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businesspeople_questionmarksWhen I started selling real estate many years ago, I would often write offers and then have my buyers wait in the car while I went inside the home and met with the sellers and their agent. If there was a counteroffer, I would go out to the car, talk it over with my buyers, agree or counter, and then go back in the house and get the deal done. My how things have changed!

Today, we write offers, send them to the seller’s agent via email or fax, and then hope they do a good of job representing our buyers. The harsh reality is that the seller’s agent is—as they should be—looking out for their client, not ours. They don’t even know our buyers. So, my question is simply this: Who should be representing your buyers and how?

Being a huge advocate of technology, I appreciate its benefits greatly. However, in the process of utilizing technology, I sometimes think we allow the convenience of technology tools (like email and fax) to replace good old-fashioned sales. In my humble opinion, it is impossible for us to fax offers to listing agents and hope they do a good job representing our buyers, especially in a competitive multi-offer environment.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, a recent Gallup poll on perceptions of professional integrity shows that only 20 percent of consumers have a high or very high view of the honesty and integrity of real estate brokers and sales associates, suggesting that our profession continues to have its work cut out for it in changing public perceptions. I believe this perception is at least partially due to a lack of professionalism, and sometimes just laziness, on the part of many agents. This perception should serve as an eye-opener to us all, but also as an opportunity for elite agents to truly stand out.