When to Bring in an “Insurance Agent”

Question:  when is a real estate agent actually an insurance agent?
Answer:  when they’re brought in to a deal by Realtor #1 who needs their expertise to clinch the listing.

Every Realtor who’s been in business long enough has faced this conundrum:  a prospective client is considering hiring you, but they need something that’s not your main expertise.

That could be because they want to sell a home in an area you’re unfamiliar with; they want to sell (or buy) a type of property (e.g., commercial) that you don’t specialize in; or they’re focused on a type of transaction (foreclosure, short sale) that is increasingly a specialty unto itself.

Co-List vs. Refer

If you’re a Minnesota Realtor and the prospective client wants to sell their Wisconsin cabin, you really have no choice but to refer the business to a Realtor licensed in Wisconsin.

However, lots of times, the decision isn’t so black and white.

So, some Realtors try to “bone up” on whatever the client needs, and present themselves as competent to handle the transaction(s) themselves.

Call that the “all or nothing approach.”

At the other extreme, some agents simply refer the prospective client to an expert colleague.

“Neighborhood Specialist”

Which leaves proposing a co-listing arrangement.

Often times — especially if the issue is local expertise — that serves the client’s interest best because there really is no such thing these days as a pure “neighborhood specialist.”

Rather, most Twin Cities Realtors do business all over town.

That’s especially the case with Buyers, who often times start out focused on one area but end up buying in a completely different one.

It’s also true that — given the voluminous, instant info available on MLS today — an experienced Realtor can quickly size up trends in an area they previously knew nothing about.

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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