Here is what I have to say about rush hour in the northern part of our pretty great state; it starts early, and it ends late. Admittedly, we don’t have it as bad as many other highly populated cities across the nation, but we still have it.

The relevant question would be; why, on this black-topped earth, would I find myself on the freeway during rush hour if I don’t absolutely have to drive during rush hour? It is a question to which I have no logical answer. Either way, I find myself doing it at least once or twice a week.

This is exactly the place I found myself on a recent afternoon around 5 p.m. Rather than frantically change lanes, tighten my grip, and practice my four-letter words, I decided to hang out in my own lane, relax, listen to a very entertaining podcast (NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”), and enjoy the slow ride.

Unfortunately, not everyone drives in their own lane. Last Friday, in fact, I received an interesting phone call from a local lender. He introduced himself and said that he had a client that was interested in submitting an offer on a home I would be listing. I immediately knew which home he was talking about because the sellers were holding a “moving sale” to declutter the house before we put the listing “live” on the MLS (multiple listing service). My clients had previously asked me what they should tell people who asked about the house and I told them to just have them give me a call and I could field all the real estate questions. After all, that’s one of the reasons they hired a Realtor. It’s part of our job.

“Great,” I responded, “What can I help you with?” This lender then proceeded to tell me that his client wanted to submit an offer on the home before we put it on the MLS. He explained that “they” (the lender and his client) were not planning to use a Realtor, and instead wanted to save the buyer’s agent commission and use it for closing costs.

“I’m confused. This property is for you and your client?”

“No. Just my client. We would just write the offer now and get it done.”

“So, you are a Realtor?” I asked. When he informed me that he was not, I informed him that he could get into a fair amount of trouble for practicing real estate without a license; which is exactly what he was doing by attempting to negotiate a real estate transaction for his client and implying that he would be helping write the contract. Not to mention, that he clearly was not informed on how an exclusive right to sell contract works since the commission is determined in that contract and is paid at that rate regardless of whether the buyer uses an agent or not. You don’t get to “use” any money in that contract for anything related to the buyer. An agent may split that amount with a buyer’s agent, but nowhere does it state that it will be distributed to the buyer if they don’t use an agent.

He was unrelenting. “Well, at least tell me what you are going to list the property for, so I know if my client qualifies. Let’s just get this done without listing it.”

“Well, sir, we have not yet determined the list price at this time. I have discussed different scenarios with my clients and they have decided that it would be in their best interest to list it on the MLS and entertain all potential offers they may receive and chose the highest and best. Feel free to have them contact myself or perhaps another Realtor after this listing is posted and if he is interested at making an offer at that time, he is welcome to do so.”

After hanging up the phone, I had that moment that most of us have experienced at one time or another — the moment when you realize that you “should have said …” Here it is. I should have said, “Drive safe, and stay in your own lane.”

Last night, interestingly enough, I arrived home at exactly the same time I would have had I been weaving in and out of lanes and rabidly cussing; and I must say, I was absolutely no worse for the wear.

Jen Kirchhoefer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or

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