I guess no matter how much things change, things still stay the same. What I mean by that is in real estate there is always some new technology, new ideas of how to find and keep existing clients and how to conduct an ethical real estate career. Believe, me I am not longing for yesterday I love the new way we deal with clients. I do not miss the “guardians of the gate” philosophy that was in place for most of my 40 years of real estate practice. Having information out there readily available is a wonderful change in this business. Computerized multiple listing systems and all the various search engines, email, electronic signatures, texting, instant photos and more just make things all the more interesting and convenient in dealing with clients. Under it all, however, is still the basic golden rule about how you want to be treated and, hopefully, how you want to treat others. THAT hasn’t changed. As I find agents scurrying around to try the next big thing I wonder how much attention they are paying to their client’s best interest.
What sparked this was the issue of pocket listings. Pocket listings are properties that are not fully out there on the market but for some reason, either the clients, or the Realtors purposes they are not ready to be fully exposed. Given the current scarcity of new listings these hidden listings become quite tantalizing. In a sense, there are really only available to the agent who is working on the property and those few clients or other Realtors he or she wishes to share it with. It is not uncommon to see these properties come into the multiple listing system with a contract already accepted on them. Somewhere in the background is a salesperson congratulating themselves thinking that they really got the inside advantage on this property and were really excited to share this with their “selective buyers”. If this selling agent happens to also be the listing agent we need to really be suspicious!
The heart of how real estate is transacted today is the multiple listing system. Nearly all Realtors are members of their local system and pledge to share their listings with all other fellow members. This is a wonderful system for buyers and sellers. Think for a moment about finding a home for rent. There is no such central data system for this market. In order to be abreast of all offerings you need to be in contact with every single property management company and individual owner out there. Not so with selling. EVERYTHING is supposed to be on this multiple listing system. Whenever we hold something back we are stepping on our own toes and as it turns out, likely our sellers too. To a seller the advantage of the MLS system is the wide net it throws out. It is not hard to understand that to get the best price you can you need to expose it to the largest number of potential buyers that you can. If your agent has offered to bring you a buyer before you are exposed to this “wide net” of buyers whose interest do you think is being best served? Yours or the listing agent who brought this one special buyer through the property before it could be seen by any other buyers? I don’t believe it takes much concentration to see that even though the seller may be saved some inconvenience of being exposed to the larger market, the advantage is to the agent, not the seller. That is not the way to build a business or look for repeat clients. It is strictly a short term satisfaction for that agent and not a bedrock foundation for repeat client success. I honestly have to say that I believe that most of my local fellow Realtors resolve to put their client’s needs before their own. However, the more we hear about this “pocket listings” or “coming soon” listings it makes you pause to consider the motivation.
I am a big believer in the truthful, honest and fully engaged multiple listing system. To subvert this system for my own shorterm gain is both dishonest and a poor business model for anyone planning on a long term career in this field.