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Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558

Who works harder, the listing agent or the buyers agent? Why?

Asked by Ruthless, 60558 Wed Aug 29, 2007

I thought I'd stir the pot a little. But seriously, does the amount of work shift if it is a buyers market or a sellers market?

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The majority of my business is as a listing agent, however, I feel both are about equal. The difference is, as a listing agent, you do most of your work up front before you get into escrow. and as a buyer's agent, most of the work happens after you get into escrow.

I know that some agents will bring up all of the time spent showing buyers homes....but I put a limit to that. If I have assessed my clients needs properly, they should easily find a home with me in 1 or 2 outings. If not, they are no ready to buy or I am not a good fit with that client. I thank them, refer them to another agent if I can, and move on.
Web Reference: http://www.cindihagley.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 29, 2007
Cindi Hagley…, Real Estate Pro in San Ramon, CA
MVP'08
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I think it works out to be fairly equal and I do not think it shifts with the market. It really depends on the agent you end up working with. I have encountered listing agents who turn the deal over to a coordinator and you never hear from them again and as a buyers agent you end up running your legs off.

I have had transactions with buyers agents who threw the deal up against the wall and hope it stuck, many of them new agents with no clue what their role in the transaction was and I again ran my legs off doing their job to get the deal closed.

Then... all of a sudden you have a deal with a pro and it's a pleasure to have someone carrying their weight in the transaction.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 29, 2007
Listings are the high-leverage,maximum-earning oppurtunity in our industry. Conventionally, your income from having a listing sell is no different than closing on a similarly priced home for a buyer. What seperates the two is the ammount of time necessary to work them. a highly productive agent could obtain 15-20 listings per month. The same agent would be hard pressed to sell homes to seven or eight buyers a month for a prolonged period of time. So you should be able to secure and sell as many as two to three listings for every buyer you could sell.
So it is not who works harder but who works smarter.
Web Reference: http://www.teamrenton.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 30, 2007
I am totally with Jennifer. It really depends on the kind of clients you have and their motivation; whether they are buyers or sellers and the property that is involved.

Even though I can say it's not easy to be a listing agent now a days, especially since we have been so spoiled in that respect before, but it is also not easy to be a buyers agent - a lot of buyers are looking and waiting or want a 'great' deal; also, how do you like to be the buyers agent whose clients' loan fell through at the last minute due to no fault of the client?

Like everything in real estate, there is no easy answer to anything. That's why real estate is interesting to me. Ultimately, just like Jennifer, I work very hard for all my clients because I want happy clients; sellers or buyers.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 29, 2007
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Novato, CA
MVP'08
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I definately think the amount of work shifts depending on who's controlling the market. In a buyer's market, I think you work harder for both sides. In a seller's market it all seems so much easier.

If you have the buyer, you look at more houses, you have to negotiate harder, it is more stressful because buyers want to make low offers (so you have to make more offers) or they need to learn the hard way to make a decent offer.

If you have the seller in a buyer's market, you have to do way more advertising, (website, adwords, newspaper, re mags, open houses, brokers open) more money spent, more thorough feedback, more time on phone, yada yada yada. Then buyers want a bargain.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 29, 2007
In a sellers' market, if you have listings, you can usually sell them with little work, fairly quickly; however representing a buyer in a buyers market, the buyers think and rethink everything they do. While it is good to have the buyers, it can be a very time-consuming business.
Now, if you have buyers in a sellers market, I think you work harder because you have to be on top of the market every minute so that you don't lose a house for your buyer. You can wind up putting in many offers on numerous properties as bidding wars frustrate and aggrivate both buyers and their agents. And, being a listing agent in a buyers market is pretty much torture! You spend a lot of money on advertising and have to fight with most sellers to get reductions.
Web Reference: http://www.dianeglander.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 29, 2007
This has been answered to death but I wanted to chime in. The real difference between buyers agents and sellers agents is Luck and Hard work. Your right this isn't a difference at all. The majority of work in this business is finding the customers, not servicing them. By marketing enough, then weeding through the poor leads, you then find the gold. It's a shame when agents get so wrapped up in their marketing efforts or bogged down in transaction details that their customer service, what they are actually paid for, suffers. The best agents stay involved in every deal but leave the details to an assistant. They are always available and up to speed and have time to talk!

Both sides require significant effort and excellent communication and negotiation skills. Unfortunately these skills are not taught or tested for prior to becoming a realtor and it's easy to spot the agents that are lacking. Ruth is right that a discount brokerage can be successful or even better than many mediocre agents. A discount brokerage has no chance against a highly skilled professional. The reason this is all up for debate is that it's too easy to get a realtors license and it's now up to the customer to determine who is worth the commission and who isn't. A task most customers are qualified for.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 1, 2007
OK, here I go. I wrote this first thing this morning before logging onto Trulia. Luckily, what I have read today leads me to believe I won't be chastised for writing this.

It's interesting how all these threads relate and how they lead to other conversations. It's wonderful to see agents unite on issues and other times debate. It's curious to see differing responses based on regional facts verses personal opinions. But best of all is being enlightened when you are wrong.

I was called devilish for asking this question. I admitted I was stirring the pot. I questioned myself if I had an ulterior motive. And I was enlightened for being wrong. I was wrong in the fact that I wasn't stirring the pot and that the agents united on their responses. The little white angel Ruth sitting on my right shoulder will tell you my ulterior motive was to unite the agents after reading the thread on commission splits. My mind works in a curious way in that I know I am getting at something but I don't know what it is yet. It could be to help you clarify to clients why you earn your commission or it could be to widen your perspective of the other side of your own case. Just as clients might only focus on the price aspect of a contract, do you have tunnel vision when you are acting in the different roles of buyer vs listing agent? (Rhetorical question to ask yourself.)

The little red devil Ruth sitting on my left shoulder apparently had a different ulterior motive in asking this question. First, I must give some background. When I bought the house in Oak Park, I used BuySide Realty (a commission rebate company similar to RedFin). I had a signed Buyer's Agent contract with my favorite trusted agent in the La Grange area. She knew we were looking all over the Chicagoland area and our agreement both written and understood was for the local area. When a local offer was rejected, we moved on to our second choice an Oak Park home. BuySide Realty not only asked if I had worked with any agents, but they required that I fax my agreement and that my agent verify that she was not the procuring cause for the property. They then required my bank's pre-approval letter and contacted the loan officer for verification. Once all the "i"s were dotted and the "t"s crossed, BuySide contacted the listing agent to let us see the home. We were quite shocked to be greeted by the homeowner and not the listing agent who was from Naperville (twice as far as La Grange from Oak Park). We used the homeowner to gather information that we would not have discovered if the agent had been there.

In the interest of trying to keep this from being a lengthy case study, let me cut to the chase. BuySide Realty DID all the HARD WORK that agents protest about in posts such as the guy who asked for a kickback or the many "should I have a buyers agent?" questions. The listing agent on the other hand made the seller or the seller's attorney do all the work. Since we had never met or spoken with the listing agent, we just assumed that he was a "discounter" or "flat fee listing" (even though he's with a top National full-service franchise office) and that this was the arrangement he had with the seller. Imagine our shock when the HUD statement showed he was collecting MORE than the NORM for FULL service and the co-broke was for the norm. I don't know if it was out of curiosity or suspicion but looked up his license. He had previously had a disciplinary action against him. When the rehab was complete, the former owners of twenty years came to an Open House. I politely asked why they used an out of town agent. She said she interviewed several local agents and didn't have a good feel about them. A friend recommended this Naperville agent to them.

The MORAL of the story:
Don't assume a discount service doesn't pull their own weight in their responsibilities and don't assume an agent is going to do everything that is implied by paying a "full service" commission.

Thank you for reading,
Ruth
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 30, 2007
Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558
MVP'08
Ruth, It's not only about how hard each side works, it's about how successful you are for your clients. In this market, the 100 hours per transaction is about correct. What's frustrating is not correctly qualifying clients and eventually wasting 100 hours of time. You can never make that up in this market.

As your own listing agent, I think you should be able to chime in here. How many hours have you worked, not including on Trulia ;-) As compared to the time you took to choose your home? That includes creating your websites, researching comparable sales, and additional marketing. How many times have you shown your home? And did any offers fall through...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 29, 2007
I represent both buyers and sellers and the truth is, it really depends a lot on the client and the property. Some buyers and sellers keep their eye on the ball and make our job so much easier. Some properties fly off the shelf and others require more time and effort marketing and showing.

I honestly don't care about the workload - I just want happy clients when all is said and done.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 29, 2007
On average I put fewer hours in with successful buyers; say less than a hundred hours on average. Including search, negotiation and escrow. My Listings have averaged a little over 100 hours of work each.
I have sold 70 to 80% of my listings in the past fifteen years. Only about 60 -70% of buyer prospects eventually bought something. Because a higher percentage of lisitngs turned to commissions and (this is super important - new buyer leads came in off those listings) . I would prefer a salable listing to a qualified buyer even in this market. ER, Um, no - I want them both!

As far as the hardness not just the number of hours, Its nearly a toss - up there too. I'd still prefer lisitngs even if there was no difference in the resulting economic value to myself.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 29, 2007
Jim Walker, Real Estate Pro in Carmichael, CA
MVP'08
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Scott:
Thank you for chiming in. "The majority of work in this business is finding the customers, not servicing them." That is way you have to provide exceptional customer service because then the customers will come to you through referrals.
Ruth
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 1, 2007
Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558
MVP'08
The old saying "it depends" doesn't only apply to lawyers. Some transacations are less time consuming than others but it has more to do with the condition of the house and the personality of the buyer and seller than it does listing or buying agent roles. Another way to think of it is this, a well experienced agent is like a surgeon. Would you define their abilities by the amount of time in the operating room o whether the procedure is successful. I like to think I work smarter more often than harder.
Web Reference: http://www.rememberkim.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 29, 2007
Unfortunately Gary, I worked more when I had a listing agent than I'm doing now. I think the main point is wasted time. I think the buying and selling are equal when they are successful. But as Jim said, more listings are successful than buyers. I don't think rejected listing presentations are nearly as bad as a buyer that never buys. It will be interesting to see if the increase in expired listings will throw the balance.

Everyone has made very good points.
Ruth
Web Reference: http://www.oak-park-il.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 29, 2007
Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558
MVP'08
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