Jen Kirchhoefer


The Law of Reciprocity may be the most collectively acclaimed moral principal on the planet. In Eastern religions, it’s called karma. Christians call it the Golden Rule, but every religious philosophy has some version of it.

We’ve hit on this subject before. What goes around comes around; so, it’s always a good idea to be sure that what you have going around is something that you wouldn’t mind having come back to you. Because, inevitably, it will, in some form or another.

As a parent of young adults and an older teen, this is a reminder that I spew forth in the form of what have now been termed “Mom-isms” on a daily basis.

Throughout the years, I have learned the unfortunate fact that not everyone subscribes to this philosophy. For this reason, as Realtors, the Division of Real Estate has created several forms. One of these forms is entitled “Exclusive Buyer-Broker Agreement & Agency Disclosure.” In short, this form exists to prevent stealing. It establishes a formal relationship between a buyer and a brokerage in which a Realtor represents. Once this is signed, the buyer now becomes the Realtor’s “client.”

Last week, I had one of the Realtors from our office call. She had been showing a young couple homes for the past few months. Those of you who are in that first-time homebuyer market are familiar with how difficult it can be to secure a home right now. Inventory is low and the prices are going up. They had looked at several but had been unable to compete. These buyers had been referred to this agent from a past client. They had established a good relationship over the period of time they had been looking.

Then the agent went out of town. It was only for a weekend — two days to be exact. During this time, her clients had gone through an open house and loved it. The Realtor who had been hosting the open house asked if they were working with anyone specific. They told her that they were. She asked if they had signed anything (like an Exclusive Buyer-Broker Agreement); they said they hadn’t. She then assured them that she could write the offer up for them, since their agent was out of town, and she would be sure that that agent was compensated. The buyers agreed.

When our agent got back into town, her buyers called her and excitedly told her that they had found a house and written an offer. Our agent, knowing that she had not had them sign that Exclusive Buyer-Broker Agreement beforehand, was devastated. She had spent hours and hours with this couple and they had an established relationship. It wasn’t the buyers' fault; they just didn’t know better.

Meantime, the other agent had sent this very form over for these buyers to sign when she sent the offer over. Now these buyers were her “clients.” She had determined that, although she had verbally told her new clients that she would compensate their agent who had been out of town, she would no longer be held to that agreement since they had a signed agreement with her.

In business, this Law of Reciprocity breeds success. When you establish yourself as genuine, honest and caring, and it’s real, not an act, then you make it easier for people to want to do business with you. I feel sad for this Realtor — not ours, she is a true professional and just wants what is best for her clients, but the other one. What goes around comes around ... not just sometimes, but every single time.

Although it may appear pretentious and resolute, when presented with the Exclusive Buyer-Broker Agreement to sign, it’s just to avert potential theft.

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

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