Why you should hire a real estate professional.
As a title attorney in the real industry who came directly from working as an active REALTOR, the decision by the district court in Burnett et al v. NAR et al is disheartening to say the least. In sum, the jury found defendants liable on claims that real estate commissions are too high, buyer brokers are being paid too much, and NAR rules and corporate defendants’ practices lead to set pricing. The realtors that I have had the privilege to work with both as a title attorney and on the other side of real estate transactions have been some of the most outstanding professionals I have ever come across. They are a group who have honed their craft and provide outstanding service to their clients. There are many things that the general public does not understand about a real estate agent, so I will take a moment to shed light on the true value and hard work that goes into this role and why I would never consider their commission “too high.”
A real estate agent often wears many, many hats. They are the hub in your wheel in all communications with all parties throughout the entire process – and it is a PROCESS! Opening doors is the least of what they do.
1) Realtors are able to provide comparative metrics for similar homes so that you can negotiate the best value and price. Similarly, they use that data to fetch the best market price as listing agents. In fact, selling a home for sale by owner yields a 26% lower price point than a home listed and sold with an agent. The commission you agree to pay when listing your home with a realtor is easily made up for when you get well more for your home than you would as a for sale by owner.
2) Agents are expert negotiators. They understand how to find common ground with the other side to reach a deal. Price is not the only part of a contract to be negotiated, and an experienced and knowledgeable realtor understands how to manipulate a purchase agreement to make both sides agreeable.
3) A real estate agent knows the best repairmen, inspectors, painters, plumbers, electricians, roofers, A/C specialists, foundation experts, landscapers, power washers, cleaning services, septic tank inspectors, staging companies, photographers, videographers, appraisers, lenders, title attorneys, and more. They have these professionals at the ready so when your deal needs to close timely, you are able to do so with their guidance and communication. They have pre-existing relationships with these parties and are able to schedule and communicate your needs to get the deal to close timely and without further issues.
4) Many agents spend time marketing your home through various channels and means – social media, online websites, email blasts, printed magazines, in person showings, in person events and open houses to name a few. Often times agents are coming out of pocket for these marketing services, photography, videography, and sometimes even staging to get the home sold timely and for the highest price.
5) They are the janitor too. As a past realtor, I carried tools in my glove box, measuring tape, and in my trunk, a vacuum, brooms, rakes, and cleaning supplies. I’ve cleaned showers and baseboards, vacuumed, washed windows, cleaned gutters, raked leaves, and staged with potted plants and interior décor. I’ve seen realtors cutting the grass and pulling weeds. It’s a true labor and an added cherry on top when they go the extra mile to do these services which is truly outside of the realtors’ purview.
With all these services a realtor provides many do not understand how a realtor gets paid. Imagine spending three or four full weekends showing houses and even submitting offers on behalf of a client without a paycheck. Imagine listing and marketing at your expense a home without getting paid. There are many out of pocket expenses a realtor will undertake including signage, marketing, photography, videography, and sometimes staging without any assurance that the home will reach closing. No realtor gets paid their commission until they reach the closing table. There are many times a deal will fall through or a client decides not to buy or move here, and the realtor would have expended considerable time, effort, and personal expense without a paycheck. That’s the nature of the business. That’s the risk realtors knowingly take each time they get to work. In addition, a realtor’s commission as an agent is split with the cooperating broker. Then the agent’s broker takes a split of that commission. They are also contract workers and will pay considerable taxes on this commission. As a buyer or seller of real estate, the dollar figure for commissions on the settlement statement at closing is not what your realtor takes home – not even close.
In the end, if you are selling a home at 26% higher profit than you would for sale by owner, the real estate agent you hire is offering considerable services and value to the transaction. Choosing a realtor to represent you will lift the burdens of handling all these details and help seamlessly navigate the nuances of the industry. They are dedicated professionals to their craft, and they should get paid just like you do every day you walk into your workplace. I, for one, am thankful for realtors, their expertise, their hustle, and their every day dedication to this vital role. You wouldn’t go to the courtroom without a lawyer, and I wouldn’t buy or sell a house without a realtor.
When you get under contract, I would be honored to handle all the title work for your closing.
See you at the closing table!
Anne Elise Doise
Attorney At Law