Annapolis Md Homes and More: So.....What Does Cooperating Broker/Agent Really Mean To You??

So.....What Does Cooperating Broker/Agent Really Mean To You??

cooperating agentYesterday was tour day for my office. Since my office is centrally located for our area we have agents who specialize in all areas of Anne Arundel and Prince George counties. Our Office Tour Director breaks the areas served into sections and each week we tour our agents new listings in those particular areas. Every now and again an agent from another office will ask if we will tour they're listing as well. 9 times out of 10 we do. The only time we do not is if it is way out of the actual tour range or we already have too many of our own. Yesterday was one of those days we did just that and toured a lovely home listed by another broker.

While there I asked the now that we have beautifully accomodated your request to tour your listing are you going to go to bat for us when we would like one of our listing toured by your office? The answer was not what I was expecting.

Err well, our office does not like touring other brokers listings, we have enough of our own that we do not need to add others listings, besides our agents are finicky and the Tour Director has enough problems just keeping them happy much less someone else.

I have found this same mentality in certain corners of our marketing area in regards to attending Broker Open Houses, Luncheons or other venues geared towards the agents and not the Buyers.

So.....What does cooperating Broker/Agent really mean?

Article 3 of the National Association of Realtors Code Of Ethics states

REALTORS® shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is not in the client's best interest. The obligation to cooperate does not include the obligation to share commissions, fees, or to otherwise compensate another broker. (Amended 1/95)

The above statement does not say except when NOT in the agents best interest. Is touring anothers listing or going to a Broker Open House NOT in a clients (buyer or seller) best interest? Whether it is a current or future client I would think cooperating and attending such events would only mean one are more prepared for your client than most.

Standard of Practice 3-10

    The duty to cooperate established in Article 3 relates to the obligation to share information on listed property, and to make property available to other brokers for showing to prospective purchasers/tenants when it is in the best interests of sellers/landlords. (Adopted 1/11)

Is getting as many agents as possible to view a listing in the best interest of a seller/landlord??? Need I say more? How about a Buyer client?? Are we not serving them better as well?

As for for me, yes I am busy.... busier than some but maybe not as busy as others. But I always take time to visit as many listings as I can and when one is given to me on a silver platter well then I will certainly show up.

As for being a cooperating broker/agent I work hard at building as many broker/agent relationships as I can. After all.... you never know who will have that buyer for my next listing (my clients best interest) or the listing for my next buyer (my clients best interest again).

Besides....I am always working towards making as smooth a transaction as possible.

So....What DOES cooperating Broker/Agent really mean.... to you???





About the Author Martha Brown- As a third generation Annapolitan I love to write about my experiences in and out of the real estate market. Licensed since 1992 all with Long & Foster I am a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and a Seller Representation Specialist (SRS) whose passion is homes in the Annapolis MD area and surrounding communities. My goal is to help my clients understand the real estate market and to then make sound real estate decisions. 


Martha can be reached  at 410-260-2800 ofc or

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Comment balloon 45 commentsMartha Brown • April 28 2011 10:28AM


How foolish of the other agents' office not to cooperate with outside agents.  The more choices you can offer a potential buyer the greater the opportunity to make a deal.

Posted by Mercedes E. Santana, NYC Multifamily Properties (Santana Property Group) about 9 years ago

it's not a matter of "cooperating"... we tour properties, so that we can become more knowledgeable about what's on the market, without the inconvenience of having to make appointments to preview all of those listings.

It's to the benefit of each and every buyer's agent (as well as listing agents) to have seen All of the inventory that our clients will be looking for, and comping against.

how short sighted.

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Jameson Sotheby's International Realty) about 9 years ago

Good points Martha. It is amazing how difficult it can be to get other agents to cooperate in such minimal ways as even returning a phone call, or on sending information that they promise over email.

Posted by Mark Montross, Listing and Buyer Specialist (Catamount Realty Group) about 9 years ago

Martha.  Wow,  that is rather rude.  I can't believe she wouldn't reciprocate with touring your office's listngs.  I guess someone should have asked that question first.

Posted by Belinda Spillman, Colorado Living! (Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado) about 9 years ago

Martha, Article 3 of the COE's sums it up nicely. It looks like some brokers draw the line when it comes to touring.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 9 years ago

I find this interesting, it seem that we are in a "ME" situation and that means its all about me, and the devil with you. At least the other agent could of said -- I will suggest and ask my broker or manager. I agree with the second comment touring a home is about getting knowledge about the home.

Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) about 9 years ago

It means we all play nicely together, putting our clients needs before ours!

Posted by Catherine Ulrey, Equestrian and Acreage Property Specialist (Keller Williams Capital City) about 9 years ago


The goal of every listing agent should be to sell the house.  One of the way to accompolish that goal is to make it available for showing to as many agents as possible.  After all, those agents will bring a buyer who will make an offer.  The best way to for many agents to view a property is during an office or brokers' tour.  Why any one would turn down the offer to see a new listing in their area is beyond me. 

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) about 9 years ago

Now that is not cooperating is it?  Goodness, the nerve to ask you folks and then they won't reciprocate.

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) about 9 years ago

Mercedes- I must say her answer did take me back a bit. More choices = more opportunities for sure

Alan- Hmmm I see what you are saying but by taking making time to see anothers listing when it is given to you without hassles seems to me to also be a cooperating effort as well. We cooperated with another agents request from another broker to tour her listing. Would be nice if we all cooperated that way. :0)

mark- yes it is. I am always amazed at the mentality of some others.

Belinda- She did say she would ask but that her office thought the way she spouted. So uncooperating. :0(

Michael- Thats for sure

Lorraine and Loretta- Some offices have a very exclusive mentality as if to open up and befriend another office is dealing with the enemy. Ugh.... And yes I agree with Alan wholeheartedly.

Catherine- you would think!!

Evelyn- Beyond me as well but it seems there are agents/offices that think of other listings as beneath them.  

Posted by Martha Brown, Your Homes Around Annapolis Agent (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Annapolis MD 21403) about 9 years ago

Good grief I'll look at any property on the market on a "tour" no matter who the listing brokerage is.  Why wouldn't I?  Inventory is inventory and the more I know about a neighborhood, the models and what is currently for sale the better I can represent my buyers.  Shoot I just came back from touring two HUD homes this morning because they are in my area and client's price range.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) about 9 years ago

Hi Martha,  I'm perplexed by the tone of the other agent.  I understand their right to decline touring your listing but not so much when they ask you to include their listingin your tour !?!?!?

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) about 9 years ago


Guess I am surprised at that attitude as well but I suspect there are many more who may feel the same way. I would think it is in our best interests as agents to know what is on the market, both for our buyers as well as our sellers. I know that sometimes it is impossible to get out to see the new listings, but I try as I know others here do as well. You've raised some important issues about cooperation, Martha, and generated some good discussion. Thanks!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) about 9 years ago

Sally- yes it was quite nervy. I guess bottom line is cooperating means so much more to me than to most.

Cindy- I am with you. I just came back from an agent luncheon in my market area where other than 4 agents from the listing agents office I WAS THE ONLY other agent who attended. How sad.

Bill- Her tone was she was being honest (nd trying to make excuses)if by chance I was to ask and was to get turned down. Some offices just WILL NOT step over the line of touring any other office listings but their own.

Jeff- many many many more unfortunately. And yes it is in our best interest not to mention the best interest of our clients. It takes work to get out there and be a part of the real estate community but the payoffs are grand as when I co-op with one of those agents they always seem to remember me as being one who made an effort.


Posted by Martha Brown, Your Homes Around Annapolis Agent (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Annapolis MD 21403) about 9 years ago

That makes no sense at all!  It seems silly not to want to see as many listings as possible and tours always wind up with everyone sharing feedback.  This is helpful to everyone involved, and gives you a greater inventory of listings to show your buyers.  Sounds like they want to show their buyers only their own listings, which is not providing the best service to their clients.

Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) about 9 years ago

That's a very selfish attitude on that "cooperating" agent.  You get what you you give in this business. 

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) about 9 years ago

As I read this post, I planned to suggest but then I saw the star and realized you were already featured!  Well deserved!  Congratulations.

"besides our agents are finicky and the Tour Director has enough problems just keeping them happy much less someone else."

Doesn't that just say it all?  It seems that there is no sense of cooperation even within the office, so how can there be a sense of cooperation outside the office?  Sad, really sad.

Bridget "Maryland Mortgage Mama" McGee

Posted by Bridget "Mortgage Mama" McGee, Maryland Mortgage Mama NMLS#196068 (SWBC Mortgage 410-960-2061) about 9 years ago

Wow!!!!  I have not realized how lucky I am to be working where I do!  We tour every listing we are physically able to on our Broker Tour day.  We often suggest to agents that they can bring their buyers with them.  A lot of homes are sold that way.

Sometimes when I have an open house people ask what, at first, seemed like strange questions.  Do I have a list of houses that I show?, can I show a particular house, etc.  Things that made me think that where they are from they had to work with many different agents.

Posted by Marge Draper, REALTOR, Keller Williams Realty, Menlo Park CA (Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto) about 9 years ago

I think you summed it up really well. Thank you!

Posted by Donald Reich (Prudential Centennial) about 9 years ago

We tour other offices too.   More information for purchasers...  other brokers dont' get it.

Posted by Angie Ridley, Broker, ABR, CRS, PMN, WCR, At Home With Diversity (Complete Realty, LLC) about 9 years ago

I guess those agents' mantra is uncooperating broker.  I really don't understand what they are thinking, but you can rest assured they are not serving their clients well.

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) about 9 years ago

Thank goodness you are not bound by the same limitations of other brokers. They just don't get it.

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) about 9 years ago

I guess that shows you that not all offices are created equally and the problem is more than likely with the manager/broker owner and how they implement policies.  They need to change their policies - at the end of the day that office loses.


Posted by Laurie C. Bailey-Gates, ABR, SFR (Robert Paul Properties) about 9 years ago

I'm not logged in on this computer, so my information won't show...but...

Our town does not have broker tours.  When I was selling real estate in Florida, we had a tour for new listings after each meeting every week.  But here, none of the brokerages have tours.  I was surprised.  Maybe because we are such a small town and many agents have lived here all their lives and sold many of the homes multiple times they feel they don't need the tours.

My broker tried to get people interested in broker tours when she first took over, but as no one would go, she stopped trying.  Sometimes she and I will go to see new listings, but it is rare for anyone to go with us.  

Posted by Carolyn Shipp - United Country Cason Real Estate about 9 years ago

Our office and most if not all brokers in town do not tour listings anymore. If we did, just our own companies listings would take a couple of days , all day driving. We couver 6 counties and have hundreds of agents....if we have a buyer, the mls has lots of photos to preview...if we have a potential buyer, we can then preview it or just show it....touring time is wasted time if you don't have a buyer in tow.There are 2000 agents in town and suburbs who list everywhere....If I were to try to tour every new listing each week it would be non stop driving....

Posted by Larry and Marilyn Mennetti (FIVE STAR REAL ESTATE) about 9 years ago
Goid info.
Posted by Jim McCormack, Nashville Short Sale REALTOR - Stop Foreclosure (Nashville Short Sale Specialist - Jim McCormack - Edge Advantage Realty, LLC - 615-784-EDGE (3343)) about 9 years ago

Hello Martha and I have to agree with the others and their comments, wonderful write and featured at one of my favorite groups at AR ...




Vegas Bob ;o)

Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz about 9 years ago

We tour our own office listings when new. Otherwise broker opens are available for anyone to tour, including the public. I tour for my buyer's needs, my own neighborhood and the office neighborhood in that order and anything else I can get to when the spirit moves me. To me, cooperating broker means I will provide information on my listings for others and others will do the same for me, PLUS, I will cooperate (that is preform the customary roles for the client I am representing, as it is understood in my area) with all parties in forwarding and furthering any transaction in progress for the benefit of the buyer and seller's objectives.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) about 9 years ago

Since I work in a large metropolitan area, there are five broker's tours a week.  I focus on my area and still spend two mornings touring.  Agents here want everyone to see their listing as they know it is often the broker's tour that gets the house sold - not the open house.

Posted by Ann Wilkins, Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA (Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty) about 9 years ago

Martha, we are in a community based business. In other words, all who are in this business can be seen as one large community and it takes a community to sell a house. They are incredibly short sighted and sel centered. It will come around.

Posted by Ray Waisler, NMLS #6621 - Specializing in Jumbo FHA & VA (Finance of America) about 9 years ago

At least the agent was honest and you know where you stand.  Tours are not very common in Louisville but I can see the benefit in knowing the market better.  I feel on top of my game when I have an inquiry on a house that I have already shown to another. I think that,, for this situation, I am more of an authority.

Posted by The Hollinden Team, Serving the Greater Louisville area (EXP Realty) about 9 years ago
Tours not widely publicized in our area. Homes here are easy to schedule and short notice individual broker previews are common. Agree that the more I know about a neighborhood, the models and what is currently for sale, the better I can represent my clients.
Posted by Daniel H. Fisher, MCRP - Charlotte Real Estate, NC or SC ( (704) 617-3544) about 9 years ago

There is a mindset among certain broker/owners that discourages viewing and selling other brokerages' listings.  Perhaps that benefits their seller clients, but I'm not sure how that benefits their buyer agent clients.

Posted by Tim Klingman, President (North Shore Homes, Inc. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)) about 9 years ago

I think it was rather rude not to reciprocate, but it may have not been her choice. 

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) about 9 years ago

While I don't agree with the strategy of "thanks for coming by, but I'm too busy to tour your listing", don't forget the good that came from this visit.

  1. you saw the listing, and c'mon, it'd be funny if you sold it to your buyer
  2. you saw a side to that agent that will help you with strategy should you ever come together in a transaction.

#2 is relevant for me today as we closed on a sale, and through the entire sale, I was able to move ahead because I'd worked with the other agent in the past, and I fully knew him to be a stand up gentleman with intergrity.  That knowledge helped my client and myself keep our wits and our sanity. I'd say, that knowledge kept the sale together, and it worked out very well to my client's advantage.

Sure, you spent time at a listing with a less than cooperative agent, but you acquired knowledge.

Posted by Claude Labbe, Realty for Your Busy Life (Real Living | At Home) about 9 years ago

Strange that she would ask you to tour her's if she was used to their policy of not touring others....

Posted by Brenda, Ron, Lee Cunningham & Tara Keator, Realtors, Homes for Sale - Phoenix Metro (West USA Realty) about 9 years ago

Hey, she got waht she wanted and I'm sure it won;t work out that way again

Posted by Beverly Femia, Broker Realtor Stager - Greater Wilmington, NC Are (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) about 9 years ago

There are over 4000 listing in our MLS if I toured them all Id never have time to list or sell......but your welcome to view mine anytime youd like.....

Posted by Joel Jadofsky, One of the Top Realtors in Panama City Beach Area (Keller Williams - homes for sale - Florida - Gulf - Beach ) about 9 years ago

It sounds to me like that agent was embarrassed about her own office.

Back when I had an office our tours almost always included a house or two from every agency in town - we all got together to look at houses and socialize a bit. (Yes, very small town - 7 agencies at the peak, only 3 still in business by the time I sold my agency.)

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) about 9 years ago

There were so few new listings this week we only had one on tour last Wednesday. We are in a rural area, but the listing was not terribly far out of the way. It was a sunny day, rare for this month! When I arrived, I expected a stack of cards on the table as I was touring at the end of the time frame about noon. I was appalled to see only one other card on the table, it was very unfair to the sellers and speaks poorly for our membership. All tour listings should have a good turnout, we all need to see the inventory. I am very busy, I attribute my good business to the fact that I know what is out there and can sell over the phone to interest a buyer out of the area. Great post!

Posted by Barbara Le Pine, Your agent for the Central Oregon Coast! (Advantage Real Estate, serving Lincoln County) about 9 years ago

We have found doing weekly caravans to specific featured houses has broken the ice for many agents here.  Some do not or cannot make every one of them.  But, the schedule is put together by different brokerages here on the island and are usually well attended.  For those working only a certain part of the island, the caravans are put together by areas to keep everyones time considered.

Posted by Robert Courtney, Century 21 All Islands, RA, CDPE, MCRE, CIAS about 9 years ago

This really is a pathetic scenario!  I can see you would be annoyed. It is almost an unspoken agreement for the cooperating agent to return the favor.  It is quietly appalling that the agent would suggest that you tour her listing as a company ,  with no intention of returning the favor.  Unbelievable!

Posted by Joe Woutersz (HUNT Real Estate ERA) about 9 years ago

Hi Marhta ... it would have been ideal if she at least offered to "go to bat" for your office's requests. It sounds to me that you already knew how difficult her office can be, and she perhaps may be joining your office soon :o). This does not need the COE for guidance. You've done good, real good, by bringing her on to your tour, and you should never stop doing as good.



Posted by Ranji Singh (Century 21 Heritage Group Ltd.) about 9 years ago

I am so glad we do not do caravans!  I'll go to an agents open house if it is on my way or if they invite me specifically.

I agree with Ranji and others...she should have at least been gracious and offered to reciprocate at least individually to you.  I guess tact and finesse are a gift, but then there should at least be manners.  Joy

Posted by Joy Carter & Jeff Booker Brother and Sister Team, Trust Your Family's Move To Our Expertise! (Keller Williams Parkland/Coral Springs Realty-GreatFloridaHomes Team) about 9 years ago

It is unfortunate that far too many agents look at other agents as adversaries rather than colleagues.

Posted by Bob Crane, Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671 (Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities) about 3 years ago