Work with Other Real Estate Agents - dummies

By Dirk Zeller

Nearly all agents are independent contractors earning no base salary and depending entirely on their own skills, actions, and activities to create income. This pay structure breeds competition within the industry and within each company. The trick is to balance that competition with cooperation.

Striking this balance isn’t always easy. Invariably, you end up competing with agents inside your own firm for clients and dollars. One example is finding that the agent in the next cubicle is working on the same lead you are. This situation is usually the result of a prospect who chose to work with several agents at one time but who didn’t reveal the lack of allegiance to any of them. Later, when one agent writes the contract — after both agents showed the home — well, you can imagine the office arguments. This situation certainly presents a moment where a good broker makes a difference. A good broker can mediate the issues between the agents, making sure that the client is getting good service while handling the interpersonal issues between the agents.

To succeed in this competitive office environment, follow this advice:

  • Use the other agents as mentors. Nearly all agents owe a debt to some other agent who helped them along the road to success, and they feel a sense of obligation to repay the favor by being similarly helpful to a new agent like you. Find a mentor. When you do, be respectful of the mentor’s time, take action on the mentor’s advice or counsel, report back on the success you achieve, and say thanks over and over again.
  • Hold open houses for other agents. Open houses can be burdens on the schedules of busy agents. Open houses are still popular, and many sellers expect agents to conduct one. In low-inventory markets they become solid lead generators because buyers came to them hoping to find a home. More buyers today fit into the DIY philosophy. Offer to serve as a stand-in host, supporting your associates while also giving yourself an opportunity to create prospects and business.
  • Ask other agents to work with you on listings. If you lack skill or experience in a certain price range or geographic area, you risk losing a listing to a more established agent. Be preemptive instead. Ask a more established agent in your firm to co-list the property with you. Through this short-term partnership, you capture the opportunity to expand your business while you learn and earn. Don’t focus on “what percentage” you’re giving away. Focus on how much you can learn.

More than 90 percent of all real estate transactions come through the MLS, which exposes their availability to agents throughout the marketplace. As a result, you’re constantly working jointly with agents from other firms to achieve sales. As you work with these agents, form cooperative relationships by following this simple advice:

  • Deal with the other agents honestly and fairly. Give them the information they need about your client or property without giving too many details. Always remain aware of the fiduciary responsibility and privacy protection you owe your client.
  • Involve brokers when necessary. If problems arise between you and the other agent, enlist the help of your broker. If paperwork comes back too slowly or you feel you’re not getting the full facts, get your broker, or the other agent’s broker, involved. Move quickly if you sense that a lack of cooperation is affecting your client’s security in keeping the transaction together.