Not so long ago, there was an article in Columbus Real Estate Voice about the kind of Realtor or Salesperson everyone dreads. You know, that agent or salesperson with the dollar signs in his eyes and those all-too-uncomfortable pressure tactics? Ugh. We’ve all been there, and wanted to back away from the person whose focus is on their own bottom line and how we are going to pad it for them!
The term used in the article was commission-breath. Considering how a person with commission-breath makes you want to back away as fast as someone with severe halitosis…it’s the perfect term! The article gives the credit for the creation of that label to Ken Blanchard, the author of The One Minute Manager.
Every Realtor knows the signs, and has been contacted by a victim of an agent with commission-breath for a market analysis. While reviewing similar sold properties, it becomes obvious that they have paid well above the fair market rate when buying their home, and even after a few years they don’t stand a chance of recouping their investment, much less making any profit. The homeowners were pressured into the sale, and are now stuck with trying to work with the results. Or we meet the client who got away, but is now leery of trusting any Realtor, and who can blame them?
There is a Realtor Code of Ethics that we promise to follow, and state laws that tell us to operate with our clients’ best interests in the forefront. The agents who put their own bottom line and financial interests first violate that code of ethics, break the law, alienate the client and damage what should be a relationship built on trust, respect, and mutual benefit.
Buyers need to know that if they get the feeling of being pressured to buy a home they are unsure of wanting, or they feel pushed to do anything during a search or negotiation that feels uncomfortable or wrong, it probably is. There’s nothing wrong with an agent advising you that a great property in a popular neighborhood may sell quickly, but you shouldn’t feel like you are being sold a used car lemon, either! This may be the largest purchase you make in your lifetime, and you deserve to feel comfortable and safe with the person you’ve contracted to guide you through the process. The key word here is guide, not push or coerce.
Realtors make money when a home closes, yes. But a good Realtor knows that a career is built on trust, good reputation, and repeat clients. The best way to avoid an agent with commission-breath is to watch and listen carefully during your first meeting. Look for an agent who wants to know about you. Your needs and wants are vital to finding the right house for you. Choose an agent who listens well, can communicate clearly with you, and shows interest in meeting your needs. Like halitosis, it’s hard to hide commission-breath, and it’s simple to avoid. Find an agent for whom the priority is not her wallet, but the real prize, a happy sale and a great referral!