Rarely have I written a column that has incited such backlash. But then again, times are tough for many of the 2 million plus real estate agents in the U.S.
The number of new homes sold is still falling, although existing homes seem to be stabilizing, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors. Although the Pending Home Sales Index rose in December, the number of homes on the market is still up from a year earlier.
The number of months a home languishes on the market has risen. And, that makes sellers nervous and anxious.
In my recent column, “9 Things You Should Ask Your Agent Before Hiring Him or Her”, I suggested that you ask the following questions: What neighborhoods do you work in? How many transactions did you close last year? How old are your clients? What type of home do you sell most frequently to your clients? How frequently will I hear from you? Do you work with an assistant? Do you smoke? And, Can I see your resume?
Far and away, the strongest response I received was to Question #5: Do you use a lockbox or do you conduct showings yourself? Clearly, this is a hot topic.
Here are a few of the responses to the column (some of which have been edited for clarity or space). You can see more of them, or join the conversation, at www.thinkglink.com/forum.
Comment: Seems to me to be more than a bit hypocritical to suggest that the lack of a “resume” is cause for concern when on your very own website there’s darn little about “your”; qualifications or work history – for example “Meet Ilyce” is yet to be provided!
I would be happy to provide a resume of my pre-real estate work history but I have never been asked. I would never ask an agent to provide one when selling, and think that the agent’s real estate experience is of far more importance.
I also take exception to your blanket judgment about accompanied showings. In an era of high inventory access is the number one issue and no agent can satisfy every request for a showing. When I have 10 properties to choose from when putting together a tour those that accompany showings go to the bottom of the pile – not worth the hassle of coordination when I can show eight listings on lockbox.
If my buyer is at all interested the agent can accompany the second showing. Trailing the buyer’s agent and their clients through the listing is not the most important aspect of selling a property by any means – I could go on at length but won’t – I think your advice is short sighted.
Comment: I have to strenuously disagree on your lock box position. A lock box is one of the greatest additions to our business in the past 30 years. It allows a broker to show a property on her or his schedule rather than on the listing broker’s schedule and, therefore, makes the likelihood that a property will be shown greater.
As a listing broker, I can make sure lights are on, sidewalks are cleared (it’s snowing right now in Santa Fe) and the like, but to risk the loss of a showing because the showing broker and the listing broker cannot coordinate their schedules is a disservice to both the seller and the potential buyer.
Also, in a small marketplace, asking the question “What neighborhoods do you work in?” makes no sense. I can see that if you work in Chicago or Denver, but, in a town of 100,000 or less, most brokers are familiar with all neighborhoods, although granted they’re more familiar with some than others, but that’s part of the job description.
Comment: Jesus Ilyce. Do you want me to drive 40 miles so I can babysit some agent while showing one of my listings? Maybe you can afford the time and gasoline to do this but I’m not banging on the laptop in the ivory tower to make my living. This concept is as “Old School” as ads and open houses.
I’m one agent that believes in the Internet and I will email a hundred pictures to clients who have an interest in one of my properties. We agents do enough work for no pay, and escorting other agents with their buyers is at the top of that list.
This type of activity may have legal implications. For instance, I may have to have the buyers sign an agency disclosure to clarify my agency liability, especially if I’m asked questions. The buyers may be confused when there are “two agents.” The other agent will most likely not appreciate my “intrusion” and “interface” with their buyers.
I’m a 95 percent listing-only agent. I’m sure you realize that there are many of us out there. We are “Listing Pigs” and that lessens our liability and isolates us from lawsuits from buyers. I do not practice “Dual Agency.” I have no agents (who work for me).
Agents are a legal nightmare for brokers unless you are a large brokerage with an in-house legal department.
Appraisers travel a hundred miles to be “experts” on value. Here in San Diego, we have appraisers from Riverside County. There are services that supply information on property that you would not believe. You might mention under assistants that they are a “profit center” and the parties are usually charged $300-500 for the privilege of not receiving the “direct representation” that they paid for in the original commission.
That’s what you should talk about. It’s a RIP.
Sellers, what do you think? You can log onto my website, www.thinkglink.com/forum, and read other responses to this column, or join the discussion yourself. I will continue to run interesting responses to this issue, and will let you know if any sellers weigh in.