other people doesn’t always mean people will deal honestly with me, and I can live with that. I can’t change other people; I can only change myself, but I have to really want to change, ha, ha, little joke. I mean, what other business in the world can you be in that involves working with other people without a contract or guarantee that you’ll ever get paid? Apart from the state of California, I mean. The real estate business is an odd duck.

You know what else is odd? U. S. Customs. I went through U. S. Customs in Los Angeles earlier this week when I came back from French Polynesia. I filled out my custom’s form in meticulous detail, and drove my husband crazy trying to compute the value of each item I had purchased in the islands. We had to convert from Franc-er-roos to American dollars, and the conversion rate was different on different days, but we managed to arrive at a value to report.

The guy at the first window stared at my declaration and gasped, “You spent !!!! (a bazillion dollars)?” He stared into my eyes. My husband volunteered, “Hey, I was stunned, too.” I answered in the affirmative. Yes, I did. Well, then I was ordered to go to Section B. Oh, no, not Section B! I grabbed my suitcases and marched over there. Thank goodness for those new rollers on luggage that allow a person to maneuver her luggage with one finger, that’s all I’ve got to say.

I handed my declaration to the guy standing behind the sign that read Section B. He studied it. His eyes narrowed, brows crisscrossed. He, too, made the bazillion-dollar comment. Then he questioned, “These pearl necklaces . . . do they have a tie clasp?” I retracted a necklace that did and showed it to him. He asked about the others, but they were gift wrapped. He did not make me unwrap them. He said simply that he would presume they were all similar, and he exempted them, adding that he believes that U. S. Citizens should get a break. I suppose it’s because I was not a “permanent resident” but instead a U. S. Citizen. I don’t know for sure but he gave me a break, and most likely because I told him the truth.

But I don’t always get the truth out of potential clients who approach me. I ask if they are working with another agent. Most of the time, a person will say no, she is not. Perhaps in her mind she is telling the truth because her agent is not standing next to her. She has her own definition of what working with an agent means. If the agent believes you are her client, then you are working with an agent.

The problem with working with an agent is this Sacramento real estate agent can’t work with a buyer who has an agent. It’s not ethical. It is against the Code of Ethics if a buyer or a seller is in contract, in escrow, with no intention of canceling and just wants advice, for me to respond. If a person has signed a purchase contract and not yet canceled, that person has a fiduciary because the agency most likely has been signed as well. Once a person is under contract, a person should not try to get advice from another REALTOR without first canceling the existing relationship.

Yet, all the time I see buyers and sellers on Zillow and Trulia and other websites seeking advice from REALTORs. Most of these buyers and sellers are in contract. They also contact me directly. They email or text or leave me voice mail messages, and they ask for my help. They probably think I am being a witch when I don’t respond or say I cannot help them, because they don’t know any better. They don’t know how agents work. It’s not that I don’t want to help, it’s that to do so would violate the Code of Ethics. On top of that, I am paid to help clients. That’s how I earn my living. If you are not my client, then you must either become client to get my assistance or find help elsewhere. I don’t make up these rules. But I do believe that what goes around, comes around.

If you are working with the Elizabeth Weintraub Team, you can get help from me or any of my team members. But you have to first be working with us. If you are working with another agent, you need to get your help from your own agent.

Photo: Gift shop in Bora Bora, which was probably sued by the owner of the rights to Fantasy Island, by Elizabeth Weintraub

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