Well, this is interesting! We call ourselves professional ... Are We?
We got a call from an out of area agent to list his parent's home. They have been listed with another - not so busy - agent for many many months. No showings, no activity!
We look them up in MLS and see TOM (Temporarily off the market). We bring it to the attention of the referring agent and ask him, "Is the listing canceled?" He assures us that it is and please keep the appointment with his parents, because, "They really need to sell!"
So ... we keep the appointment. The house is great but grossly over priced. We tell them we can help them sell it but we need a 15% price reduction. They agree! We ask about the prior listing - which started 20% too high. They said it was "handled!" I said, "Let's call the prior listing agent."
We called and asked her, "Did you cancel this listing?" I'm sure you can guess, the answer was, "NO!"
She maintained they took the listing off the market to facilitate a medical procedure with the assurance that the house would be back and active once the client was well again. A true story according to the clients.
Anyway ... I say to the current listing agent, and the referring agent, "This is not my affair, the property is listed, I'm not getting involved, work it out! Let me know when it's ok to talk with the clients."
Now- The fight is on. Both the Referring Agent and the Listing Agent want the referral fee! The Listing Agent feels justified because she has, "Done so much work". The Referring Agent feels justified because, after all, his parents need to move and their health is failing, and he thinks the other agent hasn't lived up to her part of the bargain. (She took a one year over priced listing from two aged clients who really really need to move - never had one showing in 4 months - and refused to allow them to move the listing to another agent.
I get calls from both agents telling me their sad tales. I'm not legally able to interfere with a contract that both of them are asking me to pass judgment on. What's up with that?
My final frustrated advice to both of them was this, "Split the Dam fee! Or ... Give up the Dam Fee! Duh! We're talking $2,167.00 dollars for heavens sake! The overriding, a least should be overriding, (but seemed to get lost in the shuffle) factor is ... Mom and Dad Seller Need to Move!
So, here's the question! If we call ourselves "professional", and want to be treated "professionally", shouldn't we act "professionally?
I don't know any other group of paid individuals who would deny patrons the help they need and seek on the basis of dollars. Doctors don't prohibit second opinions, or seek monetary compensation for sending a patient to a specialist. Neither do Attorneys, Accountants, Financial Advisors, Dentists, or any other profession?
Not one profession except real estate agents seeks compensation for providing referral services. Further, not one profession except real estate agents would even consider strapping a consumer into a contract for services that they could not provide. And ... then ... seek to prevent the consumer from obtaining those services from another source without being paid a portion of the compensation. Is it any wonder we suffer from such low public opinion?
I favor legitimate referrals for the sake of securing knowledgeable and competent services for our customers, clients and family. However, once an agent's fee takes precedent over providing the service the customer needs and deserves to receive, that agent has lost their right to be called professional and is little better than a crook in my opinion.