Realtors - Is Yours Helping You?
I want to start by telling you that I am a new realtor although I have bought and sold properties for over 30 years. As a new person in this side of the business, I want to share some of my experiences with you.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Side of Realtors
The Good: There are some agents who are truly in this business because they want to help other people get the dream home they want to buy. They are fun to hang out with, don't mind taking you to almost every house that's on the market and are in it for all the right reasons.
The Bad: I have found that a lot of agents put a "For Sale" sign in a clients' yard and then NOT post it on the MLS for a week or longer! Why would they do that? Because by chance, people who are driving by, will see the sign, want to see the property and then call the agent directly. The agent, then, has the opportunity to get that person as a client and make more money off of them (in case they don't buy the first house). So the agent gets a commission from the sale of one house and then the purchase of another. These little "pocket listings" are very irritating to those who are truly trying to monitor the MLS everyday to find that perfect house.
True example: I was driving by a popular neighborhood, saw a sign on a yard and then went back and checked the MLS. Not listed. Called the agent whose sign was in the front yard. Asked if I could take a look at the home. Not today, he said. What about tomorrow?, I asked. I'll have to let you know. was the response. I mentioned that it wasn't listed on the MLS. He told me, yeah - I haven't gotten around to putting it up there yet. A few days later, I check the MLS again. STILL not listed. I call him again. Left a voice mail. No response. Called the following day. "Not a good time to see it." Waited another few days and the property STILL wasn't listed on the MLS. (Now we're talking about 2 weeks after I first saw the sign.)
So I called him again. Left a message that if he didn't return the call, that I'd have no other choice but to go to the front door of the home and ask the owners if I could see the property. He calls me back. Now he tells me that an offer has been made and the owners are thinking it over. "Well, can I still go see it?" "No."
Another few days later, I see that it is finally listed on the MLS. No offer has been accepted on it. So I call the guy again. This time he tells me that they have it under an "option" period but it looks like the homeowners will be accepting it. After another few days (now it's been a month since I first saw the sign), I see that the owners have accepted an offer on the house. I'm bummed because I never even got a chance to go inside the house (although the photos posted were great!).
I see later that the home was listed originally for $260,000. It sold for $205,000. OUTRAGEOUS! I would have paid $230,000 if given the chance. Guess who bought the house? The listing agents' "wife". This guy basically stole the house from the original homeowners. I'm thinking this guy purposefully kept other agents away from the property so he could tell the homeowners that it wasn't going to sell. Then, he'd do them a favor, and take it off their hands. Wrong. Just plain wrong.
The Ugly: After I joined a local "Board of Realtors", there was an orientation that I had to attend. There was a Broker who was "educating" us newbies and was basically a jerk. A one point he tells us that "95% of the people who are eligible to renew their real estate licence, don't do it on the first chance. They get out of the business." I thought that was rather strange. Then as the "orientation" proceeds, the crap coming out of this mans' mouth was crazy. He tells us that "basically people are selfish and self-serving. In the Real Estate Business, that's true for every agent you meet." WHAT?!?!? I must have misheard him. I asked the other people at the table about it. Yep. He said it. "Well, THAT'S not the kind of agent I will be!", I told them. The vile bile that spewed out of this man's mouth for the rest of the class, bothered me so much, that a few days later (I was still mad about it), I wrote a letter to the President of the Board (current), the next years' President (already elected) and to the Executive Director of the Board of Realtors. I explained that I was disgusted by this man's presentation and if this is the face that they are putting forth as a "good example" of their Group, then maybe I didn't want to be associated with them after all.
I had a friend attend the next scheduled "orientation" and she informed me that the gentleman was no longer giving the presentation. But really, didn't any of the other people who attended complain? Didn't the current President (who was in attendance) pay any attention to the words coming out of his mouth? Or did she just not care? Either way, I was disappointed in them.
Look, I know being a real estate agent is a business. I get that. I am also in this business to make money. But I'm not greedy. I'm not the kind of person that would want that kind of reputation. And I surely WOULDN'T keep a listing in my "pocket" just to get other business. I would like to believe that I'm more honorable than that kind of behavior.
So as a new agent, just let me tell you this - ask questions to the agent who is listing your house. If people aren't wanting it see it the first or second day that you've got it on the market, it may NOT BE on the market. You can ask the agent to pull you a copy of what the MLS listing looks like and sent it to you. Also, there is a service that most agents us, that schedule the appointment. You agent can pull you a listing of those agents who showed your property. It's also a great way to see if anyone is actually seeing it.
Lastly - some agents will tell you that the "market rate for commissions is 6%." Any and all commissions are negotiable. They like the 6% because of the way it is split. The listing broker/agent get 3%. The selling broker/agent get 3%. Depending on the agreement between the broker and their agent, the agent can get as much as 100% of that 3%. Some are a 70/30, 60/40 or 50/50 split. It just depends on the agreement they worked out between themselves. The broker I work with lets me keep 100% of the commission, but I have to pay him a certain amount for every 10k, in commission. (It's minimal.) Don't be fooled.
Think of it this way and ask, "what are you doing for me to get $6,000 - $50,000 of the sale of my house?" If you are in an area where the homes are selling fast, there isn't much to do but put it in the MLS and present offers to you, why should you give them 6%? That's money out of your pocket! Or as one of my old boss's use to say, "that's food off of your kid's dinner plate!"
Here's wishing you all the best!