- Developing trusting relationships with other agents can be good for business.
- Agents should approach every interaction with professionalism and never speak negatively about others.
- A brokerage culture that values reciprocation and respect will prepare agents for working in the field.
Cassie Mason, broker-owner of Cassie Mason Real Estate in Bethel, Maine, works in a ski resort market with only a couple thousand year-round residents. Developing close relationships with other real estate agents—even though they’re the competition—has led to great success for her in the profession.
“I’m 99.9% sure when I close one deal with a local agent that I will be working with them next week,” says Mason.
It takes two to tango in a real estate transaction, so staying in contact with the real estate professional on the other side of the table, treating them with courtesy and professionalism, and following through on necessary steps goes a long way toward building a solid reputation in the business, explains Gaspar Flores Jr., broker-owner of Su Familiar Real Estate in Chicago.
“This is the industry of helping people and helping each other,” he adds. “There’s no point in having friction with anybody.”
Broker-owners can set the tone by teaching their agents to earn the respect of other agents as they get to know them better.
“Agents that are out there for a buck won’t be out there forever,” Flores explains. “The minute the work gets hard, they will fade away.”
Befriend New and Experienced Agents
Mason has recently witnessed a big influx of new real estate licensees. Some are driving 2 ½ to 3 hours to show a property.
“There was a time, I would have jumped into the car and driven 1 ½ hours. I know better now that I can’t properly represent my buyer in another town if I don’t know all the zoning laws and other information,” she explains. “I refer it out.”
She works hard to get her clients prequalified and counseled through the process, then sends them to someone she knows and trusts. If they are heading to the coast, she sends them to Monet Brazier, a waterfront specialist with Sell 207 and Bean Group in Searsport, Maine, who lives near the ocean. They met years ago at the same brokerage when Brazier started her real estate career. They decided to keep in touch, and it has been a good reciprocal relationship. Brazier, who grew up in Bethel, refers clients, friends, and family looking to buy or sell properties in the area to Mason.
“We call each other ‘sisters from another market’ when we share each other’s posts,” Brazier says.
Reputation Begets Referrals
The pace of the current market and shortage of inventory could breed some confrontational and uncooperative behavior between agents. But in the end, it’s about helping clients and working together, Brazier and Mason say.
Offers aren’t always judged on the price and financing terms alone. Looking at who is on the other side of that transaction, including which agent will ensure the least number of hiccups and challenges, happens all the time, Mason says.
“It’s important for my clients and me to have strong relationships with other brokers,” she says. “It’s important for me professionally.”
If Mason has worked through an issue in a transaction with an agent in the past, it usually strengthens their relationship and gives her peace of mind if she sees an offer come through with that agent’s name on it in the future.
Lack of professionalism can turn off not only other agents but the clients on the other side of the table. Flores once dealt with an agent who used foul language as he got more and more defensive. “For me, I work with transparency. My client decided to cancel the transaction because of this troubled agent,” he adds.
The buyers of that agent went into Flores’ office in tears because they wanted the house badly. Out of respect, Flores gave the agent a call. But the agent became more disturbed, and he didn’t want to communicate with Flores after that.
4 Tips for Agents
To avoid drama and teach agents how to strengthen relationships with other real estate pros, Mason and Flores offer these insights.
Reinforce in your company culture that there’s enough pie for everyone. “The society of real estate professionals understands it’s about cooperation,” Flores says. “You work for the best interest of everyone, and that takes two.” Earning an income for everyone in the pipeline comes from cooperation. “We will run into each other one way or another again—during open houses, transactions, and negotiations. Being professional definitely helps us in the future.”
Teach agents to do what they say they’ll do. Mason builds trust with other real estate pros by making sure the final walkthrough of her sellers’ homes is immaculate. She pays a few hundred dollars out of her own pocket to get each listing professionally cleaned. “Other brokers thank me for it,” she says.
Help new licensees get prepared. “When I was doing REOs, a lot of agents would tell me that they never sold a foreclosure property,” Flores says. He made himself available to counsel them and help them understand the process. “When we look out for each other, but not in a snarky or bullish way, we all grow in this together.”
Be friendly and never badmouth other agents. “There’s no need to be negative or show anybody any form of hate or non-support,” Flores says. Mason agrees, emphasizing that brokers should remind their agents to never say a bad word about other real estate pros, even in a situation that’s highly emotional. Mason always brings baked goods to the closing and shakes the other agent’s hand, no matter what. “Go above and beyond,” she says.
“The real estate world is small, and we need to treat everyone as if we are going to be doing business with them again,” Mason says.