Be a Better Buyer’s Rep

Low inventories have created a seller’s market, and your buyers may be tempted to write multiple purchase offers on their favorite listing, for instance, as well as the close second.

On the one hand, it may increase the odds of their getting one of the two homes they want. But is it worth the legal risk if the buyer needs to back out of one of the offers? They could end up in multiple fully-executed contracts to purchase if the offers weren’t written with adequate contingencies allowing them to cancel. They could be accused of breaking a good faith covenant and face major legal ramifications.

How would you advise your client?

New ABR® pilot class participants.

An Accredited Buyer’s Representative course may help.

“Never let your clients enter into multiple contracts without intent to buy,” said instructor Adorna Occhialini Carroll, CRB, ABR, GRI, broker/owner of Realty3 in Berlin, Conn., and president of Dynamic Directions, Inc., an international sales training consulting firm. This was one of many important buyer-related topics covered the debut of a new ABR class at the National Association of REALTORS® headquarters in Chicago last week. About 25 REALTORS® from around the country participated in the two-day VIP ABR course, covering everything from buyer’s representation agreements handling objections.

“Our hope is to expose the course so that brokers will recommend the ABR designation to their agents as an essential key component of their professional development,” said Carroll.

The course is designed for any REALTOR® active in real estate. In order to achieve the actual ABR designation, you also need to take one elective course and have proof of five closed transactions where you have represented the buyer.

NAR First Vice President Steve Brown, broker/owner of Irongate Inc., REALTORS® in Dayton, Ohio, was one of the course attendees.

“After more than 35 years as a selling broker, it amazed me how the new ABR course made me take a look at today’s real estate sales processes from fresh perspectives,” Brown said.

In a buyer representation scenario, co-instructor Lynn Madison, ABR, SRES, GRI, owner of Lynn Madison Seminars in Schaumburg, Ill., outlined a situation where the selling agent doesn’t respond to an offer. If you, as the buyer’s representative, have exhausted all options – including calling the broker of the agent – then it may be up your clients on how to proceed.

“There’s nothing illegal about a buyer taking his or her contact directly to a seller,” said Madison. Although this approach may ruffle some feathers, it may give your buyer a shot at an outcome in their favor.

On the flipside, as a selling agent it’s crucial for you to present all offers to your clients, Madison said. You might consider creating a “verification of presentation form,” which you’d have sellers sign for each offer you make known to them.

The class also touched on how to avoid social media gaffes. Course attendee Maura Neill, CRS, ABR, CDPE, sales associate at RE/MAX Around Atlanta, has all her clients agree to not discuss the details of their transaction on their social media profiles until after closing. You never know, she said, when a buyer may reveal key negotiation information that could jeopardize the deal. When a buyer writes something like, “We love the house. We’ll pay any price,” on Facebook for the world to see, it puts the power in the seller’s hands. For this very reason, Madison said, it’s important for an agent to include a hold harmless clause in their buyer’s representative agreement.

The new VIP ABR course will be available in early 2013. For more information about ABR, visit or for a complete list of courses.

Read more

4 Keys for Working With Buyers

Erica Christoffer

Erica Christoffer is a multimedia journalist and contributing writer and editor for REALTOR® Magazine. She can be reached at

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  1. mona basuoni

    There’s nothing illegal about a buyer taking his or her contact directly to a seller

  2. mona basuoni

    Never let your clients enter into multiple contracts without intent to buy

  3. Alexa j

    Is it worth using a buyers agent when purchasing a property?

    What kind of value can I expect?