Why is an agent necessary?

Asked by Myke, 89449 Mon May 19, 2008

From what i've gathered, there is very little that most agents do - that a person armed with even basic information could not accomplish on thier own.
That raises the question - why do buyers need agents? Why do sellers even need agents?
no offence to all you "pros" out there, but i really am left scratching my head on this one.

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Answers

67
Jason Schwab, , Austin, TX
Wed May 21, 2008
BEST ANSWER
I think there are a lot of DIYers out there who feel like this and I understand but beg to differ. When buyers are looking to spend six figures on the largest investment in their life it behoves them to talk with a professional. In every contract there are several negotiating factors that add up to lots of money. How will you know how to price an attractive offer without a thorough understanding of the market? Will you be paying for the seller's closing cost or the survey? Probably so if you dont know where to address these specific issues in a state promulgated contract. How do you know that you've seen enough homes to buy one before you do? You wont be able to find quality deals, sound investments or awesome homes simply by driving around. I could go on and on but the best reason to work with an agent is because our expertise is FREE!!!!!!!! We make money from the listisng agent or home seller. If you are a buyer it cost you nothing. Why wouldnt you is my question to you?

Trulia.com is an ok sight because it creates discussion but the value presented herin are not accurate. I dont care what anyone says. They are based on old data. Realtors have up to date accurate data. Back in the day Realtors controlled information and that would be the one sentence answer to your questions. Now the cat is out of the bag a little bit and more market info is out there. Now we make our business based on service to buyers and sellers. My brokerage firm has a two word job description: help people. I can see you rolling your eyes now but I take this seriously and my busines reflects that.

I hope this helped answer questions without sounding too combative.
Web Reference:  http://www.jbgoodwin.com
4 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Tue May 20, 2008
Myke,

An agent isn't necessary. Rather we're available for those who would like to use our services. There's no reason why a buyer couldn't locate and purchase a home without an agent. There's no reason a seller couldn't list FSBO and sell their house.

Not everyone feels comfortable handling the arguably, single most important purchase/sale of their lives, without the help of someone who knows the process inside and out. Someone who knows the pitfalls, and how to avoid them, someone who can optimize the process.

And for those people, agents are available in many shapes and forms. FreeMLS, FlatFeeMLS, Limited Service, RebateAgents, all the way to full-service agents.

For those of you who are scratching your head with Mike, perhaps using an agent would be a mistake. But for many people out there, approaching this sale without an agent would be, at best, difficult.
6 votes
Tman, , 30642
Wed May 21, 2008
Welcome to "realtor world" 101 Myke .l.o.l...

>>>>>.."it has only been during the course of this thread that my distaste for the real estate industry"..>>>>>


It's Wednesday the 21st, your first post was on Monday ..

46 posts and you're still hanging in there, you're a brave one Myke ... most posters don't last a day after 20 agents pound the daylights out of them -- protect the nest and all that rubbish at the cost of the consumer.

You're one of many consumers that come to Trulia for information, confidence - and some truth ..... Well .. you see what their response is, and it's usually from the same 3 agents - can we spell "fear and panic.?"

I don't have a problem with agents - never have, I've worked with dozens of them .. I've bought and sold massive amounts of property in 4 states for 29 years this month, read my profile ..

The one thing you find out quickly, (*hopefully very quickly*) there is a huge difference between truly good agents and the bad agents --- the less than average agents, the bad ones are in huge abundance and the good ones are very few and far between.

And the truly good ones.? .. thats a very simple answer .. they're telling the truth and they're out working right now, they're with a consumer..

They're certainly not spending 8/10 hours of their day pounding the keys of their computer on Trulia trying to prove something to somebody ...

Myke, this is a great post from a realtor that posted here today ... he can probably explain it better:

----- In addition to this, some Realtors are desperate and starving and desperation breeds some bad behaviors. Until fairly recently, for the last 15 or so years it really didn't take much hard work or talent to sell homes...all you had to do was put a sign in the yard and throw it on the MLS. As the result, every Tom, Jane and soccer mom got a real estate license and called themselves an agent. It got so bad that there were even a bunch of "Part Time agents"...can you imagine, trusting what is for 95% of Americans their largest investment to someone who only works part time?

----- Unfortunately, the gravy train over the last decade or so lead to a lot of sloppy real estate practices. Not the least of these was that the vast majority of agents never invested in their professional real estate education and continuing development beyond the classes that taught them how to get their license. This lead to the slop CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). While Realtors and Real Estate agents (Yes, there is a difference) are usually not appraisers, it's important to have a Realtor who understands how to properly assist and advise a seller in determining reasonable market value and quite honestly...there are many agents who don't know how to do this properly.

----- Some will give an overinflated valuation in order to get the listing when competing against other agents. This of course does neither the agent or the seller any good because the property languishes on the market becoming stale as the agent has to continually waste more of the sellers time by asking for price reductions. Even worse are the agents that just don't understand how to do a proper CMA for home valuation. They just don't know what criteria to use to get as accurate a valuation as possible.


Myke, I've watched consumers get pummeled for 29 years .... do you wonder why consumers today have little or no respect and will research long and hard, negotiate all of their commissions, and then verify verify verify everything that was said...

Much like travel agents and car sales .. goes the way of the real estate agent.



: ^)
3 votes
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Tue May 20, 2008
Great - you went to college - you're the only one?

Again - you want to compare yourself to a dr or lawyer - talk to me when you've gone through med school or law school - and get your state certification.

Beyond that - it's just ego.
3 votes
John Brassner, Agent, Las Vegas, NV
Tue May 20, 2008
Hi Myke, that is a very fair question. Finding listings is the easy part with the Internet age (although there is a lot of information in an MLS listing that isn't made public). What the public information won't do for you is:
1. Negotiate the best deal on a purchase (or sale)
2. Write a binding and effective purchase agreement
3. Help steer you away from homes that may be "trouble."
4. Keep you out of legal trouble.
5. Coordinate with real humans that make the transaction happen such as listing agent, escrow officers, lender, appraiser, home inspectors, repairmen, attorneys (if in a closing attorney state), home warranty.
6. Help to interpret title issues (liens, rights, easements)
7. Make sure escrow HUDs (the form used to show all costs and who pays what) is accurate. I find mistakes in almost every one.
8. Ensure that all contractual or gov't mandated timeline items (HOA disclosures, due diligence, etc) are completed.
9. After care: Help with home warranty issues, recommend home repair/improvement tradespeople, HOA issues...
10. Jeez, buyer's agents are generally free to the buyer! Why wouldn't you use one?

Can you do all of the above yourself? Sure. Can you do it as good as an experienced, smart, conscientious agent? Nope.

John A. Brassner, MBA, Realtor Windermere Summerlin Real Estate Residential and Commercial
Cell Phone: 702-808-9816
Fax: 702-995-0488
Email: john@john4realty.com
3 votes
Lynne Marten…, Agent, Boerne, TX
Thu May 22, 2008
Myke,
I am so sorry you haven't found value in an agent and I hope you find a great one that changes your opinion. Agents have so many resources at their fingertips that saves you countless hours of self-searching. Not only that, they should be your trusted confident and help make important decisions that help you realize your goals.
2 votes
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Wed May 21, 2008
Eva - my question to you then is this.

Should a plumber, a housewife with a sewing machine, or an herbalist - or even the sandwhich shop guy with an interest in plastic surgery be selling houses as a real estate agent?

Cause - i'll let you in on a little secret.
In the last few years - a lot of exactly those people ARE real estate agents now. :)
2 votes
Tman, , 30642
Wed May 21, 2008
Food for thought - and a great article:


----- The real estate agent’s recommendation, why question your agent’s recommendation of an inspector? M-O-N-E-Y. The real estate agent only makes a commission if you, the buyer, actually purchase the house. This can, and does cloud their thinking. While there are many honest and conscientious agents in the real estate world, there are too many unscrupulous agents. Pay careful attention to why and how you stand to be duped and otherwise harmed by the agent’s actions. What follows is list of ways ‘your’ agent will ‘lead’ you to a particular inspector that will ‘help’ the agent to convince you to actually purchase the home after it is inspected. The agent simply says “Call this inspector, he is really good” or “I use him all the time”. When you rely solely on this recommendation, you are putting your trust in the person who only makes a commission ($) if you buy the house.

----- Or…the agent gives you a ‘list’ of 10-20 inspectors for you to choose from. This is fine if the city or town you are purchasing a home in only has 10-20 inspectors. If the city has 100-150 inspectors and you are being given a list of 10-20 inspectors, be very concerned. No matter whom you choose on the list, that inspector is one of a group that the agent wants you to choose from. The list of inspectors may have a disclaimer on it that says ‘This is not the complete list of inspectors available in this area’ or something similar. However, make no mistake, you are being steered to one of the inspectors on the list. Why? There are many reasons why. We’ll talk about a few of them here. It could be that the inspector, without premeditation, performs a sub-standard inspection. He/she is just not experienced or lacks the skill-set to perform an inspection that protects you, the homebuyer. It might be that the inspector is an ‘agents’ inspector. This is the inspector who performs a minimal inspection and verbally downplays their findings so that they can continue to get recommendations from real estate agents. There may be a subtle, yet substantial, financial benefit to the agent.

----- Agents have often recommended an inspector or provided a list of inspectors that have
errors & omissions insurance (E & O). This is a clever way for the agent to recommend a poorly performing inspector that won’t ‘kill their deal’ and then be able to say “Call your inspector, he’s got insurance” when the inspector does, in fact, do a lousy job at the inspection. What your agent won’t tell you is that many inspectors carry E & O insurance that protects the agent in the event of a lawsuit. How does this work? If you ‘choose’ an inspector who has an E & O insurance policy and the policy has a ‘rider’ or provision that pays for the agent’s E & O insurance or deductible, the agent can recommend an underperforming inspector and know that in the event of a lawsuit against the agent, for recommending the inspector and causing you, the buyer, to be led down the path that resulted in you buying a house with defects, there will be no costs, no financial penalties for having steered you to a particular inspector.

----- Yet another way agents steer homebuyers to or away from a particular inspector is to make verbal comments that the inspector is “not very good”, or “doesn’t know what he/she is doing”, or “he/she is an alarmist”. If you ever have your agent tell you this, ask for them to put this in writing and to give you the name of one or more of their past clients who actually hired the inspector the agent states is “not very good”.
http://abuyersinspector.com/buyers.htm



-
2 votes
The_Bayou, , Newton, MA
Tue May 20, 2008
I do hate the comparisons of real estate agents to attorneys or doctors. Just sounds so ignorant. Both a doctor and a lawyer have to prove knowledge before they ever bill a single dollar. My wife took a real estate course in one weekend, listed with a broker friends and collected a buyers side commission a few weeks later. She will tell you with all honesty that she had no experience, but realtors are not required to have any experience. This is the biggest problem facing the industry (or maybe second to the internet). Anybody can be a realtor if they are willing to put in a weekend and pay a check. Some of these unexperienced realtors give more experienced realtors a bad name. I assume that it is the inexperienced realtors that go on this site and write posts comparing themselves to some of the most education intensive occupations in this country. And no, I am not a doctor or a realtor.

You can go to Home Depot and get books on painting, but would you paint your bedroom without hiring a licensed painter? No! Then don't try to buy a house without a licensed real estate agent.
2 votes
Tman, , 30642
Tue May 20, 2008
Myke,

This is from 60 minutes last week ..

These folks are not one of few .. but one of many.

**60 Minutes
Chipping Away At Realtors' Six Percent
Lesley Stahl Reports How Realtors' Commission Fees Are Under Assault**
------

Read on:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/05/11/60minutes/main2790…



: ^)
2 votes
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Tue May 20, 2008
I appreciate the few of you who did not try to pull a high-and-mighty act with me.
You do raise a few valid points regarding things I may simply not want to deal with.


I think more to the point though - this thread ultimately raises my main problem with agents.
I ask a simple question. I get a handful of simple and thoughtful answers - and I get a handful of people essentially telling me i'm an idiot and without them my life will be ruined, and i won't be able to tell a mansion in Incline from a Ski Condo at Stagecoach.
2 votes
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Tue May 20, 2008
where to start....

First - I do not believe Zillow provides true comps. Sites like Zillow, and even trulia - simply provide a one-stop-shop of sorts for gathering up large amounts of data. Some of us are intelligent enough to know that a 6br 3500sqft home, is not really comparible to a 1200sqft 2br home. I mean, Wow - the concept there. Mind boggling right? Don't talk down to me like i'm an idiot. Really.
As far as MLS - LOL. I've worked with MLS systems in the past. The fact that any valid data comes out of those systems is honestly mind boggling. If you saw the amount of garbage speghetti code behind the scenes, the horrible database design (and understood what that meant), and the amount of listings that just never show up because they weren't entered properly, and nobody realized it - you would probably gasp in horror at the idea that people actually use these systems for anything reliable.

This says nothing of the question that - why should I pay X for my house, just because somebody bought a similar house and didn't get the best deal? I shouldn't. Maybe X is perfectly in line with the comps, and a perfectly reasonable offer according to comps. If the comps are inflated - X is still a bad deal.



Market Analysis.
I've been doing data modeling and analysis for a very long time. Perhaps not specifically in the housing industry - but really - numbers are completely objective.


RE : Real Estate Agents are "Surgeons" - they will keep you out of legal trouble, and make sure everything is done on the up and up.

When real estate agents are required to attend 8 years of law school and pass the state bar exam - I'll agree with you. Until then - i'll talk to my LAYWER about the law.
2 votes
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Tue May 20, 2008
bear in mind i'm not saying agents are totally useless.
I think having someone run the leg work involved is priceless. Nevermind the relationships that can potentially be leveraged.

I'm just saying, given the way that sites like trulia or zillow, or really just the internet in general have changed the type of information people have access to - is it really as important to have an agent now as it was say 20 years ago?
2 votes
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Tue May 20, 2008
Hmm - I don't know about that.
Every person who I know right now who bought a home and actually felt good at the end of the process did it with nothing more then the internet, and a good lawyer.

As far as state of the housing market - you do realize this is 2008, and virtually any information an agent has, is available to the rest of us. Right?

Buyer and seller's frame of mind is EXTREMELY subjective.
2 votes
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Thu May 22, 2008
Cheng - if you don't mind taking your own trash to the dump - then what's the problem?
1 vote
Cheng, , 08817
Thu May 22, 2008
Dear Myke,

I am sure you can pick up all your trash, so why do you still need trash pick up? As far as I know, trash pick up truck just did very little thing that I am sure you can do it yourself.

No offence to you, but I really am left scratching my head on this one because all my neighbors they hire trash truck to pick up their trash twice a week, where as I always bring my trash to township mini dump ...

Cheng
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Thu May 22, 2008
Elvis - perhaps you need to brush up on your math.

Considering that I posted this question on Monday, and I posted the answer you're referring to YESTERDAY (wednesday) - you're making a pretty big leap there.

Had the order of those posts been reversed - perhaps I could understand your statement. Given the actual timeline however - you my friend are way off base.
1 vote
Tman, , 30642
Thu May 22, 2008
Travel agents........? .. are they even still around....?


Biggest Real Estate Myths
On The Web

By Vivian Marino
Published: April 8, 2007

There’s little wonder that most people approach home-buying with trepidation. This year alone, Americans are expected to borrow a whopping $1.33 trillion in acquiring 7.4 million houses, condominiums and co-ops. Besides being the average person’s largest financial transaction, buying or selling a home is simply one of those areas where mistrust and misconceptions naturally abound. And as the real estate market continues to evolve and new technology gains ground, even widely accepted beliefs that were true a few years back may not be valid today. Here are five prevailing myths to watch out for:

1. Only a licensed real estate broker should sell your home.

Reality. The National Association of Realtors tends to propagate this assertion: You’d turn to a doctor when sick, so why not have a broker handle your most valued asset? But not everyone needs a third party. After all, who knows more about your home than you? Around 15% of today’s existing home sales are FSBOs, or for sale by owner transactions, says Colby Sambrotto, chief operating officer of ForSaleByOwner.com.

Sambrotto thinks most people are anxious simply because they buy or sell homes so infrequently, but he says the Internet already has removed much of the mystique by giving people access to prices and demographic data or letting them market their homes directly online. (Surveys show that 80% of house hunters search the Internet first.) If you do take the do-it-yourself route, however, be prepared to work—especially in this market, where a slowdown in sales has sparked a buildup of inventory.

2. Your broker wants to get the highest price for your home.

Reality. Most brokers just want to get a deal done, says John T. Reed, author and publisher of the Real Estate Investor’s Monthly newsletter. “They’ll tell you, ‘I’ll be pushing for the higher price, because my commission is linked to the price,’” he says. But agents may often be pushing for the first reasonable offer. Blame it on the way sales commissions are split—typically, four ways: between sellers’ agents and their brokerage firms and between buyers’ agents and their firms. So waiting a few weeks or even days for an offer of, say, $10,000 higher on a $300,000 home will yield only $150 more for the agent, based on a 6% commission.

Still, Thomas R. Kunz, chief executive of Century 21 Real Estate, points out that the highest price may not always constitute the best deal, especially when considering other terms like closing dates.

Ah yes, travel agents ... I remember them well.

in 3 years:

Ah yes, realtors ... I remember them well.


;^)
1 vote
Bradley Nyla…, Agent, Harker Heights, TX
Thu May 22, 2008
Honestly you dont. However, Do you work on your own car when you have a problem or do you take it to a Mechanic???

Now let me Clarify that ...Should you get an agent YES. Here is Why

1. Buyers agents work for you, Not the seller. A Listing agent works for the seller and is trying to get the seller the best deal possible. You should have someone on your side to meet your needs, getting you the best deal possible.

2. Real Estate Agents Know the Market. We understand how the market moves. We see trends with both buyers and sellers and are able to maximise our effectiveness.

3. If your selling your home its Advertising. If you are buying your home its market awareness. Real estate agents network with each other. Often we know about properties before they hit the MLS. As for Selling This network lends to free advertising that gets your property out and noticed by the public in a fasion that you can not get with out spending tons of money in advertising on your own.

In Short Its what our Profession is.
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Thu May 22, 2008
actually elvis - my name is myke. period.

as far as "if an agent is breathing be skeptical" - it has to do with the fact that no matter what industry you're in, when you're dealing with a person who's job is to make sales happen - it is in the consumers best interest to be skeptical - and to know what they're getting into. Buying real estate, buying a car, going to best buy and buying a tv - in any situation - you're dealing with somebody who has a vested interest in selling you something, and you need to be skeptical of anything they say.
To not be - is simply inviting the dirtbags in any of said markets to come out of the wood work.
1 vote
Laura Travis, , 75126
Thu May 22, 2008
Home owners selling their own home are at a disadvantage to those that have agents. Think about this--showings, pre-screening buyers, taking care of all paperwork, getting feedback from agents, help with staging, help with pricing, advertising your property, putting your property in the Multiple Listing Service where a HUGE percentage of buyers go. AND most buyers use REALTORS as the cost of a REALTOR is free to them. There are so many properties actually listed that we show and yours isn't one of them. You are missing out on qualified buyers that have representation from a professional that knows the business. Knows all about contracts, inspections, how to qualify buyers. Have you had anyone look at your home and actually know if they can afford it? Do you have to be at home to show the house? Do you actually know how to market your home? How many dollars do you spend advertising your home? With an agent, they take care of all of that as well as running around paperwork to mortgage companies, title companies, being there for inpsections and appraisals. Do you know that in Texas that you must have a Sellers Disclosure? Most FSBO's don't know that. A REALTOR will protect you.
Sure you can sell your house yourself and save money. But how much does your time cost as well as the potential to make a mistake or not do something that you should have done. Getting sued is no fun. A professional knows how and wil take care of you. Interview a few and see what they will do for you that is worth the money you will spend on them.
1 vote
The Holland…, Agent, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Thu May 22, 2008
The reasons for hiring an agent are many - there's not enough time for me to lay them out here, but the bottom line is that hiring an agent results is more money in our clients' pocket and fewer problems throughout the buying/selling process. You wouldn't represent yourself in a lawsuite would you? Of course not. The best agents, just like the best lawyers, get outstanding results for their clients and they're worth every penny they're paid. Now, there are great agents and there are bad agents and there are agents in between. Buyers and sellers need to be careful that they don't hire just any agent - check credentials and ask questions.
1 vote
J R, , New York, NY
Thu May 22, 2008
And the truly good ones.? .. thats a very simple answer .. they're telling the truth and they're out working right now, they're with a consumer..

They're certainly not spending 8/10 hours of their day pounding the keys of their computer on Trulia trying to prove something to somebody ...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yet it's fine for Myke, yourself, and all the non realtor members of the public to pass some time posting here? Were do you get your stats about spending "8/10 hours of their day pounding the keys of their computer on Trulia"? You and Myke have the same ax you're grinding, but as far as I can tell, Myke has not spent as much time pounding his keyboard as you have complaining about the same old same old. I mean it has to be at least 6 months you're posting the same stuff.
1 vote
Renee, Agent, Marrero, LA
Thu May 22, 2008
Agents are needed because most sellers and buyers do not have a clue concerning the home buying process. Most people do not know how to fill out the purchase agreements nor do they know what the terms means. Real estate agents also know how to negotiate deals and keep them from falling apart. We also have access to buyers and sellers that makes the process of buying and selling faster.
1 vote
Betsie Taber, Agent, Lakewood Ranch, FL
Thu May 22, 2008
Hi Myke,

I forgot to mention in my previous answer the statistics about FSBOs. I do not have the exact number, but if I recall correctly, over 90% of FSBOs end up listing with an agent because they could not do the job and many of those whpo were succesful sold to a relative, friend, colleague or neighbor.
1 vote
Betsie Taber, Agent, Lakewood Ranch, FL
Thu May 22, 2008
You can go and tour Europe without a travel agent but unless you do a considerable amount of research on your own, you won't be able to see what you should see and you will pay a lot more because you won't be aware of the bargains that exist. It's the same thing in Real estate. You think you have a lot of information. But believe me, you only see the tip of the iceberg. Before I retired and became a Realtor, I was a University marketing professor and sold 3 of my homes privately because I thought that I did not need a Realtor. With retrospect, I now realize that I could have sold these homes much faster and for a higher net price had I gone with a competent Realtor.
1 vote
J R, , New York, NY
Thu May 22, 2008
Should a plumber, a housewife with a sewing machine, or an herbalist - or even the sandwhich shop guy with an interest in plastic surgery be selling houses as a real estate agent?

Cause - i'll let you in on a little secret.
In the last few years - a lot of exactly those people ARE real estate agents now. :)
~~~~~~~~~~~
My neighbor is a teacher. He has a lawn sprinkler business. My other neighbor is a cop. He also does electrical work. I have another neighbor who works for the town. He has a landscaping business. You're point? People sometimes work more than one job?
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Wed May 21, 2008
JR - i'm not a designer - i'm a developer.
there's a huge difference.

I write code that does things - not code that looks pretty on screen.
1 vote
J R, , New York, NY
Wed May 21, 2008
If you question the quality and reliability of your MLS, and you use your MLS as a source of your information
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I don't question the quality and reliability of any of the information on my MLS. All the information, as far as I have experienced, is accurate. I was commenting on it's looks.
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Wed May 21, 2008
lol - tman - i think i saw that post earlier from that agent... sounds familier.

and JR - i'm just saying this :
If you question the quality and reliability of your MLS, and you use your MLS as a source of your information - would it not be a logical assumption that you must also question the reliability and quality of your information?
1 vote
J R, , New York, NY
Wed May 21, 2008
SSDD from Tman............................... :)
1 vote
J R, , New York, NY
Wed May 21, 2008
Myke, if you think a real estate agent is worth nothing because their MLS isn't snappy looking, you're approaching the whole thing from the wrong angle. There are still places that don't even USE an MLS.
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Wed May 21, 2008
Also - JR - and this is more just a point of order then an attack on you or anything...

If you're critcizing the effectiveness of your own tools and systems - doesn't that bring into question the reliability of your operation? Isn't part of the arguement in favor of real estate agents that they have the best, most accurate, up to date information available?
If you're saying your system could have probably been better written by a highschooler - kinda raises some eyebrows. Seems like contradictory ideas there.
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Wed May 21, 2008
Yea - the problem with india though - is once people get thier code back, 9 times out of 10 - they end up coming to someone like me to fix the problems.
:)
1 vote
J R, , New York, NY
Wed May 21, 2008
JR - great - so you're saying things like MLS work as the result of anything a highschooler could put together?

Glad we're on the same page as to the level of sophistication in the RE industry right now.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm saying any kid nowadays can build a website. And if you saw OUR MLS, they could probably build a better one. Just in case you haven't noticed, there are plenty of adults in places like India who will do your job for less than you charge. Just a thought.
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Wed May 21, 2008
Thank you Jason.


See kids -it's not so hard to be reasonable.
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Wed May 21, 2008
Well Chris - when you consider that the first answer I got can be summed up as "because you don't know anything about anything - and we're the experts on everything". I think you can see how that could be a pretty bad start.
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Wed May 21, 2008
Duncan - do you propose i walk over to the DMV - and ask the clerk there what a real estate agent does?
Somehow i'm not thinking i would get the most reliable answer....
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Wed May 21, 2008
JR - great - so you're saying things like MLS work as the result of anything a highschooler could put together?

Glad we're on the same page as to the level of sophistication in the RE industry right now.
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Wed May 21, 2008
I did get a couple very well thought out, well spoken responses. I appreciate that - and I acknowledge it.
I also got a lot of BS.
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Wed May 21, 2008
What do I do? I happen to be a software engineer...

Oh - and by the way - these are some of the things i've worked on:

http://www.prudentialelliman.com/
http://www.shvo.com/
http://www.gothamphotocompany.com/
http://www.bellmarc.com/home.asp

Some of the things i've done - in relation to some of those sites specifically, includes developing feeds for MLS and RealPlus, as well as advertising and public relations RSS feeds, and automatic listing subscriptions.

If you want to criticize me or what I do - be very careful about how you choose your words, as it represents your industry as well.

As I said before - When I asked this question - i had absolutely no ill intentions. It has only been during the course of this conversation that i've become disgusted by **some** of the "professionals" out there. I do however still hold several RE pros in the utmost regard.
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Wed May 21, 2008
JR - honestly - i only found an axe to grind during the course of this thread.

I asked a legitimate question, admittedly with a little bit of frustration behind it, but legtimate none the less. That question has been met by and large with contempt that I would dare question the all knowing ones as to thier legtimacy.
Honestly - it has only been during the course of this thread that my distaste for the real estate industry - and agents specifically has grown.

Everybody likes to talk about how down to earth, upfront, honest, and caring they are with thier clients. Sorry - but i'm not seeing that here. Perhaps if those words were backed up by actions - I might have a better opinion. Given what i've seen on here - that is not the case.
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Wed May 21, 2008
and as for the "berating us about what we do" comment you made earlier...

Perhaps if more real estate "professionals" had a little less contempt for thier clients - and didn't automatically assume that we're all idiots, and the world would fall apart without you - I might be a little more kind in my judgement.
As I've said before - there seems to be this attitude within the industry that the average homebuyer is simply incapable of operating at a level in which they can understand such a concept as a "contract".
Reality is - at least from what I've seen - agents tend to make things more complicated, more difficult, and more complex then they need to be - simply to justify thier commission, and make buyers dependant on thier services.
YOu see it all the time on here. Someone has a simple question that really shouldn't REQUIRE an agent - and you have a dozen agents telling the person how difficult the situation is - and how they really need the help of a professional - and oh by the way, i happen to be able to help you - here's my number...
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Wed May 21, 2008
You're right - lawyers don't know everything. You're also right in thinking that dealing with these issues, you may have some knowledge of the law. That's fine.

However, if i get bad legal advice - or have some sort of bad dealing with a lawyer who was not on the up and up - i have some level of recourse.
If i get bad legal advice from a real estate agent, or that agent gets me into some sort of legal hot water - the only thing I get is a judge telling me I should have consulted a lawyer.

You can argue your second hand legal knowledge all you want. Doesn't really change these facts.
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Wed May 21, 2008
I understand there are benefits to using an agent. Relationships that can be leveraged, as well as experience and practice that can save time in terms of simply having done it a million times. To use the mechanic analogy - yes, I can change the oil in my car, and do just as good a job as a mechanic who's been doing it for 20 years. The mechanic who's been doing it for 20 years however probably knows a few tricks and shortcuts to make the job go faster and easier - and can do it in maybe 15 minutes versus my 25 minutes. I understand that and appreciate it fully.

The arguements that's being made is that Agents are able to keep you out of legal trouble. THey can negotiate contracts and ensure that you are on the best legal footing to close a deal. That agents are experts in the real estate field - and that by using an agent you can avoid those legal pitfalls.

Sorry - but unless you have a law degree - you are NOT a legal expert, and i will NOT be taking legal advice from you. In fact, it's my understanding that when agents join NAR - you actually take an oath to NOT give legal advice. If I want legal advice - I will go to a LAWYER who is liscenced to PRACTICE LAW.

I have no problems using an agent to perform tasks or leverage knowledge or relationships that I may not have access to. Beyond that - don't know what to tell you.

Your degrees in business or whatever might help you do y our job. That's fine. My problem is that you seem to think that because you have a business degree, or a bunch of y ears experience in real estate - that somehow you are an expert in all things real estate - and can operate on the same level as a real estate attorney. When you pass your state bar exam - you can make that claim. Until then - you're just blowing smoke.
1 vote
The_Bayou, , Newton, MA
Wed May 21, 2008
Chris,

I think you are completely missing the point on the education thing. It is great, you have 3 college degrees. Wonderful that you take continuing education classes. Muy Bien that you speak Spanish. But, that does not change the fact that anyone can list with a broker immediately after taking a test and passing an exam. I appreciate the work that some realtors do, but you have to admit that the requirements provide very little barrier to entry. It is this lack of a barrier that allows people to become realtors on a whim, and then give the entire profession a bad name.

Lawyers to through 3 years of advanced schooling, doctors go through medical school and then internships and residencies. There is no doubt that there are bad lawyers and doctors out there, but the barriers to entry prevent the small number of bad apples from harming the reputation of the profession as a whole.

A quick review of this site, as well as the increase in FSBO sites, show that the reputation of the real estate profession needs to be restored or customers will go their own way.
1 vote
Myke, Home Buyer, 89449
Tue May 20, 2008
re: "Go write an offer on a property and then write the question."

OH NO!!!! You mean i might have to fill out a form?!?!?!?!! OMG what ever will I do?!?!?!!
Being a mere mortal who didn't sleep through 90 hours of "realtor training" - clearly i don't have the mental capacity to fill out a form. And my lawyer, oh jeez - how would he ever be able to navigate such a complex document?!?!!

come on guy - really.
1 vote
Tim, , Boston, MA
Tue May 20, 2008
Myke,

I thought the same thing for a while. I agree with you 100% that you could find the right house on your own, without a realtor, I know I did. But, in my experience, it is after you find the right house that a realtor starts adding value. Wording to the contingencies property to give you an out is important, as is negotiating every point from the inspection. I was once buying a house where I felt that the seller was not being honest, and I backed out right before the closing. It was a long battle to get my deposit back, and I don't think that I would have been able to do so if the contingencies had not been worded just the way they were. I also don't think that I would have had the time to battle with the other agent for several weeks to get my deposit back. I would say that my agent earned her commission on that deal, but there wasn't even any commission because I was backing away from the deal. The agent still continued to fight to get my deposit back even when she knew that she was out of a commission because the deal fell apart.

This is just an example from my experience as a buyer. I do believe that the technology is there to help you find the right house, but you will want someone on your side once you do.

Good luck.
Web Reference:  http://www.uterms.com
1 vote
Susan Barras…, , Wilmington, MA
Tue May 20, 2008
Why is an agent necessary? To look out for your best interest.
As a Buyers Agent it is my job to help you find what you are looking for without you having to drive all over town or search ad after ad. With your criteria in hand I can put you into the Multiple Listing Service and email you whenever a listing matching your criteria comes on the market. If you are not already pre-approved for a mortgage, I have the resources and contacts to do that for you. I make the appointments and bring you to see the properties that interest you. Make recommendations on pricing, based on the comps I check out. Write and present your offer, negotiate terms, and I make sure all your I's are dotted and T's are crossed on your paperwork. I work hand-in-hand with your RE attorney, if you choose to have one and I highly recommend. I accompany you to your home inspection, make sure your bank appraisal and commitment are on time, and sit next to you at the closing. I even buy you a closing gift.
As a Sellers Agent the first thing I do is come into your home and make recommendations on how to best show your home - paint the walls, clear out the basement, replace a floor or fixtures, do a little landscaping, etc. Then I do a Comparative Market Analysis to be sure your home is priced correctly. After we have signed the contract and filled out all the legally required disclosures I put your home in the same MLS that I put my buyers - and thousands of other agents put their buyers - for the world to see. I market your home according to the promises I made when you signed on with me - local print ads, the almighty internet, including Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com and about 40 others. I immediately broadcast your listing to all the agents in my office. Within the first 2 weeks I hold a Brokers Open House so all the agents in the area or those who have customers/clients that are looking for what you have can view your property, Then I hold a public Open House. I will have public Open Houses intermittently depending on how long your home is on the market. Market trends being what they are, it often takes several months to sell a property. Then, of course, there are the showings. My office verifies the agents and books appointments with you for them to show your home - preferably when you are not there. Buyers are most comfortable telling their agent your choice of paint color is ugly when you are not around. When an offer is made I help you negotiate the terms. I write the Purchase & Sales Agreement for the RE attorneys to review. Again, I make sure all the I's & T's are taken care of and all the pre-closing paperwork is properly signed. The seller's agency holds the good faith and deposit monies in escrow. I keep an open line of communication with the buyers agent to make sure inspections are complete and commitments are on time. I make sure any selling requirements you must fill are filled, such as smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector inspections or septic system inspections, etc. I sit next to you at the closing. And I buy you a closing gift.
Let us not forget those poor souls who are caught in the crossfire of foreclosure. If you have been served a pre-foreclosure notice I may be able to help you out. I will contact your bank to see if you qualify for a short sale. I will collect all the paperwork necessary to do that - and it is a mountain. I will list and market your property at the reduced price. I will do all the thngs for the pre-foreclosure seller as I would for any seller.
If you are a pre-forclosure buyer the procedures are the same as above with the exception of making you aware of the many facts of pre-forclosure buying - such as, you may be one of a dozen offers, and patience is mandatory as it could be several weeks before you get an answer.
Myke, I hope I have enlightened you, even just a little bit, about why you need me. Although I am quite far out of your service area I am sure you will find many "pros" who will give you the same attention to detail as I would. Good Luck!
1 vote
Jim Johnson, , 78233
Tue May 20, 2008
Agents are not necessary, but we provide distinct advantages to buyers and sellers alike. Without us, sellers would need to hire appraisers to value their homes for the market, and buyers would need to hire appraisers to determine whether the asking price was reasonable. Since most appraisers have access to our MLS data on sold properties, we don't get as many calls as from them as we once did, but they still use our data to evaluate homes.

Now, let's say you spent untold hours looking through your online resources. We can find the same info and more in a matter of minutes. It's your time.

OK, you've found a home! Do you qualify for it? We have to tell most buyers that they need to talk to a lender before they even start looking. The threads in this forum are full of that very piece of advice. It's not the most important thing we know that most buyers do not, but it's a time saver.

The home you found is either listed by an agency or a FSBO. Neither person who shows you the home will tell you everything you may need to know to make your best decision. It's just not in their best interest. While the agent will likely be fair and honest with you, you should not be too trusting of the FSBO. They are truly motivated by greed, and those who know what they are doing have a lot of temptation to at least not be entirely forthcoming about matters related to the house that may affect your decision to buy. Most don't even know the risk they are taking in doing so.

Agents operate a little differently. When I show one of my listings, I reveal what I know or understand to be wrong with the property to an unrepresented buyer, and tell them the list price is reasonable--whether it may be priced near the top dollar or over for comparables is something that remains unsaid. This is a duty I owe my seller. If I were the buyer's agent, I would do a CMA to determine the actual range of values. I know and understand the effect of upgrades and improvements on value, and have access to the info, and will do the research to get at the value of a property for my buyers. This is a duty I owe my buyers.

It's surprising how few people truly understand the basics about the home buying process, let alone the negotiating process. This is where my expertise and access to information is of further value to my buyers and sellers alike.

No, you don't need an agent--but sellers tend to net as much as 15% more when they use an agency, and buyers save an incalculable amount of time, frustration and money when they are represented.

BTW--few buyer's agents charge for their services, and those that do will cost you less than hiring an appraiser every time you decide to make an offer on a home.
1 vote
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