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Realtors Are Not Your Adversary

Don't shoot the messenger!

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When involved in a real estate transaction, not all news is good news. While the goal for every real estate broker is a smooth sales process and the end result to be one that everyone is happy with, it's important to remember there are certain things your realtor cannot control.

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In the last several months I've experienced some bumpy transactions with my clients, and some questions from a client prompted me to write this column. The National Association of Realtors has a strict code of ethics realtors are to adhere to. It specifically states in Article 1 of this code that "Realtors, in attempting to secure a listing, shall not deliberately mislead the owner as to market value." In laymen's terms, it means that we as brokers are to give a seller an accurate analysis of property value, regardless of whether the news is well received. We're bound by this code of ethics to give the seller the most accurate pricing trends available. Essentially, even when brokers know the news may not be what a seller wants to hear about the home's value, we're obligated to report accurately. I can assure you that as a broker it's not fun to deliver news to a seller that their property is not at the value expected, and to have a seller argue or question my capability as a professional to find a way to make their $400,000 home worth $550,000.

Another example of situations that can be misconstrued as adversarial between brokers, buyers and sellers are offers and counter offers. Under NAR's article 1, Standard of Practice 1-6, "Realtors shall submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly as possible." This includes offers a seller may find less than desirable. We've all heard stories of the "low-ball" offer. As a broker, when we receive offers that are substantially lower than our client's hopes/expectations, it's one of the more difficult phone calls to make or meetings to have. Just recently, I received an offer that was $100,000 less than the listing price. I presented the offer to the sellers, who in turn questioned me and became upset that I would have "the nerve to bring such an upsetting and low offer" to them. Why I would not have flat out rejected the offer and saved them the upset, they asked. While brokers understand upset and frustration, we're legally and ethically bound to present all offers, no matter the terms as we receive them. Brokers are not under any circumstance able to filter offers and choose what to present or not to present, regardless of how the seller may react to them.

It's important to keep perspective during a real estate transaction. Understand that a real estate broker is acting as the messenger when delivering offers and broker opinions of market value. Brokers are bound by law and ethics to convey all news, even when it's tough news to share.

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