By Tom Kunz

Control the listing, control the market. This concept is an industry fundamental. While this remains true, why discount the opportunity to make more money on the deal?

Representing the listing is what costs real estate professionals the most financially, versus being solely a buyer’s agent. A listing agent first creates assets to win the business. Then, when you earn the listing, your costs are put into place to dedicate the appropriate resources to promote and market the property. Imagine offsetting these marketing costs and increasing your pure profit by finding the buyer for the property, as well. After all, aside from the seller, who knows this property better than you?



Whether an individual agent or broker, the following equation remains true. Divide your gross closed commission for the month by the total sides of business you conducted for the month. That produces a unit value, meaning it provides a monetary worth to each side of business you conducted. Then, take a look at the listings sold where someone else or another company brought in the buyer. If you multiply that number by the unit value and split it by the average commission, it provides a pool of money that was technically left on the table.

As the listing agent, it’s important to make moves quickly and in the best interest of your client upon signing the listing agreement. Part of that includes finding the right buyer for the property in a timely fashion. Identify the home’s key factors and check your database first for buyers who have specifically requested those items. If possible, connect with these potential buyers within the first two or three days, before the MLS requires you to list the property. This reinforces your value to buyer clients and demonstrates your immediate effectiveness to your seller. Of course, continue your efforts with targeted marketing strategies as needed.

As a broker, use regular sales meetings to encourage your agents to lift double-sided business for the brokerage. Start with sharing the pool of money you calculated as left on the table. First ask, “Who could have used some of this extra money this month?” Follow this by asking, “Who has a new listing?” Have the agent stand up and speak to the listing.

Then ask your agents, “Who has a buyer for that listing?” If no one raises their hand, the question is then, “Who is going to get a buyer for that listing?” Write that person’s name down, and for the next month, hold them accountable to close it. This works for the reverse scenario, as well.

Collaboration, communication and accountability are vital in supporting your efforts to increase your double-sided business. Not only does this increase per-person productivity (PPP), revenue and profit, but also a sense of community and support within your brokerage.

  • Brian Martindale

    My initial comment on this piece was politically incorrect and was understandably deposited into Jim the-editor-guy’s special drawer of flammable materials.
    I will try again.
    This advice comes from right out of the early 1980’s old-school sales culture wherein clients were viewed as vehicles from which to sponge up money with child-like glee. This was the attitude of my real estate university instructor through phases one, two and three of my 1980 education process. Our instructor was named Cliff (he taught all three segments), and he regularly made fun of the various belief systems of different ethnic/cultural groups (including his own) and how those beliefs would impact our ability to make commissions. Every two to three minutes he would tell a joke about various incidents that he had experienced throughout his real estate sales career. We learned thereby how to manipulate the marks. We learned how to set up and double end deals. We learned how to make lots of money. We learned how to be insiders. We learned how to take advantage of our insider knowledge in order to get rich. We learned that having a real estate salesperson license was the gateway to riches by buying and selling real estate as flip artists. The sales end of things was just to generate pocket change, so to speak. We were taught to be sales culturally ethnocentric. Only one person in our class of 1980 (an accountant) had problems with the theme of the instructor. I was a naïve tradesman in my early thirties who had no experience in the sales world, and I lapped it all up, as did all of the other students, save for the accountant. He was made out to be a stick-in-the-mud by the instructor. I went out into the sales world after graduating and practiced what I had learned…and I did very well indeed (second top producer during my second month and top producer in the office during my third month in the saddle) all the while using the sales strategies that I had learned under Cliff’s tutelage. Eighteen months later I quit the business in disgust with it all. I vowed never to use people like that ever again in pursuit of money. When I re entered the business decades later I was forearmed with a different attitude…the attitude that I have displayed herein for the last few years.
    I can’t believe that the old school attitudes still exist. But then again, when the Terry Paranych’s of the world (pre hearing decision) are looked up to with awe by naïve newbies with stars in their eyes—similar to my initial naivety—we still have a problem Houston.

    • Carolyne in Canada

      Well, Brian, I hadn’t read your post when I typed this comment, so there is an odd mental cohesion…

      Fully 60% of my business annually for more than 35 years came from double-ending, right from the get-go, in 1980. And every time I sold a property to a buyer, they in turn became my new listing, and although that circle was complete, the way I did my business created concentric circles, one looped to the next often with a string of six transactions each supporting the other, and five of the six ends were mine.

      I never ever withheld a new listing from MLS. In fact I rushed to get the listing into the system. It didn’t matter to me who bought it because there was always another transaction in the works. I was so open with everyone about how my “operation differential” worked, that my UP (unique proposition) fed on itself like a runaway train.

      What is explained in the article was the first training I ever had, or observed in weekly mandatory meetings. After a Tuesday meeting, we toured new office listings. Countless numbers of times I had a buyer in my files and got them into the office listing immediately and often produced an offer the same day. So the concept does work. But withholding from MLS is simply not acceptable. Ever! And I never used or abused a member of the public. Not ever!

      And I’m thinking, with the profile background of the writer of the REM contributing article, (in particular historical C21) he must still be practising “sub-agency” in many parts of the world.

      Curious that the corporate domain is registered as KG (kg Domain Registration – Google says: .KG is the domain extension for websites related to Kyrgyzstan). The corp seems based in Germany.

      Many readers will know, as I have stated openly, that hundreds and hundreds of times, when I was fortunate to have a new listing, the first place I looked for a would-be buyer was in my storage files, where I had established rapport, having previously prepared a CMA that provided the would-be buyer with all the information needed to make their decision, but there just wasn’t any property on the market in the moment that was a match for them or their dollars available to spend.

      So they just had to wait. I wasn’t going to coerce them into buying just any place for the sake of writing a contract. BUT, you can bet your socks that when I had an appointment for a new listing I let my would-be buyers know of a possibility in the foreground.

      Even set up tentative viewing appointment. (No address yet.) Just a possibility of upcoming listing that 99% I felt would meet their needs. Simple matter of updating the buyer file info, and move like lightening. It worked for all concerned, repeatedly.

      But in more than one instance, via the MLS system a buyer would call me to say “I WANT THAT HOUSE; waiting for it to come on the market for years!” “I need to see it, but my agent is on a real estate course, or is away on holiday, or is 35 miles away, can you show it to me?”

      In that I wanted to sell my seller’s property, I said: “Have your agent call me, I’m sure we can work out something.” They did, their agent did, I did, and that caller bought my seller’s house. But guess what. Sometimes I ended up listing that other agent’s buyer’s local house. As a referral from the agent who brought the offer. It didn’t matter who sells a listing; the listing agent will get paid and move on to another transaction.

      Part of the success trail was: MY sold sign was on the lawn (fast), and that often caused a neighbour to list with me, too. I got to advertise my listing in my unique way, so THAT created another circle within a circle.

      Agents sometimes failed to see the synchronicity, forever asking: “How’d she (me) do that (again)?” Agents would sometimes call me to ask how I repeatedly did “that.” That’s the story behind the story, Wherein I either sold my own listings or helped another agent sell my listings, or I sold an “in-house listing” at the branch where I worked or one of our other corporate office listings.

      I was a leader in house to house matchmaking. And I didn’t show dozens of properties to buyers, just for the sake of doing so with the hope they could be convinced to buy (something). My house matchmaking system worked incredibly well and everyone was pleased. No funny stuff. Like the old YP advertising: “let your fingers do the walking,”my fastidious method was: “let the contract to the talking; don’t tell me anything you don’t want the seller to know. Put your best offer on the table and let’s see what the seller says “on HIS paper-reply.”

      Then came buyer agency (here, in our trading area) in the mid 90’s, and it is worth noting, the Volkers’ action plan described doesn’t address that. But for those of us who have been multiple decades in the business (as is the writer, although not local) it would appear that sub-agency is obviously alive and well in some locations (worldwide).

      Carolyne L 🍁

  • Greg

    This seems wrong on so many levels…. And we wonder why our industry has problems with negative public perception! An agents duty is solely to his or her client, and double ending should be the last thing on their mind. Finding the best buyer for their client’s property at the best price possible, with the most advantageous terms and conditions for them, should be the only focus for every real estate associate.

  • thehousedoctor

    So you are recommending hiding the listing from MLS so you can double end the property. Really. To me, you are showing the seller whose interests you are trying to serve and it isn’t the sellers.

    • Basie

      Precisely.

  • Basie

    You have to be kidding me.