Contacting multiple listing realtors about different properties.

7 Replies

Why do real estate agents lose their mind when you disclose that you have an agent that helps you look at properties but that you as the buyer does most of the research. 

For example, I have MLS access from my realtor but I am not able to see an area of my state on this MLS so I use other means to look up properties. Instead of calling my agent to call about each property I call the listing agent directly to get some quick information.

I have recently encountered multiple agents that I speak to and when I disclose that I would like to view the property with my agent they immedetly stop responding to my txt/email and tell me to have my agent contact them! 

I am not sure why this is happening, does anyone have some insight? 

An ethics complaint about what? These are pretty simple questions about information that wasn't provided on the listing. How is there an ethical difference between me talking to a listing agent as a buyer with or without another agents help?

There are several reasons, actually:

Article 16 of the National Association of Realtor's Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice prevents us from soliciting business from another realtor. That's why one of the first questions we normally as is "are you already working with an agent?".

It's also a simple matter of professional courtesy. If you have a buyer's agent representing you, then we expect to hear from your agent (and your agent should have set some expectations for you that included not making calls to other agents on your own). If you had an attorney handling a case for you as a plaintiff, would you be making calls to the defendant's attorney to request information about the case? Of course not! 

There's also the matter of compensation. The harsh reality is, the listing agent isn't going to jump through a bunch of hoops for you if you are going to bring a buyer's agent in later in the process to collect half of the commission. 

If you have a buyer's agent who is going to show you the property and handle the offer for you, I (as the listing broker/agent) have already agreed to pay them a particular amount of compensation (it's required in order put the listing in the MLS). That compensation comes with an expectation of a certain level of professional courtesy and work to be done by the buyer's agent - such as:

  • Don't have your buyer's call me directly
  • The buyer's agent should handle all communications, showings, offers, contracts, and due diligence for the buyer

The listing agent works for the seller and is legally, contractually, and ethically bound to represent the interests of the seller and get the the highest price possible for their property. There is usually no real benefit to you as a buyer in working directly with the listing agent. 

@Jeff Copeland

If the listing agent disclosed all information on the property when it was listed then there would be no need to contact listing agents. Also how is it unprofessional to call and ask a few simple questions that should be regularly available to the agent. 

You're saying that if I called a business and got to talk to the secretary, that it would be unprofessional for me to ask that secretary some questions, and that having a secretary tell me that I need to have my secretary call them to get information seems like a reasonable practice? 

Real Estate agents are not needed to buy and sell property, there is no laws requiring the use of an agent (To answer you example in italics, yes I would contact the defendants lawyer to get information if my lawyer wasn't doing their job also, also because of disclosure of information in a legal case I wouldn't need to contact the other lawyer.) 

Agents don't normally work with one person at a time so bugging an agent for every little property that is missing information seems like a huge waste of time. So there are multiple benefits to contacting the listing agent directly, 1 I don't flood my agent with petty questions, 2 It is much quicker to ask the questions that are missing from the listing. 3 I can tailor specific questions per property. 4 There is no back and forth which limits misunderstandings.

@Matthew Michels - The answer to your question doesn't change just because you don't like the answer.

I'm not arguing the merits of using an agent versus going it alone - you stated you already have an agent.

Another thing I meant to add - the answer to many of your questions may very well already be in the MLS - there are entire sections of MLS listings that are not accessible to the public. In particular:

  • "Realtor Only" or "Agent to Agent" Remarks - typically a freeform text field where agents can share details and amplifying information that they do not want to share directly with the public, and 
  • Attachments - It's pretty common for most due diligence information (seller's disclosures, surveys, rent rolls, operating statements, proformas, etc) to be included as MLS attachments. These attachments are usually not available to the public either.

I'm sure you can see why it might be annoying to the listing agent to get a call from a buyer asking for a document that is already attached to the listing in the MLS, only to find out they already have an agent who could/should have provided them that information from the MLS. So this can also make your agent look bad. 

You might consider having a conversation with your agent (and your attorney, should you ever need one) and make sure you both have clear expectations about who is going to make calls to whom, and for what. 

Finally, I'll add that I've had clients cost themselves thousands of dollars and several weeks of valuable time by communicating directly with the other party's agent and sharing info that should have been discussed with me first.

I'm a firm believer that one great agent (per market area or specialty area such as residential vs commercial) is all you'll ever need to buy and sell real estate. That great agent should save you more in market expertise, negotiating skills, and advice than they'll ever receive in commission - in other words, they should add value (not be viewed as a necessary evil or an interchangeable commodity).  

Though I'll also be the first to admit that the great ones are few and far between - the barrier to entry to become an agent is loo low, and we do not do a good enough job regulating our profession and weeding out the bad apples.

Just curious- have you asked your agent if they have access to the MLS in that other part of the state? I have access to several more than just my local area, and they might too.

Originally posted by @Matthew Michels :

An ethics complaint about what? These are pretty simple questions about information that wasn't provided on the listing. How is there an ethical difference between me talking to a listing agent as a buyer with or without another agents help?

 Because if you have a buyers agent.....and the listing agent is discussing the properties with you, and they know you have an agent...they subject themselves to the possibility that your agent will file an ethics complaint against them.  We are not supposed to have contact with the clients of another agent.