One of the things that really ticks honest real estate agents off is when another listing agent buys the listing.  What does “buying the listing” mean?  And, what about it ticks off real estate agents so much?  Read on for the answers.

Let’s assume you are a real estate agent.  I know, you feel like you’ve been punished…’s OK.  You get a call in the afternoon from a very nice couple in Clayton.  They tell you that they’ve heard good things about you and that they admire your professionalism.  In the course of your conversation they let you know that they’ve called another real estate agent to list their home as well.

Being the real estate professional that you are, you start preparing in advance of your listing appointment.  You go to lots of homes currently for sale in Clayton.  You aren’t one of those listing specialists who just make up some number based on a home you sold 20 years ago in the area.

As you look through previous sales, and homes currently for sale, you have a good sense of the market when the home for sale in Clayton is listed.  At the listing appointment, when you walk through the home, you give suggestions as to what might need to be improved, and you really enjoy talking with the sellers.  The subject of asking price comes up.  Always prepared, you show the sellers what is available and what has recently sold and based on that a range of $800,000 to $850,000 seems appropriate.  The sellers thank you for the visit, and you leave just knowing that you will be listing the Clayton home for sale soon.

Three weeks later, as you are looking at the MLS in the morning, the Clayton comes up!  The feeling of disappointment and sadness overwhelms you.  What went wrong?  Why didn’t the sellers tell me they were going to list with someone else?  And, the listing price!  They came to market at $925,000?  The house is never going to sell for that!  Who is the listing agent?  Oh, not again!  They always do this!

What just happened?

This is something real estate agents who work in St. Louis deal with every day.  You never know for sure, but it sure does look like the other agent “bought the listing.”  This happens when you give an unreasonably high number as an asking price to your sellers.  It’s a great tactic if you can get away with it or are less than honest with in your profession.  The thing about it is that it automatically puts the potential home sellers in a spot.  Be honest, why would anyone turn down the chance to make $75,000 more off the sale of their house? And that is why it is so effective.

It might not be a bought listing

As mentioned before, listing agents hate to lose out on listings, and they especially hate it if they lose out to someone who bought the listing.  However, I would argue that we don’t really know if the other real estate agent did actually buy the listing.   It’s a charged term, no doubt.  Here are some of the things that could have happened instead of a bought listing.

  1. The real estate agent isn’t familiar with the area. I’ve written in a previous blog that sometimes, it’s good to get a second opinion.  I’ve had clients who were told asking prices that were far lower than what their house would actually sell for.  In one instance the other real estate agent used comparable sales from a subdivision that was in a different school district, different county, and different home construction to arrive at a listing price that was just too low.


  1. The agent is under some pressure to list the home. Pricing your home for sale can be difficult.   Sometimes, there really aren’t good comparable homes for sale or that have sold.  Other times, there’s an outside pressure to come to market at a certain price.


  1. The other real estate agent could be challenged. In a blog post I wrote here,  I looked at another real estate agent in St. Louis who I can never tell is either really smart or really dumb.  They’ve been getting away with “buying the listing” for years, and I don’t know if it’s skill or what.  It’s an annoyance for sure.


  1. The sellers may like the other real estate agent better. This may come as a shock to you, but not everyone is going to like you.  As an example, I like to laugh and have a good time, when appropriate.  Some sellers don’t like that.  They would prefer a more stoic agent.  I don’t think agents should go about changing their entire personalities to win a listing, so I accept when there just isn’t a match.


  1. The other real estate agent could have slashed their commission. You only know that the asking price is higher than where you were comfortable listing it.  You don’t know and won’t know what the other real estate agent did to get the listing.  They could have slashed their commission.

Consequences of a bought listing

In the worst of all possible scenarios, the seller realizes at some point that you lied about the selling price all along.  But, even if they realize it, they’re likely too far along in the process to cancel the listing and I doubt that they are going to come back to you to list it.  In this case, you are looking for cosmic justice, and I’ve found that the world really doesn’t work that way.  Put yourself in the sellers shoes:  Do you really want to admit you were duped?  It’s painful enough to watch your home stay on the market for months while neighbors around you snicker as their homes fly off the market.  And this is what ticks off good real estate agents the most.  Some real estate agent can buy the listing and there’s very little you can do about it.