I'm sure you are guilty of thinking at least one or more of these myths from time to time or in the past. I think we all have some type of predisposition or stereotype that we think about real estate agents as we do lawyers or used car salesman. But you might be surprised at some of the top myths that many people believe about real estate agents; and then again, you may not.
#1. Real estate agents make too much money.
Want to know a secret? The average agent's annual salary is typically less than $40,000 a year. Many teachers actually make more than real estate agents. Until real estate agent has built up a good book of business, which can take several years, they often may have a side job or make very little money. Most of the agents in very large brokerage is close less than four deals a year, which almost no one can live on. Real estate agents have to pay a lot in fees to the office, the MLS, advertising and overhead expenses, which leaves very little to live on.
Side note: this is why you want an agent that is extremely experienced so, ask questions before signing on with a real estate agent. They may not have the experience you need to buy or sell a property.
#2. The higher the list price, the more the agent makes.
This is not necessarily true. It's usually a percentage of the sales price, not the list price. And, you'd be surprised at how little that extra little percentage really is when it comes to a commission. While it might be a $10,000 difference to the buyer or the seller, it's probably less than $200 on the commission to the real estate agent.
#3. Agents have to show the house anytime the buyer wants.
Agents don't necessarily have to show homes on demand. Just because this is their job doesn't mean they have to be at your beck and call every moment. Buyers and sellers tend to waste real estate agents time a lot so, before you call up any old agent just to see the house, it's best to get your own agent, write up a contract, and have something in writing stating that you are working only with them. I can't tell you how many times I've shown numerous houses to people and they end up dying with another agent.
#4. Agents get kickbacks from inspectors, escrow companies or lenders.
This is absolutely false because, since 1974, agents have been prevented from receiving any type of kickback or favor from vendors. Simply against the law and agents could seriously jeopardize their license if they participate in any of this type of bribing.
#5. Home inspectors live in real estate agents pockets.
I know this is a funny way to say this, but if the agent is to be trusted, they can't have an inspector that's only going to favor that agent. Inspectors and real estate agents have to be completely unbiased and disclose material facts. Agents usually prefer a home inspector that is not an alarmist, meaning they freak the homeowner out at every little scratch or tear, but they report on the issues calmly and matter-of-factly.
#6. Agents have to tell buyers everything they know about a property or the neighborhood.
This is a really fine line between due diligence and honesty and what the fair housing laws prevent a real estate agent from saying. Real estate agents cannot talk about crime in the area, whether the schools are good or bad or the ethnic makeup of a neighborhood. Agents can tell you where to find that information but cannot discriminate against any protected class.
#7. Agents will say and do anything to close the deal.
Sure, as with any industry, there are representatives that can be unfair, biased and unethical but good real estate agents should be honest and perform the fiduciary duty diligence to provide the best information in the most unbiased information to a buyer or seller. A solid reputation in the real estate industry can help an agent or broker go far and to jeopardize that would only harm them in the long run.
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As a certified Realtor® for the top-rated Columbus Realty Firm - Vision Realty, with 32 years of dedicated real estate experience, I can help buyers, sellers, investors, short sale sellers and more find, sell or invest in the right property, at the right price, at the right time. Contact me anytime for updates and information on the Columbus OH Real Estate market.