What do Realtors/real estate brokers/real estate agents do?

The posts below involve matters related to having a real estate agent

1)      Reasonable Expectations: what can you expect from your realtor

2)      What kind of showing was it?—considerations when you have a house for sale

3)      Who saves the commission?—when a home is for sale by owner

Reasonable Expectations

Everyone has expectations, all day long.  Most people expect their coffee to be hot.  On the other hand, they expect their beer to be cold.  Our beds should be comfy and warm.  With such items, the expectations don’t have huge consequences.

Expectations about other matters such as health, career, marriage, etc. that of greater value, expectations are more serious.  This includes the matter of the single largest financial investment that most people make, the sale of a home—as purchaser or seller.

If you are seller, what are reasonable expectations to have of a real estate agent?  How about:  getting at least the market value when you sell your home, and a sale within a reasonable period of time.  And having the last amount of hassle and inconveniences as possible

The latest Home Buyers and Sellers Survey indicate that real estate professionals are being entrusted more and more with the sale of homes. When you engage the services of such professionals, it is important to be very clear about your expectations when you meet with your potential agent.

Discuss fully with your agent how the following will be dealt with:
•    How to best price your home
•    How to be prepare your home for sale
•    How to position your home most favorably in the marketplace.

It is reasonable to expect that your real estate agent will work conscientiously and hard to ensure the best sale of your home; will deal with you honestly and keep your best interest as their focus.  You want agents who provide the kind of service that exceed your expectations, don’t you?

What Kind of Showing Was It?

When a home seller doesn’t have showings scheduled, they call their real estate agent.  It’s one of the reasons why realtors hear from home sellers:  why is nothing happening.  The homeowner needs to understand that the physical showing is only of 3 ways prospective buyers view their home.

In today’s market any home buyer has so many tools to help with research what is available in the market place.  Googling “home for sale” in a particular area will yield pages of results.  The resources found will give prospective buyers the range of homes for sale that are available.  All of the photos and details of each listing.  Many real estate agencies are more and more providing virtual tours of each listing, including what is found in the neighborhood in terms of schools, traffic, shopping.

After a potential buyer has found listings that fit basic requirements such as number of bedrooms, baths, square footage, etc., they can find other details to see whether further requirements are met.  These may be age of home, feel of interior space, size and nature of kitchens and bath.  When price, rooms, size, kitchens, etc. are met, a drive by of the property often determines whether a further step should be taken.  (You can get new listings immediately.)

Going by a home for sale gives the potential buyer a sense of the neighborhood and whether needs and expectations are met. Only then will buyers make an appointment for inspecting the house physically.

With a physical showing the buyer has the chance to closely scrutinize all the details and to get a feel of being in the interior space of the home.  One can say, that they’ve completed several other ways of viewing the prospective home.

When sellers are aware of these different kinds of showings or viewings available to the prospective buyer, they may rest more easily trusting in their realtor. Such a real estate professional would have presented the home well so that the right buyer will be attracted to the home.

Who Saves the Commission?

When people face the daunting task of selling or buying a home, each party is well aware of the commission for the sale that comes when realtors are involved.  Potential buyers believe that if they can negotiate directly with the seller, they can subtract the cost of a commission.  Similarly, a home seller puts a home up for sale-by-owner believing that without a commission, their sale price would be more attractive.

Sellers and buyers when realtors aren’t involved are figuring out how the value of being on their own affects the sale price of the house in questions.  Buyers would have researched on their own how to locate the right house, determined its value and independently negotiated the details with the home seller.  The buyer in such cases would have had to figured out how to finance their purchase and deal with inspections and titles.

The seller, on the other hand, feels that because of the marketing expenses and hours invested in showing the home, answering questions, completed research on value, financing and title, that they deserve the savings of a real estate commission.

Usually the seller and the buyer are not experienced with all the details of the real estate transaction they are embarking on.  In fact, in the process one or the other party may involve a professional to make sure no mistake is being made.  There is value to having professionals involved on each side.

Trends indicate that real estate assisted sales are increasing from 82% in 2004 to 88% in 2013 The Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers (Exhibit 8-1) indicates that sales by owners declined  from 14% in 2004 to 9% in 2013. http://www.realtor.org/reports/highlights-from-the-2014-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers

There are so many complexities involved in this important financial transaction, the purchase of a home.  Even with professionals involved, many glitches are routinely encountered.  The “amateur“ seller and “amateur” buyer  can quickly find themselves in need of professionals.

The point of this article is that that both parties cannot save the commission.  There are specific services and processes involved in this lifetime investment process. Trying to save the commission may be a case of shooting one’s foot.

Judy Naimo has had over 3 decades of experience in real estate transactions.  When you read her recommendations you will realize that you have a professional working on your behalf who knows how to deal with every aspect of a home sale process, whether you are seller or a buyer.  Consult with her.

These articles were re-written from the originals that can be found in the archives.  You may find that archived versions to be clearer.