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DC Insiders…, Real Estate Pro in Washington, DC

For buyers. What are you looking for in a Realtor?

Asked by DC Insiders Real Estate (Tom Gretz), Washington, DC Thu May 29, 2008

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Hello Tom,

I'll take a stab at answering your question. My wife & and I have found Realtors to be a touchy, possessive and territorial lot. Note the other question here about an agent who refuses to release her MLS listing. All the agents' answers are indignant, but then, they aren't the ones holding the valuable listing.

The last home we owned, a beach condo, from 1998 to 2006, we started shopping for while we were working overseas. When we finally came to town, we found that the agent we had been working with long distance was not quite what we were looking for. Especially, she didn't work/live in the area that we were interested in. When we let her go, in favor of more local beach agent, she had a fit, and called "foul play" in so many words.

And, in the end, it was WE who found the condo ourselves (not our new beach agent), by driving around visiting Sunday open houses. Our beach agent then took over on our behalf and split the 6% with the listing agent.

Two years ago, when we decided to sell our property, many Realtors came around hoping to represent us. Our original beach agent was quite upset that we didn't automatically chose him. He had always been so friendly up to that moment. Our next door neighbor and friend, who was the original seller's agent, assumed that since we were friends, and that she had already represented the sellers in '98, that we would pick her. When we didn't, she simply turned away from us.

In the end, this was just before the market fell, at it's peak, we sold the condo without an agent, in 4 days, to another next door neighbor. We didn't list the condo, and just discounted him 6% from our first asking price. We were all happy, and no Realtors were used on either side.

So now we are buyers again (Camano Island) We are again overseas for a couple more months. And we are wondering how to tackle the sticky "Realtor issue". My wife points out that if an agent shows us his company's listings, than what incentive does he have to get the price down for us? His company represents the seller.

To me there is just something goofy about real estate agent etiquette that locks either the seller or buyer to one Realtor. When you are shopping for a car, you don't have to commit to the one local Chevy dealer. No, you shop around to see who gets you the best deal. I don't understand why buying or selling real estate should be any different.

Tom, this is probably way more than you asked for. But, I'll look forward to the feedback.

Best regards,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 30, 2008
You make some good points. I think what you're getting with a good agent is knowledge, experience and negotiation. Many people find their own home online or by driving around, but that doesn't mean they can get the best price or terms on it.

I'm just curious, why did you discount your price by 6%? If you were just giving the neighbors a "no agent deal" you should have only discounted 3% as that would probably have been the buyer's agent portion. If you had listed with an agent, how do you know that agent couldn't have gotten a higher price for the property to begin with? How did you come up with your asking price?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 22, 2008
I think I should re-post my answer to you in a separate thread / question for Realtors to comment on, and to keep your thread clear for other buyers feedback to your original question.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 30, 2008
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