Question Details

Concerned Ci…, Home Buyer in Virginia

Realtors. Are you scared yet? More and more people realize that they have been ripped off for a long time

Asked by Concerned Citizen, Virginia Tue May 13, 2008

by realtors limiting access to the MLS. Well, now and are paving the way to cut your outrageous commissions. I sold the house myself and relied on zillow and craigslist plus a discount MLS listing firm. I sold the house in 3 weeks and saved a LOT of money. I also bought my new house without an agent and SAVED the 3% on the purchase price PLUS the standard negotiated amount. The sellers agent was desperate to sell so she loved this deal. All you need is an attorney that I had and a little bit of time to research properties available. I know not everyone is willing to do this, but the end of high commissions is near and you all know it. Realtors will not go away, but as car salesmen, you will see your commission plummet as people are empowered with access to the information. As they say, information wants to be free and it is happening and I guarantee that deep down you know that it is time to change your antiquated model of ripping people off with your 6%!

Help the community by answering this question:


Scared? Absolutely not.

There are many types of people out there. Many of them are just like you, and can manage to buy and sell real estate without the assistance of a full-time professional. They use zillow, trulia, craiglist, and feel as though they've saved a lot of money. Some of them have... some of them haven't. But if that's what floats their boat, then I say "good for them".

There are plenty of other people who are interested in having some assistance with what is arguably the largest purchase/sale that most people will ever make in their lives. And for those people there are flat-fee agencies who will list you on the MLS (like the one you used), NO-fee agencies, who'll do the same.. and there are a myriad of medium to full service agencies for those who want a bit more.

Realtors have not been limiting access to the MLS. You seem to be under the impression that the MLS is this one huge database, created by the government, and accessible only to Realtors. In fact, the MLS is over 400 small, local MLSs, created as a sales tool by local Realtors and their Boards (at great expense), to help them organize and market homes in their area. I'm not sure why you think that the public is "entitled" to access.. but that's exactly what they've gotten.

Most MLSs across the country have some version of public access to their MLS, including (that's all Realtor content, willingly supplied by Realtors...not torn out of their hands by legislation), Zillow (also supplied by Realtors), Trulia (again... Realtors), and lots and lots more.

People like you also said that the internet was going to be the death of Realtors, and in fact it has done just the opposite. It has brought Realtors educated clients who are 6-8 weeks further along in their search, and closer to the actual purchase.

Meanwhile, you may want to look into an anger-management course, for some of that deep anger you seem to be holding onto. It'll only eat you alive.
14 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 13, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Your answer is not true, Tman what is someone supposed to say when you attack yes attack their lively hood, you can sell your house yourself, go do it. A discount broker can put you in the MLS but that did not sell my house. I am 75yrs old, I wanted to move into a townhome in a nearby city. my realtor found the buyer by having an open house so Trulia did not sell it either.

I do not do my own yardwork or plumbing but I'm glad there are gardners and plumbers and realtors! I think you both sound like you are the 25% of the Realtors that couldn't cut it in the business that's why your so angry.
11 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 15, 2008

Yes, I'd agree that there are inefficiences in the real estate industry, just as there are in many other industries. Do you and CC have suggestions on how it can be mainstreamed? The consumers ultimately make the final decision with their pocketbooks, and until a viable alternative is discovered, nothing will change. Yes, the internet will "help" the industry evolve, but the basic tenets will remain the same. Consumers will pay for a solution to their problem (buying or selling a home). Most consumers don't want to get involved in the details of our business, they just want their problem solved. If they believe that they can solve the problem themself, then they won't use the services of a Realtor.

One inefficiency that I observe on a daily basis is in working with sellers. If more sellers were willing to pay out of pocket costs up front on their listings, they might really change the industry. In taking a listing, Realtors pay all the costs of marketing, advertising, servicing the listing up front. If the seller changes his/her mind about selling, or changes Realtor mid-stream, the original listing agent is out of pocket. If the real estate industry were to charge sellers up front for every flyer, every ad, every visit and phone call to them, think about what might occur. Imagine if a seller had to pay $500+ for every advertisement on his/her over-priced listing. How long do you think it would be before they came to their senses and priced their home appropriately? If Realtors charged their clients $200/hr for consultation (like attorneys or doctors), I wonder how many calls they would receive?

The bottom line is that most consumers don't want things to change. Let me re-phrase this: They don't want the service level to change, they just want to pay less for the same services. Additionally, most consumers really don't want to get bogged down in the actual details involved in selling their home. They just want the end result. Until the consumers take the first step in the overhaul that CC believes needs to happen, we Realtors will charge a fee that we deem appropriate for the services we offer. Some agents will charge less (whether via discounts, rebates, etc.), and some will charge more. I don't mind being asked the question, as it provides me the opportunity to enlighten my (potential) clients to what I do.

Ponder this (and I think someone else raised the questions before): How many of the non-Realtors reading this feel they are overpaid for their work? Do you feel that you should be paid less than what you earn right now? Should your customers ask you for a discount or rebate? How would you feel if someone attacked your right to earn a paycheck?

8 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 3, 2008
To all those who think that they are entitled to a commission rebate. How much of your salary do you give to your employer's customers? The whole "I should get a portion of my agent's commission check" idea is really strange to me. When you buy a car, you negotiate a price and you don't ask for a piece of the sale's person's commission check. Yes, there are hungry agents out there who will compromise their commissions. The question is, do you want a hungry agent or do you want good representation. If you don't need an agent, don't hire one. If you need an agent, don't try to reach into the agent's pocket. I get paid because I do the job my client hired me to do and I have no obligation to give a portion of my commission to anybody but my broker.
8 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 2, 2008
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in New Castle, DE
There are a lot of intelligent, hard working people out there that have the capicity to sell their homes by themselves. A good REALTOR is one that you can turn to for knowledge and help. A commission is earned through and agreement with the seller to market their home, in the ways outlined in an agreement.
Many people seek the honest advice of a REALTOR, and depend on them, because of their lack of knowledge of the market, and inability to sell the home themselves. Dealing with State and Federal laws are important for everyone (even FSBO), and the liability does not stop just because you sell it yourself. This is why there is still 92% of FSBO that eventually list with a REALTOR. Let me be the first to offer you congratulations on the sale of your home. By not using a REALTOR to help you buy a home, you may think you saved money (and I hope this is the case), but many have found out after the fact that the lack of knowledge in the home buying market was more than just the price. Knowledge is a valuable tool. Take care, and I wish you well in the future.
8 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 13, 2008
Options Realty,

I don’t purposely miss the point.

My comments to you pertained to your agreement with the statement that Realtors were “ripping off” consumers because of a 6% fee. That comment came from VA, and the posters views and comments were not directed to any unique practices to the Long Island market. Neither did my comments to you apply to your views on the Long Island marketplace and buyer agency as it is practiced there.

I agree that reducing costs and passing on savings to customers is a good thing. Offering a variety of service and representation options to consumers in a free marketplace is a good thing. I support honest pay for honest work. I do not support premium charging for premium services, when and if such service levels are not delivered. I do support reduced fees when the service or representation is reduced. That includes my support of flat fee listings, and limited service. I do expect these offerings to come with full disclosure to the consumer about what services will and will not be included. I encourage buyers to have their own agent, and would support the termination of dual agency.

I do not agree with your representation or insinuation that all buyer agency agreements are bad or anti-consumer.

I do not agree that the industry is “ripping off” consumers if and when a consumer pays 6% (as the original poster indicated.)

I support substantially raising the bar for obtaining and maintaining a real estate license. There are many great Realtors out there, and a good handful that I certainly wish would find another job and get out of real estate.

I respect your right to work without a buyer agency agreement. I respect your right to set fees as you see fit for the services you offer. I disagree with your statement of agreement that Realtors are ripping off consumers at 6%, and I disagree with an attitude that condemns all Realtors. I have greater respect for the colleagues of mine that I know to be dedicated to their clients.

6 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 3, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
You have too much time on your hands.
6 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 4, 2008
I am sorry you are so down on realtors. We are here as a service to the general public. We do not force anyone to use our services. As far as access to the MLS there are plenty of websites everywhere that link directly to the MLS services for those areas. More power to you if you did all of that on your own. The problem with your logic is the same as the food and beverage business. I can cook anything as well if not better then any restaurant out there. But, do I chose to go to the store buy all the ingredients, prep all the food and then cook it. Then I have to clean everything up. OR do I simply go out and pay someone to do it for me. The nature of many people in our society is to have things done for us. The majority of people today do not have the time to do the research, go through all the paperwork, and basically watch over the transaction to make sure everything goes through. All though you mentioned it did you take into account that when you bought the house you had an agent on the other side of the transaction. This means you did have a licensed professional taking care of everything. Also when you sold your house did you sell to someone with or without an agent. I have had many well informed clients that have done FSBO themselves. But, they know to do it right how much time and effort it takes so they elect the next time to have an agent involved.
As Chris asked just what noble profession are you in that requires only you to do and not the consumer?

Then just sit there and breathe
6 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 13, 2008
Please flag the posting by "Concerned" Home Buyer in Virgina. This person is using the site to vent frustrations and make disparaging and unfounded remarks about practitioners. This is in clear violation of the Community Guidelines. This individual is obviously deeply resentful for some reason - but that does not give carte blanche for inappropriate content.
Hiring a professional is what one does when one cannot accomplish the task at hand - whther it be floor sanding, open heart surgery, or electrical wiring. I am happy for Concerned - but I wonder what is the real agenda for this posting.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 13, 2008
Do you feel the grocery store is ripping you off when you could produce your own crops and or buy direct from a farmer?? Why use a lawyer when you can rep yourself, Why buy from a used car lot when you could buy direct etc etc Of course you dont

Realtors, like other merchants, work to establish a market to buy and sell real estate.. You can always build your own home, buy direct or sell direct without the help of anyone....or like the american market, you can hire someone to help you do anything for a small fee?

No one was or is being ripped off,, all volunteered

Im sorry you dont like the fact that approx 90% of all real estate is purchased with the aid and paid services of a professional realtor... deal with it

FSBOs simply dont move property!
5 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 13, 2008
ripped off?? I gotta defend realtor on this one. If selling a house was easy, everyone would be doing it,

fact is, over 90% of those trying to sell their house on FSBO sites fail, eventually hire an agent.

Thats the fact. Look at all the questions from FSBO who cant sell their homes.

and you discounted MLS, you still paid a realtor!
5 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 10, 2008
I agree with Elvis and Sylvia,
The question was meant to be hostile from its inception to evoke an inflamitory response from Realotrs to make them look bad on their profile page, but judging from the responses they have given alot of responses that all say the same thing.

Concerned, alot of us have understood where this question was coming from. We also comprehend your original intention.

I have not responded in awhile because I was successfully negotiating short sales for 2 customers saving them from foreclosure, this took alot longer than 25hrs, a few marketing flyers and shoving a sign in the yard. How much would your Attorney charge to do the same? Will Trulia, Zillow or Craigslist call the bank and negotiate a settlement for you? Does a car salesman call the finance company and help you when you are late on your car payments?

We are not trying to convince you to use a Realtor, but I can assure you both of my customers are grateful to me they did.

The only reason we would need to adapt is if something had changed in our industry the pardigm shift has not yet occurred, if it does I'm sure alot of us will adapt in the 100 years of Coldwell Banker many agents have, to Radio,TV,Typewriter, Computer and we will adapt again. But we are not scared and not ripping people off as you imply.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 25, 2008
You are out of your mind.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 9, 2008
A superb written article, by realtors for realtors ....

-- “This Is Customer Money“

"“Every paycheck, for every employee, from the busboy to the chef, from the picker to the packer, from the trainee to the CEO, must literally or figuratively be stamped: THIS IS CUSTOMER MONEY!”

Read it and enjoy it.... it's a great article.

5 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 9, 2008

I actually think you are on target with SOME of the things you say. But, you don’t know enough about real estate to solve the challenges of the industry; and I mean no disrespect when I say that.

When I entered this business, I assumed, wrongfully, that because I had a very strong corporate marketing and sales career, that selling real estate was going to be easy. I contend that my background gives me an edge, and makes me a better Realtor because I blend the skills, training and knowledge from my prior career. But, I had to unlearn and relearn much in the real estate business, because incorrect assumptions are easy to make. I had plenty of misconceptions. Staff members who have ever come to work for me from outside of real estate all say, “Oh, I had no idea that all of this was involved.” The failure and exit rate for real estate is high because people enter with misconceptions. Enough said? Real estate just isn’t what people assume, and concluding your own sale is not the same as servicing the needs of a client, or building a customer base. I can’t say that louder, clearer, or enough.

There is much truth to your statement that there is a need for the industry to achieve greater efficiencies. Where you and I will disagree is how these efficiencies might be achieved. Your solution is that agents simply adopt and better use technology. While I agree that technology offers some solutions, the challenge of productivity in real estate is not about automating a virtual tour. It’s about changing how business is done, and much of desperately needed change is beyond the scope and power of the individual agent. The real estate business model itself is inefficient, highly personal, and labor intensive. These are all components that drive costs. Agents can strive to increase their productivity, but they can’t change the business itself, which is, inherently inefficient.

I can liken this to a sole mechanic building a car from scratch, instead of having a factory and production staff build cars. Even if we give the individual mechanic state of the art hand tools to let him work faster and smarter, the approach of building one car individually is inherently unproductive. Simply because you give the agents a few tools, you have not achieved efficiency in the business.

In many ways, technology has actually increased Realtor costs, added to the hours worked, and added layers of confusion in real estate. Yes, there are many positive changes borne out of technology. Gone are the MLS books! Can we applaud loud enough for that? I am a strong technology advocate, and frequent early adopter. The adoption of several technologies in real estate have brought benefit to the consumer, but frequently with a cost without benefit to the agent.

Roll the clock back 10 years, and an agent input a listing into an MLS system, and the MLS photographer went out to the property, took the photo, and added it to the MLS. Gosh, that seems a lot less expensive and time consuming for agents.

Agents used to have only MLS, the weekly paper, and signs. Now, we have added electronic subscriptions and services for email campaigns, online listing presentations, virtual tour services, websites, IDX services, photo equipment, blackberrys, laptops w/ aircards, 800#’s, ACR systems, digital cameras, videos, and the computers and software to process all of this and more. Oh, and our sellers still ask about their newspaper ad.

These free sites that consumers use to shop for real estate are funded by agents, who pay for listing enhancements, banner ads, feature listings, virtual tours and floor plans. Agents made the consumer experience easier, faster, better. But, in order to do so, the agent took on more work and added expense.

As Realtors, we often do for our clients what may be wasteful and unproductive, because they want or expect it. I see agents commit to tasks in order to secure the business. Is it a waste to send that email campaign? Maybe, but if the seller likes the agent proposal, but this seller “knows” that just listed post cards, and emails are going critical…the agent may simply agree to do them. There’s way too much waste that goes on in the name of seller appeasement. I have agents request worthless ads because their seller wants it.

Yes, Myke, you are right about waste and inefficiency. I will vote TU for you on that statement.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 6, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
John the Bruce,

You are mistaken. The product which Tman discussed does not exist on the GE website. GE asserts it does not exist, period. If it exists somewhere else, I don’t know about it and cannot find it. I have checked product directories, tech directories, and trade show directories to no avail.

You ask, “What is the point?” The point was that I wanted to learn more about a claim Tman made, and wanted to purchase the product, and asked for more info. I went chasing something that apparently does not exist.

There are clear indicators now, that Tman intentionally made false assertions about both
1) a product that does not exist, &
2) a practice for arranging appointments and showing property that does not exist.

Tman came back to the thread 5x to post again about the mysterious lockboxes, but each time eluded any direct answer or info about this specific type of lockbox. This raised questions about his credibility. Had Tman made one consumer lockbox reference, and quickly came back to clarify a miscommunication, this could have easily faded into archived posts.

Your defense of automation electronics and the future of technology is not a defense for Tman’s repeated apparently false claim that consumer driven showing practices currently exist if they do not, and that appears to be the case. He told the public, in his posts here, that this is currently being used and even claimed first hand experience.

Tman has made a lot of claims on a lot of Trulia posts without documentation. How many other claims have been set forth as fact that should be challenged?

So, John, in answer to your question, “What’s the point?” As it pertains to Tman and his lockboxes, it escalated into a point about credibility. It didn't start out that way. I wanted to look into buying one and learning more about how they worked.

5 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 6, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
CC, as I mentioned very early in this thread, there are plenty of people who are of a similar mindset to you... they feel confident that they can handle this transaction, and have no interest in using a Realtor.

They have varied reasons for not using a Realtor, ranging from a confidence in their own abilities, lack-of-confidence in a Realtor's abilities, and just outright need to save the commission.

To all of those people, I say "good for you"... more power to you, and how can I help? Would you like some disclosure forms, some free advice (I certainly dispense enough of it online, happy to dispense some personally). I don't expect that every person will want to use a Realtor, and we are aware that there is a fair contingency of people who are anti-realtor, or just realtor apathetic and would rather do without us.

That's fine. I think the objection that some have had with THIS thread, in particular, is some of the inflammatory language (ie: "Are you scared", "outrageous commissions", "ripping people off") that does equate to "calling people names". With language like that you can't be surprised that you've gotten some passionate responses.

I'm happy that you're educating the public that they "don't have to use a Realtor". I think the public is bright enough to have figured that out... but it doesn't hurt to say it again. Yes, the average Joe can sell his own home, or buy without a Realtor, and the key to that is "educate yourself about the process and the market".

But you (and others) hurt your own credibility with inflammatory rhetoric which makes it difficult, even for those who agree with you, to take you seriously.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 5, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
I am not a real estate agent but I was a stockbroker back in the 70's when discounted commissions began. The investment industry fought the discounters but eventually, stock/bond buyers and sellers won out. I saw my income PLUMMET within a few years because my firm was charging $100 for a trade and the discounters were charging $10. Our industry claimed full service firms were providing research, safekeeping, accounting services, convenience, access to markets, etc, etc. But guess what...people wanted lower commissions. I saw the handwriting and after 10 years, I changed careers. Many of my professional acquaintances hung in there, but they, too, eventually left. There are still full service stock brokers out there but more and more investors have lower discount accounts. True, they are giving up information, research, etc but with websites that provide such information (such as Trulia, Zillow, Redfin, etc for real estate), customers did not need their services. I do use real estate agents myself when I buy or sell property, but I have executed FSBO transactions as well. There is nothing mystical about FSBO that a buyer or seller cannot learn. Times are changing and we all have to change with the times. Saying that, I think there will always be a place for the really professional knowledgeable agent but the average agents' days are numbered much as mine was 30 years ago as a stockbroker. I don't know what percentage of agents will be out of jobs in 3-5 years but if you're an average agent, I might suggest you start looking now before there's an exodus from the industry. For the others, you might start saving a lot more because incomes will probably be reduced as discounters enter the market. I don't deny that agents provide a valuable link between buyer and seller but is that link worth 5% to 6%. I know that 30 years ago, $10 bought the same as $100 and I answered that question with my feet. I was average and I was honest with myself and so I left before the wind became a storm.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 5, 2008
I beleive in the present market there is still a strong need for professional agents. Finding the right loans without exhorbant fees, offering the right prices on homes that are sometimes over priced, finding the homes that are priced below the market, overseeing the difficult process of funding the loans and proceeding successfully through closing the contracts. Professional sales persons do more than place signs in yards and write contracts. I have always said, placing signs and writing contracts are the easy part of selling, getting the transactions closed is where the salesperson earns his commission.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 4, 2008
How much did the attorney cost you to prepare your documents? Or are you just hoping that there will be no problems down the road. Where did you get the price point on your house? Did you get top dollar? How did the home inspection go after they looked at the property disclosure and the LBP forms? You may have been one of the lucky people, but for a house to have sold in that time frame in this market means you probably didn't get all you should have. Statistics show that you more likely got 21% less than actual value. Not all Realtors are "Car Salesmen." Few get 100% of the commission, it ends up closer to 1% and for being "antiquated models of ripping people off" that's not much. Furthermore, a large number of FSBO's do not disclose information and end up sued for more than they ever thought they could. Good for you if you think it was a good call for you, but don't breath too easy yet.
Web Reference:
5 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 4, 2008
One thing very few people possess, Concerned, is the ability to remain calm and detached when negotiating. More power to you if you can. Even more luck to you if the person on the other side of the table shares the same character traits. As long as their are people who get hurt feelings, who are hot heads, stubborn, defensive, reactive, prejucided, or think they're wheeler dealers, connivers and con people, for a few examples, there will be middle men when selling or buying an expensive item such as a house.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 4, 2008
Just finished reading a bunch of reply posts below and can't help but follow up on my first response.

Realtors - stop comparing yourselves to doctors, lawyers, and any other respectable profession that requires 8-12+ years of formal schooling, internships, post-studies training, and so on. It is offensive to those of us who invested hundreds of thousands of dollars and many years in our education to justify our high market value.

We work our tails off, pay down loans and build up equity in our home over years (even decades), then are asked to give away 6% of that for a transaction that takes up hours of your life. The inequity is staggering, and that is what we common folk are reacting to. My stock broker takes a fraction of a percent to manage my portfolio, and there is a lot more at risk there than one property.

Daniel Jeung - thank you for your objectivity and reasoned, logical approach to the market. There are a handful of agents like yourself out there that I believe can add value in the transaction process and are likely worth their pay.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 3, 2008
Dear Bitter,

There are reasons our industry has evolved into its current way of operation which works very well. Real Estate Brokerages and Agents operate under a code of ethics and we are held accountable by rules and regulations at every level of government. Break the rules and lose your license. The rules and regulations have been installed over many years to protect consumers such as you. If everyone sold their home themselves and also purchased from FSBO'S (unrepresented owners) there would be mayhem in the real estate industry. Real Estate Agency was formed by our government due to the general public not knowing how to transact causing many law suits along with lots of dishonest activities. Yes, I'm sure there is an occasional issue with a realtor form time to time but nothing compared to the alternative.

Real Estate Agents can provide protection for you by assisting you in making good sound decisions. I can assure you that is not accurate. You might have done okay for yourself and that is great but most people need the advice of a professional who has many transactions under their belt and not just one transaction every five to ten years. After all, your home is one of your biggest assets.

It is okay if the general public has access to the MLS data. Having the information will not replace a professional Market Analysis, internet marketing, paper and publication advertising, professional signage and marketing pieces and realtor estate agent exposure as they have the buyers. After all, serious buyers use a real estate agent.

I'm not trying to change your mind because obviously that’s not happening but I do want potential buyers and sellers who read this to understand that there is great financial benefit in having a professional represent them.


A Professional
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 3, 2008
First off, Zillow is in the very best case scenerio, a rear view mirror's view of the value of your property.

Secondly, the engagement of a real estate agent should be carefully considered. In the hyperactive market we had a couple years ago there may have been less need for a sales professional. Today however the opposite is true. You need every advantage you can get. Rebates and discounting a fee seem pennywise and dollar foolish. I want an agent to have no hesitation about exposing my property to the broadest audience he can and I will hold him to his advertising committments.

I am an appraiser and not an agent. I see all the "do it your-selfers" and the problems they cause themselves. If I had a nickel for every set of real estate guru tapes I stumbled over doing foreclosures I would retire. I have bought and sold a number of properties and most times I have hired an agressive and knowledgeable agent who has in all but one case negotiated a very satisfactory price for me. Hiring an agent is just like everything else in life. You must be an educated consumer and you must hold them to their committments and most times they will exceed your expectations. BTW, a broker's overhead ain't cheap and agents work long hard hours and have to indulge all kinds of annoying people. I have to hand to them. It is a tough job that deserves superior compensation.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 3, 2008
Rebate, kickback.... Pretty much illegal in most states
5 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 2, 2008
CC... your vitriol is unwarranted.... I'm going to repeat some of the Realtor comments heard in this very thread:

Dennis Bane: There are a lot of intelligent, hard working people out there that have the capicity to sell their homes by themselves.

Brad: Yes, the Internet makes certain information easier to communicate.

William Staab: I don't think Realtors fear access to the MLS and find great sites like Trulia and Zillow a great help showing their listings.

Elv!s: There are many types of people out there. Many of them are just like you, and can manage to buy and sell real estate without the assistance of a full-time professional.

Larry Story: We are here as a service to the general public. We do not force anyone to use our services

Don Tepper: We are here as a service to the general public. We do not force anyone to use our services

and on and on and on... many agreeable agents, not bashing you, nor arguing with you...

yes, there are some who disagreed with you, some of them vehemently... but you gotta admit, your tenor and tone were a bit "anti-realtor-ish", so no big surprise.

There are Realtors who overprice homes, and realtors who under price homes... there are good ones and bad ones... just as in every industry. Please don't paint all of us with the same brush... many of us do an exemplary job, and our clients are grateful and loyal and spread the word.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 29, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Good post Concerned Citizen,

Of course they're scared ...

You just had 15 different agents from Seattle to Alabama to NY trying to trump your sale ... if they weren't worried, they wouldn't be posting.

Every consumer that posts a sale or a purchase here gets the very same treatment on Trulia from the agents ... they could have done better, they market quicker, their insight is further, they negotiate better, etc, etc, etc ..

Scared...? .. I don't think so, the word is rolling towards "panic"... 20/25% of them won't even be here this time next year .. read a few of the postings from Inman News, that should pretty much give folks a pretty good idea.

: ^)
5 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 15, 2008
You stated you created a website, created a tour, created flyers and posted on craigslist, not everyone wants to do that, you also stated that you searched for a year to know what you wanted and where; not everyone wants to waste their time doing that much research except a Realtor whose job it is to know.
Orbitz did not wipe out the Travel Agent.
E-Trade did not wipe out the StockBrocker.
Trulia and Zillow will not wipeout the Realtor.

Trulia and Zillow will never have accurate information in a Non-Disclosure state like New Mexico.

I think maybe you need to see a Dr. for some blood pressure medication but I assume you would perscribe it for yourself with information or pharmacy you found off the internet.

Seems you have to much time on your hands if you have nothing better to do than to bash Realtors. What is your overall objective hear, to be better than Realtors? What did you accomplish? My colleagues that have answered hear provide a service to the public if you don't need that service fine, others do, so what's your point?
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 13, 2008
I'm not scared. There are a whole range of people, ranging from those who like doing it themselves to those who don't want to do it. That's fine. If people perceive value, they'll pay. If not, they won't. And that's fine, too.

As for Zillow, I posted on a thread here a few days ago. Someone asked if Zillow was accurate, so I chose a typical single family home in the city he was interested in (Alexandria, Virginia) and checked Zillow's comps. Most weren't comparable at all. Here's the link:

And check Drew's link on Zillow's accuracy. for the Washington-Baltimore region (which includes Nothern Virginia), 41% of the Zestimates are within 5%, 65% are within 10%, and 84% are within 20%. So let's take a $500,000 home in Northern Virginia. 59% of Zillow's estimates will be off by more than $25,000, either over or under. 35% of Zillow's estimates will be off by more than $50,000. And 16% will be off by more than $100,000. That means 1 in 6 Zestimates on a $500,000 house miss the mark by more than $100,000! And remember: Those are Zillow's numbers, not mine.

I also wonder at the comment that you "saved the 3% on the purchase price PLUS the standard negotiated amount." Congratulations on saving the 3%. But there is no "standard negotiated amount." Some sellers don't negotiate at all. Others can be negotiated down by 5%, 10%, or even more.

As far as people being empowered, that's great. If a potential buyer wants a list of comps, or similar properties on the market, or withdrawn listings, most Realtors are glad to provide that information. I fully understand that you'd like direct access to that information. (There's a great thread from a few months ago on Trulia about that.) The point I'm making is that, until that day comes, all a potential buyer has to do is ask, and they'll get the information.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 13, 2008
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Dear Concerned,

I think you are coming across a bit harsh. It's okay that you might be a bit naive to the real estate field but you should be ready for battle when you throw down the guantlet.

You may not realize it but REALTORS have to complete specialized schooling called Pre-License and then pass a State Exam to get licensed, then complete Post-License, and then take 15 Continuing Education Credits every 2 years to maintain their license. I don't think car salesmen have to do that. We are Professionals with integrity.

The thing I don't understand about people that share your views is that buying a home is one of the biggest investments most people will ever make; Why would you trust that to a collective data base that is situated in an 1800 SF building crammed with cubicles and people trying to get real estate professionals to subscribe for services in a place that probably isn't even near your city??? How would they know first hand the market in your area and the factors contributing to it?

I bet you didn't even know that there is a difference between a Licensee and a REALTOR? Did you know that there are different types of relationships that are offered to you? Did you know that brokerages often seek compensation from the sale, meaning that in most cases the Seller offers to pay the Selling Agency's commission. So as the buyer, did you really save a commission??? Or did you just fail to get representation when purchasing your new home and making this huge investment???

So as many of the previous answers suggested; would you perform your own dental work, surgeries, auto repairs, electrical work, make major investments in the stock market or even file your taxes by yourself? Most real estate agents are independent contractors who are subject to splits with their brokerage, licensing fees, E&O insurance, MLS dues, advertising fees, desk fee, fees for maintaining their designations, gas, etc.... Did you know the average REALTOR in the United States makes just under $15K per year. So I ask you again to revisit your accusation and arm yourself with knowledge about what it is that we really do before attacking the career that we CHOOSE. We are educated and knowledgeable professionals who love this field of work.

We would not discourage you from trying things on your own, but we are here when you need help getting real estate matters done!!! Just out of curiousity what career field are you in?

5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 13, 2008
Will you go on to filling your own teeth and giving yourself a hair cut too? I am sure you could save some money, assuming you didn't run into any unexpected issues.

I'm not scared because I know that folks who undestand what CAN happen in a real estate transaction will pay me to help insure that those troublesome things DON'T happen.

And yep, I still plan to go to the dentist to have my wisdom teeth taken care of. Or do you think I should let my husband have a look at them? He already has the plyers and I save the instructions I found on the internet!
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 13, 2008
Non of your Links back up your earlier all

Back this up...This is the statement you are making

"Meg, you are 100% correct about the lack of integrity in a "dual agency" situation- that's why most states have removed that option. To start a transaction representing a seller, then *oops* decide to renege is ridiculous for both buyers and sellers. That it nets the listing agent BOTH sides of the commission is the underlying reason that real estate agents participate in the practice. "

What links?

The DOJ & Wikipedia? those are the only links you have provided.

This is what is wrong with Trulia, People just making such untrue statements. You have argued nothing.
You have demonstrated nothing.

I have told of when Dual agency can work and so has Sylvia.

I am amazed a Broker would make such statements, and then when asked to back it up, NOT, and say she has.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 14, 2008
Mr.P, Other/Just Looking in Arizona
My point was that most of the public doesn't get it, such as when they make statement like we can't work to get both the highest and the lowest price. In dual agency the agent DOESN'T work for both, neither does the seller work for both when the have both sides.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 13, 2008
I just met a buyer, who sold FSBO, and is now looking to purchase with the help of a Realtor. As I hear about the sale transaction, I know there were many mistakes made which led to a lower price. I suspect the closing will not happen timely, based upon what I am hearing. The FSBO sellers think they did well; I know they did not. Do I say anything? Should I? I have not. I have concentrated on helping them buy....all the while being mindful that their closing will probably be delayed.

If I tell them they did not do well, I will only strain or terminate our relationship with me acting as their buyer agent. What good will it do to make them feel bad? I can't fix the problems in their sale. They think their attorney will handle things, that I have never once seen an attorney handle.

Many of us have seen buyers or sellers conclude their own transactions, totally unaware of the oversights. Simply because you hear a story of how someone "saved"....doesn't mean they really did.

Some sellers and buyers are perfectly capable of closing a real estate deal as well as they could have w/ an agent. It simply isn't always the case, and for anyone to suggest that it is, is irresponsible.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 11, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
u are so obvious
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
Options Realty,
Do you plan to refund your clients money that you collected since 1984 since you "ripped them off" with overcharges? As you represent your current posts and you current positions, you owe your past clients a refund. You can't have it both ways. Either you provided worthwhile services or you did not, which is it?
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
I don't think LI is the only place that states buyer compensation, when it isn't stated in the coop, or that has exclusive buyer agency contracts. If you look at, which is predominately NOT Long Island based agents, they discuss EBAs frequently. But that said, MLS now requires a stated percent in the buyer agency field, other than 0 or negotiable.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
Ya know what - if it's so inflamatory - and you can see right through the act like all of you claim - then why are you answering?
Because, Myke, CC said that of the 308 responses here, only one agent seems to "get it". And that's nonsense.

And since when is it okay to respond only if we agree with the posted question? Some of the best discussions on these boards have been because someone didn't agree.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 25, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
That's all you got now? What I said is based on a fact (since that is how I bought my home) and what you said about your client not being able to see a home without a Buyer's agent is 100% false. So why do I need to work as an agent to know that. All I have to have is common sense... which is something you apparently lack so you resort to using things like "STFU" haha. Good one.
All you have is your own buying experience. Get back to me after you've dealt with 20 or 30 or 40 buyers. Should take you a couple of years. Good luck. Get crackin'.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 6, 2008
Elvis - not *all* the information comes from realtor's.
Some of it, especailly relating to past sales history, taxes, etc - come from public records.
True, some of it comes from tax records... but those records don't include any accurate information about quality of the home, room count, days on market, price reductions.... well, you get the idea. And there's no way that cook county is going to begin adding that information.

Regarding available information on zillow, trulia and the like, Realtors play a critical role, today, in supplying that info. Will that change in a year.... doubtful. 5 years from now.... who knows... Everything changes so quickly in the electronic age... I'm not willing to attempt to predict the 5 year future of ANY profession.

what I can predict, is that Realtors will still be here, in some form or another, as they have been for many generations. Will the model have changed, or be changing....? Assuredly. I'll be excited to see the shape it takes. But to bring us back to the original question.... am I scared?? Absolutely not, I'm invigorated. Bring it on.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 6, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
I think we're all in agreement that the face of real estate is changing, and we either have to change with it or die. The generational issue that Myke raises is legitimate, and we'll have to morph to service those that cut their teeth on the internet, and know nothing else.

When Al Gore first invented the internet, everyone said that it was the death knell for Realtors. It wasn't, in fact it brought us buyers who were much closer to their purchase, and much more knowledgeable about what they needed, wanted and could afford.

The other thing that I think a lot of people fail to take into consideration - is that all of the information on Zillow, Trulia and other free internet access websites is supplied by Realtors. Without Realtors, that information would dry up, as there would be nobody to input objective information on the listing, sale and close of the properties. We certainly couldn't count on the information pulled from the tax records for accuracy.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 6, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Hi All!

This is an interesting question. In an open debate, different people have different opinions and there is NO reason to attack or insult each other. Let's try to keep it civil shall we? :)

For a re-fresher - our community guidelines are here:


Social Media Guru at Trulia
4 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 5, 2008
The people who scream profanities, and call people leaches are not my clients and never will be. At some time, one of them may choose to buy a property where I represent the seller, but they can find their own agent. I won’t represent them. If I found myself to later be engaged with this type of client, I would find them a new agent and dismiss them.

I listen carefully to my clients and the public at large for communications which are civil, well thought out, and objective. If I called my bank and got customer service on the phone and start calling them leaches and rip off artists, how long would it be before disconnected the call? If I called the ad dept at the newspaper, or the customer service dept at the phone company and screamed names, all in the name that they owe it to me to subject themselves to my vulgar rant because I paid them as a customer. I don’t think so. So, if that does not cut it, why do you think condescending posts with name calling and profanity from unidentified strangers is acceptable?

I want to start a blog and invite all of you to comment about how we can make the real estate transaction better. There’s a catch. You don’t have to agree with me, nor any other poster, but you can’t swear, or name call; and civility rules. In other words, if you can communicate like a rationale adult, I want to help you spread your thoughts on improving the real estate transaction.

From your post…..“Scared yet”, “outrageous commissions”, see your commission plummet”, “ripping people off”. Do you really think you this is the choice dialog of effective communication and getting your message heard? You might feel empowered because you sang a rant from your soap box, but you won’t effectively reach people with that level of insult. If your goal was to insult, you accomplished. If your goal was to puff your rant, you accomplished. But, you haven’t contributed viable suggestions that would make real estate transactions better for buyers and sellers.

I assume you only wanted to insult and vent, but I still remain baffled…..why do you want to do this? You want to bond with strangers on Trulia that hate Realtors? It’s just kind of a weird thing to do…in my opinion. It also probably isn’t in Trulia’s mission statement to attract Realtor bashers that encourage potential worthwhile Voices contributors and/or paying customers to leave.

I don’t like wrestling, but I don’t seek out wrestling sites and blogs where I can tell them that I think wrestling is barbaric and stupid. It would just be an illogical choice of how to invest my time and energy. (I actually have no opinion on wrestling whatsoever, and that was purely illustrative.)

I don’t like Tupperware parties, but I don’t seek and find blogs or chat rooms to tell them it’s silly to get together and look at plastic dishes. It would just be an illogical choice of how to invest my time and energy.

So, why do people who are anti-Realtor want to come to a real estate site and invest oodles of energy being hostile, sling mud, and raise their own blood pressure? It’s a mind boggling thing to me that this is a fun, interesting hobby or meaningful experience to you.

Anthony came back online….but he didn’t answer the questions I asked. Although, he must not ever travel to Jersey, because we have lots of full time gas attendants here…, two or more at every station in the whole state.

I still want someone to answer why Anthony shows up to simply call people leaches. I really can’t make any logical sense of it. Do you, cc, have an answer? Do you, Anthony, have an answer?
4 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 5, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ

Trulia invests in promoting Voices at Realtor conventions and meetings, asking Realtors to participate. It’s obviously in Trulia’s business plan to include Realtors. Their content (Voices and listing data) and revenue (branded listings, banners, etc.) are heavily based upon Realtor support. Why would you come here if you, as a consumer, were not interested in Realtor input?

I understand the consumer that has a question for the public or Realtors and comes to Trulia. What a great place for consumers to come and get responses to whatever is on their mind. Their question could be about radon, choosing an agent, market data for an area. Realtors, other RE Pros, or consumers may all provide valuable input and responses that aid the question poster. I am mind boggled by the people who invest time and energy to visit a site when the participants, content, data, and purpose is contrary to their personal beliefs. Call me crazy.....but I just don't invest my time and energy that way.

I generally don't respond to your type of posts for that reason. I have nothing to contribute that you will value. I derive no gratification from arguing for no purpose.

So, my reason for posting today is curiosity. Why are you here? What is the purpose of coming here to sling mud and call people leeches? Really, what's the reason you choose to do something like that? What benefit do you derive from this?

I understand that you have the right to your opinion. I understand the right to free speech. I would consider your post in violation of Trulia’s community guidelines, and it may be subject to removal. I am not asking you to defend your right to your own opinion. I already accept your opinion. Given that as a fact, my question, is what is your purpose for investing your time and energy at a site built around Realtor content? It’s an illogical choice and I really don’t get it. So, I am asking.

I am here because I am a Realtor and real estate is my life. I learn from others, develop contacts, and share info. Other consumers have questions, and they gain insight from the answers. Other Realtors are probably here for the same reason as I. So, what’s in it for you? This is your idea of fun? There has to be now, or soon coming, some psych books on online behaviors. A book is probably more info than I want…….an article by a psychologist on this subject might be interesting to read.

4 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 5, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ

Please provide data to support your claim that consumers are currently using electronic lockboxes and the statistical projections that support your projection that such will be common in 20/30 months. Who makes these lockboxes? Who is behind the company that markets these lockboxes? How does a consumer get one? Does the consumer undergo a security or finger print check? Are you saying that any consumer can just get an electronic key box and enter any home? Where is this happening now?

4 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 5, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
I've always loved this part: >>>>and they get a negtiator>>>> (spelled negotiator)

Actually, it's one of the worst systems on the planet ...

How does a consumer know what, if and how anything was really negotiated.?

Keep in mind, the easiest person to work is the ~ "buyer".

The real estate "negotiation" system is very flawed - and always has been .. it's just that things are just finally catching up to a system that was obsolete 10 years ago.

Stop and think about for a moment ... you the buyer, is hiring a stranger to do the negotiation .. the offer is going to be transported via a 2 minute phone call and a fax -- where's the negotiation part.?

The listing agent receives it and will send it, and discuss it with the seller over another 2 minute phone call ... and the seller will make a quick decision based on all of the information that was gathered by him through the listing agent 30 days ago - and 30 minutes ago ...

Where's the negotiation part.? .. it's either yeah or neh, but, the buyer wants another $79,000 - but you weren't there, so you don't know what was said .. or how it was said.

This, all coming off a 7 year stint in California and Florida were agents just haggled over the "highest" offers on a Sunday .. getting a $3,000 discount on a $380,000 home was like finding the Holy Grail, or so consumers were led to believe ... plus, you had lenders that were buying dead people with a pulse -- certainly no negotiation there ....

- and we now know those days are over - way over.

Think about it ... would you send your golfing buddy, or your uncle or your dad to your next job interview at Cisco Systems or Adobe Systems or the Mayo Clinic .. I don't think so.

So .. why would send a perfect stranger (thats on straight commission) into a situation to negotiate *your* largest, most expensive purchase and monthly payment in your life. ...?

Scary, ain't it....?

4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 4, 2008
To Realtors Suck,

We can compare ourselves to Drs and Lawyers some of us do have degrees and Masters and have the same loans to pay that they do. Some of us do have degrees in Economics and I personally know 2 Rocket Scientists from JPL that now do Real Estate that live in Dana Point.

Sounds more like you regret having gone to college and could have just been a Realtor off a cereal box. Maybe you were really stupid then and could be making all the "Big Bucks" we do, fact is you know we do not make big bucks or you would be a Realtor yourself since this thread keeps implying we are in it for the money. You would not have been a Dr or Lawyer if it wasn't for the money either, don't even try to tell me I'm wrong since I see it in most of my friends!
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 4, 2008
I understand what you are saying, however I have been a Realtor for about 20 years and I have found that in most cases people want a professional to handle transactions that deal with their most expensive or beloved possessions. In all areas of business there will always be the "do-it-yourself-er" but for most of us we turn to the Professional who does this exclusively. It's not so much about how much commission you pay, but what goes in your pocket in the end. Statistics prove that on average, a seller using a professional Realtor gets a bigger net at close. Each person has to make that choice. As for me, I will never be afraid of For Sale By Owners. I don't discount my worth or my services. Its a choice.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 4, 2008
Jennifer, I guess you have not read all my replies. For the 100th time - I KNOW that I made more money when I sold my house myself than what I would have gotten if I had to pay the realtor's commission. I also KNOW that I saved money when I bought my new home without a realtor. I KNOW that by comparing the price per square foot on comparable properties that were sold before and after both of my transactions. And I am not talking about an insignificant amount. We are talking about THOUSANDS of dollars on both transactions.

So buyers and sellers who are reading this - it CAN be done. Take it from me - I am just a regular guy that has interest in real estate and saving money in exchange for some work. YES, it requires some work on your part, but the work that I put in can be translated into HUNDREDS per HOUR and I definitely do not mind that.

Of course all the agents on here will try to scare you saying they are the only ones that can get you the best price both buying and selling. That's because they know that the change is here and they do not like it and choose to perpetuate the myths of buying and selling. They all compare themselves to doctors and lawyers which is ridiculous because as other have mentioned, it is very easy to become a realtor. No, I would not go to a Vet to get a surgery but Yes, I would and I do work on my car. See the difference? To become a doctor it takes years and years of training, to become a car mechanic takes a few months maybe. Same exact thing with realtors. ANYBODY can become one.

There are a couple good realtors in this discussion that might actually know something about real estate. The rest know as much or even less than me and I do not claim to be a real estate professional. In any case, we as clients have a choice and we should not be scared by realtors claiming that they have some devine power to get us the best price possible. It is simply not true.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 4, 2008
Yes I totally agree to 90210 ... Realtors should not be comparing themselves to Doctors and Lawyers, etc ... however, I spend about $50,000 a year just advertising homes - that number doesn't include what my Broker spends ... it's that money that brings in Buyers to look at the homes listed with Realtors - making the Seller more money for their home

If you take the 6% (which isn't always the number of the commission) and break in down into 4 even sides (listing agent, listing broker, selling agent & selling broker) - most Realtors only make 1.5% ... then take that 1.5% and break it does into advertising, health insurance, cell phone, car (don't forget the cost of gas), etc - what is it that we really make? Now granted, in different part of the US there are Realtors that do a lot less work - but where I sell in South Jersey, it's the Realtor that does everything (ex: clear title, negotiate inspections, handle repairs, etc.) - it's 100% service for the money with nothing for the Seller to do but pack and move

90210's complaint seems to be that he was the one that worked to raise the price of the property - but if it wasn't for the Realtors bringing Buyers into that neighborhood - would there really had been the demand for his particular property - raising it to the price that he received? If it wasn't for the Realtors proving to people over and over again the value of real estate, he may have not had equity in his home because there would be no value ... after all, didn't a Realtor help sell that last comp bringing in and up the value of the homes?

I don't sell million dollar homes, nor do I work with high end clients - I work with as 90210 would say common folk that appreciate the level of service I provide and the level of service they receive for their money ... they are thankful for the extra I get them at the table, because they know they got the most they could

Perhaps I'm different, but I would never post something online that I didn't really know anything about but just wanted to post an opinion ... Please don't group all Realtors together - I do have a college degree, but decided I wanted to help people instead of just putting money in my own pocket ... I make less selling Real Estate then I would have working in the field of my degree ... but I guess no one would understand why unless they were actually sitting at the table and saw the smiles on the faces of the Buyers and Sellers!
Web Reference:
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 3, 2008
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