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Co-opetition makes real estate work

Co-opetition - in real estate we compete but mostly we cooperate. We compete for a listing. We compete to attract a Buyer. But once we have a client, whether a Seller or a Buyer, our business is based on cooperation. Thats why I call the core of our business successful co-opetition.

When do we cooperate?

  • When we list a property in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
  • When we host a Brokers Open
  • When another agent brings a buyer to one of our listings
  • When we bring one of our buyers to another agent's listing

It's what makes real estate work. It is also what makes business work. I did a Google search for co-opetition and found some interesting definitions. On SearchCIO, I found this definition-

Co-opetition is a business strategy based on a combination of cooperation and competition, derived from an understanding that business competitors can benefit when they work together.

Wikipedia cites the above definition but adds -

Coopetition occurs when companies interact with partial congruence of interests. They cooperate with each other to reach a higher value creation if compared to the value created without interaction, and struggle to achieve competitive advantage.

The whole reason for the MLS is to define and establish cooperation. We have Seller Agents and we have Buyer Agents. We represent different sides in the resulting transaction but we get to the settlement table when we cooperate throughout the process. There are other not-so-obvious ways we cooperate:

  • When we schedule showing appointments with our Sellers.
  • When we return a phone call or email to an agent whose message is I have an offer to present. (The agent who takes days to return a call or an email to an agent with an offer on one of their listings is probably the same agent who does not reply to prospect calls on their day off.)
  • When we respond to requests for details on our listing, like My client would like to know what the utility costs have been for the past year. If you dont know, you can find out. People today are concerned with the increasing cost of energy.

We all have those transactions that are a struggle and some that are downright unpleasant. Luckily they are not the majority but when I see certain agents names on a listing or on an offer I know what we are in for. The best transactions happen when both sides win and that takes co-opetition.