Listen, the secret is out. Percentage-based businesses can leave little motivation for most agents to “go the extra mile” for their clients. In their book “Freakonomics,” Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner point out that a listing agent earning an $18,000 commission on the sale of a $600,000 home has little incentive to expend much effort getting even $5,000 more for his seller, since the additional increase in the sale price would only net them $150 in commission.
The same is true for buyer clients. Why would an agent spend much energy looking for defects in a home or opportunities that might reduce their buyer client’s acquisition or transaction costs when the commission earned on the sale will not be affected much either way? Especially when that discovery might jeopardize the deal! But for the successful buyer agents, on my team and others, it’s about the long game, not the quick deal.
The answers to finding a good realtor have never changed: seek the agents with the best track record in your desired location; the experiences others you know have had with them and, of course, there’s plain old likability. But once you’ve chosen a realtor, don’t hold back. It’s not just who you choose to advocate for you, but what you share with them about yourself that can make a big difference in your results.
Tell your agent about not only the number or type of bedrooms, bathrooms and basement you want, but also about how you live and what you like to do. Are you a party animal or party pooper? Bike rider or book reader? Discuss openly and specifically your objectives and abilities rather than have your agent simply drive you around, grasping at straws, waiting for your checkbook to magically appear.
For better or worse, I like to hear negatives — what clients don’t want rather than what they do want, since eliminating houses can often make the right house appear … like chipping marble off the block until David appears.
The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HillNow.com.