The profit-centered model typical of the real estate business, can cause the agent to have to choose between their own financial best interest, and that of her client. So, the first thing we did, was get rid of the profit-centered model.
The primary implication of this, was not attempting to represent both sides in a transaction. To do the best work for a buyer, we had to abandon accepting listings, and stay loyal to the buyer in all transactions. This is an expensive step, since taking listings is lucrative. Listings also serve the purpose of exposing the agent to the public, so not only is there a possible double profit in a sale, but there is marketing exposure as well. That is huge, because it brings in new business. Traditional logic is that "listings make the phone ring".
If your business model is about making the most money, then practicing dual agency can provide your firm the opportunity to earn both the listing and selling side of any transaction. That is not best for the buyer and seller who really need and deserve representation without conflict of interest...but it is does potentially make the most money.
Setting aside listings as a profit center in this business is not easy choice, but we know it is not possible for us to provide as high a quality of service any other way. We are determined to provide that high quality of service at any cost...period.
The good news for us, is that we have learned that although many buyers are not aware of our Exclusive Buyer Agent Firms, and simply call the listing agent directly, there are enough discriminating buyers out there who seek out our services, to ensure our success. When we started the business 1995 we were not sure of this, but 15 years later after transactions in over 90 towns, we know it to be true. "Do the right thing and the will come."
We have resolved to represent our clients with attitude and behavior that furthers their best interests at all times - even when it appears to conflict with your profits.
Once you make this choice of "client first" it manifests by defining your professional outlook at behaviors. Another historic problem in our industry, is the tendency of an agent want to to "make the sale". Sometimes, this can cause them to try to help a buyer to convince themselves to buy the first home they take a liking to. In our view, it is our job to tell you everything we don't like about a house, as much as everything we do like about a house. We need not worry about making a sale. Ultimately we will find the right home, and we will be paid for our services. We do not focus on "making a sale".
Regarding making offers, we develop a strategy in close consultation with the buyer. We are realistic in our offer strategies, and employ an analysis of all factors, attempting to provide the buyer with the best possible understanding of the negotiation. That puts them in the driver's seat, and they can choose a strategy from a position of strength, having been well informed.
Another issue that dual agent firms encounter the restriction on what they can disclose to their clients in a dual or designated agency capacity. Information that is held back from a buyer, can cost the buyer time and money. With us, the client knows all that we know.
Why should a buyer, who is virtually always paying for agent services implicitly in the purchase price of the house, accept anything less than the best possible representation?
With our firm, a buyer should know, after their purchase, that they made the best possible purchase the could have.
We do have a hidden agenda. We want our past buyers to recommend us to their friends. . Remember, we don't have listings to make the phone ring. We only have reputation.
Once you make the decision to put your client first, everything you do follows from that. We are the luckiest Realtors in existence. We sleep well, and take pride in what we do. We are agents of conviction and happy to be.