Home Buying in Palo Alto>Question Details

Matthew Hold…, Real Estate Pro in Menlo Park, CA

What are your thoughts on this article about the importance of Real Estate Agents? Do you share the articles view point or do you disagree? Why?

Asked by Matthew Holder, Menlo Park, CA Wed Sep 1, 2010


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Terri Vellios’ answer
Obviously as an agent I'm going to agree. Even when I've sold and bought my own homes in areas that I was not familiar I used an agent. There is huge value in the knowledge the agent has in the market, emotion filters, attention to contract details, and the list goes on. Something to consider in our area where we are talking about investments of $250,000 up to millions, it would be ludicrous to be penny wise and pound foolish. The ol' adage is true, "You don't know what you don't know". And that is where the risk lies.
Web Reference: http://terrivellios.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 1, 2010
Definitely agree that agents are necessary for most people, but I don't think their value-add warrants full commission in the self-help era of the internet. I've paid full commission and not paid full commission. Zero difference in result, probably even more so now with lots of very, very hungry agents. I totally disagree with the stuff about how they are supposed to be more ethical because they are licensed professionals with a fiduciary duty to put the clients' interest above their own. Their incentives do not align with their clients' (buyers' especially, but sellers' too). With the exception of Mother Teresa, that fact is going influence them to work against your interest in many, perhaps most, cases though they will vehemently deny that to you and themselves. I'm not saying they are bad people or unethical -- just human, and if you don't recognize this going in, you'll not get the best deal you can.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 1, 2010
Terri could not have said it better. I wouldn't even think of buying a property in an area that I am not already familiar with without using a local agent, Even if I was buying or selling locally, I would hire an experienced agent in that area if I wasn't already licensed. The caveat, though, is to do your research and get a very, very good agent. Even if an agent is referred to me, I always check them out and ask a lot of questions before actually deciding to work with them. I am hiring them for their knowledge of the local market, their expertise, and their ability to negotiate and communicate well, and I want to make sure they are a good fit for what I am looking for.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 1, 2010
I don't think it communicates our value especially well . . .

For one thing, most of us don't just "show houses," we educate our buyers as to the quality of the finish work, the siting, neighborhood conditions, whether the location warrants upgrading, whether there is other potential or compromises with the home . . . to me, it's the difference between being a tourist with or without a guide. Oh, we missed the Eiffel Tower? How did that happen! Wish somebody would have told us!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 8, 2010
It is a clear, concise well written article but the most important point is in the last sentence, "it can really pay to have a professional on your side", the key word being "professional."

All to often, especially in the case of buyers, the potential buyer/seller does not do sufficient due diligence to insure the agent they are about to hire is a true "professional."

Many a time, the driving reason a person chooses to become a real estate agent is he/she has run out of options and thinks it is an easy job with great financial rewards. This is evidenced by the recent increase in real estate licenses nationwide. The professional agent, who has chosen real estate as a career vs. a job, constantly strives toward self improvement, whether through continuing education, beyond the required courses; or honest feedback from happy and not too happy clients, and demonstrates enthusiasm for the profession.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 8, 2010
I agree. A good agent can make things easier and a bad agent can make things much worse. I don't think you'd disagree with me on that one. Is it still worth paying 6% to a bad Realtor? Are agents really worth a $200,000 commission on the sale of a $4 Mil home? Do they add that much value to the transaction?
Web Reference: http://www.atlistings.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 8, 2010
Dear Matthew: I quickly reviewed the link, and honestly the answers are pretty trite. I've been a FSBO myself in the past, and the buyer did use his attorney to review the contract, and I used an attorney to help, too. The question is, what value does an Realtor bring to a deal versus doing a FSBO?. Why make it hard, if you can make it easy? The commission earned by a Realtor is minimal, and if someone buys without some kind of legal expertise, he's simply a fool. Why take an uneducated approach, when for a minimal amount (especially a buyer who rarely pays for the service at all) you can have someone who has studied the field? Let's do a quick comparison...if you broke your leg from a fall, would you just ice it and say to yourself, "it'll be fine." A few days later you can't walk because of the swelling and pain, but you decide to let the body heal itself. You cannot have xrays or get any kind of professional opinion, and basically try to let it mend without professional interference. It may not heal perfectly, and it may even get infected, and you may never be able to walk again. Hiring a Realtor is like getting educated help. The end results on a long term basis will assuredly be better. Some things are simply worth the money...and Realtors are one of those some things!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 7, 2010
I love this article. Of course everyone should use a Realtor. If you're a buyer the seller covers the commission in most cases. If you're the seller, your agent has better access and can, in my opinion, more efficiently market the home. With so many people out there asking questions about how to buy, how to sell, what their property is worth, etcetera, I think the question of whether a Reatlor is needed answers itself. Thanks for asking!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 1, 2010
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