Who’s on first…?

Back in the 1937 Bud Abbot and Lou Costello produced an act for the Vaudeville stage called “Who’s on first” it was a riff on the game of baseball and the nicknames and surnames of the “players” on the teams. The upshot is that the routine, while not even new back then, it remains entertaining and illustrates the everyday opportunity to take a seemingly simply situation and “complex” it all up.

I recently listed a warehouse in Sunrise Florida. I have had several showings on the property, a few of which are notable for the complete disregard for the client, common sense, manners or even professional courtesy.

I will try and compress this and keep it succinct. The first of the notable showings is notable because the agent showed up in blue jeans, flip-flops, and a tee shirt. I realize we live and work in Florida and that it is the summer but show a little respect for the clients and your fellow agents.

The second notable showing is turning into a saga. I showed it to the first wave of perspective buyers. Then I showed it to the “B” team of the prospective buyers. And most recently was asked to show the property on a Sunday morning. First, get all your buyers together and show it to them all at once…please. Secondly, commercial brokers as a rule don’t work on Saturday or Sunday…nor do their sellers. Imagine the difficulty getting the Seller there on Saturday the first time let alone Sunday for the third wave of showings.

Now, that would usually be enough of a story is it weren’t for the “follow-up”! I got an urgent call from a real estate professional that absolutely, positively, had to show it Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 pm. I made the arrangements to show the property as requested. The showing was a massive inconvenience for me as I was in the neighboring county just prior to the showing.

Anyhow, I burn rubber to make the showing only to find that the “agent” had already been there, she was early showed the property, told the owner she was stepping out to take a call and disappeared. I arrived at the appointed hour only to find that not only had she “hauled-ass” but texted me at the appointed hour to tell me they had already seen the space and they weren’t interested.

Meanwhile, a local “scumbag” developer decided that he was going to try and insert himself into the transaction. He had developed the park and a reputation for shady dealings. As I approached the subject property I observed the gentlemen in question duck in the front door of the warehouse. I exited my truck only to find that the “Buyer” from Ms. Flip-flops (above) was being shown the space by the developer. As I stepped into the warehouse I see Mr. Developer darting around the rear entrance of the warehouse with a prospect and his 8-year-old son in tow.

That evening as I was relaxing and watching American Idol, I get a call from Mr. Developer telling me the most fantastic story about how this buyer just happened to wander in off the street in to his office and before he knew it the prospect was dashing into the office of my listing. I told him that I didn’t believe a word he was saying…but thanked him for a most entertaining and enjoyable story. He was aghast that I didn’t believe him and asked me what I thought had happened. I told him that he and I both know what was going on and that I wouldn’t dignify the conversation with and answer.

As if that weren’t enough the following morning I get a call from yet another broker who has a client that want the property. So, after the requisite qualifying questions I agree to show the property that afternoon. I meet the agent at the property at the appointed hour with two of his four buyers in tow. He tells me that two other “buyers” will be joining us shortly. A few minutes later the “buyers” show up and exit the car…they don’t even bother to come in to the building. I thought it odd, so I decided to step outside and ask what was unacceptable only to discover the entire party jumping back into their vehicles. It seems that these buyers were the same “buyers” I had shown the property to on Saturday the week before.

So, if I have lost you the first buyer came back with another broker and scumbag. The scumbag in question not only doesn’t have a real estate license but was actively soliciting the seller to list the property with his daughter who had just opened her own firm. Buyer two came back with another broker as well and when they got recognized dove back into their cars and sped away.
I called and messaged Ms. Flip-flops and let her know her buyer was touring the same property with other brokers. To date she has not responded (nearly 2 weeks). I notified broker two that here buyers were touring with another broker and she asked me to speculate why they would do something like that?

The scumbag developer has since slinked back to his office and has not been heard from since.

I know, you’re now saying how can you prevent this silliness? Prior to showing a property or sending your listing package get the Broker and the Buyer to sign Seller and Buyer confidentiality and or non-circumvent agreements.

You will get some blow back from less seasoned brokers, but you can save yourself a ton of wasted time and energy. If the cooperating broker is unwilling to sign a Cooperating Brokers Agreement that tells me volumes about their business acumen. If a Buyer isn’t disposed to signing they aren’t really a buyer. And don’t forget part of your job is to save the seller from unnecessary interruptions, unqualified buyers, and time waster. Another benefit, among many is that you now have established who is entitled to the cooperating brokers fee if any.

If you don’t have a Cooperating Brokers Agreement or a Buyer Confidentiality Agreement get one…today and make it a part of your best practices.