Don’t switch agents at the last minute just to save a buck

We recently worked with a buyer who wanted to purchase one of our listings. Our listing was going off the market, and they called us in a frenzy wanting to see our listing so that they could place an offer while they still had a chance. Why did they call the listing agent? They claimed that they were working with the discount broker Redfin, and that their Redfin agent was too busy to show the house. I then received a phone call from their full-service John L. Scott agent about 4 hours later indicating that she would be showing the property and helping them to facilitate an offer that evening. She also indicated that she had been working with these clients for a number of months trying to find them the right property.

So which agent were they really working with, and why the deception? Well, as it turns out, they were trying to pull a switcheroo on their agent from John L. Scott at the last minute to save a buck. While they worked for months with their agent, by using Redfin to facilitate their offer, they would have been able to receive a large commission rebate of about $6k. When Redfin couldn’t facilitate their urgent transaction needs, they went back to their traditional agent.

I can’t fault these buyers for wanting to save money on their home purchase. Everyone wants to get a great deal. However, their last minute switch was unethical. It is fair to switch agents during your home search, but it is unfair to use the services of an agent for months under the premise that you will bail on them at the last minute, and they will never be paid.

Regardless of your opinions about real estate commissions, please be respectful of your agent’s time and recognize that they spend their time with you in an effort to make a living. If you are unhappy with the service you are receiving and plan to switch agents, don’t be afraid to have that conversation with your agent.