Stories From The Street – September 2015

Who is Your Agent Really Working For???

The answer seems simple enough right? You.

After all you are the client. Whether buying or selling, you search for a real estate agent to ‘help’ in this process. To advise. To provide expertise in what will most likely be the single largest transaction of your life. To help guide you through this extremely stressful and difficult process.

Of course the agent will be working FOR you… Not so fast…

Want to know a dirty little secret?

That agent that you hire, they might actually be working for someone else, and you might just be a pawn in that game.
You are thinking, “Eric, what are you talking about? I hired this agent [insert name]. I see their signs all over the place, they run the biggest ads, and everyone knows them. They must be the BEST.”

But the question is…. The best at WHAT? The best at promoting themselves? The best at churning transaction after transaction? The best at running ads telling you how many homes they sell?

Or are they the best at looking out for their clients? Doing the job for which they were hired? To Serve, Protect, and Guide. Putting your interests above their own.

There is a HUGE difference.

Just recently I was reminded that all agents don’t work for their clients. And you know what? That Agent’s client might not ever find out. The clients were bamboozled. The house ‘they just loved’ were told they couldn’t get because the agent wasn’t working for THEM!… that agent was working for someone else.

You think this is preposterous? Think again. Does this really happen? The answer is YES!

Let me tell you a story.

I have this unique property listed. This place is incredible. A former church that has been transformed into a residence.

I did an entire write-up on the property that starts out:

Coolest House EVER!

Coolest House EVER!

(“Quite Possibly The Coolest House EVER…

No Joke!

Check out this property.

A Once in a Lifetime chance to own one of the coolest residences around. The church has been an amazing property. The woodwork and the intricate details of the church remain intact but the owner has added a modern flair. Ideal for someone who likes to think ‘outside of the box.’ You have to do yourself a favor and check out the tour. The beautiful home is ready for a new caretaker. $275,000

This Story Starts in the late 1800s

Times were vastly different 120 years ago when this structure was built in 1894. Our county was just 30 years removed from the Civil War that helped form our government and society in general. We were still about 30 years from the Great Depression. The US had not fought either World War and our nation was still in relative infancy. Times were much simpler and everything was built by hand.”)

I continue for a few more pages telling this property’s ‘Story’ in detail. If you want to read the rest, pop on over to the Property Story.

As you can imagine this home is unique, and it takes a special person to own such a property. Not only that, but it also takes a lender/bank that will underwrite a loan on a property that used to be a church.

We have had the most amazing feedback from everyone that has seen the home. The potential buyers all say they have never seen such detailed architecture in a home. That the ‘Sanctuary’ has been transformed into the coolest living area they have seen, but for one reason or another potential buyers have not been able to ‘pull the trigger’ on purchasing the church. I get it. I understand. The property is so unique that it won’t work for everyone.

So when we had a recent showing and I called the agent for feedback and to find out what her clients thought she told me, “Absolutely one of the coolest and most unique properties I have ever visited! What a treat!! Just not the right living space for my buyers with 2 younger kids. Best of luck!

I give my seller the feedback, and he understands.

But here is where it gets interesting…

The agent calls me the next morning and tells me that the buyers, “her clients,” were ready to pull the trigger and make an offer on another property. However, they slept on it and called her this morning, they told her that they couldn’t stop thinking about the church and that they would be kicking themselves if they let this unique opportunity pass.

This is an agent I know well, and, if I told you her name, you would recognize it. She and her team do a large volume of business, and I’m sure you have seen her signs and ads.

I ask the agent who is the lender and she mentions it is XXXX. I say GREAT, and she is an excellent lender, one that I’ve worked with in the past and know will do a great job.

The agent starts asking me questions about the loan and if I thought getting a loan would be possible. I tell her that my seller’s current loan is with PNC bank. Yes, the property is ‘outside the norm,’ but should be doable. And if [current lender] can’t do the loan, then I’m sure we can find a local bank that can.

Over the next 6 hours there are a series of group text messages between the other agent, the lender, and myself asking about the particulars of the property to see if it will qualify for their loan programs.

At one point I say, “Well, if [lender] can’t do the loan, I’m sure we can find someone else, maybe a local bank that can.”

The agent responds with something along the lines of… These buyers were referred to me from [lender], and they are past clients of hers. They will not be getting their loan from anyone else.

Huh?

These buyers want this property. You told me that they couldn’t let it “get away” and you won’t do everything in your power to get them the home because the buyers are a past client and were referred to you from this lender…?

So, I’m sure the conversation between the agent, lender, and buyers went something like this: “We looked into the church property and unfortunately, you can’t get a loan to purchase the home that you ‘couldn’t let get away.’”

If everyone was really WORKING FOR, the client the conversation should have gone, “I am sorry, but [lender] is not able to do the loan. I did talk to the listing agent and there is a current mortgage with PNC. Let’s talk to some other banks to see if we get the same answer, or if someone else can get you a loan.”

And you want to know the sad truth?

I’m sure the buyer is not even aware that they could have possibly purchased the home. So this agent, the one who does hundreds of transactions a year, has a large team, and does a TON of advertising is, herself, just a puppet. She doesn’t really work for her clients. She works for that lender who referred her the business. At least with these specific clients.

I understand the relationship between the agent and lender, I do. However, both the agent and lender should have said to the client that they should talk to someone else, another bank to see if purchasing is possible.

There is a lender that my buyers work with whom I’ve known since 2003, and he and I have helped a lot of purchasers together. And there have probably been a half dozen times over the years that I’ll call him and describe the situation or the property, and he’ll say, “Eric, there is no way that I can do that loan. However I think you should call [insert bank/lender] who may help.” So my clients will see if there is another avenue to purchase.

They will exhaust all options to see if they can get a loan.

So, when choosing an agent, do your due diligence. Make sure that you won’t just be a ‘pawn’ in the game. Make sure that your agent will be working FOR you, not someone else.

Now, you know the ‘dirty little secret.’ Hit me up at Eric@EricVerdiProperties.com if you want me to write about a question you might have.