Picking a Realtor

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crystalbank
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Picking a Realtor

Post by crystalbank »

Hi BHers,

We've decided to sell our house this year, downsize and rent for a while. We have a baby due in February, so likely will sell after that. I'm a bit hesitant to go with the realtor that represented us when we bought the house because I kinda felt like she was a bit pushy and we were taken for a ride. So how does one pick a good realtor? What questions should I ask them?

- This is in a desirable area in Los Angeles (not super hot, but definitely 'warm').
- We recently got an appraisal (for refinance purposes) from the bank and it's definitely inline with our expectations.
- All houses here are staged and is staging usually included with the realtors fee?
- Lastly, realtors in my area usually charge 6%. Other costs/fees that I might wanna look out for?

Thanks.
StealthRabbit
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by StealthRabbit »

I have done 32 of my 34 property transactions 'realtor free', but... if you need one...
1) Referrals from measurable excellent results (successful CLOSINGS) Can mean being 'pushy'
2) Stats that indicate they sell a lot of properties in your area and in your price range in quick turn times (You can get this info from board of realtors, or from a broker)
3) ALWAYS interview their boss (privately, not with realtor)
4) Have them demonstrate their own performance measures and progress charts.
5) Determine if they provide concise weekly activity reports for YOUR property.
6) Negotiate the 6%. (Locally ours has gone to 4%) Internationally I prefer their 0.5%
7) Transaction wise -You can hire an excellent attorney for REAL advice for ~1/10th the cost of a realtor. (but attorney is not going to market your home)
8) Title Company does all the 'real work' (legal and paper) in our region.

If you need a marketing pro, get the best one you can find. (afford) = a quick transaction and on your way.
The wrong one will leave you hanging for weeks. Dispose of them quickly.
StealthRabbit
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by StealthRabbit »

Duplicate post
Last edited by StealthRabbit on Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
stan1
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by stan1 »

Are you sure realtors in LA metro area usually charge 6% or is that an assumption? Maybe 15 years ago, but that's not standard today. You should be able to get 4.5%-5% just by asking. It's competitive.

What is the estimated sales value of your house? If it is over $1.5M-2M in LA advice might be different.

How quickly do you want to sell the house? Showing a house with a baby can be stressful and for every extra month on the market you are paying carrying costs of mortgage, property tax, and insurance. Do you want to price the house to sell within a week or two or is your intent to price it higher so it might sit on the market for a number of months while you lower the price? In a high volume market like LA there will usually not be a lot of ambiguity in pricing. The market will be brutal if a house is overpriced. Remember the asking price is determined by the seller but the actual sales price is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay.

I would interview at least 2-3 realtors who specialize in your neighborhood and successfully sell a lot of houses. The ones who have signs up in yards that say "sold". As the agents walk through your house ask them questions like what work should be done before we list. How old is the roof? Do all the appliances work? Is the exterior paint chipping? See if their answers make sense and what the cost would be. I would not hire a realtor who wanted me to basically remodel a house before listing. Ask about pricing strategies. In a good market setting the asking price a little low can generate a bidding war that bumps the price up and sells the house quickly.
123
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by 123 »

Go to open houses in your neigborhood to get a sense of what realtors are active locally. You'll need to determine if the person at the open house is really the agent with the listing or just an assistant. Real estate agents do open houses to gather new listings from people who walk through so they don't mind you walking through. It's better not to initially say you're thinking of selling, you'll get annoying follow-ups you'll decide later you don't want. It's easier to say you're interested in what's happening in the area as well as what decorating options were taken with the house (since many open houses are staged). Be non-committal in your visit.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.
rich126
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by rich126 »

I'd look at the agents with the most listings in your neighborhood, talk with them and see if you mesh with them personality wise. I prefer to avoid part time agents, friends/family in the business, etc. since housing is big money and feelings can get hurt. If you don't want certain things (open houses?) discuss it beforehand and see if they agree.

Figure out how long you will agree to work with the agent. I've dealt with ones that allowed me to cancel at anytime. I've seen people here stuck with agreements that ran many months or longer.

If you use a broker/agent that has a staff of agents on their team, find out who you will be working with. Sometimes it is the "named" agent, other times it will be a staff person. Make sure you are comfortable with that person.

I just think now the larger agents have a staff to do all of the media stuff (photos, internet, staging, etc.). I think one guy I spoke with spent $30K a month just on advertising stuff.
crit
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by crit »

Look on Zillow, where you can drill down in each realtor's profile on a map to see where there recent sales are. It's a bit of a pain, but worth spending the time. You want the person who sells your neighborhood.
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crystalbank
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by crystalbank »

Thanks for the replies.

The recent appraisal done by the bank definitely is right in between $1.5-2M. The appraiser noted that for refi's they do a very conservative appraisal. Even so, I would be happy if the house sold for that price. I wouldn't list it a high sky price though. I don't want it gone right away, but willing to wait 4-5 months. The house does need some minor touch ups (interior wall paints) and overall cleanup. Shouldn't take more than a week. My idea is to get a short term rental as I wouldn't wanna be living in there during showings.
stan1
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by stan1 »

crystalbank wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:06 pm I wouldn't list it a high sky price though. I don't want it gone right away, but willing to wait 4-5 months.
This could be a very bad strategy and that's what you need to understand for your neighborhood. How long do houses like yours typically stay on the market? If most houses sell within a week or two you don't want to start out with a price that is well above comps. You want to look at recent comps and try to get multiple offers. If most houses sell within a week or two and your house has been on the market for months other agents and buyers will assume something is wrong with it and won't look at it.

On the other hand if it is normal for houses to be on the market for 3-6 months a different strategy might work better where you list and the lower the price by 1-2% every month.

Real estate is very local. That's why you need to get multiple inputs on the pricing strategy.
averagedude
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by averagedude »

I recently sold a house and it is really difficult to find a "good" realtor on the web. I asked around to my social circle and came up with a list of 3 realtor's. I interviewed each of them and asked them for their 12 month transaction history and a market analysis of the house I was selling. I asked them their marketing strategy, looked at their social circles on social media, and did a deep dive into their transaction history. You want a real estate agent that has a history of selling homes in your price range. If you are selling a house for 150k, you don't want a real estate agent that has a history of selling 500k homes. Also, don't pick a real estate agent that wants to list your property at the highest price. This process worked out great for me, and I hope you have the same luck as me. Sometimes it does depend on luck, because one buyer can make all the difference in the world.
DrakeSRT
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by DrakeSRT »

Like someone else said, you should be able to find a Realtor to list for 4.5 to 5% commission.

Make sure on the listing agreement that the commission is split 50/50 or even accepting less for the listing and offering more to a buyers agent. I have seen agents take a 5% listing but only offering 2% to a buyers agent which isn't chump change in your price range but encourages agents to show other listings before yours.
stan1
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by stan1 »

DrakeSRT wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:23 pm Like someone else said, you should be able to find a Realtor to list for 4.5 to 5% commission.

Make sure on the listing agreement that the commission is split 50/50 or even accepting less for the listing and offering more to a buyers agent. I have seen agents take a 5% listing but only offering 2% to a buyers agent which isn't chump change in your price range but encourages agents to show other listings before yours.
In my area's MLS a realtor can see the buy/sell commissions for each listing. I expect there's a realtor view everywhere that shows the commission. It's not labeled, its not on the internet, and realtors normally won't give it to you, but if you ask them to show you commissions on similar houses they can do so. In my area 2% or 2.5% listing agent and 2.5% buyer agent is "normal". I asked my agent to show me that other houses like mine were listing at 2.5% buyer agent not 3%. He pulled up multiple listings and explained how they were coded to me. Other areas will be different.
anonsdca
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by anonsdca »

In my opinion this is one industry that really needs to be disrupted--and I mean smashed. I have bought and sold 4 houses in my life and the real estate agent has really done nothing other than collect a fee.

That is not a bad job when you can do absolutely nothing and still collect a hefty fee and make a living producing nothing of value. Yet, it adds zero value to the actual customer. I cannot tell you how many times I have scratched my head at this industry. It is truly amazing.

RedFin isn't disrupting, other discount services are not disrupting. Getting your own attorney and doing it on your own cannot disrupt. I mean this industry needs to be tipped on its head, shaken, swatted against a fence and then crumpled up and thrown in the wood chipper.

I have no answer, but I know it is true.

The last realtor I engaged with rolled up in her Mercedes Benz, added me to her website and told me to make my list. They have all done variations of this. I do all the work. They show me the property and collect a fee.

So--how to pick. Doesnt matter. You aren't going to get anything of any value.
vested1
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by vested1 »

Don't rely on advertisements hawking their services, but try to find a neutral source for an honest opinion. We got lucky selling our house, but purposefully picked the agent who was the consistent top performer by verified sales in our larger geographical area, according to Zillow.

Our luck in picking an agent for buying our home was different however, and being from an area thousands of miles away made it worse. We went through 3 agents whose communication skills resembled a black hole before settling on one who had good ratings from a realtor rating website. She talked a good game until we signed the contract, then did absolutely nothing to help us, quite the opposite. For example, she told us she was passing on our requests to the seller, which we later found out from the seller after escrow closed that she never did, apparently because she simply wanted to close the deal and get the commission.

We found out later that she had a reputation of jumping in and out of the business, treating it like a convenient hobby, and was only concerned with getting paid. As the seller, the OP has the advantage of being familiar with the area. If they have friends or family who have had successful dealings with a local agent before, I would first seek their advice. The ratings on realty websites are as worthless as those self-serving ratings machine websites that suggest which car to buy. I always wonder who's getting a kickback under the table.
jb1
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by jb1 »

anonsdca wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:13 pm In my opinion this is one industry that really needs to be disrupted--and I mean smashed. I have bought and sold 4 houses in my life and the real estate agent has really done nothing other than collect a fee.

That is not a bad job when you can do absolutely nothing and still collect a hefty fee and make a living producing nothing of value. Yet, it adds zero value to the actual customer. I cannot tell you how many times I have scratched my head at this industry. It is truly amazing.

RedFin isn't disrupting, other discount services are not disrupting. Getting your own attorney and doing it on your own cannot disrupt. I mean this industry needs to be tipped on its head, shaken, swatted against a fence and then crumpled up and thrown in the wood chipper.

I have no answer, but I know it is true.

The last realtor I engaged with rolled up in her Mercedes Benz, added me to her website and told me to make my list. They have all done variations of this. I do all the work. They show me the property and collect a fee.

So--how to pick. Doesnt matter. You aren't going to get anything of any value.
It’s weird at how bad of a reputation realtors get.

I’ll be honest, I was struggling to find a job early last year so I decided to pursue my license being I do have a passion for real estate (buy/hold/rent).

Ironically the weekend I passed my exam was the same time I was offered a job at a great company. I took the job with keeping the real estate in my back pocket.

I will be honest, it’s a lot of work. Getting your own clients, hours, etc in addition to working full time but somehow I am making it work.

It does suck to hear that many are pushy, show up in their Mercedes acting big time. I am not looking to make a living out of this, yet, this was just a start at something new in an industry I see myself in long term. I have a great full time time job so I am not ready to leave the steady income. My goal this year is to be part of at least 1 deal.
Last edited by jb1 on Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
snowox
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by snowox »

jb1 wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:26 am
anonsdca wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:13 pm In my opinion this is one industry that really needs to be disrupted--and I mean smashed. I have bought and sold 4 houses in my life and the real estate agent has really done nothing other than collect a fee.

That is not a bad job when you can do absolutely nothing and still collect a hefty fee and make a living producing nothing of value. Yet, it adds zero value to the actual customer. I cannot tell you how many times I have scratched my head at this industry. It is truly amazing.

RedFin isn't disrupting, other discount services are not disrupting. Getting your own attorney and doing it on your own cannot disrupt. I mean this industry needs to be tipped on its head, shaken, swatted against a fence and then crumpled up and thrown in the wood chipper.

I have no answer, but I know it is true.

The last realtor I engaged with rolled up in her Mercedes Benz, added me to her website and told me to make my list. They have all done variations of this. I do all the work. They show me the property and collect a fee.

So--how to pick. Doesnt matter. You aren't going to get anything of any value.
It’s weird at how bad of a reputation realtors get.

I’ll be honest, I was struggling to find a job early last year so I decided to pursue my license being I do have a passion for real estate (buy/hold/rent).

Ironically the weekend I passed my exam was the same time I was offered a job at a great company. I took the job with keeping the real estate in my back pocket.

I will be honest, it’s a lot of work. Getting your own clients, hours, etc in addition to working full time but somehow I am making it work.

It does suck to hear that many are pushy, show up in their Mercedes acting big time. I am not looking to make a living out of this, yet, this was just a start at something new in an industry I see myself in month term. I have a great full time time job so I am not ready to leave the steady income. My goal this year is to be part of at least 1 deal.


I agree with this statement. Not all Realtors are bad but the one that are label the rest like in alot of industries. I have done over 20 real estate transactions with realtors and yes it seems sometimes its easy and not worth it but other times they really earn there money. For me I would find one that has experience and mostly directly in your area. A realtor with a good reputation can be worth it weight in gold HOWEVER if your in a market that homes are selling fast I would just go with a inexpensive listing service but list it when your ready to move right away and list it at a price it will sell based on comps in the area. I just put a house up for sale and the first day had two offers , one for 5k under and one for 5k over but was already listing at was pushing the ability to appraise price hence why I didnt want to list it any higher. But to just get it listed on MLS and avoid all the foo foo advertising you can save close to 2% plus. Good Luck but dont list it if your market is hot until your ready to jump!
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Watty
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by Watty »

crystalbank wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:29 pm So how does one pick a good realtor?
The last time I sold a house here is the process I used;

1) I asked around and got referrals for at least six(maybe a few more) real estate agents that I talked to on the phone for maybe 20 minutes.

2) I picked three of them to let them come to the house then come back later to let them present their competitive market analysis about how they thought the house should be sold. This is a booklet they put together with maybe 30 or more pages about your house, the current trends in your housing market, comparable houses that have sold, comparable houses that are still on the market, and about how great they are. They preset this to you in person and walk you through it and talk with you for maybe an hour or so.

3) I picked the one that I thought would work best with some issues that the house had. It had minor flood damage about five years before and was in a flood zone, but it also had a great view of wetlands.

Basically it was an interview process like I was a company who was hiring an employee.

I had planned this process and during the process I was upfront with the real estate agents about the process I was using to hire a real estate agent and that I was also interviewing other real estate agents. They were all OK with that. While I am sure they would have loved for me to have selected them without going through the process I also think they respected the way I was looking at the house sale as a business transaction since that indicated I would be easier to work with if things got a bit stressful during glitches in the sales process.

One critical thing was that I had a checklist of things to tell the agents when I was talking on the phone with them to make sure that I told then the same story. If you tell them different things, like how quickly you want to sell the house, then you will get a wide range responses which will be confusing.

Be sure to also ask the agent if they have any upcoming vacations planned and if so how they will handle your listing when they are out of town. You want to know about that ahead of time, especially if they will be out of town for a week or more. I don't recall exactly but I think the agent we used was out of town one long weekend for a wedding but she was available by cell phone and had someone in her office that could cover for her if we were in the middle of negotiations that weekend. That did not cause any problems since nothing came up that weekend.

Going through this process with them was real interesting and a great learning experience.

It was interesting that when the three competitive market analysis were presented they all had at least three examples of comparable houses that had sold recently but none of the real estate agents picked any of the same houses. As I recall there was about a 10% difference in the prices they recommended lising the house at which is a lot of money. The lowest was by an agent that had sold maybe a dozen houses in my subdivision and it was obvious she had recommended a low price for a quick and easy sale to make her job easier. She had the reputations as being the "go to" agent for my subdivision since she was able to sell your house so fast. :annoyed

One important thing to keep from this process is a list of comparable houses that are on the market and for sale and their asking price when you list your house. You want to keep this so that you can look back at if your house has not sold after a moth or more. You can look back at that list to see how many of the other houses sold, and what they sold for. The agent we selected told us that was one of the things we would be doing after the house had been on the market for a while when it was time to decide if we should lower the price. If few of the houses had sold it was just that the market was slow.

The agent we selected made sure that whenever the house was shown that we made sure that she knew about it right away so that she could call the agent that showed it to get feedback on the house. Getting that feedback was critical since it was clear that the price was not an issue so we were in no hurry to drop the price. That can also help identify any issues about the house that need to be addressed. At least once we were with her when she called another agent that had shown the house and she had the call on speaker phone. Once it was clear that the people who had seen the house were not interested in the house the other agents freely gave their opinions about the price and the house and what the other potential buyers impressions were. It was important that she called the other agent promptly so that their memory of the house showing was still fresh in their mind.

The listing agreement is a contract. If something like having frequent open houses is important to you then how often the open houses will be should be in the contract.

The house sold in about two months which was a reasonable amount of time and we got a very good price for it.
alfaspider
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by alfaspider »

snowox wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:02 am
I agree with this statement. Not all Realtors are bad but the one that are label the rest like in alot of industries.
As someone with a house on the market now, my issue is not with any specific realtor's performance or what they actually do. It's just that the whole system is setup to lock you in and take an unnecessarily large cut. For example, even if I were successful selling by owner, I'd still be on the hook for paying the Buyer's agent to the tune of 3%. If I managed to find an unrepresented buyer, they'd expect a discount of the same amount.

The other problem is that the fee structure is frustrating. The effort required to sell a house doesn't scale linearly with price. Sure, a $10 million mansion is going to take a much more robust marketing effort than a $100k teardown. But there's often little difference in work between selling a $300k house and a $600k house even though the fees are double for the latter.
snowman
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by snowman »

Going through the same process now. Putting the house on the market in the spring. We interviewed 5 realtors so far, not 100% comfortable with any of them. Agree with other posters that this industry needs to be disrupted.

We have asked all 5 to prepare current market analysis, recommend fixes/changes/upgrades to our house to show in best possible way, provide their marketing strategy, recommended price range, commission structure, and have their sales stats available.

How did we pick these 5? Well, we were looking for realtors that sell most homes in our area. One we got off the front yard “sold” signs we have seen over the years, the next 2 from zillow (have seen their signs too). Another one lives in our subdivision, we have known her for years, so we had her come over as well, mostly for comparison purposes with the “big 3”. The last one was a flat fee broker – we just wanted to see how different it would be compared to “regular” agents.

Here is my rundown. The guy with high sales was the worst – he wanted us to completely remodel the house, and then sell it at the lowest price. His commission was 5.6%, the lowest of them all. It was clear how he is making his sales.

The one living near us was more reasonable – her price was little higher, her fixes/upgrades were reasonable, but she would not budge from 6% commission.

The 2 high sellers from zillow were the best in our opinion – higher price point (were I would expect it to be looking at the sale in our area over the past 15 years), pretty reasonable recommendations as far as fixes, best marketing strategies, but again high commission 5.8% and 6%. If we had to make decision today, we would go with one of these two.

The last one was a flat fee broker. This guy was interesting – he was the least prepared (not surprising to me), recommended fewest fixes, his marketing strategy consisted mostly of MLS listing and taking photos, and his recommended price was inline with the 2 brokers from zillow. When we pressed him on sales and marketing strategy, he basically said this house will sell itself and we would be wasting money doing all the fixes we thought we had to do, and then pay traditional commission in addition to that. While this sounds good, I don’t think it’s realistic.

What I’d like to know is where do I find brokers that charge 4-5% that several BHs pointed out as the “new standard”? Where do you guys live? I pressed them really hard on their commission, and they wouldn’t budge! Only the 6% one said he doesn’t want to lose out to his competition on fees, implying he would be willing to go down to 5.8% if we were to sign the contract today. What gives?
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JAZZISCOOL
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by JAZZISCOOL »

anonsdca wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:13 pm In my opinion this is one industry that really needs to be disrupted--and I mean smashed. I have bought and sold 4 houses in my life and the real estate agent has really done nothing other than collect a fee.

That is not a bad job when you can do absolutely nothing and still collect a hefty fee and make a living producing nothing of value. Yet, it adds zero value to the actual customer. I cannot tell you how many times I have scratched my head at this industry. It is truly amazing.

RedFin isn't disrupting, other discount services are not disrupting. Getting your own attorney and doing it on your own cannot disrupt. I mean this industry needs to be tipped on its head, shaken, swatted against a fence and then crumpled up and thrown in the wood chipper.

I have no answer, but I know it is true.

The last realtor I engaged with rolled up in her Mercedes Benz, added me to her website and told me to make my list. They have all done variations of this. I do all the work. They show me the property and collect a fee.

So--how to pick. Doesnt matter. You aren't going to get anything of any value.
"In my opinion this is one industry that really needs to be disrupted--and I mean smashed."

+1

I speculate the real estate lobby has protected these high commissions for too long. Perhaps instead of "disrupting" it will be a slow, chipping-away of this business model.

There was a WSJ article in May 2019 re: Redfin:

"Redfin to Let Home Buyers Make Offers Via Website
Direct-purchase option would cut some real-estate agents out of transactions"

Paywall so won't post the link (mods may block; copyright issues). :happy

There is also Zillow Offers but not sure that is gaining much traction although I am happy to see different business models cropping up.

Many of the realtors I know of are "part time". That says something right there IMO, i.e. collect a $20k+ commission and then they don't have to work much for a few months, etc. Meanwhile, driving around in a Telsa, or other luxury car. :|

Whether you view your house as an investment or not, it is disconcerting to see how much of your home equity disappears in real estate transactions. :(
dsmil
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by dsmil »

Maybe you've done research in your area, but in my experience, don't assume you'll have to pay 6%. In our case (Maryland), we paid 2% for our (seller's) realtor and 2.5% to the buyer's realtor. Our house was an easy sell though, so it's possible that they would have wanted to charge more if they knew they'd have to put a lot of time into it. You can definitely shop around and try to negotiate.
snowox
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by snowox »

alfaspider wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:48 am
snowox wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:02 am
I agree with this statement. Not all Realtors are bad but the one that are label the rest like in alot of industries.
As someone with a house on the market now, my issue is not with any specific realtor's performance or what they actually do. It's just that the whole system is setup to lock you in and take an unnecessarily large cut. For example, even if I were successful selling by owner, I'd still be on the hook for paying the Buyer's agent to the tune of 3%. If I managed to find an unrepresented buyer, they'd expect a discount of the same amount.

The other problem is that the fee structure is frustrating. The effort required to sell a house doesn't scale linearly with price. Sure, a $10 million mansion is going to take a much more robust marketing effort than a $100k teardown. But there's often little difference in work between selling a $300k house and a $600k house even though the fees are double for the latter.

While i agree with you totally I dont know where you would draw the line or differentiate how to adjust the percentage. But I agree with you. I will say that my experience as I have bought and sold both the High and the lower cost homes generally for me the higher the price the harder it is to sell. Not to the point you say double, triple + commission but less buyers.
jharkin
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by jharkin »

stan1 wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:14 pm
crystalbank wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:06 pm I wouldn't list it a high sky price though. I don't want it gone right away, but willing to wait 4-5 months.
This could be a very bad strategy and that's what you need to understand for your neighborhood.
+1. If the market is hot then good properties sell fast. Where I live around Boston houses either sell the first weekend at list; or they sit for months with mulitple price drops. What happens is that buyers assume something "must be wrong" with those stale properties... and in my experience that is usually true. I look back at properties we where watching while we shopped and many of the ones that took months to sell eventually closed at a big discount or required some major work like a roof or sewer replacement as part of the deal.

We priced our house low and sold in 3 days last spring with multiple offers at and above asking. Other houses nearly identical to us that overpriced sat all summer and eventually gave up dropped off the market unsold. Some of those come back the next spring with a different agent and a lower price.


Other observations of the Boston market. May or may not be true for LA:
* 5% is the starting point and you can negotiate down from there. They all have to compete with Redfin now who will do it for 1~1.5.
* I hate it, but have to admit that staging is a must do. Non staged houses stand out like a sore thumb (in a bad way). Houses not photographed professionally also stand out badly. Our agent threw in the sager consult and photo shoot as part of the package.
* Open houses are just a way for agents to find other clients on your time. My chosen agent readily admitted this and didn't push for more than a single short open house as a formality
* What DOES sell your house is top ranking on Zillow/Redfin/etc that leads to showings. You want the online presence to generate a LOT of buzz and traffic to the websites the first weekend so your house shows up on the Redfin "hot home" list.


PS - i agree with everyone else on the need for disruption. I was tempted to go alone or with Redfin but chose not to becuase we had an unusual property that only appeals to a limited buyer pool (VERY old antique). Not to mention the vast majority of buyers here work with agents and agents will refuse to even show a FSBO property sometimes. Picked a rep that had glowing recommendations from neighbors and had all kinds of fluff to claim they where hte number 1 agent in town.

Well, newsflash, EVERY agent claims to be #1 in town and like others here I ended up doing most of the legwork. About the only thing my 10s of thousands of dollars got us was a door though NARs brick wall around the MLS, some appointment scheduling, and a middle man so we didn't have to negotiate face to face. I spent 5x as much time talking to my lawyer and loan officer than I ever did with the realtor. Who by the way pawns you off on a back office flunky to do the hard work as soon as an offer is signed.
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by fredflinstone »

anonsdca wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:13 pm In my opinion this is one industry that really needs to be disrupted--and I mean smashed. I have bought and sold 4 houses in my life and the real estate agent has really done nothing other than collect a fee.

That is not a bad job when you can do absolutely nothing and still collect a hefty fee and make a living producing nothing of value. Yet, it adds zero value to the actual customer. I cannot tell you how many times I have scratched my head at this industry. It is truly amazing.

RedFin isn't disrupting, other discount services are not disrupting. Getting your own attorney and doing it on your own cannot disrupt. I mean this industry needs to be tipped on its head, shaken, swatted against a fence and then crumpled up and thrown in the wood chipper.

I have no answer, but I know it is true.

The last realtor I engaged with rolled up in her Mercedes Benz, added me to her website and told me to make my list. They have all done variations of this. I do all the work. They show me the property and collect a fee.

So--how to pick. Doesnt matter. You aren't going to get anything of any value.
Great post. There is a deep discount broker here in Colorado (based in Ft. Collins I think) who sells houses for a flat fee of $900 each. The owner has to do almost all the work, and I do mean almost all of it. I bought my own lockbox, provided my own "for sale" sign, filled out the MLS form myself. The Realtor was available to help me if I had questions. I never met her in person. It worked out great and I ended up saving a ton of money. This is the most disruptive business model I've seen but of course it's only disruptive on the seller side. I paid the standard 3% fee to the buyer's agent. I didn't see any way around that. Still, I think more and more Realtors are going to start offering similar deep discount services to sellers. My Realtor earns a lot less than the typical Realtor per house, but I assume she makes up for it in volume.
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Re: Picking a Realtor

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crystalbank wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:29 pm Hi BHers,

We've decided to sell our house this year, downsize and rent for a while. We have a baby due in February, so likely will sell after that. I'm a bit hesitant to go with the realtor that represented us when we bought the house because I kinda felt like she was a bit pushy and we were taken for a ride. So how does one pick a good realtor? What questions should I ask them?

- This is in a desirable area in Los Angeles (not super hot, but definitely 'warm').
- We recently got an appraisal (for refinance purposes) from the bank and it's definitely inline with our expectations.
- All houses here are staged and is staging usually included with the realtors fee?
- Lastly, realtors in my area usually charge 6%. Other costs/fees that I might wanna look out for?

Thanks.
OP, the fee is split into two parts: one fee to the seller's agent (i.e. your agent) and one fee to the buyer's agent. I recommend you pay the standard 3% fee to the buyer's agent. If you offer less than than the standard 3% to the buyer's agents, they will have a disincentive to show your home to their clients. I once considered offering a 3.1% fee to the buyer's agent but was advised that this raises a red flag. So just stick with 3%.

There are discount Realtors in Los Angeles who will sell your home for less than 3%. You can find them on Google using search terms like "flat fee Realtor Los Angeles" or "discount Realtor Los Angeles." All seller's agents do pretty much the same thing (i.e. very little), so just go without whoever is cheapest provided they come across as professional (e.g. they answer their phone in a professional manner, return your calls promptly, and can speak and write English clearly). I personally would prefer someone who will handle your transaction from start to finish, as opposed to handing you off to a big company's HQ.
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medic
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by medic »

So a few folks have talked about "marketing strategies" for selling a home? What is a good marketing strategy?

Around Seattle, it's usually just an MLS listing with professional photos, maybe a shot from a drone, a sign with flyers out front, and an open house. Occasionally you'll get a postcard mailer for a house for sale. If the realtor is aware of cultural buyers, you'll see a listing with a lot of 8s in the asking price. This all seems pretty basic, so what would be something that stands out.

Speaking with several realtors, houses almost never sell with an open house listing or a mail flyer. The people really interested in the home will see it in private so the open house is more to impress the seller that their 6% is going somewhere and for the realtor to get more clients (you find a lot of unrepresented buyers during open houses). And anyone looking will have gotten the house listing from MLS, not waiting for Joe the mailman.
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by fredflinstone »

medic wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:03 pm So a few folks have talked about "marketing strategies" for selling a home? What is a good marketing strategy?

Around Seattle, it's usually just an MLS listing with professional photos, maybe a shot from a drone, a sign with flyers out front, and an open house. Occasionally you'll get a postcard mailer for a house for sale. If the realtor is aware of cultural buyers, you'll see a listing with a lot of 8s in the asking price. This all seems pretty basic, so what would be something that stands out.

Speaking with several realtors, houses almost never sell with an open house listing or a mail flyer. The people really interested in the home will see it in private so the open house is more to impress the seller that their 6% is going somewhere and for the realtor to get more clients (you find a lot of unrepresented buyers during open houses). And anyone looking will have gotten the house listing from MLS, not waiting for Joe the mailman.
Staging is important for high-end homes. Professional photos are also important, especially if some potential buyers are from out of town. Flyers out front, open houses, and mail flyers are a total waste of time. Perhaps it goes without saying, but it's also important to make sure the home is immaculate inside and out and free of obvious defects.
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by crystalbank »

medic wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:03 pm So a few folks have talked about "marketing strategies" for selling a home? What is a good marketing strategy?

Around Seattle, it's usually just an MLS listing with professional photos, maybe a shot from a drone, a sign with flyers out front, and an open house. Occasionally you'll get a postcard mailer for a house for sale. If the realtor is aware of cultural buyers, you'll see a listing with a lot of 8s in the asking price. This all seems pretty basic, so what would be something that stands out.

Speaking with several realtors, houses almost never sell with an open house listing or a mail flyer. The people really interested in the home will see it in private so the open house is more to impress the seller that their 6% is going somewhere and for the realtor to get more clients (you find a lot of unrepresented buyers during open houses). And anyone looking will have gotten the house listing from MLS, not waiting for Joe the mailman.
I tend to think it's true here in LA as well. Most of the 'buyers' actually buy from private showings not open houses. Open houses are more or less just to improve the realtors potential client base.
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by crystalbank »

Thanks for the replies. I started to walk around the neighborhood and writing down the names of a few realtors that actually have houses on the market. Will contact them over the next few weeks to get a better idea.
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by ScubaHogg »

Don’t. Sell it yourself.

Why would you pay someone thousands (tens of thousands?) of dollars to post some pictures on a webpage?

Pay a real estate attorney if you want help with the paperwork.
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by crystalbank »

ScubaHogg wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:30 pm Don’t. Sell it yourself.

Why would you pay someone thousands (tens of thousands?) of dollars to post some pictures on a webpage?

Pay a real estate attorney if you want help with the paperwork.
As much as I want to go this route. It's not practically possible especially in our neighborhood. Most buyers already have an agent and they really don't like 'owner' listings.
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by ScubaHogg »

crystalbank wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:35 pm
ScubaHogg wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:30 pm Don’t. Sell it yourself.

Why would you pay someone thousands (tens of thousands?) of dollars to post some pictures on a webpage?

Pay a real estate attorney if you want help with the paperwork.
As much as I want to go this route. It's not practically possible especially in our neighborhood. Most buyers already have an agent and they really don't like 'owner' listings.
You can still offer the buyers agent 3%. The buyers’ agent just wants to get paid. PLUS some huge percentage of homes are found by the buyers themselves of services like Zillow. No buyers’ agent will/can refuse to show the buyers a house they might actually buy.

But save yourself a ton of money. Sellers’ agents literally do nothing. I can’t imagine it’ll exist as a job in 10-20 years.
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by fredflinstone »

ScubaHogg wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:30 pm Don’t. Sell it yourself.

Why would you pay someone thousands (tens of thousands?) of dollars to post some pictures on a webpage?

Pay a real estate attorney if you want help with the paperwork.
in CA i think you have to use a realtor to get on MLS.
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by ScubaHogg »

fredflinstone wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:37 pm
ScubaHogg wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:30 pm Don’t. Sell it yourself.

Why would you pay someone thousands (tens of thousands?) of dollars to post some pictures on a webpage?

Pay a real estate attorney if you want help with the paperwork.
in CA i think you have to use a realtor to get on MLS.
Zillow > MLS
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by Googliebear »

StealthRabbit wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:23 pm I have done 32 of my 34 property transactions 'realtor free', but... if you need one...
1) Referrals from measurable excellent results (successful CLOSINGS) Can mean being 'pushy'
2) Stats that indicate they sell a lot of properties in your area and in your price range in quick turn times (You can get this info from board of realtors, or from a broker)
3) ALWAYS interview their boss (privately, not with realtor)
4) Have them demonstrate their own performance measures and progress charts.
5) Determine if they provide concise weekly activity reports for YOUR property.
6) Negotiate the 6%. (Locally ours has gone to 4%) Internationally I prefer their 0.5%
7) Transaction wise -You can hire an excellent attorney for REAL advice for ~1/10th the cost of a realtor. (but attorney is not going to market your home)
8) Title Company does all the 'real work' (legal and paper) in our region.

If you need a marketing pro, get the best one you can find. (afford) = a quick transaction and on your way.
The wrong one will leave you hanging for weeks. Dispose of them quickly.
You're obviously very successful at selling your own properties and I would love to hear any additional input you may have on how to sell your home yourself.

Is it as simple as bullets 6 & 7, plus the self marketing?

Any insights, references, reads that you can offer are greatly appreciated.
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by vested1 »

ScubaHogg wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:30 pm Don’t. Sell it yourself.

Why would you pay someone thousands (tens of thousands?) of dollars to post some pictures on a webpage?

Pay a real estate attorney if you want help with the paperwork.
I was initially irritated with being required to hire a real estate attorney by State law when we moved to SC, but can now see the wisdom of this policy. We paid an additional $2,500 total in fees here than we would have had to as buyers in our home State of Ca, about 1/3 of which went to the attorney. He handled the hiring of the title company and all dealings with them, and all the accompanying paperwork as an unbiased representative of State law, dealing with both the buyer and the seller. He handled the transfer of ownership and the progress of escrow, as well as receiving and verifying the wiring of the full purchase price directly from our financial institution.

As opposed to Ca where we bought our previous home and sold it 25 years later, we never spoke with or were required to visit the title company in SC. Every real estate legality was funneled through and vetted by the attorney's office here. We only went to the his office twice, once to sign the initial paperwork, delivering a $2,000 deposit check to cover our fees, and once at close of escrow. He even oversaw the contract between ourselves and our agent. This process left little to do for our agent, who really wasn't interested in anything other than getting her commission anyway.

In retrospect, considering how little was required of our agent, the seller should have asked to pay a smaller commission.
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Re: Picking a Realtor

Post by J295 »

Here’s something to consider… If you choose an agent with multiple listings, especially in your neighborhood in your price range, there is a risk that your agent may market one of those other properties more diligently than your property. For example, someone looks at your house and is a little uncertain about something in the kitchen. Rather than follow that through and see if there can be a price adjustment or other modification, the agent says well don’t worry about that, I have another property in the same neighborhood in price range listed that is better for you so let’s go see that one.
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