Over the past years, I have had the unique opportunity to be both an investor and a Realtor, a seller, a buyer and a client of various real estate agents. I wish I could say my experience has been a positive one, something that gives me hope for the industry, but I cannot and keep a straight face. The fact is, I was given a ton of false promise and extraordinarily little action.
My experience: As a seller I tried approximately 14 different agents of those one did a fair to good job and the rest failed to offer me anything more than a listing on the MLS. Most made big promises, marketing was the biggest and none of them really delivered (several never even installed signage). To be honest post and prey (and yes, prey is what I meant) was what I was given in return for my commission payments.
You may ask why I do not list myself, to be honest it is just time. I am mostly a real estate investor; I wanted to hire those with recent experience in selling properties on the retail market and I was willing to pay for the services. Ultimately, what I found is none, absolutely zero of them, did anything to help my property sell for more money or sell faster.
As a buyer, I was just sent links to multiple properties no matter if they fit my needs or not. I did not ask to be inundated with properties but rather actually wanted the agents to find properties that fit my specific requirements. I told them that I have access to the MLS system and if I wanted to explore the entire MLS inventory I would have on my own. Several times I was called by agents telling me I need to drop what I was doing and run out to a perfect property before it was gone, I would and to my dismay, 90% of the time it was far from what I asked for a more troubling the agent had never even gone to look before wasting my time.
More troubling than the lack of marketing was the lack of negotiation ability. I ended up negotiating my own deals often. They tried extremely hard to look professional, drove high end cars, wore nice clothes but lacked what I needed as a buyer or seller, business skills.
My conclusion after a few years was simple, this industry will be taken over by computers. For the life of me I do not understand why Brokers are not required to apprentice agents like the construction industry requires. Real Estate Agents are dealing with the exact same values, the same property but without the oversight and training the contractor receives. The are trusted by the client they have the skills, professionalism and education required but the reality is very few do and even fewer receive a fraction of oversight the highly qualified contractor does.
My experience has led me to believe, the client would be equally as well served by simply finding a house on the internet, submitting an offer directly unless we make drastic changes to this industry, changes that are desperately needed. The only question is, will the industry change before someone at Google figures that out as well?