What Is the Value of an Agent?
“You get what you pay for” may be an overworked adage, but it continues to hold true, particularly in real estate. The increased use of technology and online tools has led many consumers to the false assumption that finding and buying a home online is as easy and convenient as shopping online. In fact, some new brokerage models are capitalizing on this misconception and presenting discounted offerings as a way for home buyers to save money on one of the largest purchases of most consumers’ lives. Although these brokerage models can be attractive on the surface in terms of the potential savings to consumers, this “sparkle” can actually cost home buyers in the long run.
Experienced real estate agents know they’re an integral and invaluable participant in the home buying and selling process. But in the face of these new models, agents may have to convince potential clients of their tangible value to them. The discounted commissions and fees that are promoted often come at the expense of discounted services, knowledge, training and experience, which can hurt buyers and sellers alike during these complex transactions. When talking with clients and potential clients about getting the most value out of their real estate transaction, it is important to impress upon your clients and potential clients three important points they should consider when buying and selling a home:
- Finding a home isn’t as easy as just clicking around online. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, respondents indicated that locating the right home to buy was the most difficult part of the entire process.1 And with the tight inventories many communities across the country are facing, this task can be even harder. Although many consumers believe that listings are available online to everyone equally, that isn’t the reality. In addition to having access to expanded listings, you, the experienced real estate agent, are often aware of homes that will soon be on the market, but are not yet listed, as well as homes that are no longer active, but still available. Additionally, experienced real estate agents intimately know the towns and neighborhoods that they serve, and can guide clients to areas that they may not have considered. Potential home buyers must take into account the personal assistance and level of on-the-ground support they may need in finding their new home, and the services you’ll provide to make their home buying experience successful and pleasant.
- Making an offer is just the beginning. Once you and your clients have found the perfect home, the real work begins. An experienced real estate agent knows how to take clients from escrow to close, and personally walk their clients through every stage of the transaction. From negotiating the price to negotiating necessary repairs once the inspection has been conducted, agents provide their clients with important industry knowledge and an informed perspective ─ whether they are buying the home or selling it. As trusted advisors, agents bring another set of eyes to review and explain contracts and the extensive paperwork that comes with real estate transactions — another set of eyes looking out for the best interests of their clients. This is additional proof of why trained and experienced real estate agents are critical resources for consumers.
- Real value comes at a real cost. Real estate is a relationship-based business. When making one of the largest financial decisions of their lives, consumers must be able to know and trust their agent. Knowledgeable agents are often an important source for referrals to inspectors, real estate attorneys and title services, as well as plumbers, electricians and other service providers. In discounting the price of the services they offer, these new brokerage models must often reduce the actual services they provide consumers. One way they accomplish this is to differentiate the roles of their employees — for example, some agents show homes, while others write the offer contract with multiple people involved, versus one lead resource. The probabality of an oversight or missed detail increases and can create significant delays or increased expenses for buyers. This absence of one “go-to” trusted person who is managing every aspect of the transaction is one more way that discounts can end up costing more in the long run.
We real estate agents know the expertise and value we bring to the home buying or selling process and experience cannot be matched by slick marketing or discounted fees. Although it can be challenging to articulate our value when faced with new models offering appealing discounts, you get what you pay for. To compete with these models, agents must clearly communicate the tangible value they deliver to their clients. Answer the question: What are they paying for? You. Your experience, personal attention throughout the process and a relationship with a trusted advisor money can’t buy.
About the Contributor
Renee Deane serves as Executive Vice President for Carrington Real Estate Services, LLC, where she is directly responsible for the operations and growth of the brokerage in 23 states. In addition, she leads the strategic development and implementation of new revenue sources that directly benefit the income potential of Carrington agents. A 25-year industry veteran in the financial services sector, Renee’s experience brings a global perspective to developing innovative ideas and solutions for Carrington Real Estate Services’ local leadership teams, training, marketing and product development efforts.
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