This blog couldn't be more true. You really do get what you pay (or don't pay) for! Consumers should be paying much closer attention to the real estate professional they hire, and if the person you interview offers a discount or rebate, you should think twice.
Just remember, if a real estate agent's only value is providing a discount then why do you think they would be an effective representative in one of the most significant transactions in your life?
"My friend is a Realtor and said he will give me half of his commission if I use him"
We have all heard this before. Those pathetic words that make your blood boil because you've been slapped in the face with utter ignorance...again.
To the consumers out there, listen up. And listen damn good.
You've obviously been around long enough to have heard the phrase, "You get what you pay for". Why not take that for what is really means? Let me explain by using an example that has held true in my own life.
For about a year now, I have been on a manhunt, searching for a great accountant. One that understands real estate, can limit tax liabilities, is creative with shelters, and most importantly, advises me on what to do rather than wait for me to ask questions. I have met with about half a dozen, whether in person or via telephone. Of these 6 individuals, half of them required multiple phone calls before receiving a response and when I finally came into contact with them, they were about as valuable as Google could have been to me on all topics. Today, I met with a CPA that I had to book 10 days in advance who charged me $300 for one hour of his time. After the meeting, I decided this man will be the only CPA I use this day going forward. He demonstrates value from the get-go, is professional, has an abundance of credibility, and understands my personal goals while providing relevant recommendations.
My point? The best was not free...or even discounted.
Let's get one thing straight. If you think by having a real estate license someone is qualified to sell your house or help you buy one, you might as well hire an attorney in advance. You'll be able to use your "kick back" for legal advice after the transaction unravels. Do you honestly believe that you are receiving the best representation for one of the largest purchases (or sales) of your life when being bribed to do business with a close buddy or family member?
Top three things to ask a Realtor prior to committing to one include:
1. How many transactions have you successfully completed in the last 3 months?
This is relevant because you will understand the volume of business this real estate professional does which translates into experience. Within the last 3 months is even more valuable information because it shows that they are up to date with the current market trends/patterns/prices.
2. Can you provide testimonials from clients who have previously done business with you?
We use referral services such as "Yelp" and "Angies List" daily because we rely on others' opinions. Is this Realtor doing business for the one shot paycheck or are they following up with their clients consistently to ensure they are well taken care of? Was the transaction a smooth one? If so, writing about it to share with others seems like a "no-brainer".
3. How do you differentiate yourself among your competition?
Here's the elevator pitch. Seems like a straight forward question (which it is), but you would be surprised as to how many Realtors do not have a unique or above average way of earning business or assisting clients. 90% of Realtors do no more than 3 transactions a year; there's a reason. Business falls in the laps of individuals willing and able to sign papers and open doors (because they're licensed and perceived as the same as any other agent). Perhaps not the best people to hand yours to.