When It’s Poaching — and When It’s Not

Is it ever OK to go after another Realtor’s clients?

I’d say “yes” — with a major caveat.

Namely, it’s OK for Realtors market to another agent’s clients AFTER the deal closes.

That’s especially so if the home or Buyer is already in the agent’s geographic farm or sphere of influence generally.

However, it’s NOT ok to market to another Realtor’s clients across the closing table, as one especially brazen agent did to a colleague of mine recently.

Incumbents & Free Agents; “Falling on Deaf Ears”

Of course, if someone just bought a home, it could be a long time until those marketing efforts pay off.

While the average homeowner stays put for 7 years, at least in my experience, the actual length of ownership is either much shorter or longer:  Millennials buying a “starter” condo may move on as quickly as 3-4 years; young, growing families looking for their “permanent” home may be in place for decades.

It’s also the case that if:  a) the “incumbent Realtor” did a (very) good job for their clients; then b) stayed in regular touch with them, there’s very little daylight for rival agents to horn in.

Ultimately, no agent “owns” a given client relationship: it’s up to the client to decide which Realtor best serves their needs and goals, each and every transaction . . .

P.S.: the same analysis applies to Buyer’s lenders who market to the listing agent.

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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