The best Client/Agent relationships stem from a fully open and trusting alliance. Trust and collaboration are widely regarded as vital foundations for strong and successful partnerships.
Clients and Agents should view their relationship as more than just a means to an end, and cultivate a collaborative alliance that is effective and fruitful for both sides.
Successful communication is a cornerstone to maintaining an effective and trusted relationship. Client/Agent relationships should strive for a respectful understanding and mutual trust for one another, as a deep and respectful relationship can grow business.
Commitment, Incentive and Inclusiveness are also cornerstones in the Client/Agent relationship, and need to be employed by both parties in order to facilitate an advantageous relationship.
Commitment – The professional obligation of a Real Estate agent is to ensure that the buyer and seller or lessee and lessor, come together in an agreement that affords each of them a reasonable and equitable transaction.
Many clients do not realize the varied and numerous steps that an agent performs on their behalf. Most of these steps are usually viewed as part of an agent’s professional responsibilities to the client. Depending on the nature of the real estate transaction, some steps take only minutes to complete, while others may take hours or days, but without them the transaction could be hindered or put at risk.
Within their scope as a licensed Real Estate professional, an agent performs several important services, for their client. The duties a real estate agent is obliged to perform for the party who engages them, include the following:
- Full disclosure
- Dealing honestly and fairly with all parties
- Loyalty and Confidentiality
- Compliance with the client’s requests
- Accounting for all funds
- Skill, care, and diligence in the transaction
- Presenting all offers and counteroffers in a timely manner, unless the client has previously directed the agent otherwise, in writing.
- Disclosing all known facts that materially affect the value of real property, even though it may not be readily observable.
Incentive – Most agents do not receive compensation unless or until the sale closes. This is one reason clients should work exclusively with one agent or agency at a time. As a buyer or lessee, it may seem as if you are casting a wider net if you have multiple agents/agencies working for you, but markets are not that large, and numerous agents searching on your behalf may actually undermine or weaken your search. Eventually agents will end up communicating with the same sellers or lessors. This not only unnecessarily duplicates efforts in the search for your potential property, it may cause the agent(s) to feel used and less motivated, and the property owners, or their agents/representative(s), less inclined to take your agent, you or your offer seriously.
Inclusiveness – Many agents provide a wide variety of services that are as different as the structure of each transaction. Some transactions may not require a client to avail themselves of every service available, but due to complications which may arise, it is in the client’s and agent’s best interests to include open and candid conversations about the existence of such possibilities and make intelligent and informed decisions regarding the potential services.
Today’s Real Estate industry offers an assortment of service models to choose from, such as:
- Full Service – offers traditional services and is commission based.
- Limited Service – offers limited services, in exchange for an up-front flat fee.
- Fee for Service – which offers a menu of pay-as-you-go options, and
- Sliding Scale – offers limited to full service, and compensates the agent based on the services provided.
In the buying, selling or leasing process, the choices in today’s Real Estate industry provide consumers with a greater range of options, but be aware, it can also leave the client bearing more or full responsibility for many or all of the other steps and procedures normally performed by the Real Estate agent.
Open communication between the client and agent assists the client to be considerably stronger as a team member than as an individual player on the real estate field. (Watch for Part 2 of the 3 Part Series: Client/Agent Relationships.)