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Don't Deceive Agents About Getting Listing

June 26, 1994

I am a realtor on the Westside of Los Angeles and I take exception to a piece of advice offered by Robert J. Bruss on Sunday, June 5.

A seller wrote: " . . . I invited the realty agent who sold us our home 12 years ago to come over and make fix-up suggestions." Within this context is the assumption that this seller has loyalty to this agent over the 12 years and will be using this agent to sell his or her home.

As part of Bruss' response, he states: " . . . before signing a listing with that agent, be sure to interview at least two additional agents." "Compare those suggested prices with the first agent's recommendation to be sure you don't list your home below its market value."

The practice of interviewing several agents for the sole purpose of obtaining second and third opinions, while at the same time knowing whom the listing will be going to, is unfair, deceptive and inconsiderate of the agents' time.

If the seller only wants second opinions, he or she should be up front with the agents. I would have no qualm of giving a seller a second opinion if I were told up front that that is all I am doing.

Furthermore, I find it odd that a seller has loyalty to a particular agent after 12 years, but yet would not have complete confidence in that agent's recommendations. After all, the recommended listing price is not an arbitrary number, but rather is based on a written comparative market analysis. I would advise sellers not to deceive agents with false hopes of a listing. If a seller is loyal to a particular agent, but still feels the need for another opinion, he or she can always hire a licensed appraiser.


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