“I don’t think your clients understand how real estate works,” an agent said to me recently.   

His words landed like a punch to the gut.  I pride myself on my commitment to educating my clients on the complexities of buying or selling a home and the benefits of working with a competent agent.   

So, I was flabbergasted when this called to let me know that clients of mine had called him with a showing request. 

How was it possible, I wondered as I scrolled through my contacts searching for my client’s phone number, that Nick and Betsy hadn’t called me to set up this showing?  I’d been working with them on and off for the last few years.   Newly married and in the midst of blending families when I’d met them, they’d rented originally.  They wanted to take some time to figure out where they wanted to settle long term.  And determine how much room they’d need.  

We kept in touch. Every six months or so, they’d toy with the idea of buying.  I responded promptly each time their home search revved up and backed off when cold feet set in.   It hadn’t been that long since I’d checked in with them.  In fact, I’d shown Betsy a unit in a new townhome development and several single-family homes less than three months ago.  She liked one and thought about coming back for a second look with Nick. But, in the end, they decided to rent a little longer.  

It’s not unusual for buyers and sellers to make a few false starts along the way. Buying or selling a home is a big decision for most people.  Part of my job as a real estate agent is to help my clients make the best decision for their situation.  Sometimes that means deciding to wait.  But, I also make it clear that I’m always available for any of their real estate needs.   

“We didn’t want to bother you!” Betsy said when I got her on the phone.  “We’re just exploring the area and wanted to take a look at a few houses to get a feel for what you get for the money.” 

“I appreciate it,” I said. “But, I need you to understand why it’s never a bother for me to show you houses”.  

Like most agents, I don’t get paid for showing houses. I only get paid if I show my clients a house, they make an offer that gets accepted, and the sale closes.  In real estate lingo, it’s called procuring cause and, in a nutshell, it means that the agent who shows the buyer a property is the one entitled to the commission on the sale.  So, it’s important for me to the one who shows Betsy & Nick properties – even when they are not “ready” to pull the trigger, in order to be the one who shows them the house they are ready to purchase. The listing agent who gave me that head’s up call did me a huge favor. Most agents would have either accommodated the showing or, if not doing dual agency, referred Nick and Betsy to a colleague in his office.  If he had done that, I might have lost an opportunity. And the agent that they “bothered” so they didn’t “bother” me would have been the procuring cause and due the commission.

“I want you to call me, and only me, whenever you want to see a house,”  I told her.

“I get it now,” she said. “So can you show us these other three too?”

I showed Nick and Betsy four houses that weekend.  They seriously considered making an offer on one. In the end, they decided to hold off on buying again.   Who knows how long it will take them to feel comfortable making an offer. I’m happy to work with them until they do.  And, thankfully, I’m pretty confident I’ll be the one who writes it for them when they are.


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