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By Kelle Sparta

RISMEDIA, May 10, 2007-I’ve been seeing a disturbing occurrence in the field of Buyer Agency. It seems that some agents out there are practicing “Seller Coal Raking” rather than “Buyer Agency”. There is a distinct difference between these two approaches. Let me explore each of these for you so you can understand what I mean.

Seller Coal Raking

What I mean by this, is that some agents, rather than keeping their clients’ bests interests in mind, are instead making it their life’s mission to rake the seller over the proverbial coals. They are out to squeeze every last dime out of the seller in the deluded notion that this is what the buyers are paying them for. But let’s look at why this isn’t necessarily the best approach.

Un-harvested Perks

There have been many times in my career where I saw a seller who left behind many items that the buyers would need – rakes, lawn equipment, etc., just because they liked the buyers. I once even saw a seller replace wall-to-wall carpeting throughout the entire house – all 2000 sq/ft – because they didn’t like the thought of the buyers moving into that shabby old stuff.

These perks would never have been given to the buyers if the buyers’ agent had been out to get the seller. There are many little things that can add up to big bucks that you can lose for your buyers if you lose the good will of the sellers (and their agent) in the process of negotiations.

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Agents are like elephants, they never forget a thing – especially not a buyer’s agent who made them look bad or who did dirty by their clients. And they are particularly good at revenge. They will wait patiently until the next deal they have with you and then they will do their best to take out your buyers on that deal – and in a multiple offer situation, don’t think that the agent isn’t telling the story of what you did to their last clients. So your buyers tomorrow get to pay for the great deal that your buyers today got.

When I would explain this concept to my buyers up front, not a single one complained about me not being a total shark. They understood that the deals I did yesterday paved the way for agents to want to work with me today – which meant the probability of a better deal (or getting the house in a multiple offer situation).

Contentious Closings and Move-Ins

There’s nothing worse than sitting around a table where everyone hates each other. And it gets even worse than that when you have to deal with move-in issues – especially if the move-in takes place up to 30 days after the closing as it does in some states. Now the anger has had time to fester. Sellers may drag their heels on moving just to mess with the buyers plans because they now feel completely taken advantage of from their deal.

The Devil is in The Details

There are so many little details that need to be tweaked along the way. It is much better to have both parties in a position where they are happy with the deal than where everything you try to do is an uphill battle.

Deals Falling Apart

If you push too hard, sometimes a very emotional seller will walk away from the deal – just because you pushed. This doesn’t work for anyone.

Get Your Ego Out of the Process

When I talk to these agents, many of them are new or inexperienced, but some are seasoned veterans. All seem to have a similar reasoning. They want the buyer to get their money’s worth. This is the agent’s ego getting in the way. It’s not about you doing the best job you can, it’s about the buyers having the best experience they can. Stop worrying about whether they will like you enough and start worrying about whether they will even get this house.

Buyer Agency

A true buyer’s agent is someone who is looking out for the buyer’s best interests – all of them. It is in the buyer’s best interest to get a good deal on the house, yes. It is also in the buyer’s best interests to be on good terms with the seller so that if they have questions about the house or there are bumps along the way, things can be worked out in an equitable fashion.

Remember, no one’s best interests are served if the deal doesn’t happen.
Kelle Sparta is the author of The Consultative Real Estate Agent – Building Relationships that Create Loyal Clients, Get More Referrals, and Increase Your Sales, as well as being a speaker and trainer specializing in the real estate industry. Kelle is the founder of Sparta Success Systems, a real estate training company that provides tools, products, and training to empower agents and brokers to create lives and businesses they can love.

For more information, visit her Web site at

© 2007, Kelle Sparta. Used by permission.