Procuring Cause or . . . How I Almost Lost a Sale

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty, Kansas City North

This last weekend I went to a family gathering with my wife's family. One of her relatives that I hadn't seen in a while was there and mentioned they were most likely going to sell their current home and move this next summer. I asked them where they were thinking they'd like to live and he mentioned they'd been looking at a beautiful new community called Seven Bridges in Platte City, MO.

Realizing that the Fall Homes Tour was going on just last month, I assumed that they'd been browsing around at different communities and simply looking at homes. "Actually" he said, "We've been out there two times and have chosen two homes we really like".

Knowing that they may have already spoken to the listing agents one too many times, I asked them if they'd ever thought to give me a call so I could go out there with them (since I'm 100% sure they would want me to represent them) and he said to me, "Well we were just looking at the homes and didn't want to bother you yet. We certainly would call you when we're ready to start negotiations in the Spring".

I asked him if he'd ever heard the term "procuring cause", but of course that's a real estate term that the general public wouldn't know about. I explained to both of them, "Procuring Cause is a real estate term that basically means 'the uninterrupted series of causal events which results in the successful transaction.' Of course I realize that's not the NAR official statement, but I read it somewhere and thought it was a little more basic terminology.

I explained a little further by telling them, "You have been out to this community twice, you've probably spoken with the listing agent both times, and she's most likely learned a little more about you and directed you in some way. If you've signed in during an open house tour, called a real estate agent for information about a property listing, toured one or more homes with one or more salesperson's, or provided your e-mail address over the Internet to receive property listing updates, you enter a gray area that may cause me to be left out of this transaction and not able to properly represent you.

This is a very typical situation that we deal with in real estate and since I am both a listing agent and a buyers agent, I can certainly sympathize with both sides of the debate. My client didn't realize that what they were doing might be a risk to their future opportunity to be represented by the agent of their choice.

Now that I've explained this to them they've agreed that it might be in their future best interest to call me the next time they decide to go look at more homes, even if they're "just looking".

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Rainmaker
570,044
Bill Gillhespy
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos
16 Sunview Blvd
Ron,  Not sure those visits rise to the level of " Procuring Cause ".  Buyers often make casual contacts prior to committing to representation.  Good luck with your search.
November 05, 2007 09:59 PM
Rainmaker
22,644
Ron Henderson
Realtor in Kansas City
Keller Williams Realty, Kansas City North
I would be the first to agree with you Bill, but last year I had this same situation happen to me with another client and the listing agents gave us such a hassle over the issue of how many times they'd seen this couple in the model homes.  This particular community tried to force every person coming into the model homes to register, even if they'd been there before.  They argued that this couple had visited them 3 times without their agent and they had given them advise too many times.  It was rediculous to the point that my client chose not to build a home in that community.  They're still sour about it even today.  In this situation, everyone loses.
November 05, 2007 10:10 PM
Rainmaker
398,537
Eric Bouler
Listening to your Needs
Gardner Realtors, Licensed in La.
Procuring cause is not what you think. The definition has changed over the years and would be very hard for any agent to collect from the agent writting the contract. 
November 05, 2007 10:51 PM
Ambassador
1,432,575
Jennifer Fivelsdal
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571
Ron - This shows how important it is for us to stay in touch with our sphere and to continue to educate and remind them of our services because they forget.
November 06, 2007 07:12 AM
Rainmaker
43,795
Jeannette Kohlhaas
www.MoveFREEwithMe.com
Keller Williams Jacksonville Realty

Ron,

ANother idea, is to have a Buyers brokerage agreement (Loyalty agreement) signed by your buyers, then they are protected with you. Plus, you have to explain hte relationship to them...that they need to let every agent KNOW as soon as they walk in, that they have a Realtor they are working with. Then they can have the freedom to casually look, and yet still be honest to the other agents.

November 10, 2007 11:18 PM
Rainmaker
91,147
Mike Giles
Keller Williams Realty- North Shore
It's times like these that I am happy to doing business in such a consumer friendly state like Massachusetts.  A buyer can seek representation at any time and you can try to fight but you'll lose.
November 11, 2007 11:07 AM
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Rainmaker
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Ron Henderson

Realtor in Kansas City
What questions do you have that I can answer?
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