Vail Daily column: Call your agent first |

Vail Daily column: Call your agent first

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

I think I have made my real estate agent mad, as well as another real estate agent I just met, all accidentally. I knew my agent was gone for the weekend and I saw a new listing on the Internet that I thought might not last too long. I wanted to see the property right away so I called the number of the company that had it listed and asked if someone could show me the property.

When the agent came on the phone he asked me if I ​“​ha​d signed paperwork” with another agent​ (or something like that)​ and I said no. After the new agent showed me the property, I told him I had been working with another agent for a year and I was going to have her write the offer on the property. The agent was quite taken ​back and then my agent was not any happier when she got home and I told her the story.

I am still not sure what I did wrong or what I should have done. Can you clarify?

Dear Confused,

I would very much like to clarify what it appears to have happened and why the agents are not pleased with what they consider a lack of disclosure on your part. It is a small ​v​alley, and we try not to get tangled up with each other’s clients. You should always tell any new agent you encounter that you are working with another agent that you intend to use for the transaction, if indeed that is true.

This does not mean that because you looked at a few properties with an agent that you must use them in the future. However, if you have signed a transaction broker or a buyer agency agreement that spells out the relationship, how long it will last, how your agent will get paid and the scope of the agent’s duties to you, then you are definitely committed to using that agent to purchase a property during that time frame, and the buyer agent is committed to informing you of every property in the MLS when it comes on the market if it fits your parameters.


When the agent on the phone asked you something like “have you signed paperwork with another agent?” he was asking if you were going to use another agent in this transaction. When you said “no” he felt he would be included in the sale process and commission if you liked the property. Instead, you asked him to show you the property on his time, with no chance of being paid (unless he happened to be the listing agent). Your agent was concerned because you had now looked at a property that she did not bring to you, so even if she wrote the contract for you, she might not be considered the “procuring cause” in the eyes of the Real Estate Commission and she might have to forfeit all or part of her commission to the other agent that showed you the property, depending upon the rest of the circumstances.

Obviously, this is very serious for the professional agents who make their living selling real estate. Your agent wants you to call them first under any circumstances. If they are out of the country, or just out of cell service, they usually will have made arrangements to have someone on their team or in their office accommodate you. I hope you were able to work this out smoothly and fairly ​for​ all parties. Good luck and remember if you have an agent you intend to use, always call them first, under any circumstances!

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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