The Conspicuously Silent Listing Agent

At one extreme, there are the listing agents who call your cell phone for feedback while you’re in the middle of the showing (can you say, “overeager?”).

Then, there’s the agent I just encountered in South Minneapolis, who listed a brick 1 1/2 story for $20k below market (my estimate) on Friday.

Or should I say, didn’t encounter.

Quick & Quiet Sale

Notwithstanding showing the home three times in two days, I didn’t hear a peep — and I didn’t contact the agent, because neither of my clients was ready to write.*

The next thing I knew, the home’s status on MLS was changed to “sold” (yesterday).

Wanna guess who represented the Buyer?  (I’ll save you the suspense:  my strong hunch is that it was . . . the listing agent).

Conflict of Interest

Normally, of course, a listing agent trying to maximize the sales price for their client will be in touch with any and all agents who’ve shown the home, letting them know an offer is in hand, and trying to stir up multiples.

The exception? 

When they’re also representing the Buyer, and they stand to pocket both the listing side and “pay out” commission (payable to the Buyer’s agent) if the deal goes through.

Great for the listing agent; not so much for the home owner . . .

*Tactically, I advise my Buyers to make an offer as soon as they:  a) know the market; and b) see something they really like.

Alternatively, establishing a dialogue with the listing agent, asking to be “kept in the loop,” etc. virtually ensures that the Buyer will pay (substantially) more for the home, if and when they’re ready to make an offer.  

In my experience, it’s also the case that a listing agent who’s determined to pocket both sides of the commission will find a way to do that (by not returning phone calls, sitting on offers from other agents, etc.).

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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