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June 05, 2008


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My guess is you will buy before we do. I'll be interested to see if you hire an agent or go it alone.

I have bought and sold homes with and without agents as well. I had a much better experience without the agent. When I sold my home, I sat across the table with the potential buyer as we negotiated face to face. No middleman trying to position a statement or manipulating information to their advantage. We did such a good job negotiating that we even made a deal for an exchange of my grill for his car top carrier. Never would have happened with agents.

The agents know that their bread and butter is the MLS. They are nothing without the database. They don't drive customers to a house. They wait until someone finds it in the MLS and visits. A recent court ruling said that realtors can no longer box out the low cost realtors from the MLS. Now everyone gets access to the database. This is going to hurt the real estate business. Six percent commissions are going away for good....and they should.

There's a pretty good article in Slate from a few years back about this.

When my husband and I bought our current house several years ago, we needed to sell our old place. The house we were making the offer on had been sitting on the market for at least eight weeks with no offers. Our initial offer was contingent upon our selling our current house within some short-ish time frame, I think sixty days. The sellers (coached by the agent, of course) countered with a firm thirty-day limit. We were informed not to worry to much about getting our house sold by the deadline, because the seller's agent had a friend who was interested in buying our house. For about 30% below fair market value. (!!!)

What horrified me was the seller's agent's complete lack of ethics. He was maximizing his own commissions (plural now) at the expense of his seller's best interest. Their house was pretty stale and had limited market appeal. Yet the agent's pursuit of maximum commissions caused him to advise his clients to put conditions on the contract that could well have killed their only likely offer. Luckily for all parties, we were able to get some family help with a bridge loan for a few months until we sold our old house at our own pace.

I think real estate agents are the MOST overpaid profession on earth. Sure, there are sellers agents who really beat the street trying to find a buyer, but most just stick up the sign, post on the MLS and then let the buyers agent bring the buyers. It's ridiculous. Even buyers agents don't have their customers' best interest at heart, because it is the seller who pays them. It seems to me to be a very mixed up system. This system is monopolistic and we need to fix that.

When we had to sell our house we used a realtor that was recommended to us by a person (who was the type of person who thought that the world revolved around him)who had used her many times. This realtor priced our home at a fair price and sold it within 6 months of puttin up for sale not bad since the market was starting to go sour in MI. The realtor was really easy to work with and even cut her commission fee.

I think this is something that more people need to know about.

There's a pretty good article in Slate from a few years back about this.

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