I do agree with James, I believe your friend would rather you offer him/her the opportunity, even for a reduced commission amount (assuming you'd want him/her to rebate the amount over 1%), than not being considered at all. I think what many people below fail to realize is that you're not taking away your friend's ability to earn a living, you're giving your friend the opportunity to transact a deal and earn a commission (assuming of course that you've yet used the services of said friend). Personally,I'd probably be offended with a friend asking me to rebate the majority of my commission, but I'd be more hurt by a friend bypassing me altogether. But, only you know how your friend is likely to react. And, in this market, with sales around 50% of the level last year, I don't think agents have the luxury of being obstinate in how they work with consumers.
However, I do agree with the responses below that not all transactions are necessarily simple to negotiate and close. The value of real estate agents are in the negotiation, transaction management and closing processes, not in being the door opener.
In respects to Redfin, I'm probably one of the very few traditional full-service agents who welcome their business model. Though I haven't dealt with them directly, I've spoken with other agents in my office who have...they really are no different from traditional brokerages. That said, even with the 2/3's commission rebate that they provide, a full-service agent may be able to negotiate a deal worth more to a buyer than 2/3's of the commission.
There are loads of comments here that miss the point. This is not a battle about real estate commission. If you trust your friend and would like him to get the business, tell him your option is to use Redfin or him, provided that you give him a similar deal. It is never insulting to offer the business to someone, and many agents are hungry for business these days.
If his brokerage/business model allows it, he will help you. If it doesn't he'll pass on it. Either way, he'll be happy that you made the offer.
Brokers like Redfin can work well for a situation like you describe. And despite some of the rants below, the world will not end if you pay less commission!
Also, your car dealer analogy is way off base. I know that my offer to your car dealer friend still leaves a profit margin cushion because the dealership across the street is selling the same car for the price I offered your friend. I'm just offering my business to him instead of the anonymous guy across the street. If his inflated sense of self-worth prevents him form selling me the car at less-than his previously over-sized profit margin, then I can just buy the same vehicle across the street.
How do you know what kind of negotiation or closing it's going to be until you actually do it? The purpose of having an experienced agent working for you is to help guard against things you might not know to look for, or how to navigate issues that may come up in the sale negotiations, title report, home inspection, etc. That knowledge is invaluable, and with Redfin, you'll get only the bare bone basics of transaction management. What if things get complicated? What if there are issues that it takes a true professional to work through on your behalf? What if your friend ends up being able to save you a substantial amount of either headache or money by seeing something that you don't? Would that be worth more than 1%? Who would give you advice to walk away if they thought it was a bad deal for you, even if they would lose out on a commission? I've represented buyers and sellers in over 200 transactions and I still learn new things with almost each negotiation and each house. You're taking an awful chance with a large investment by not having a true professional in your corner representing you with all their experience.
Also, many listing agents stipulate that to pay a buyer's agent the full commission, they must initially show the property, so you'll need to check if that's the case with whatever house you're interested in.
Jamesâ€™ example was of a client who had designed something themselves and wanted me to reproduce it. Therefore this client is asking me to reproduce his image. Since I charge by the piece, the fee would be whatever it cost to reproduce this piece. It is a different process. To use your doctor analogy, it is like coming to the doctor and saying â€œmy appendix needs to come outâ€ and wanting to just pay the doctor for the extraction.â€ How much would you save there?
I don't think I'm disagreeing with your general points on the traditional commission structure. But I'm not disagreeing with some of James' points either that it will and should change. It is changing now and it will continue to change. What we should be debating is what would an equitable change in the commission structure for all the stakeholders look like.
This idea that agents are entitled to a full commission regardless of what they do or what value they bring to the transaction is not going to work for very long. Consumers are getting more educated ...sites like Trulia is furthering that education and your one-price-for-all approach is going to get tested. My belief is ...sooner or later, it's not going to pass.
How would you like me to clarify my comment, Mark? James' analogy was wrong, and showed a lack of knowledge in a field he isn't familiar with. In the same way non realtor posters make comments here about our industry, who simplify and generalize from the same lack of knowledge. If you would explain to me what it is exactly you would like me to clarify, because you don't feel that I've made my point, please elaborate.
JR, I don't understand these comments in the thread. Please take the time (in the future) to clarify your comments specifically, rather than attacking people generally. Perhaps James' analogy was not the best illustration of his point but I don't think it furthers the conversation to be vague or accusatorial in tone or content.
Au contraire James, if the agents didn't LIST them, and if the agents didn't pay for the MLS to get them into a database that Trulia, and other portals can mine, you'd be correct. But you're not.
James: If a client came to you with a design they did themselves and wanted you to re-create it in digital format ...what you're saying is... hey..my fee to create the design from start to finish is $X dollars... you're asking me to do just the finish on this one but ya know..I'm still going to charge you $X dollars.
JR; That's not "designing", James. Thanks for showing us you don't know about my former field, just like non realtors here demonstrate every day that they don't know anything about ours.
That's correct, Joanna. The day Long Island buyers don't expect something for nothing, and are willing to sign contracts with us, just like sellers do, is the day I change my pay model.
I hire agents for my short sales who are willing to work for reduced commission. Like Harry, I know exactly what the job entails; I do all of the analysis/negotiating, they list and do showings.
My problem has more to do with a home buyer underestimating the value of a professional real estate agent. I can reduce commissions because I do most of the professional work on their behalf. Most homeowners do not have this capacity. MOST, not all.
1.) Dual Agency should be outlawed
2.) Lenders should permit buyer's agent fees to be included in the purchase price and loan amount.
3.) Just like listing agents, a buyer's agent should be required to have a written agreement with the buyer detailing what services are to be provided, what each parties responsibilities are, and all appropriate fees detailed before doing any work for the buyer.
In my perfect world anyway..... I can dream.
Mark, I agree with you, and I would go further and say that savvy buyers who need or desire full service agency will not settle for working with a sub-agent of the seller or listing broker, and this will lead to more buyer representation for those wanting full service.
The commission structure originated with the idea that the seller was paying the broker to "bring" a buyer to the table. If the broker is not bringing the buyer to the table then what is the incentive for the seller to pay the buyer to bring himself.
Yes, the real estate business is changing but people are still the same. We are in a down market now but when the market recovers, I think savy sellers are going to stop paying brokers so that they can pay buyers. This will eventually lead to more "fee for service" arrangements, ergo, more costs upfront to buyers.
As I said, i see it from both sides. When I spent some time recently in another State where I am not licensed looking at condos for my student daughter, I hired a buyer's agent to represent me, who drove me around for a couple of afternoons, as well as spending a considerable amount of time on the phone with me and setting up drip campaigns, and monitoring "MY" sector of the market . After a month of so of this, he had educated me sufficiently well for me to know that I really didn't want to buy at this time, i wanted to rent, and he didn't handle rentals. Imagine how awful I felt when I broke the news, yet he was the ultimate professional, and kindly said he had really enjoyed working with me and perfectly understood that I wasn't going to buy a property just so he got a commission. Of course not, but if I hadn't drawn on that expertise, I would never have got to the point where I realized it wasn't the right time for me to do this. The next day, I mailed that agent a $500 check as a small token of my appreciation, at least to help defray his out of pocket expenses. I suggest that only a fellow agent would ever think to do that. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
The view from here is that some of the new business models make a lot of sense, especially for the buyer, so if you are a buyer who doesn't want to pay for full service and you want to cherry pick the services you pay for, that's fine, please come and see us. But before you walk through our door or the door of any agency, please think about doing the right thing by the agent who helps you, even if things don't work out as expected. Then perhaps more agents could afford to work that way.
JR...what you fail to recognize is the way buyers buy homes and the way they find homes no longer relies on what everything agents used to do. Let's take your design example. If a client came to you with a design they did themselves and wanted you to re-create it in digital format ...what you're saying is... hey..my fee to create the design from start to finish is $X dollars... you're asking me to do just the finish on this one but ya know..I'm still going to charge you $X dollars. How does that make sense? Sure, the design may not be great but it's what the client wants. Likewise in real estate...if a person says...Here's the house I want to buy..I just want you to write the deal up and carry it through to closing ... how could you justify that your fee still be 3%? Your reasoning that you have other clients that will make you drive around for months and not buy anything is irrelevant to this client from their perspective. In essense you are telling the client you are entitled to 3% regardless of the situation. I simply cannot understand that.
The percentage commission model as a whole is flawed and unfair to the seller. The amount they pay is based on the value of their house. If this were the medical profession, it is analogous to charging based on the patient's net worth. A physical exam is a physical exam regardless of who you do it on .. ..but no no....because the patient makes $100K per year...I'm gonna charge you $1000 bucks for it. For the person that only makes $50K a year... it's only $500 for them.
You are not entitled to 3%, you must earn your fees and it's a weak argument to say you deserve it just because you're better. Watch out! Much of a buyer's agent's services are becoming or can easily become commodotized in this day and age. But ...like I said before, you do what you believe is right and if you can make a good living from it..kudos to you. I just happen to disagree with your approach. I'll be happy to take the fraction of commissions when all I have to do is a fraction of the work.
Thanks for your opinion. I was very experienced in another field prior to real estate, design. There were many inexperienced designers who bid against me, and sometimes they got the job. And usually get fired. Or produce a crappy design. You get what you pay for. Sometimes the job was simple and they got it right. I was so busy that after a while people just came to me and paid me my price without asking for bids. So if my client thinks I'm worth only a fraction, well they aren't my client, they're yours.
Remember what the industry has told sellers about market value?... Your house is only worth what a willing buyer wants to pay. The same can be said about us agents. We're only worth what the client is willing to pay. If you steadfastly think you're worth 3% regardless of the situation, and you're client thinks you're only worth a fraction... good luck.
Yes. Because I could drive you around every weekend for 3 months, then have you get your friend to write up the offer for 1%.
Agents in the Seattle Area are about 10% tuned in to what IS...the rest of the Country...not so much. They like the past better than the future, and I don't blame them for that. Eastside the % of "tuned in" to reality and fairness jumps to say 30%, but 1/3 of those are still kicking and screaming about it.
It's not hard to understand...just hard for some to swallow. It's more of a tantrum than a business decision for too many.
I put myself in a room full of non-industry people to force myself to get ahead of the curve. If you keep sitting in the same room full of agents...you're not going to "get it". But hey, that works for some, just not me.
Now that I have closed on my property, I know for a fact that my friend put in less than a few days worth of paperwork and made more money than I make in a month for it. JR, your "paycheck", as you call it, is not a standard fee that you are entitled to on every transaction. It is a negotiated commodity that can change with every transaction.
As far as my paycheck is concerned; my company can easily outsource my job to India for 1/4 of what they pay me. Should they ever choose to do so, I will need to find a new job; not get on public websites and attack my company for making a financial decision that is best for them. That is the difference between you and me. My company has deemed that I am worth what they pay me, even when discount options are available to them. You, on the other hand, take it as a personal offense when others do not agree with what you think you are actually worth in the open market. That is not my problem, it is yours. It is highly unethical of you to equate your negotiated commission structure with a contractual salary. You may be able to mislead unsuspecting buyers with your lies, but the opening up of the MLS to consumers will slowly take care of unethical agents like yourself. Have a good day!
And Ardell, you understand exactly what the situation is. Thank you for an intelligent response.
I wonder what "fee for service" the Voices Member (who apparently is now either embarassed by his own question, had his membership revoked, or was in reality a discount broker) would have done for a small portion of his own paycheck.
I just saw your response to mine. I've read a lot of your things here and there, and it seems that often when you get ticked off you are really just a bit confused as to what people are trying to accomplish. It's more like fee for service than it is discounting. Recently I saw your rant about agents being too nice to people that are being...how do I say it..."odd" :) Reality is that we need to catch up with the world and not keep trying to drag them to our sense of what is. We need to create more options without hurting ourselves in the process. That is the best of both worlds.
We should have coffee sometime.
I could tell that he seemed a bit embarassed to call and raise this issue. I viewed it as part of my job in representing him to make sure that he was comfortable, and not ill at ease in speaking with me. I thanked him for calling us, as I would clearly be more upset if he proceeded with purchaing a property, without having called us first. There was no issue of seeing the property, as often a 4-plex cannot be viewed until after the offer is accepted.
When he purchased his primary residence, we were heavily involved in what he "should" buy. In the investment purchase, my only condition was that he take full responsibility for his choice of property. Consequently what he was asking us to do was not the same as it was with his first time purchase. We did all the things that Redfin would do for the same price. We did not do all the things we usually do for the Redfin price. We did not compare what he wanted to buy with other options. We had no discussions about whether or not he should buy it.
As to your situation, the fact that you called the listing agent to view the home instead of seeing it at an Open House or calling your friend to view it, raises some issues that I do not see addressed here. I do require that my clients not call any other agents to view the property. The listing agent can refuse to pay the commission in whole or in part, if the listing agent showed the property without knowing that the buyer intended to use a different agent to purchase it, before he met the buyer at the house. So I have to give that warning for events that might take place that are not totally in my control.
Bottom line? I would have been more "insulted" had he not called me at all.
Kudos to you for offering the commission to your friend and good to know it turned out well in terms of your reaching an agreement. Clearly from your original question (and subsequent contributions to this thread), you care about this topic and how your friend would feel being offered 1%. And, hey, it was an offer...at the end of the day, that's pretty much what real estate is (sellers offer their real property to the market and buyers make offers to buy)....you made an offer, and it came together; that is great!!
And no problem with Redfin; the more business models, the better. But here's an option for people who don't have a friend in the business.... the local expert in the neighborhood in which you are purchasing (that may be your friend's case, too. I can't tell from the description).
When a consumer calls an agent to list a home, the consumer needs to have a conversation first......ask about the agent's knowledge of neighborhoods (pockets within the neighborhoods), traffic patterns, schools, developments that will soon be breaking ground, price trends, etc. Ask some of the less technical questions: What is the agent's working style, business philosophy, communication system, whether the agent is a member of the community.
However, people seem to prefer computer research with regards to real estate....Redfin has played heavily into the misconception that real estate through the portal of a computer is where it is "at". Certainly the computer has revolutionized untold aspects of the field of real estate. But a well-thought out set of questions and setting appointments with 3 agents to interview them is a fantastic way to invest in the real estate buying or selling process.
Setting a commission that you are willing to pay is fine, and pair it with going to bat for yourself in terms of spending that commission (be it 1% or 10%) in the best possible manner. Making a deliberate, educated choice about who will help you make one of the biggest investments in your life is well worth the effort. The local expert, a friend in real estate, an agent that a friend or family member trusts, all are great to include in your interviews.
Harry, by choosing your friend, you stood up for having someone whom you like and respect navigate this huge investment with you and paying a commission that you are comfortable with. You created a total win-win situation!
Your comment about Home Depot was funny--I actually wish some of these homeowners DID get warned in front of the store. It's sad when you walk into the front door of a house and immediately see the results of an unskilled attempt at flipping.
It is easy to become an agent--But it's not easy to earn longevity and to become what many people would consider successful. That's probably a pretty good litmus test.
If you have faith in your abilities as an agent, you should feel no threat from Redfin, as their business model lacks all the personal attention, benefit of experience, negotiation skills and service that top agents give to clients. You don't see contractors out in front of Home Depot telling consumers how badly their going to mess up their home improvement project if they try to do it themselves. The overwhelming majority of consumers recognize the value that a top agent provides, and those are the consumers top agents should continue to focus on.
Despite all the attention they've received, and the amount of angst and discussion of their business model, they continue to produce a low volume of sales compared to the industry, and continue to lose money. For those of us in business a long time, we know the overhead costs, and the overwhelming amount of time and energy that have gone into lisings that fail to sell, transactions that fail due to inspections, financing, appraisal or buyer remorse in which we get paid nothing. In my opinion, unless something changes, they will either fizzle out when their venture capital runs out, or be forced to change their business model, much as happened with Zip Realty. If they are able to sustain, and their customers are happy, more power to them. Nordstrom still has plenty of shoppers though despite Marshall's opening up down the street, so I have faith that my business will continue.
Our industry needs to accept a lot of blame for some of the public perception out there that real estate agents do nothing to earn their commission. For many years, obtaining a real estate license has been almost as easy as getting a driver's license, training by the major companies has been severely lacking or non-existent, and brand new agents make the same commission % as agents that have been at it for 20 years. What other industry can brand new people staring out make the same as people with genuine experience and longevity?
In the situation that Harry Long wrote about, 1% might very well have been appropriate, but he would have been better off to ask his friend to earn that 3% by getting him a better price. Performance based compensation is not a bad idea.
If I'm saving or making extra money for my client as a result of my work, I think that's worth being compensated for. But there's no automatic assumption that I'm going to make a certain amount. Sometimes I have to ask for 3% because I have to pay referral fees, desk fees, taxes, assistants, advertising, etc.
Right now one of my pending transactions includes 3 (yes three) different referral fees I have to pay out before I can even begin to address what my office is going to charge me. On paper it looks like I'm making enough to buy a new car--In reality I'm walking away with enough to buy a decent television (that's after investing that much just in marketing the property).
I try to move my listings quickly because having a large inventory of listings is a bad idea--It costs money to service those listings week after week. I try to work only with sellers who are reasonable and will price their properties commensurate with what the market will bear, but sometimes they are stubborn and turn down offers, even fair ones. Most of my listings turn fairly quickly, but I have some right now that aren't moving. So, after a certain amount of time, I have to ask those sellers to find another agent--If that doesn't work, I just let them expire and then politely decline to renew (and I'm happy to refer them to another agent). I'm not one who believes having more than a few listings at a time is a good idea.
One of the first things I learned when I started is that it's ok to fire a client. This frees you up for new (and better) business. That's why I won't suck up to potential clients or "protect them" from the truth. If someone doesn't want to work with me, that's ok with me. And a giant red flag is when someone immediately asks me to discount my commission before we're even working together.
Sometimes sellers are running on very thin margins or are close to having to do a short sale. If I see my client struggling, I make sure I'm not making much on the transaction. Even if I'm paid 3%, I never walk away with 3%. There are transactions when taking a 1% commission would mean it would cost me money to sell someone's house. That's not the best business plan.
Our commission is our salary. What we charge is not our birthright, it is our fee. Just like I wouldn't take a $10 an hour job, I do not take 1% fees.
And thanks, Maria. Everyone IS happy. Everyone except Patrick for some unknown reason.
It is your contention that the service you offer is superior to any agent at Redfin. It is your contention that all buyers are unable to navigate a negotiation without an agent. It is your contention that I would "coerce" a friend into something that he would not find profitable for him (he is much to smart for that.) It is your contention that as a buyer's agent, you are entitle to a 3% commission as a birthright. All of these contentions are incorrect. It sounds like you need to question why you take such outrageous offense to such a simple transaction.
I wish you well and know that I will not be referring any business to you.
It sounds like the seller didn't counter-offer so you must have made the perfect offer. Congrats!
After doing extensive research on the property and the neighborhood (including extensive market analysis throughout the neighborhood, and pulling microfilmed permits from the DPD) I determined exactly what I thought the property was worth and offered exactly that amount (roughly 10% below asking). I was going to use Redfin, who would take the 3% commission and refund me 2%; but I thought that maybe my friend might want to do it for the same fee I was going to pay Redfin. As has been shown here, some agents would not be offended by the offer, and some would. Which is precisely why I asked the question before bringing it to my friend.
I can't help it if Patrick sees this question as an affront to all that is holy. Your overreaction and belittling tone to a simple question is puzzling to me. Why are you so convinced that a buyer is unable to negotiate a deal without help from an agent. Your arrogance and condescending nature would not seem helpful to me in a negotiation. Also, Patrick, it is precisely the high dollar value of this transaction that made me consider my friend vs. paying the commission to Redfin. Let's just say that 1% of this deal is considerably more than 1 month's take home pay for a senior software engineer at Microsoft. It's not an amount of money I would scoff at for writing up an offer and taking it through closing.
The bottom line is, my offer was accepted, financing is secured, inspections have been completed, we close in 2 weeks, and my friend stands a make a good chunk of money for a few days of work. I'm very happy that he can profit from this deal instead of a faceless corporation. Thanks for the input from most of you.
Thank you for answering the question "Why should I do business with you?"
The truth is that we have a difficult time conveying the value of intangible benefits. Redfin has been able to "convince" people that they are "paying too much". The fact is that the price of a poor negotiation is not realized until it is too late...when you have a problem.
To be candid managing a transaction is a lot of work if done correctly, so one percent is not worth it for me, personally. The funny thing is that if you selected your "friend" as your buyer's agent, he would be paid based on the seller's agreement with the listing agent.
IMHO you get what you pay for.
That is the definition of a broker. They have person A who wants to sell something, and they know (or find, thru their networking/maketing efforts/prior transaction history) person B, who wants to buy it. So they get paid. If person A already knew person B, person A can save their money. As an agent, I have all 20,000 other agents in my MLS system working for me. 90 of them are with my own company, and 300 of them are local. That is what brokers do, Dan. Broker deals.
Sara's right--It's very expensive to work in real estate. But in this case Harry was not asking his friend to market his property. Depending on the specific transaction it may or may not be worth it to his friend to work for 1%. Discounters count on volume to survive (and sometimes VC money). I choose not to follow that business model and feel quality is more important than quantity. There are lots of people who disagree with me--But they will never be my clients.
I would be interested to know the MLS number of the property Harry is making an offer on. I'd like to see how he did.
Dan - before I got my license, I could point you to several posts on another web forum http://(www.reiclub.com or biggerpockets.com) where I bashed real estate agents as well.
Rule number one to effective negotiating - don't do it yourself. Hire someone else to do it for you - period. My experience as an agent is enough to have proven to me, time and time again - that my skills as a professional salesperson are very valuable to my clients and customers. Very.
If there's only one reason to list or buy a home via an agent, it is to acquire their professional negotiating skills. BUT - you've got to choose wisely who you're going to use.
Regarding the 1%. I mean, if it's a friend, maybe they'll do it. But my time is worth more than 1%. Here's why. I spend a few hours on your deal to make 1%, when I could spend that time acquiring more listings or showing buyers properties where I"m going to make 3%.
If I'm a friend and want to do you a favor by writing up and presenting the offer - well that's different. I would just tell you 3% - and I'll give you back (as a friend) a portion, say $1500 for example. This way I present the offer as a buyers agent with a 3% fee built into the deal - oh and I negotiate it so that you get the property for LESS than what you're prepared to spend!!!
Jeff just jumped on this thing all defensive. Sara spoke her position very eloquently, while Patrick made the perfect "salesman" move with his "car dealership" post. He claimed he was comparing apples and apples when he was really comparing apples and birdseed. You see the problem with comparing car dealerships and real estate agents is the fact that car dealerships OWN a portion of what's being sold or bought. Real estate agents, although they claim to, have no real "skin" in the game. They simply marry up those who want to sell a home to those who want to buy a home and take 6% of that transaction for their efforts. They are simply selling their time and can even decide how much of that they want to spend on a particular client. I'm not saying that real estate agents aren't worth their money. Some of them are. They are usually the ones who do not have to exort to sarcasm or comments like this
"You've made your choice, and I'm happy for you. I hope you get the best deal possible on this property, and because you're so confident that you will, I know that I won't have to spend any time worrying on your behalf." or
I don't think you need to pay anyone. You obviously know what you are doing. No one needs to tell you anything. Why don't you just write the offer yourself and save all the money?"
And this is from a forum geared towards agents!!!! And they wonder why they get the "rap" from the general public they do.
My 12 year old can better defend her position in debates!!!!
To add on (trulia doesn't have the option to edit my posts!) some agents reinvest their money into their business, some don't. I spend quite a bit on personally paid marketing, I have a lot of fun with cutting edge methods, and everything I do costs me money. It's not right for everyone, but it's right for some.
So there's a point at which as an agent you break even, but you can't live on merely breaking even. Even established agents make a lot less than many people think they do. It's a casualty of agents trying to seem successful touting being in the "millionaire's club" or whatever else is on their cards ("Millionaire club just means you sold a total volume of 1 mil, which could be two houses, or four, but in any case not anywhere enough to be able to eat. Four houses in one year? Yikes! Not a very experienced agent). People have just come to think of agents as making money by doing nothing. It's unfortunate.
Good luck and I hope it's a smooth sailing on your house. Let us know how it goes! :)
Everything's negotiable. Some women will marry a man without a job, some women won't. Some people will buy a used car without a warranty, some people won't. It's the same thing with real estate. Everything's negotiable.
What's right for you may not be what's right for me. If I have a real friend, a true friend and they're trying to buy a house, I would discount the commission, but not because I'm not worth more, but because they're my friend and in my code of what's good I like to invest in the lives of my close friends and family, and that's one way I do it. It costs me something when I do it, and I give that something back to my friends.
If you're not a close friend, I would probably be offended. I might feel like you're using me, or taking advantage of the connection. I'm very loyal in my friendships and don't like to be used.
That's said, when dealing with non-friends, it depends on the price of the house and the scenario. There is a minimum amount I have to make to justify the hours I pour into it. Contrary to some thinking, the hardest part of buying starts not when you look for a house, but when you start negotiating. It is much harder than it seems to hold a deal together. Apply the law of distrophy to real estate, if you will. If anything can go wrong, it probably will. Numerous clients of mine have reported how easy and effortless the process seemed, but I have my own stash of stories I don't tell. Stuff blows up behind the scenes, but much of that I don't bring to my client unless I can't avoid it. I take care of it and my goal is that my client will never know.
I realize that hiring an agent is a luxury proposition. I've thought it through and through, and come to believe that there's nothing wrong with different levels of service. Often times, those in the business world themselves realize fully the value of having an expert take care of everything, and that's exactly what they want the expert to do. To take care of everything. They are paying to have the stress mitigated, and to get what they want in a good fashion. Negotiators aren't replaceable, meaning, one agent is not as good as the next. You've got to be picky based on what you want.
Do you want your friend to do it for 1%? Ask. See what they say. If you were my friend, even my close friend, I've have to tell you no. That's too little. Real estate is a profession, after all. It's not charity work, or a casting call. It's not day labor. It's an valid profession with real costs to do business.