SmartMoney wrote a brief article the other day called “10 things your real estate broker won’t tell you.”
I just wanted to give my .005 cents worth about that article.
1) “Your open house is really just a networking party for me.” Is the number one thing that agents won’t tell you about selling your home. What I find interesting is that a real estate agent is the one saying they don’t work. So an agent is saying they don’t work, but agents won’t tell you they don’t work? Not really following the article’s logic there…BUT honestly, they really don’t work here in Salem Oregon all that well. Real estate agents do them because clients expect them, and yes it is a GREAT way for agents to gain new clients. For the record, I told you that in May of 2008…Apparently, SmartMoney does not consider me a real estate agent. 🙁
2) “My fees are negotiable.” Consumer reports did an entire article about fees and who was most likely to negotiate. I have a fee-for-service structure, so I am by nature negotiable, but it’s long been known that agents are negotiable. (Told you that in August 2008)
3) “Think you’ve had no offers? Actually, there’ve been several.” In Oregon, it violates the law to not present an offer. Sometimes agents encourage sellers to not respond to an offer, if another one is potentially coming in, but most agents here locally do indeed present offers.
4) “I’m not obligated to keep my mouth shut for you.” Unfortunately, this one has some truth to it. Agents, even our local Salem Oregon area agents, are not always on top of talking about agency relationships. Some time ago, I listed a house where the seller interviewed 5 agents. He told me after he hired me that I was one of two that went over agency relationships with him. Ouch.
5) “Sometimes I forget whose side I’m on.” I don’t practice dual agency because I don’t like it. I’m not a fan of it, and in fact, Colorado has banned it. While they argue that agents might not negotiate hard for a good deal because they are paid on commissions, but I don’t know any agent that wants to lose future referral business over $500 in a lower commission offering.
6) “I know zilch about zoning.” Oregon has some strict zoning laws. I personally have found our local city zoning folks very helpful when it comes to what a buyer can and can’t do with a property. I do agree that you should be asking county folks what you can and can’t do and in fact, the contracts state it is the buyer’s responsibility to do any due diligence regarding zoning issues.
7) “I won’t let termites — or pesky inspectors — kill a deal.” It’s unfortunate that the author of this article presents it like all agents are in cahoots with home inspectors. I wrote a post called “Why I love my deal killer and you should too” back in July 2008. There is at least one local company that I am aware of that allows home inspectors to pay to be on their preferred list, but most agents I know recommend inspectors because they think they are good at what they do.
8) “I sometimes forget I’m not a lawyer.” I have seen, on occasion, a poorly written addendum that needs some clarification, but honestly our Salem Oregon real estate agents for the most part, have average to excellent skills when it comes to paperwork. I think part of that is that the OREF contract we use is really good. Kudos to the attorneys for that. We don’t have to deviate too much. Personally, I don’t think this complaint is all that true here.
9) “My website is a dead end.” Personally, I think this is an odd one. Either you are hiring a tech-savvy agent or you aren’t. Some prospects quiver when I start talking about property websites and mention the words Zillow or Trulia…when their eyes glaze over that is not the time to mention that my website is on page 1 of Google. They aren’t going to understand why that is important. You can’t talk tech with a client that doesn’t get tech. I think the author of the article was running out of things to say…
10) “You can probably do this without me.” Shhh…I told you what you can do to sell your Salem Oregon home yourself in May 2008.
So maybe I don’t count as a real estate agent? ‘Cause I’m thinking I have talked about at least 5 of these things on my blog in 2008. Maybe the authors of that SmartMoney article should spend a wee bit more time doing some research before they start generalizing about what real estate brokers tell their clients.
Bottom line folks…work with someone that you feel comfortable with, and if you don’t like them find someone you like better.