fool for a client

Should Real Estate Agents Work in Dual Roles as Home Buyers?

Self-knowledgeRepresenting yourself in the dual role of a real estate agent and home buyer in a real estate transaction just to hang on to the buying side of the commission seems a bit defeatist to me, but that’s not to say an agent won’t do it –unless, of course, one subscribes to the adage that a lawyer who represents herself has a fool for a client. Further, you should probably pity the poor real estate agents in my life who have had to represent me in a real estate transaction. In retrospect, I was a terrible client.

I would not want to work with myself as a client. When the shoe is on the other foot, compassion be damned. I forget all about my comfy slippers with the soft lambswool lining and act like I’m strutting about in 8-inch heels. I demand immediate responses, expect instant communication and tolerate zero mistakes. I am like every real estate agent’s worst nightmare, and I apologize right now to the poor agent who will undoubtedly represent us when my husband and I retire somewhere exotic down the road.

While I strive to offer a client excellent service and often receive glowing reviews for my service, not all real estate agents behave in this manner. I will stop whatever I am doing when a client calls to take that phone call. In the middle of the frozen food aisle at the grocery store or in the midst of more intimate activities that you don’t want to know about, I answer my phone. The only places I turn it off are at the movie theatre, in flight or after 7 PM.

I do it because that’s what I would want if I were a client. I try to match performance to meet expectations. Client satisfaction is paramount to me. If I believe a client is better off with another agent, I will refer that client to another agent. It’s easy to see the situation at arm’s length when you’re not the client.

Singleness-of-purpose works well for a successful Sacramento real estate agent. It means the agent doesn’t do home staging, doesn’t do mortgages, doesn’t peddle other products to the client and doesn’t try to play the dual role of a buyer and agent. The agent simply works in real estate, focusing on representing her clients with integrity and purpose. Other agents will disagree with this premise and you know what? It’s OK. We’re not all the same.

Having said that, I will leave you with a link to an article about home buyers that I wrote yesterday for It’s a light-hearted yet accurate description of home buyers and the 7 different types of home buyers we work with in this business. I invite you to read more about What Kind of Home Buyer Are You?

A Real Estate License Won’t Help You to Buy a Home in Sacramento

buy a homeSome people in California think it’s a good idea to get a real estate license just in case they ever want to buy a home in Sacramento. Because if you have a real estate license, then you can collect a commission, which is reflected as a percentage amount of the sales price. All commissions are negotiable and generally paid by the listing broker to the selling broker, so while you might think this could amount to a lot of money, it’s generally not by the time it reaches the buyer’s agent pocket. Not in the overall scheme of things.

Yet, almost one in every 35 people in California has a real estate license. It’s hard to turn around at a party in Sacramento and not spill the drink of a Sacramento real estate agent. Snort as you may, not every person who holds a real estate license should be holding a cocktail much less trying to earn a living from said license, but that doesn’t stop them from getting drunk and / or practicing real estate.

On top of this, we’ve also got the agents who want to represent themselves to buy a home in Sacramento.  Especially agents from the Bay Area. You know what they say about that, right? A fool for a client. I look at my own situation. I’ve been in the real estate business for more than 35 years, so I’m not exactly a rookie. I like to think I know what I’m doing. But if I were buying a home out of my area, I would hire a local expert. The few thousand I would earn (and I use the word “earn” loosely) to represent myself is not worth the tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, I could lose.

Besides, my expectations are very high. I’m a high maintenance client. I would not want to work for myself. Some people might call me a pain in the ass. I expect exceptional service. Nope, I’d much rather hire a buyer’s agent and make unreasonable demands of her. That’s part of the service an exceptional real estate agent provides — client management.

Something else you might not know. If you’re trying to buy a short sale in Sacramento as a licensed real estate agent representing yourself, it’s highly likely that the bank will not allow you to collect a commission. That’s because you generally can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Even if it is a red velvet cake with a cream cheese filling and butter cream icing.

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