Real Estate Pronouns: ‘Yours,’ ‘Mine,’ and ‘Ours’

There are Realtors out there who, once you’ve hired them, refer to everything in the plural.

As in, “our” house, “our” listing price, “our” offer, etc.

Unh-uh.

When the deal is done, it’s my client’s house — and their mortgage payment.

I explicitly take pains not to blur the distinction between me and my clients — and would be suspicious of any Realtor who did — for three reasons.

One. It’s not true.

Your Realtor isn’t your partner, they’re your (legal) agent, and you’re the principal.

In layman’s terms, that means your Realtor’s job is to use their professional expertise to serve your best interests — and subordinate their own.

Because Realtors know more about real estate than their clients — that’s why they’re hired! — it would be relatively easy for Realtors to take advantage of clients, but for the fact that:  a) it’s unethical; and b) it violates their fiduciary duty (part of the principal-agent relationship).

(Practically, if the client starts to feel they’re dealing with a “me-first” Realtor, it’s also not great for referrals, which is how most established Realtors build their practices).

Two.  It does clients a disservice.

In addition to market knowledge and expertise, what good Realtors offer their clients is objectivity.

In the throes of a deal, it’s very easy for Buyers and Sellers to be swept up by emotion.

Their Realtor’s job is to serve as a counter-balance to that, offering arm’s length market information and advice. 

Realtors who get too close to a deal start to mirror their clients instead of playing their assigned role as objective steward.  

Three. It’s psychologically manipulative.

For most people, buying (or selling) a home is a stressful process, and one of their biggest financial decisions.

Who wouldn’t want to share that burden with someone they like and trust — and who happens to be a real estate expert?

That temptation can be especially powerful for first-time Buyers.

Unfortunately, at least in my experience, Realtors who unduly foster the impression that they and their clients “are in it together,”  “are a team,” etc., do so to alleviate the client’s anxiety — and get them to consummate a transaction.

No Realtor disappears faster after a deal is done than such “agent-partners.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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