Real estate agents have a role

real estate agents have a role
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Last year, at the height of the latest sellers’ market, I talked to a friend about selling his property. He gleefully quipped “Haven’t you heard? Nobody uses a real estate agent anymore [to sell a home].” To be honest, I hear that every seller’s market…and it’s a false statement.  In fact, most home sellers hire a real estate agent to sell or buy a home. So, in response I asserted that Real estate agents have a role in the real estate transaction.

The National Association of Realtors’ 2021 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers indicated that 90 percent of home sellers hired a real estate agent.  The reasons for hiring an agent to list your home apply in any market, and include assisting you to set the list price, to prepare the home, and to facilitate the sale process.

Setting the right sale price is important in any market. During a sellers’ market, it may be tempting to set a high sale price. But the fact is that you can still turn off home buyers with an unrealistic price.  A real-life example comes from a listing appointment I had last year.  The seller was disappointed in the price range I suggested for her home (her home was smaller than other homes in the neighborhood). She was clearly dissatisfied with what I shared and said, “In this market, all homes sell for more than the last one that sold.” This is also a false statement. In a market where homes sold on average 7 days, she wasted 30 days on the market only to sell for a price that was in the range I suggested based on comps and adjustments.

Home preparation is also a key factor in any market. Home preparation entails decluttering, staging and sometimes repairs.  Let’s face it, the better the home presents, the quicker it sells. In a seller’s market, a well-prepared home can elicit a bidding war, raising the sale price above list price. 

Hiring a real estate agent is not for everyone.  But the stats revealed by NAR’s 2021 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers indicate that real estate agents have a role in the real estate transaction. Real estate agents are housing-market experts, recognizing and anticipating trends.  Agents can provide detailed market analyses to assist in formulating a home’s listing or sale price.

Furthermore, from the time your home is listed to the day of settlement, agents are facilitating the transaction. Starting with marketing your home, the agent will work to procure offers on your home and assist in negotiation. They will also assist in helping completing the sales contract and follow up on contingencies. They will also work alongside other professionals to ensure any bumps in the journey to settlement are worked out.

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2022

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Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Back to the future for residential real estate

If you consider the roots of brokerage in residential real estate, you can imagine how much the business of selling homes has changed.  Unlike today, the first real estate brokers were independent. Their “listings” were exclusive and proprietary.  Buyer agents didn’t exist until well over one hundred years later.  And at the beginning, there was no broker cooperation on listings and commissions. 

Real Estate
Real estate consistently voted as best investment

Of course, everything changes over time. Brokerage cooperation began with loose networks of brokers who agreed to help sell each other’s listings.  Early multiple listing services evolved out of those local networks.  And as the real estate industry adopted emerging technologies, the MLS concept evolved into the listing service we know today. 

The MLS framework promoted the evolution of real estate brokerage as well.  Centralizing and standardizing listed homes made home searching easier for brokers and their respective buyers. 

Brokerage cooperation allowed agents and brokers to sell others’ listings to buyers.  Up until the early 1990’s, all agents and brokers represented the home seller.  However, it’s likely technology and a robust MLS fostered buyer agency and dual agency. 

It seems as if it wasn’t until the advent of buyer agency when people began questioning agency and compensation.  Prior to buyer agency, the commission was negotiated between the listing broker and the home seller.  Selling agents (those who brought the buyer) were a subagent of the seller, so it made sense that the commission would be shared with subagents. 

The commission structure of today’s listing agreements seems to be an antiquated carryover, where commissions are “shared” with sub agents and exclusive buyer agents. 

As an aside, it’s common, if not required, for a buyer agent to disclose to their clients their compensation amount. If the coop commission is less, they will likely collect it from their client.

Currently, real estate agent and broker compensation is undergoing a meticulous and exacting scrutiny inside and outside of the industry.  During the last two decades, there have been legal challenges to the industry’s status quo on residential agent and broker compensation.  However, recent legal proceedings have gained traction such that a growing number of real estate brokers are embracing a possible future with “decoupled” commission.

When change is afoot in the housing industry, there is a lot at stake for real estate brokerages.  Although the outcome to the current challenges of real estate compensation is uncertain, the result may be that residential real estate brokerage comes full circle, where buyer and seller compensation are respectively exclusive.

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2022

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Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Real Estate Agent Personality

real estate agent personality
Working with a real estate agent (infographic from keepingcurrentmatters.com)

Many home buyers and sellers don’t give much thought in choosing their real estate agent. They may decide to work with an agent after meeting once or a phone call.  But having the right agent by your side can mean the difference in having an event-free home buying or selling experience, or one that is full of pitfalls and non-communication.  Besides professional expertise and experience, is there a real estate agent personality trait that gives you an advantage?

Lee Davenport conducted a groundbreaking study comparing real estate agent personality differences (Home Sales Success and Personality Types: Is There a Connection?; Journal of Real Estate Practice and Education; 2018; Vol 21, No 1; p29-57.)  The study investigated the question whether there is a connection between successful real estate agents and their personality type.  Success was measured through lead generation (e.g., meeting new clients).  Although you might think there is a personality that is better suited for real estate, the study concluded that there wasn’t one specific personality type that correlated to real estate success.  However, he suggested that there should be further research to understand why there is no difference in the success among real estate personality types.

Back in 2014, Graham Wood wrote an article for NAR that also questioned if there was a perfect agent personality (Are You Sure Your Agents Have the Right Personality for the Job? nar.realtor; April 11, 2014).  Although the article was not a study published in a peer reviewed journal like Lee Davenport’s, it does provide food for thought and an obvious conclusion. 

Wood, like Davenport, questioned which personality dimension on the DISC test was better suited for real estate.  After testing himself, Wood believed his personality traits were not suited for a people-skills intensive field (such as real estate sales).  However, after interviewing several brokers, he learned that there is place in real estate for pretty much any personality type.  The DISC (discprofile.com) is a behavioral assessment tool that helps people be more self-aware, and increase productivity. 

What should you look for when choosing your agent?  First, make sure they are licensed in the area you intend to buy and/or sell.  I can tell you that there are agents who try to do business over state lines where they are not licensed.  It happens more than you think. 

Second, what’s their experience and expertise?  In today’s market, most agents don’t confine themselves to specific neighborhoods.  The idea of “neighborhood specialists” is antiquated.  Information is abundant to agents and consumers, and can easily be applied to any neighborhood.  You can learn more about an agent by how they handle adversity. Instead of asking about how many sales they have or neighborhood experience, ask about specific transactions where they overcame obstacles.

Other considerations include getting a referral from a friend or relative. But referrals should be vetted.  Just because your friend had a good experience with their agent, doesn’t guarantee success for you.  Sometimes agents and clients connect and work well together, and sometimes they don’t. Just in case, make sure you can walk away from your agent by ensuring your buyer or listing agreement provides for termination without a penalty.

Also, it doesn’t hurt asking the agent for a couple of references from recent clients.  You can get insight into the agent’s business by calling the references and asking about their experience with the agent. 

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2020

Original located at https://dankrell.com/blog/2020/11/28/real-estate-agent-personality/

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Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

The open house – still important when selling a home

home for sale

Have you wondered how the open house tradition evolved? Earlier this year, Realtor.com detailed its history. Apparently, the first recorded open house was over one hundred years ago and described as “open for inspection.”  The inspection was held over days or weeks allowing home buyers to inspect the home’s structure, layout, and features. It wasn’t until the 1950’s when the more familiar format and term “open house” took hold (Rachel Stults, A Brief History of Opening Our Homes to Total Strangers (aka the Open House); realtor.com; April 21st, 2015).

home for sale
from HouseHunt.com

Transformation of the open house can be gauged along with licensing, sales and cultural trends. If you were selling your home one hundred years ago, having your home open to buyers for a week or two made sense because it allowed prospects to see what they were getting. In a time before licensed home inspectors, the internet and virtual tours; a week of inspection was an important selling tool.

Home buyers are once again taking the time to “inspect” homes through multiple visits; usually initiated at the open house. The internet has empowered buyers to be proactive, giving them the means to search on their own; often visiting open houses without an agent. Seeing a home virtually is just the first step, visiting the home logically follows. The visits give buyers the ability to view the home with their own eyes (not the camera’s); as well as being able to make the all important emotional connection – deciding if they can live in the home.

Regardless of what you hear about the effectiveness of the open house, it’s still an important sales tool. And if you’re planning on having one or several, there are a few important points to keep in mind:

Advertise.  You could say… “if you advertise they will come.” Most open house advertisements have moved away from the Sunday classified section to online real estate portals. I can tell you that when I ask visitors how they found out about the open house, the overwhelming answer is that they saw it advertised online. When setting up your online open house announcement, make sure that there is an enticing and brief description of the home to grab the buyer’s attention.

Make sure the advertised times for your open are accurate. More importantly, confirm your agent is at the home on time, if not early. A common faux-pas is not having anyone at the home when the open house is planned to begin. And unfortunately, a buyer left waiting to get in will more than not move on to the next open house.

Prepare. Organizing an open house offers the opportunity for you to focus on the details. No matter how much de-cluttering you have undertaken prior to listing your home, you can always tidy-up. Additionally, pay close attention to your home’s curb appeal, as it can be the difference between buyers entering the home or driving on.

Finally, make sure your agent is working the open house to sell your home. Agents know that many buyers visit open houses without an agent. And in the past, many agents advocated to have the opens not for the seller’s sake, but instead to build their buyer pipeline. Knowing this, the Maryland Real Estate Commission reminded listing agents a few years ago of their duty to their seller, clarifying their role at the open house.

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2015

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Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Real estate horror stories question the limits of seller disclosure

real estateProperty disclosure laws are mostly straightforward about making known the physical condition of a home that’s for sale. However, whether or not to disclose other material facts, that may include events that occurred in and around the home, is not always clear. Material facts about a home are often described as information that may sway a home buyer’s decision about the purchase or purchase price. Some of the more familiar material fact cases that are typically reported in the news include haunted homes and unruly neighbors. Yet, these two recent accounts have again raised the question and debate about what the seller and the real estate agent is obligated to disclose.

Sounding like a plot of a horror movie, it is the real estate horror story of a New Jersey family. Philadelphia’s WPVI-TV (New Jersey family says they are being stalked at new home; 6abc.com; June 22, 2015) reported on a family that was allegedly stalked through creepy and threatening letters. The new home owners started receiving these letters several days after closing on their million dollar home.

The letters were described as written by the “Watcher,” who claimed to be the latest of his family to watch the home with such statements as the home has been “the subject of my family for decades…” Other letter statements include “Why are you here? I will find out…” And, “I am pleased to know your names now and the name of the young blood you have brought to me.”

According to Tom Haydon, who reported on the lawsuit for NJ Advance Media (Lawsuit: ‘Bring me young blood,’ stalker told Westfield home buyers;nj.com; June 19, 2015), the new owners were so disturbed by the letters that they never moved into their new home; and have been trying to sell it. The family is suing the seller alleging that the seller knew about the “Watcher” because the seller did not disclose that they allegedly received a similar letter prior to closing.

You’ve heard about “Snakes in a Plane?” This next story is about an Annapolis MD family who experienced “snakes in a house.” David Collins reported for Baltimore’s WBAL-TV (Snake-infested Annapolis home rattles owners; wbaltv.com; June 5, 2015) about the snake infested home. Detailing the new owners’ nightmare; they said they used a machete as defense against snakes that reportedly dropped from ceilings, and slithered from the walls.

To rid the home of the snakes, the owners described how they ripped out walls, and tore up the ground around the foundation. However the report indicated that “experts” told the owners gutting the home may not guarantee the snakes would return because the snake pheromones and musk could attract new snakes; and that the home should be left vacant for fifteen years to rid the home of the musky odors.

The new owners allege that their insurance will not cover a claim, nor is their mortgage lender willing to help. The new owners are suing the real estate agent and broker for allegedly not disclosing the snakes; there are also allegations that the tenants who lived in the home prior to the sale, moved out because of snakes.

Legal experts across the country have weighed in on these extraordinary stories, only to illustrate how a seller’s obligation to disclose varies regionally. If you are selling a home and have questions about your obligation to disclose, consult your real estate agent and your attorney.

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Copyright © Dan Krell

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Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.