I Don’t Work for Free: Why Asking for Real Estate Favors is an Insult


I recently overheard my mom on the phone telling someone: “… yes, of course. And if you ever need anything or have questions, she’ll be glad to help.” This sounds like she’s doing some great free marketing for me and I should be happy, right? Well the problem is this is someone who specifically decided to NOT use my real estate services.

According to him, someone who owes him money happens to be a real estate agent. When the agent found out he was in the market for a home, the agent said: “Why don’t I represent you, that way I’ll use my commission check to pay you back.” I found out about that last minute arrangements after I had cleared my schedule & organized 4-5 property showings for him & his wife. Lucky for me I was able to make some additional  changes to reorganize my day & lucky for our delinquent borrower, I had not yet met with the potential buyer to make him sign a representation contract.

However, it turns out that the other agent is one of those “hands off” types. He expects the clients to do the legwork of hitting the pavement to look for properties alone. Later, he wants to show up at the 11th hour to submit offers & attend closing to pick up his check. This means he has not been very available to help them navigate the process as first time homebuyers. The buyer who is a family friend was sharing his woes with my mother when I heard her offer up my guidance. She doesn’t know any better & views it as “helping a friend”. The thing is, for me, real estate is a business. Not a charity, not volunteer work. I cannot do the work of another agent when I will collect none of the proceeds. If anything, family & friends tend to be your greatest source of referrals & your first opportunities for business. You cannot expect me to provide you with market information that I pay to access, dedicate time that I am taking away from PAYING clients to your inquiries free of charge. It is disrespectful because you are expecting me to work for free while you give your business to those who are not required to do much.

Real estate is an appointment & volume based business. Every minute I spend with someone is time I am not spending with someone else, time I am not spending marketing & generating business. I have to be discriminate with my time, effort & attention. Even paying clients can only get so much of my time since I have other people to attend to. Those who expect charity work or favors, will get none of my time. If I’m not good enough for your money, I’m not good enough for your questions.

You don’t work for free, neither do I. Call your agent.


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