by Neil Jenman
READING TIME: 4 minutes apx
Years ago, when I worked in my real estate office, another agent came to see me. He seemed nervous. I took him into my office and closed the door. Almost in a whisper, he said: “I need to sell my house.”
At first, I thought I mis-heard him. There was no mistake, however, he wanted to sell his family home and he wanted me to handle the sale.
“Why do you come to me, why not sell it with your own agency?” I asked.
“Because no one can sell homes as high as you and I need the best price,” he said.
It was all I could do not to laugh out loud. But I held myself together. We went and looked at his home and then came back to my office where he signed the necessary paperwork.
There was one rigid condition, however: No one must know that he was selling his home with us. He wanted no sign, no advertising – just do what we at Jenman Real Estate were renowned for doing: Get the highest price with no costs other than our selling fee at the end.
As he was leaving, I had an idea: I asked if we could take his photo – from behind. I assured him that no one would identify him. To my delight, he agreed. So, he faced a wall and held up our ‘Jenman Selling Agreement’. It was hilarious.
The next week, we ran a huge ad in our local newspaper with the headline: “THIS MAN IS AN AGENT BUT WE CAN’T SHOW YOU HIS FACE!” – and we told the story that went like this: “When agents want to sell their own homes, they know where they should go to get the best price.”
Something similar has happened again. Last week, we received a frantic call from a worried seller. She had read our article about auctions being a perfect con and an agent was coming over to sign her up for auction that evening. She wanted us to find her a good agent.
I suggested an agent from her area, a lovely fellow who I hadn’t seen for years but in whom I had great trust. But then my office told me that this agent was now doing auctions and stinging sellers for a minimum of five thousand dollars regardless of whether they sold their homes. I couldn’t believe it. This agent had read my books and been to some of my courses. Surely, he hadn’t gone to the dark side.
I texted him and asked if it was true: “Surely you haven’t sunk so low?”
Within seconds he called me. These days, many of my calls are recorded – as I believe all calls should be, especially when speaking with agents – and so, the first thing I did was warn him that he was being recorded. He acknowledged.
But, as often happens, he soon seemed to forget he was being recorded. He made some astonishing admissions. Yes, auctions cannot possibly get sellers the highest price. Yes, he has sellers whose homes don’t sell, and they lose thousands of dollars. And yes, like most agents, he profits commercially from those losses. And yes, in the network where he now works – one of those most complained about – he admits there are some questionable characters.
I was shocked. I told him how disappointed I was. He made weak attempts to justify what he – and most agents – do to sellers, but, as always happens, he could not defend the indefensible.
By now, he was clearly worried. He asked, “Where is this recording going to end up?” Clearly, if what he told me was made public, at best, he’d be as unpopular as I am with most agents and, at worst (and quite likely), he’d lose his job. I told him I had no “agenda” for our recording, and it was not my intention to cause him harm, however I did say that I admired him being honest about his newfound dishonesty. As often happens, when good people get thrown in with a bunch of rogues using bad systems, it makes it very hard for them to be true to their principles.
I told him that the reason I contacted him was because, in 13 years, we had sent more than two hundred sellers to him and never had a complaint. But now, he was effectively on our “banned agents” list because of the systems he was using.
He then said: “Oh, for your sellers, I am still quite happy to do it your way.”
I told him it was not so much “my way” that I wanted, but the “right way”. I wanted sellers to be assured of the highest price with no risk of loss if they don’t sell and I wanted no upfront expenses. I stressed this is what both I – and home sellers – consider the right way to sell homes. He agreed.
I was pleased that he agreed to treat sellers sent to him from Jenman Support so ethically and competently. Unlike most of the sellers who deal with most of the people in his company, the sellers who came via me would get a good deal. Again, he agreed.
I thanked him profusely. He then told me he admired me (very nice) and that he considered it an honour to look after sellers I send him. But then I asked an obvious question: “Why don’t you treat all your sellers this way? It will make you popular and give you a lot more sales.”
But that was a tough question. I know why he can’t get the highest price for all his sellers and treat them all ethically and decently – company policy.
For me and my sellers, however, he will make an exception. Good on him.
So, as soon as you’re selling, we’ll gladly show you his face. And, of course, we’ll make sure he gets you the highest price with no risk.
As it should be – all the time.
PLEASE NOTE: Our focus is upon helping consumers. Abuse from agents on our web site or Facebook page will be deleted or ignored or well publicised – it depends on our mood.
But one thing will never vary: No matter how much we are abused or threatened we will never stop doing what we love most – helping honest consumers to get the best deal possible in real estate. And, of course, if any agents are serious about taking care of consumers, we’d love to help you too. But, remember, the consumers come first. Thank you.