Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Weeding out the Good from the Rotten

Having been a real estate agent in Seattle has taught me a lot. The biggest thing is appreciation for hard-working agents that represent their clients with honor and honesty. It also taught me how many agents can be quite the opposite. So, as much as I hate to dwell on the negative, I have to share this experience about how a truly unprofessional agent can ruin it for the rest of the trustworthy ones.

My sister and brother-in-law have been trying to buy a new construction condo in downtown Chicago for about two weeks now. They took on a real estate agent working for the builder rather than getting a buyer's agent. He had assured them that he could handle both ends of the transaction, but in reality has been lying to them in order to take a double commission. He tried to pressure them into putting big money down fast, as "the unit may not be available much longer". Thank god my Sister is a smart lady and turned to yours truly for advice.

I told them what I would tell any of my friends, clients, or random aquaintences: get a buyer's agent. It's the only way that you are going to know that your agent is working on your behalf - and your behalf alone. Once they did get a buyer's agent and came back to the crooked one, he continued to make their lives difficult, simply because they outsmarted the trickster at his own game.

This is the second time in recent months that a family member has come up against a crooked agent. Imagine translating this small survey size into the greater industry, just how many times this happens to unsuspecting buyers. I'm all for agents getting their due share - but not at the expense of honest homebuyers. Often times these guys working with the builder will tell an interested party that the unit is "not yet on the market". Then they get all chummy and say, "but maybe we can work something out before it flies off the shelf" and charge them a non-negotiable, over-priced amount and in the mean time take both the seller and buyer agents' commissions.

Some agents are going to scream, "but we deserve the higher commission for all the work we do... I work so hard and get so few buyers and blah, blah, blah..." I simply can't understand how such agents can look at themselves in the mirror, knowing that their riches are coming off the backs of hard working, unsuspecting clients - their clients.

I've always learned there is a right way and a wrong way in life. To live and work with integrity will make you a thousand times richer in the long run. Agents that play these games with their clients may fill their bank accounts, but they know deep down that they're as poor as paupers when it comes to integrity.

At XoomPad, we have all walked in the shoes of agents - we know the challenges, the triumphs. We work for consumers. We work for agents - but only good, trustworthy agents. And there are many, MANY real estate agents that need to be honored for their tireless work and ingenuity. Unfortunately, there are many crooked ones out there too. Luckily there are groups like the Realtor Association and local MLS systems that weed out the good from the bad. I just want to help honor those of the good crop, and make it harder for the rotten ones to see the light of day.

As always, discover the latest in IDX tools from XoomPad.com and keep up with Seattle real estate news at UrbanTango.com.

Go (Good) Agent Go!


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