July 3, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

The Client Should Control Decisions

By Michael Edlen

Special to The Mirror

 

Real estate agents have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients, whether sellers or buyers. This requires that they must always put their client’s interests first, in all actions made or taken on their behalf.

Occasionally, an agent may go beyond the fiduciary role and actually make decisions for their clients. The concern is that this may over-step the proper bounds an agent has, and inadvertently many even work contrary to their clients’ best interests. For example, if an agent has a personal negative reaction to a proposed contract term or buyer request of their seller client, that reaction could impact the forward momentum of the transaction. All too often I have heard agents say something like, “my clients will never accept that request,” or “that offer is so low I don’t think my clients will even give you a counter offer.” Such statements may close the door to further discussion, and may do a huge disservice to the seller.

When listing a property for sale, I strive to make it clear to our clients from the start that I do not set the asking price, nor do I decide what counter offer terms to make when a contract is presented. These are decisions that are up to the seller. Likewise, I make every effort to counsel buyers on a price range that hopefully might accomplish their objective, but with the caution that we have no idea what response the seller may make, especially if there are possible multiple offers.

We explain various options and alternative responses our sellers may consider when responding to offers and the possible results from each of them in the case of multiple offers. However, the seller always has to make the actual decisions. We do control the marketing process, the appointments for showings, pre-negotiation conversations, influences on buyers’ perceptions of value, and the actual negotiation process. These areas are proper activity opportunities for agents to fulfill in their fiduciary role without going beyond them into the aspect of client decision making.

I have also heard agents saying thing like “my clients won’t pay that much” or “my client has to have at least four bedrooms, or “my client won’t buy a fixer.” Then weeks later the agents discover that “their client” bought a home with someone else representing them and paid more or accepted three bedrooms and an office, or even bought a well-priced property that needed work. Some agents decide to not show or tell their clients about a new listing because it’s a bit further away from town or is on a busy street or has a lot of steps to the entry. They may be correct that their client would not want to see such properties but the client does have the option to make that decision only when it is given. Perhaps their clients may have been willing to make a compromise if given the choice of that alternative, especially if they have been trying to identify a property to purchase for several months.

The agent’s professional role is always to manage the process, and bring as much information that may be important to the client’s awareness and allow the actual decision-making be up to the clients.

Michael Edlen has sold nearly 1,250 homes, and his team has more than 100 years combined experience in real estate. More insight and information are available at MichaelEdlen.com. He can be reached at 310.230.7373 or Michael@MichaelEdlen.com

 

Signing of the agreement

in Opinion
Related Posts

Column: Groundwater Law Has Not Stopped Subsidence

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

By Tom Elias Drive almost any road in the vast San Joaquin Valley and you’ll see irrigation pipes standing up...

SMa.r.t. Column: It’s Time to Look at the Facts of Santa Monica’s Housing History

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

The Narrative: Santa Monica’s decades-long housing construction “shortage”  The Narrative endlessly repeats the refrain that for decades Santa Monica has...

SMa.r.t. Column: The Mansionization of Santa Monica

June 17, 2022

June 17, 2022

Editor’s note: This column originally appeared in print in 2016.  In the 1980s, Santa Monica’s single family zoning code was...

OP-Ed Response to DTSM Board Chair Barry Snell and Plea to City Council Regarding Safety Ambassadors and Ambassador Program

June 14, 2022

June 14, 2022

I am responding to the OP-ED (dated June 7, 2022, Santa Monica Mirror) by City-appointed DTSM Board Member and now...

SMa.r.t. Column: Wheeling Electrically

June 9, 2022

June 9, 2022

A recent weekend visit to Dana Point, on the Orange County coastline, revealed a curious scene: dozens, if not hundreds...

Population Loss: New Era or Pandemic Glitch?

June 3, 2022

June 3, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist The numbers suggest a major change is underway in California. It would take a Nostradamus to...

SMa.r.t. Column: The Sound of Silence Is Big & Tall

June 3, 2022

June 3, 2022

All too often these days we find ourselves wondering how we could have been so correct about so many planning...

OP-Ed: DTSM Chair Barry Snell on Safety Ambassadors

June 2, 2022

June 2, 2022

By Barry Snell Chair, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. Board of Directors  The Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM) Board of Directors...

Affordable Spaces for Small Business

May 27, 2022

May 27, 2022

Los Angeles County recently proposed a program providing financial incentives for certain “Legacy” family businesses in their original historical location....

​​Doubt Removed: Oil Refiners Gouging Us

May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist There was some room for doubt back in February, when gasoline prices rose precipitously: Until the...

Is the Big Housing Crunch Mostly Fiction?

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist In some parts of California, there is definitely a housing crunch: small supplies of homes for...

Is Gelson’s Our Future? Bigger Is Not Better & Not Necessary! – Part 2

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

The dream of our beachfront city is about to become a nightmare! Just imagine a tsunami of these projects washing...

Column From Santa Monica Mayor Himmelrich: We Walk the Talk

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

By Sue Himmelrich, Santa Moncia Mayor  I like the SMa.r.t. architects. I often agree with them. But in allowing Mark...

Is Gelson’s Our Future? Bigger Is Not Better!

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

It’s appalling to see what’s happening in our city – projects recently built or about to be approved – in...

Renting Your Second Home

May 6, 2022

May 6, 2022

If you are among the many Americans who own a second home that you occasionally use as a vacation getaway,...