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How do I know if my REALTOR® is looking out for my best interests?

4 signs to watch for and what you can do about it.

I read part 1 of this article and all I could do was just sigh.  I hate to see our reputation as REALTORS® ruined because there was a bad egg in the basket.  I assure you, not all of us are like that, but how does the public know?  Every REALTOR® claims to be honest, forthright, ethical and of course we all say we’re looking out for the clients’ best interests.  Here are 4 signs that should make you think twice about deciding to choose that REALTOR® or deciding whether to continue with that REALTOR® if you are currently with him/her.

1.  Commission-centered:  What comes out of the mouth stems from the mind.  Does the REALTOR® talk about commission more often than talking about your needs?  Does the REALTOR® show you the detailed view (shows remuneration to the buyer agent) of every listing he/she shows you?  If not, ask him/her to.  Does the REALTOR® only show you listings that pay a “high” commission amount or make excuses why listings that offer “low” commission amounts are not right for you?  Since there’s no standard or regulated commission amount that REALTORS® must receive, ask the REALTOR® what common commission amounts are usually.

2.  Secretive:  Do you feel like the REALTOR® hides information from you?  A REALTOR’S® duty is to provide a fiduciary duty to his/her clients and that means disclosing anything that is of material importance to the decision making of his/her clients.  Does your REALTOR® tell you what’s going on or are you left in the dark?  Mind you, some clients don’t want to know every detail of the transaction and would prefer the REALTOR® to just do their thing.  However, keep in mind that you have the right to ask the REALTOR® to keep you in the loop every step of the way.

3.  Desperate:  Does the REALTOR® hurry you to make a decision and seem desperate for you to close the transaction?  Maybe he’s got a personal quota to meet.  Does the REALTOR® limit you to the number of homes you’re allowed to see when you want to see more homes?

4.  Never talks about commission:  It’s one thing if the REALTOR® always talks about commission, then there’s another thing if the REALTOR® never talks about it.  You can request your REALTOR® to show you all listings, even the ones with the “low” commission.  What if your REALTOR® is great and you don’t want him/her to receive pennies for his/her work?  There’s a fee agreement option that REALTORS® have access to that can mitigate this situation.

For example, if the “common” commission amount for a listing is $5000 but for whatever reason, the listing agent is offering $500 to the buyer’s agent and the buyers want the buyer’s agent to get paid $5000, the buyers can sign a fee agreement.  This fee agreement basically states that the buyer’s agent needs to be paid $4500 more and that will come out of the seller’s pocket before the buyers will present their offer.  If the sellers want to see the offer, they need to accept these terms and sign the fee agreement as well.

At the end of the day, it’s all about communication.  Make sure you ask your REALTOR® the difficult questions.  Maybe your REALTOR® is afraid to lose you as a client and so is afraid to bring up certain topics.  Maybe if Janet Mackenzie was aware of and agreed to use the fee agreement to help the REALTOR® out, then MAYBE, just MAYBE, the forgery could have been prevented.  I mean no REALTOR® ever wants to be in the CTV news for this.

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