Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: oopsie on December 19, 2012, 05:12:26 PM

Title: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: oopsie on December 19, 2012, 05:12:26 PM
Hello fellow Ehellers! My very first post!

Here is something that happened to me this past spring.

I am a Real Estate Sales Representative and my DD's best friend's mom (who I know casually due to our daughter's friendship - to DH, I refer to her as "the jellyfish" from Bridget Jones due to her nosiness and my feeling somehow like I've been stung raw after any conversation I have with her) called me at home. I wasn't there so DH told her to call me at the office. She did. She made some small talk, then mentioned that the real reason she was calling was because they had bought a house in another town and were moving this summer.

She then asked if I would come to her house to give her an idea of its value (this is not the first conversation I've had with her about this - she had called me at home a couple of months prior to try to "pick my brain" on what their house would be worth and what improvements they could do that would help with resale value. I was unable to give her a price point as I had never seen the inside of her home past the front foyer). I told her "sure thing" and then she casually mentioned that they were going to first try selling it themselves "to save on paying out commission." Somewhat deflated, I tried to remain positive and we set up a time to meet.

When the day came, I met her at her home. She first thanked me for coming as "most real estate agents wouldn't do this knowing we're trying to sell it ourselves." I said "no problem" then asked "if you do decide to list with a real estate agent, you'll consider me though right?" She turned around and said "oh no! We're loyal to Real Estate Agent A. We'd be going with her. She's on holidays right now, that's why we asked you to do this favour for us."

She then picked up the phone, as I'm standing in her foyer, to call her husband to have him confirm that they would be using Real Estate Agent A should they decide to list with an agent. It was an extremely awkward conversation to witness, nevertheless, he does confirm this fact without hesitation. At this point she seems embarrassed and tells me that I should go, she doesn't want to inconvenience me any further. Admittedly, I'm feeling pretty deflated at this point but I tell her that I'm here now and so, I would do what I can to help.

She perks up immediately and happily takes me on a tour of her home and I offer her several pieces of useful advice (which she follows) and give her a price. A week later, they have their property listed For Sale By Owner at the price I have recommended. She posts her For Sale By Owner ad on my personal Facebook page not once, not twice, but three times (I deleted the posts without comment each time). Two weeks after that, the house still unsold, they list with Real Estate Agent A for the same price and it's sold by the end of the month.

So what are your thoughts? Rude, clueless or perfectly acceptable?

Edited to add details about Facebook posts.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: PastryGoddess on December 19, 2012, 05:25:10 PM
She was rude, you were graceful

She gave you the opportunity to leave and you didn't. You should have left and let Real Estate Agent A do all the work.   It's a lesson learned.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: NotTheNarcissist on December 19, 2012, 05:37:35 PM
I vote rude.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: Yvaine on December 19, 2012, 05:41:54 PM
Wow. Yeah, she was rude. She talked you into doing your job for her for free and then paid someone else to do the job. She took advantage of the connection between you.  >:( Next time just leave!
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: MamaMootz on December 19, 2012, 05:59:56 PM
Very rude and you didn't get paid for any of your efforts, but Real Estate Agent A did. It's business, not personal. But she took advantage of your business knowledge based on your DD's personal relationship with her child. All kinds of wrong.

I would not have priced the home or given her advice, but instead said to her, "RudeMom, I do not earn any money when I do not list/sell homes. I'm not in the business of giving away my knowledge for free, so I think it's best that you contact Real Estate Agent A when he/she returns from their trip. I'm sure you understand -you would not go to work if you did not get paid, correct?" And then I would leave.

AND ....I'd be willing to bet she knew she was going to do this and she lured you there without telling you she was planning on using Real Estate Agent A on purpose. She probably figured once you got there, you'd be too embarrassed to leave without giving her the advice - and she was right. She got what she wanted without paying you a cent.

Sorry, I used to sell real estate and I learned very quickly to show these people the door. If they weren't there to list or buy from me, I cut them loose. Bless you - it's a tough business.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: Venus193 on December 19, 2012, 06:07:10 PM
Rude and a thief. since she stole your time and your knowledge.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: oopsie on December 19, 2012, 06:34:39 PM
Very rude and you didn't get paid for any of your efforts, but Real Estate Agent A did. It's business, not personal. But she took advantage of your business knowledge based on your DD's personal relationship with her child. All kinds of wrong.

I would not have priced the home or given her advice, but instead said to her, "RudeMom, I do not earn any money when I do not list/sell homes. I'm not in the business of giving away my knowledge for free, so I think it's best that you contact Real Estate Agent A when he/she returns from their trip. I'm sure you understand -you would not go to work if you did not get paid, correct?" And then I would leave.

AND ....I'd be willing to bet she knew she was going to do this and she lured you there without telling you she was planning on using Real Estate Agent A on purpose. She probably figured once you got there, you'd be too embarrassed to leave without giving her the advice - and she was right. She got what she wanted without paying you a cent.

Sorry, I used to sell real estate and I learned very quickly to show these people the door. If they weren't there to list or buy from me, I cut them loose. Bless you - it's a tough business.

When she got off the phone with her husband, I was standing there with my mind racing as to what to do next. I did say to her that "this is my bread and butter, you do realize that this is how I feed my kids right?" and that's when she realized what she had done and told me to go. I did feel too embarrassed to just leave and thought I would be the bigger person, especially given our daughters' relationship.

Given how easily she bounced back from it when I told her I would stay, I also can't help but feel that she knew exactly what she was doing.

One other little thing I forgot to mention...she's also self-employed!!
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: MamaMootz on December 19, 2012, 06:38:57 PM
Very rude and you didn't get paid for any of your efforts, but Real Estate Agent A did. It's business, not personal. But she took advantage of your business knowledge based on your DD's personal relationship with her child. All kinds of wrong.

I would not have priced the home or given her advice, but instead said to her, "RudeMom, I do not earn any money when I do not list/sell homes. I'm not in the business of giving away my knowledge for free, so I think it's best that you contact Real Estate Agent A when he/she returns from their trip. I'm sure you understand -you would not go to work if you did not get paid, correct?" And then I would leave.

AND ....I'd be willing to bet she knew she was going to do this and she lured you there without telling you she was planning on using Real Estate Agent A on purpose. She probably figured once you got there, you'd be too embarrassed to leave without giving her the advice - and she was right. She got what she wanted without paying you a cent.

Sorry, I used to sell real estate and I learned very quickly to show these people the door. If they weren't there to list or buy from me, I cut them loose. Bless you - it's a tough business.

When she got off the phone with her husband, I was standing there with my mind racing as to what to do next. I did say to her that "this is my bread and butter, you do realize that this is how I feed my kids right?" and that's when she realized what she had done and told me to go. I did feel too embarrassed to just leave and thought I would be the bigger person, especially given our daughters' relationship.

Given how easily she bounced back from it when I told her I would stay, I also can't help but feel that she knew exactly what she was doing.

One other little thing I forgot to mention...she's also self-employed!!

Well, now you know where she stands for any future dealings... lesson learned. She should have been more considerate, especially considering the time you took to go to her home took you away from following up on other opportunities where you could actually earn commission. The fact that she's self-employed makes it even worse. Ugh.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: DavidH on December 19, 2012, 07:02:32 PM
She was rude.  She told you up front she'd try to sell it herself, so I'm fine with that part and going over anyway in an effort to get the business seems like a prudent strategy on your part.  Once she said, oh no, were loyal to agent A, that was when you should have said that you'd feel awkward barging in on agent A's client and hope she'll understand and then leave.  It makes for a graceful exit and avoids her rather rude bait and switch.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: Surianne on December 19, 2012, 07:07:04 PM
She was honest with you, both about selling herself and using the other agent if she couldn't, so I think that if you thought it was more than you were willing to do as a favour, you could have left at any time.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: oopsie on December 19, 2012, 07:22:12 PM
She was honest with you, both about selling herself and using the other agent if she couldn't, so I think that if you thought it was more than you were willing to do as a favour, you could have left at any time.

Yes, but after I had already taken the time and gas to drive there. I realize I could have left (and the thought certainly did cross my mind) but should she have even asked this "favour" of me at all knowing her real intentions is the question...?
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: oopsie on December 19, 2012, 07:37:41 PM
She was rude.  She told you up front she'd try to sell it herself, so I'm fine with that part and going over anyway in an effort to get the business seems like a prudent strategy on your part.  Once she said, oh no, were loyal to agent A, that was when you should have said that you'd feel awkward barging in on agent A's client and hope she'll understand and then leave.  It makes for a graceful exit and avoids her rather rude bait and switch.

I agree. I wish I had of thought of this response at the time.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: Slartibartfast on December 19, 2012, 10:40:34 PM
She was rude, but you were also kind of a doormat.  She set you up to be taken advantage of, but you allowed her to do so (and didn't leave when she gave you the chance).  The more assertive-yet-still-polite move would have been to look around, find one or two things she could do to stage the house, then tell her "I can't really give you a price if I'm not listing the house myself, but you really can't go wrong with painting the walls beige and investing in air fresheners" and leave it at that.

I know, hindsight is 20/20, but it's good to be prepared in case something like this happens again!
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: Deetee on December 19, 2012, 11:42:54 PM
She was rude, but you were also kind of a doormat.  She set you up to be taken advantage of, but you allowed her to do so (and didn't leave when she gave you the chance).  The more assertive-yet-still-polite move would have been to look around, find one or two things she could do to stage the house, then tell her "I can't really give you a price if I'm not listing the house myself, but you really can't go wrong with painting the walls beige and investing in air fresheners" and leave it at that.

I know, hindsight is 20/20, but it's good to be prepared in case something like this happens again!

This. She was rude, but in business people do try to push and it is good business sense to be able to say "No" politely. The "I wouldn't feel right intruding on your relationship with the agent" is great.

I  think that the conversation ("If you list, I hope you will consider me")  was good one, but really should have been held before you drove out there. You drove out there knowing they did plan to list themselves and didn't want to pay commision. Once you were there, there was some uncertainty. I can't help but think that if you'd had the conversation before you were committed, you could have got the sale or saved yourself the drive.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: MariaE on December 20, 2012, 04:01:05 AM
Very rude. I have no problems with her wanting to sell privately, because she was upfront with you on that, but to spring the other estate on you after you'd driven out there, and telling you that you were only there because she was on vacation? Rude, rude, rude, rude, rude. That's not a friend, that's a mooch.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: cicero on December 20, 2012, 05:17:46 AM
she was very rude.

but can i say - you were too nice.

she is a pro, but you need to be on the ball (especially in your line of business) and pick up on these things. you need to have an arsenal of ready-replies (a la "bean dip") for when this happens again.

when she first asked you about the house, you should have been upfront with her "Jellyfish, I'm sorry but I won't be able to help you. I am not allowed to give professional advice without charging you". (note that she basically did a bait-n-switch on you).

when she confirmed that *no matter what* they would be using agent B, that was your cue to say "oh, well, I'm sorry but I can't help you" and leave.

Quote
...At this point she seems embarrassed and tells me that I should go, she doesn't want to inconvenience me any further. Admittedly, I'm feeling pretty deflated at this point but I tell her that I'm here now and so, I would do what I can to help.

She perks up immediately and happily takes me on a tour of her home and I offer her several pieces of useful advice (which she follows) and give her a price.


see what she did here? she "seemed" embarrassed, plays the game of "you can go, it's ok, don't worry about me", which makes *you* feel bad so you stay and she perks up immediately.

sounds *exactly* like a 3YO who cries great big crocodile tears, and when parents give in to her demands, turns off the fireworks and turns on the smile.

next time - just say no.  dont' wait for people to treat you professionally - you need to *be* a professional. it's the same with doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc - everyone wants something for nothing...

Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: Morticia on December 20, 2012, 09:10:14 AM
The thing that really jumps out at me is that she then had the utter face to then post her ad on your Facebook page. More egregious still, she reposted after you deleted it.   What a pathetic excuse for human being.  After this, I would charge her $50 if she asked what time it was.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: oopsie on December 20, 2012, 09:16:03 AM
she was very rude.

but can i say - you were too nice.

she is a pro, but you need to be on the ball (especially in your line of business) and pick up on these things. you need to have an arsenal of ready-replies (a la "bean dip") for when this happens again.

when she first asked you about the house, you should have been upfront with her "Jellyfish, I'm sorry but I won't be able to help you. I am not allowed to give professional advice without charging you". (note that she basically did a bait-n-switch on you).

when she confirmed that *no matter what* they would be using agent B, that was your cue to say "oh, well, I'm sorry but I can't help you" and leave.

Quote
...At this point she seems embarrassed and tells me that I should go, she doesn't want to inconvenience me any further. Admittedly, I'm feeling pretty deflated at this point but I tell her that I'm here now and so, I would do what I can to help.

She perks up immediately and happily takes me on a tour of her home and I offer her several pieces of useful advice (which she follows) and give her a price.


see what she did here? she "seemed" embarrassed, plays the game of "you can go, it's ok, don't worry about me", which makes *you* feel bad so you stay and she perks up immediately.

sounds *exactly* like a 3YO who cries great big crocodile tears, and when parents give in to her demands, turns off the fireworks and turns on the smile.

next time - just say no.  dont' wait for people to treat you professionally - you need to *be* a professional. it's the same with doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc - everyone wants something for nothing...

Yes, I agree, I was too nice and a doormat. It's frustrating that I let our daughters' relationship cloud my instincts and judgment. I was obviously very naive in believing that because of that relationship, she wouldn't take advantage of me in the first place. It certainly has been a lesson for me as I've been screening potential clients a lot more thoroughly since.

I knew for sure that I had "been had" when she kept posting her For Sale By Owner ads on my personal Facebook page. Hello? Talk about adding salt to the wounds. If she really "got it" that she had goofed in asking me for this "favour", would she have done that three times over? Nope. She was using me, she knew it and she didn't care. And I let her. dingdangity!

 ;)
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: random numbers on December 20, 2012, 09:52:48 AM
What does she do as her self employment? Anything you could use, to balance this out?
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: Winterlight on December 20, 2012, 10:29:38 AM
At this point, I'd chalk it up as a lesson learned and make very sure I don't ever do this again. I'd also write her off as anything more than the mother of a friend of my child.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: oopsie on December 20, 2012, 10:33:22 AM
What does she do as her self employment? Anything you could use, to balance this out?

Oh yes, totally. She does graphic design.

Should I ask her to come up with some ideas for a new website as a favour but then tell her I'm going to try doing it on my own to save paying out a fee and then if she asks if she'd get my business if I decide to work with a professional, tell her no, that I'm loyal to XYZ Graphic Design Company?

Boggles my mind...
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: PastryGoddess on December 20, 2012, 10:53:14 AM
What does she do as her self employment? Anything you could use, to balance this out?

Oh yes, totally. She does graphic design.

Should I ask her to come up with some ideas for a new website as a favour but then tell her I'm going to try doing it on my own to save paying out a fee and then if she asks if she'd get my business if I decide to work with a professional, tell her no, that I'm loyal to XYZ Graphic Design Company?

Boggles my mind...

No no that's retaliatory rudeness. ;)   tempting, but we don't want you sharing e-hell with her now do we? :)
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: random numbers on December 20, 2012, 11:48:10 AM
No, a straight-up, remember that favor I did you? Well, I could use....

Not PA, but hopefully she has enough of a conscience to help you.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: Shoo on December 20, 2012, 11:52:30 AM
I think you should chalk this up as a lesson learned and forget all about this person.  She's not a friend, she's not family...  She's someone you are acquainted with and that's it.  And now you know that you have to be on your toes when people ask for professional favors from you.  This lady has taught you something valuable (this is the silver lining speach)  :)
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: CreteGirl on December 20, 2012, 12:11:56 PM
Rude, and I'm sure your broker would not approve of you giving your time and information away for free, either.  Real estate agents take on liability when giving professional advice.  The ability to earn a commission is compensation for that liability.  True, the liability in this instance was small, however it is there for you and your broker anytime you take action in your professional capacity.

She was taking advantage, and she knew it.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: cicero on December 20, 2012, 12:17:41 PM


I knew for sure that I had "been had" when she kept posting her For Sale By Owner ads on my personal Facebook page. Hello? Talk about adding salt to the wounds. If she really "got it" that she had goofed in asking me for this "favour", would she have done that three times over? Nope. She was using me, she knew it and she didn't care. And I let her. dingdangity!

 ;)
I meant to comment on this before - is she posting her ads on your page? or is she posting them on *her* page and they show up on your wall/news feed? if the latter - you can change things so that you don't see her new posts on your wall.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: oopsie on December 20, 2012, 02:34:31 PM
What does she do as her self employment? Anything you could use, to balance this out?

Oh yes, totally. She does graphic design.

Should I ask her to come up with some ideas for a new website as a favour but then tell her I'm going to try doing it on my own to save paying out a fee and then if she asks if she'd get my business if I decide to work with a professional, tell her no, that I'm loyal to XYZ Graphic Design Company?

Boggles my mind...

No no that's retaliatory rudeness. ;)   tempting, but we don't want you sharing e-hell with her now do we? :)

I was just kidding of course. I would never. Writing it out in a role reversal helps to highlight how unthinkable such an action is/was. Do unto others, etc., etc.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: oopsie on December 20, 2012, 02:39:21 PM


I knew for sure that I had "been had" when she kept posting her For Sale By Owner ads on my personal Facebook page. Hello? Talk about adding salt to the wounds. If she really "got it" that she had goofed in asking me for this "favour", would she have done that three times over? Nope. She was using me, she knew it and she didn't care. And I let her. dingdangity!

 ;)
I meant to comment on this before - is she posting her ads on your page? or is she posting them on *her* page and they show up on your wall/news feed? if the latter - you can change things so that you don't see her new posts on your wall.

She posted them on her page but then "shared" them with me so that they were posted to my page as well. This meant that the ad would show up on my newsfeed and the newsfeed of all my friends and appear on my page to anyone who looked me up. It was definitely deliberate, all three times she did it.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: cicero on December 20, 2012, 02:48:04 PM


I knew for sure that I had "been had" when she kept posting her For Sale By Owner ads on my personal Facebook page. Hello? Talk about adding salt to the wounds. If she really "got it" that she had goofed in asking me for this "favour", would she have done that three times over? Nope. She was using me, she knew it and she didn't care. And I let her. dingdangity!

 ;)
I meant to comment on this before - is she posting her ads on your page? or is she posting them on *her* page and they show up on your wall/news feed? if the latter - you can change things so that you don't see her new posts on your wall.

She posted them on her page but then "shared" them with me so that they were posted to my page as well. This meant that the ad would show up on my newsfeed and the newsfeed of all my friends and appear on my page to anyone who looked me up. It was definitely deliberate, all three times she did it.
gotcha
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: Surianne on December 20, 2012, 04:18:15 PM
She was honest with you, both about selling herself and using the other agent if she couldn't, so I think that if you thought it was more than you were willing to do as a favour, you could have left at any time.

Yes, but after I had already taken the time and gas to drive there. I realize I could have left (and the thought certainly did cross my mind) but should she have even asked this "favour" of me at all knowing her real intentions is the question...?

Ugh, that's really frustrating.  I agree, seems like she was deliberately taking advantage of you.  I can see how you were caught off guard at the time.  Thanks for clarifying. 
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: Raintree on December 21, 2012, 03:26:55 AM
There have been several e-hell threads about people who ask others to work for them for free. It seems to cross all lines of work, but especially the self-employed. Perhaps the self-employed are seen to have discretion over their fees, or just love what they do so much that they enjoy discussing it outside of work. Cake decorators would just looooooove to make a cake for their neighbour's daughter's friend's wedding; professional musicians would be thrilled to play at an aquaintance's wedding for free; photographers are asked to "just come over and take a few shots of my baby"; artists are asked to "paint something for me to give my mother"; people who work with computers in any capacity are expected to be free technical support for everyone; doctors are asked about medical conditions at parties, and accountants are asked for free tax advice at Thanksgiving dinner.

I myself have been asked to "give a break" to the girlfriend of a vague acquaintance I hadn't seen or spoken to in two years. I have also "traded services" with someone who then procrastinated about providing HER service for so long that I gave up and got someone else to do it. (The initial person protested, "But I wanted to do it! I owe you!" Great, but you've been promising for a year and I need it like yesterday).

And I don't think you should beat yourself up too badly. You were taken advantage of, and yes, you allowed it to happen, but I think many of us have to deal with "one of those" before we wise up and don't allow it to happen again.

I had a client about a month ago who failed to pay (it's not an amount that makes it worthwhile to go after legally, but I still feel quite burned by the time I spent with her for free). In retrospect, I see all the signs that should have warned me off her, but hindsight is 20/20. I know how I will deal with the likes of her next time, ahead of time, so I don't get burned again.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: Slartibartfast on December 21, 2012, 06:41:13 AM
My father was a doctor, and he used to get this all the time.  The thing is, he really didn't mind answering questions in general terms - but he (rightly) got grumpy about people who expected him to examine and diagnose them right then and there.  Or to diagnose their sister-in-law who lives a thousand miles away but was totally griping to the asker over the phone the other night.  It's nice to be able to ask a doctor-friend "Hey, my kid has been sniffling for a month now - when do I stop giving him Sudofed and take him to the doctor?", but it's something else completely to say "Hey kid, come over here!  I want Dr. Friend to take a look at your throat!"
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 21, 2012, 07:11:15 AM
While its insensitive to talk about hiring another agent right in front of you, I don't know that anything she did was rude.

You could have taken it as a challenge and tried to convince her to hire you instead.  Real Esate is not just about selling houses, its about selling yourself to clients.

And I don't know where she would have gotten the idea that agents won't come and do an appraisal.  I interviewed 3 agents who all told me what they thought the home was worth, what changes I needed to make and what they would do to market it.

And I will still free to try and sell it myself if that is what I had wanted to do.  As it was, it was the second realtor we hired who actually sold it.

I think this was not taking advantage of you because you had an opportunity to get a client, you just didnt see it as such.  Even if you dont get the listing, you have the opportunity to bring buyers to see it and in a negotiation you have an upper hand having talked to the buyer before it ever went on the market.

This is all about business.

In the future, you should have a standard way of professionally handling any friend who asks for advice that will turn them into an actual client.  "Of course I will come in and help you!"  "Oh, you have a realtor in mind?  Well, won't you give me the chance to show you what I can do to sell your home?"  "If that doesnt work out, give me a call and we can talk about selling your home."

They might actually hire or even recommend you to a friend.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: oopsie on December 21, 2012, 10:03:09 AM
While its insensitive to talk about hiring another agent right in front of you, I don't know that anything she did was rude.

You could have taken it as a challenge and tried to convince her to hire you instead.  Real Esate is not just about selling houses, its about selling yourself to clients.

And I don't know where she would have gotten the idea that agents won't come and do an appraisal.  I interviewed 3 agents who all told me what they thought the home was worth, what changes I needed to make and what they would do to market it.

And I will still free to try and sell it myself if that is what I had wanted to do.  As it was, it was the second realtor we hired who actually sold it.

I think this was not taking advantage of you because you had an opportunity to get a client, you just didnt see it as such.  Even if you dont get the listing, you have the opportunity to bring buyers to see it and in a negotiation you have an upper hand having talked to the buyer before it ever went on the market.

This is all about business.

In the future, you should have a standard way of professionally handling any friend who asks for advice that will turn them into an actual client.  "Of course I will come in and help you!"  "Oh, you have a realtor in mind?  Well, won't you give me the chance to show you what I can do to sell your home?"  "If that doesnt work out, give me a call and we can talk about selling your home."

They might actually hire or even recommend you to a friend.

Thank you for this feedback. It's interesting to see this from another perspective.

While I definitely agree that a part of real estate is about selling yourself, to chalk it up to "you had an opportunity to get a client, you just didnt see it as such" is totally incorrect. This is precisely the reason why I did agree to go over in the first place and stayed to give it my best shot - others on this site, including myself, felt this was a doormat move. I also personally disagree that it wasn't rude. All you have to do if flip it around. I couldn't even fathom having the gall to do this to a stranger much less someone I actually know personally.

There is nothing wrong with interviewing real estate agents, even if you plan on selling your property yourself, but to expect one to give you their knowledge and services for free when you know ahead of time that you have absolutely zero intentions of ever giving them your business simply isn't cool or even ethical, IMO. Competition is healthy, yes definitely. Using someone is not.

Each to their own though. Cheers!



Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: Yvaine on December 21, 2012, 10:10:00 AM
While its insensitive to talk about hiring another agent right in front of you, I don't know that anything she did was rude.

You could have taken it as a challenge and tried to convince her to hire you instead.  Real Esate is not just about selling houses, its about selling yourself to clients.

And I don't know where she would have gotten the idea that agents won't come and do an appraisal.  I interviewed 3 agents who all told me what they thought the home was worth, what changes I needed to make and what they would do to market it.

And I will still free to try and sell it myself if that is what I had wanted to do.  As it was, it was the second realtor we hired who actually sold it.

I think this was not taking advantage of you because you had an opportunity to get a client, you just didnt see it as such.  Even if you dont get the listing, you have the opportunity to bring buyers to see it and in a negotiation you have an upper hand having talked to the buyer before it ever went on the market.

This is all about business.

In the future, you should have a standard way of professionally handling any friend who asks for advice that will turn them into an actual client.  "Of course I will come in and help you!"  "Oh, you have a realtor in mind?  Well, won't you give me the chance to show you what I can do to sell your home?"  "If that doesnt work out, give me a call and we can talk about selling your home."

They might actually hire or even recommend you to a friend.

Just no.

For one, the OP did try to sell herself when she found out what the acquaintance was planning.

But before that, this was not presented as business by the acquaintance but as a favor for a friend. It would have been rude for the OP to try to push her paid services on this acquaintance when she was under the impression that the acquaintance was not going to buy those services from anyone and just wanted a friendly favor. You don't just push your business on your friends when they've said they don't want to buy that thing.

Bait-and-switching--by using the friendship bond to manipulate the OP into helping, and then switching it to a cold business matter--is a large part of what makes the acquaintance rude in this situation. When the acquaintance switched over to business, the OP also switched to business in response and did try to sell herself.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 21, 2012, 11:31:14 AM
I don't know if y'all live in another country but in the US it is very common for real estate agents to give appraisals and advice in an effort to become the listing agent.

Part of interviewing an agent is finding out what they think your home is worth.  They pull comparables and offer options.  This is all before they are hired.

So, I dont understand where this attitude is coming from that provoding that information is somehow working for free. The nature of the business is that you get paid when and if the house sells.

I had an agent represent me for 7 months.  The house did not sell in that time.  We had even extende the contract by one month.  One night before the end of the contract an offer was about to come in,  Th agent begged me to "just work that offer" and the answer was "no."

So, technically, he not only worked for 7 months without getting paid, but it cost him money to list the house , etc.  Was it unethical?  No.  Did I take advantage of him?  No.  Should I have paid him something?  No.

The house sold less than 40 days later with a different agent.

Its the way the industry works.

Agents are not paid for their advice, they are paid for actually selling and marketing a home.  it is also common for agents to advertise that someone can find out how much their home is worth in an effort to get a foot in the door-- and this even for people who are not really considering selling their home at all!
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: oopsie on December 21, 2012, 12:16:37 PM
I don't know if y'all live in another country but in the US it is very common for real estate agents to give appraisals and advice in an effort to become the listing agent.

Part of interviewing an agent is finding out what they think your home is worth.  They pull comparables and offer options.  This is all before they are hired.

So, I dont understand where this attitude is coming from that provoding that information is somehow working for free. The nature of the business is that you get paid when and if the house sells.

I had an agent represent me for 7 months.  The house did not sell in that time.  We had even extende the contract by one month.  One night before the end of the contract an offer was about to come in,  Th agent begged me to "just work that offer" and the answer was "no."

So, technically, he not only worked for 7 months without getting paid, but it cost him money to list the house , etc.  Was it unethical?  No.  Did I take advantage of him?  No.  Should I have paid him something?  No.

The house sold less than 40 days later with a different agent.

Its the way the industry works.

Agents are not paid for their advice, they are paid for actually selling and marketing a home.  it is also common for agents to advertise that someone can find out how much their home is worth in an effort to get a foot in the door-- and this even for people who are not really considering selling their home at all!

Yes and I will do that as well, however, the understanding is that I actually have a shot at the business and potentially, the opportunity to, in the future, earn a paycheque. If I know for certain going in that this is not the case, of course I'm not going to do it. Why would I? I'm in this business to earn a living, not for charity. Furthermore, it wasn't just some faceless agent she was taking advantage of (although that would be bad enough). There was an established relationship, one that, for the sake of our daughters' friendship, should not have been put in jeopardy with this request.

She and her husband had every intention of using Real Estate Agent A, not me, should they be unable to sell privately. Therefore, she should never have made the call to me. It's no different than if they used me to show them a bunch of houses, using up my time and gas, all the while having every intention to use Real Estate Agent A to put in their offer and earn the commission. You could say it was my fault for not having "sold myself" to them while driving them around or not having locked them in to a commission earning buyer agency agreement beforehand and I suppose to a certain degree you would be correct. However, I say it's them acting on bad faith and shame on them for doing it.

If she was on the fence about who she was going to hire and was giving me the opportunity to earn her business, then by all means. This was not the case here, she knew that right from the start and that is why her actions were, IMO, wrong.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: MamaMootz on December 23, 2012, 11:54:06 AM
I don't know if y'all live in another country but in the US it is very common for real estate agents to give appraisals and advice in an effort to become the listing agent.

Part of interviewing an agent is finding out what they think your home is worth.  They pull comparables and offer options.  This is all before they are hired.

So, I dont understand where this attitude is coming from that provoding that information is somehow working for free. The nature of the business is that you get paid when and if the house sells.

I had an agent represent me for 7 months.  The house did not sell in that time.  We had even extende the contract by one month.  One night before the end of the contract an offer was about to come in,  Th agent begged me to "just work that offer" and the answer was "no."

So, technically, he not only worked for 7 months without getting paid, but it cost him money to list the house , etc.  Was it unethical?  No.  Did I take advantage of him?  No.  Should I have paid him something?  No.

The house sold less than 40 days later with a different agent.

Its the way the industry works.

Agents are not paid for their advice, they are paid for actually selling and marketing a home.  it is also common for agents to advertise that someone can find out how much their home is worth in an effort to get a foot in the door-- and this even for people who are not really considering selling their home at all!

I have been a real estate agent in the US and I think what this lady did to the OP was shady. Here's why:

(quote from the OP)

When the day came, I met her at her home. She first thanked me for coming as "most real estate agents wouldn't do this knowing we're trying to sell it ourselves." I said "no problem" then asked "if you do decide to list with a real estate agent, you'll consider me though right?" She turned around and said "oh no! We're loyal to Real Estate Agent A. We'd be going with her. She's on holidays right now, that's why we asked you to do this favour for us."

She knew she was using a different agent from the get-go but didn't tell her that up front. At first, the guise was "just give us an idea what the house is worth, we'll sell it ourselves" which made the OP think she had a small shot at the listing, and then once OP got to the house, it was "Oh no! We're loyal to Real Estate Agent A!"

If that was truly the case, this woman should have called Real Estate Agent A in the first place and not asked the OP for anything at all. People like her are the reason why there are now there are (in some states) disclosures buyers must sign showing that if an agent showed them a property and then buyers purchase the same property through a different agent,, commission must be paid to the original agent.

Most of the time, agents looking for more listings to sign target FSBO's because they know the homeowner more than likely has overpriced the property and obviously they are motivated enough to sell the home on their own. Truth be told, any agent can sell a house as long as it's priced correctly and is kept in show-able condition.

Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 23, 2012, 12:15:49 PM
There is a big difference between showing someone houses and having them buy it from someone else and touring a friend's home and suggesting a price point.

There is also a difference between suggesting a price point and doing the research needed to document and back it up.

People here have suggested that what the OP did is similar to a doctor giving advice or someone "working for free."

A listing agent is paid to list and market a home, not simply tour it, say that you should do this or that and suggest a price point.  Even if they did do the research and presented it, it serves the purpose of trying to get a job.

Just because someone thinks the will use such and such an agent doesn't mean they will and most aggressive agents know this just like they know darn well that someone trying to do a FSBO is probably going to hire an agent at some point.

I really dont think the OP was asked to provide any information that most agents are happy to provide to get their foot in the door.  The only remarkable thing was that her acquaintance was actually honest about wanting to hire the other agent.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: Amara on December 23, 2012, 12:20:53 PM
What makes no sense to me about this scenario is why would this friend ask the OP for her advice on how to prep her home? If she intended to use the other agent if she couldn't do a FSBO? Wouldn't it make more sense to get the preferred agent's advice on prepping?
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: MamaMootz on December 23, 2012, 01:40:08 PM


I really dont think the OP was asked to provide any information that most agents are happy to provide to get their foot in the door.  The only remarkable thing was that her acquaintance was actually honest about wanting to hire the other agent.

Actually, that's what I have a problem with. The acquaintance was not honest about wanting to hire the other agent up front. She waited until the OP was at her home before she dropped that bomb on her, which is why I maintain it was shady of her.  She lured the OP there under the slim hope of signing a FSBO and then slammed the door on her once she was there and it was too late for OP to do anything about it.  The acquaintance should have gone with Real Estate Agent A from start to finish, period. If nothing else, she wasted the OP's time that could have been spent following up on other potential clients.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: jedikaiti on December 23, 2012, 01:57:59 PM
I don't know if y'all live in another country but in the US it is very common for real estate agents to give appraisals and advice in an effort to become the listing agent.

Part of interviewing an agent is finding out what they think your home is worth.  They pull comparables and offer options.  This is all before they are hired.

So, I dont understand where this attitude is coming from that provoding that information is somehow working for free. The nature of the business is that you get paid when and if the house sells.


I had an agent represent me for 7 months.  The house did not sell in that time.  We had even extende the contract by one month.  One night before the end of the contract an offer was about to come in,  Th agent begged me to "just work that offer" and the answer was "no."

So, technically, he not only worked for 7 months without getting paid, but it cost him money to list the house , etc.  Was it unethical?  No.  Did I take advantage of him?  No.  Should I have paid him something?  No.

The house sold less than 40 days later with a different agent.

Its the way the industry works.

Agents are not paid for their advice, they are paid for actually selling and marketing a home.  it is also common for agents to advertise that someone can find out how much their home is worth in an effort to get a foot in the door-- and this even for people who are not really considering selling their home at all!

Because the OP didn't have any opportunity to sell herself, or to compete for the business. They never had ANY intention of doing any business with her whatsoever. This wasn't interviewing agents, this was, we're going to sell it ourselves, but if we fail, we'll be working with Someone Else, but they're on vacation, so YOU tell us what our house is worth. With NO hope of ever getting ANY business out of it. Probably not even a mention to anyone else who might be looking to buy/sell.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 23, 2012, 04:04:48 PM
I don't know if y'all live in another country but in the US it is very common for real estate agents to give appraisals and advice in an effort to become the listing agent.

Part of interviewing an agent is finding out what they think your home is worth.  They pull comparables and offer options.  This is all before they are hired.

So, I dont understand where this attitude is coming from that provoding that information is somehow working for free. The nature of the business is that you get paid when and if the house sells.


I had an agent represent me for 7 months.  The house did not sell in that time.  We had even extende the contract by one month.  One night before the end of the contract an offer was about to come in,  Th agent begged me to "just work that offer" and the answer was "no."

So, technically, he not only worked for 7 months without getting paid, but it cost him money to list the house , etc.  Was it unethical?  No.  Did I take advantage of him?  No.  Should I have paid him something?  No.

The house sold less than 40 days later with a different agent.

Its the way the industry works.

Agents are not paid for their advice, they are paid for actually selling and marketing a home.  it is also common for agents to advertise that someone can find out how much their home is worth in an effort to get a foot in the door-- and this even for people who are not really considering selling their home at all!

Because the OP didn't have any opportunity to sell herself, or to compete for the business. They never had ANY intention of doing any business with her whatsoever. This wasn't interviewing agents, this was, we're going to sell it ourselves, but if we fail, we'll be working with Someone Else, but they're on vacation, so YOU tell us what our house is worth. With NO hope of ever getting ANY business out of it. Probably not even a mention to anyone else who might be looking to buy/sell.

Yes, she did, she just didn't do it.  A plaintive asking if she will be given a chance if they decide to use an agent is not selling yourself.

Someone saying that they will use someone else should be a challenge not a roadblock.  Just because they say that doesn't mean that the other realtor actually will take the listing.
 
There are agents who use the promise of telling someone how much their house is worth to get their foot in the door--and this is for people who are not even considering selling their home!

Being able to sell yourself can be a test of getting hired.  If you can't sell yourself how will you sell the house?

If someone offers you a free sample and you have no intention of buying the product, are you rudely taking advantage?

The OP should consider this an opportunity that didn't work out.  And maybe ask an agent with high sales how to handle this type of situation in the future so that it pans out better.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: MariaE on December 23, 2012, 05:40:47 PM
If someone offers you a free sample and you have no intention of buying the product, are you rudely taking advantage?

That's not what happened though. This would be more like somebody asking for a free sample of something that wasn't labelled as free, while knowing she would never have any intention of buying anything. And yes, I do think that is rude.

My local ice cream store does small tastings. By that I mean that when I go to buy an ice cream I can ask "can I have a small taste of the honeysuckle?" In order to figure out whether I want to buy it or not. I can do that with several flavours if I want. However, going in there and asking for five tastings knowing from the outset that I'm not going to buy anything would definitely be if not rude, then at least unethical.

And the fact that t was the OP's 'friend' only makes it worse. She was deliberately taken advantage of.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 23, 2012, 10:41:32 PM
If someone offers you a free sample and you have no intention of buying the product, are you rudely taking advantage?

That's not what happened though. This would be more like somebody asking for a free sample of something that wasn't labelled as free, while knowing she would never have any intention of buying anything. And yes, I do think that is rude.

My local ice cream store does small tastings. By that I mean that when I go to buy an ice cream I can ask "can I have a small taste of the honeysuckle?" In order to figure out whether I want to buy it or not. I can do that with several flavours if I want. However, going in there and asking for five tastings knowing from the outset that I'm not going to buy anything would definitely be if not rude, then at least unethical.

And the fact that t was the OP's 'friend' only makes it worse. She was deliberately taken advantage of.

How was it not labelled as free?  The OP knew that her friend was doing a FSBO when she went over there.  The only thing that seems to change it for everyone is that the friend had already decided on another agent if the FSBO didn't work out.
 
The OPs friend never agreed to pay her or hire her at any time.  And its not up to the friend to see that this is an opportunity.  That is up to the OP.  The friend has really nothing to gain.  She gets some advice, yes, but what the OP has to gain is a potential listing which will enrich her much more than it will enrich the friend.
 
The point is that it not being FSBO was completely hypothetical at that point.  And, the point to ask about becoming the listing agent isn't when you are giving advice to a friend.  You use the initial meeting to establish a professional relationship regardless of who is waiting in the wings.

Did the OP think that by virtue of giving her friend some advice that she was a lock for getting the listing?  That by asking that question when the friend was planning a FSBO is going to get it for her?
 
That's like saying she knew that the FSBO would fail.  Let me tell you, when you're selling a house, you aren't always thinking of Plan B.
 
And the OP could have been part of Plan B.

Again, what part of what the OP provided is a service that should be paid for?  Because that service is provided by agents all the time trying to get a foot in the door even with people who have no plans at all to sell their home.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: MariaE on December 24, 2012, 02:19:15 AM
That's like saying she knew that the FSBO would fail.  Let me tell you, when you're selling a house, you aren't always thinking of Plan B.
 
And the OP could have been part of Plan B.

But the 'friend' was thinking of a plan B... and the OP wasn't part of it.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 24, 2012, 02:36:54 AM
That's like saying she knew that the FSBO would fail.  Let me tell you, when you're selling a house, you aren't always thinking of Plan B.
 
And the OP could have been part of Plan B.

But the 'friend' was thinking of a plan B... and the OP wasn't part of it.

Well, she was asked about it.  Still, just because she thinks she is going to use a particular realtor (and that it turned out that she did) its still not a fait accompli at the point that she has the OP over to her house.
 
I wouldn't have been particularly happy for someone to assume that my FSBO would not work.  Perhaps the friend wanted the OP to give her advice because she thought the OP would not try to sell herself as a listing agent.
 
My point is that the OP went in with the expectation that she might get a listing in spite of the fact that she was told it was for a FSBO.   Many FSBOs end up getting listed with an agent and so I can see her thinking that maybe she could land the listing.

But, it is also true that many sellers go through more than one realtor.  So, it was still possible that she could have at some point gotten the listing.

The opportunity was there.

Every contact with a possible client is an opportunity.  There is always competition, some that you know about, most that you don't.  That's why is never a good idea to get hung up on things like this.  You have to just keep putting your foot in the door--sometimes it will pan out and you get a nice payday and other times it doesn't.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: MariaE on December 24, 2012, 02:44:33 AM
We clearly disagree completely..
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: DavidH on January 02, 2013, 09:53:46 PM
I think the point is that the opportunity was not there and the "friend" knew that when she asked for the advice.  I agree with the point on the FSBO, she was clear about that from the beginning.  On the other hand, she hid that fact that she was loyal to Agent B when she asked for advice initially. Had she said, I will try to market my house, and if that fails, I will list with Agent A to whom I am loyal, but would you come over, give me a price point, and tell me how to stage my house for nothing, then it would have been fine. 

By saying oh no, we're loyal to person A, it's saying there was never an opportunity.  She didn't say, I like A's marketing plan better, I think she knows the area well or anything like that. 
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: bopper on January 03, 2013, 08:03:50 AM
While its insensitive to talk about hiring another agent right in front of you, I don't know that anything she did was rude.

You could have taken it as a challenge and tried to convince her to hire you instead.  Real Esate is not just about selling houses, its about selling yourself to clients.

And I don't know where she would have gotten the idea that agents won't come and do an appraisal.  I interviewed 3 agents who all told me what they thought the home was worth, what changes I needed to make and what they would do to market it.

And I will still free to try and sell it myself if that is what I had wanted to do.  As it was, it was the second realtor we hired who actually sold it.

I think this was not taking advantage of you because you had an opportunity to get a client, you just didnt see it as such.  Even if you dont get the listing, you have the opportunity to bring buyers to see it and in a negotiation you have an upper hand having talked to the buyer before it ever went on the market.

This is all about business.

In the future, you should have a standard way of professionally handling any friend who asks for advice that will turn them into an actual client.  "Of course I will come in and help you!"  "Oh, you have a realtor in mind?  Well, won't you give me the chance to show you what I can do to sell your home?"  "If that doesnt work out, give me a call and we can talk about selling your home."

They might actually hire or even recommend you to a friend.

This seems reasonable if their mind seems open to possibly hiring you. Then it might be worth investing some time. But in the OP's case, it seemed clear that there was 0% chance of payoff.
Title: Re: Is it really a favour or taking advantage?
Post by: johelenc1 on January 18, 2013, 03:06:25 PM
OP - as a Broker myself, I would have been furious if someone did that to me.  And I'm pretty easy going.  I think the best thing you could have done in the situation (if you didn't want to leave), was to give a price range and let them figure out where to price it.  If they pushed, you could have said that a range was the best you could offer without doing a full CMA and more research.  If she asked for that, which would have been incredibly nervy, you could have responded that you only do those for potential clients.

I do think you probably could have tried to get a full listing appointment opportunity, "well, I understand you are loyal to Agent A.  However, it's always good to have a second opinion.  I would love to set up a full listing appointment where I can present my marketing strategy and provide a full CMA for you which would include a price analysis."    I don't actually think it would have made a difference though.  She sounds like quite a character.