buyers who have an agent

Sacramento Agents Should Never Ask if a Home Buyer Has an Agent

ask if a home buyer has an agent

When agents ask if a home buyer has an agent, it is the worst thing, pretty much, an agent can say. Sacramento agents inquire constantly whether a home buyer has an agent. Although, from the day an agent receives her real estate license, it is drummed into her head by trainers, brokers and managers, to qualify all potential clients. The standard way agents are taught protocol is to ask if a home buyer has an agent.

I hear agents ask this all of the time. Very common question. But what a freakin’ stupid question.

Let’s look at why an agent asks this question. Especially when working with internet buyers. Because I know some of you might be thinking, hey, whose business is it anyway? Why should I disclose anything about my personal situation? What right does this agent have to know whether I’ve been talking to anybody else? OK, valid points. However, the reason agents ask if a home buyer has an agent is due to the Realtor Code of Ethics. The Code says we as agents cannot interfere with another agent’s client.

If a buyer is already working with an agent, we are not allowed to try to swipe that buyer. By merely expressing our opinion about how we might handle a delicate situation differently, we could be accused of trying to sway a buyer who is already spoken for. Agents are instructed over and over to drop the conversation, wish the buyer well and to NOT interfere when buyers tell us they have an agent.

But most home buyers do not realize why we ask that question.

Further, how do you think a person feels when agents ask if a home buyer has an agent. At first blush, they might not even know what you’re talking about. Which can make them feel inadequate. Upon pondering, though, undoubtedly it occurs to them they are being asked if they have an agent. Well, who doesn’t have an agent in this day and age? Everybody has an agent. If they don’t have an agent, what does that reduce them to? I’ll tell ya. A loser. With a capital L engraved on their forehead. Who wants to be a loser? Nobody, that’s who!

So stop being those guys who ask if a home buyer has an agent and start asking a different question. Change the dialogue instead to a discussion. Maybe they have an agent who isn’t working out for some reason. Maybe they are very unhappy with the way their search has been moving along, and offers have been rejected over and over. An agent doesn’t know until an agent digs deeper.

Enough already, then, what is the question to ask? I’ll tell you. I know you thought I’d never get to it. The question to ask is: Wouldn’t you like to work with an experienced agent? Don’t make the buyer feel awful that she has no agent. Don’t put her on the defensive. Put a positive spin on the question and turn it into a conversation. If the buyer already has an agent, this is when she will say, “Oh, thanks, but I already have an agent.” Or, not. Maybe she will say, “Yes, I would love to work with YOU!”

Wouldn’t you like to work with an experienced agent? That’s your new question to ask. Try it. You’ll like it. And so will your clients.

Elizabeth Weintraub


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