I have hesitated to write this post because it may seem to be shooting myself and fellow Realtors in the foot. But everyone must adapt to change in how real estate is marketed – ready or not.
What do I mean? For many years the real estate agent was the go-to person to list your property for sale or to get information about listed properties. Now practically everyone with a computer goes online to see listed properties. An owner can post a property for sale (or rent) without listing it. A buyer can look at a property directly with the owner or enlist the help of an agent if desired. Buyers and sellers have more information at their fingertips than ever before.
How are these changes affecting the role of agents and brokers? We are not the essential go-to person in many cases. We are still necessary to unlock doors, show houses, and write and present offers on listed properties. We still provide a valuable service, but we may not have the level of influence over the listing and selling process that we had in the past.
What brought about this change? If we could pinpoint just one thing it would be the advent of the Big Z – Zillow. Do a search for real estate for sale in your location and chances are the Zillow website will be right up there are the top of the page. There you can window shop for listed properties to your heart’s content. Are you selling? You can list your property on Zillow for the whole world to see.
Zillow’s data on properties is not always as accurate as that on Realtor.com, the National Association of Realtors site, but that doesn’t matter for most of the buying and selling public. What does this imply for the Multiple Listing Service, the mainstay of listed properties? The MLS risks becoming redundant in the public eye, if it isn’t already.
What’s the potential effect of this change on the Big Box real estate companies? How does their branding add value to your listing experience as a seller when buyers by the thousands can view your property online and call a Realtor only when they are ready to see a particular house? Does the buyer care who the house is listed with? Probably not; the buyer just needs someone to unlock the door and let him or her see inside.
There’s still a role for real estate agents and companies to play as service providers, particularly for those people who still call an agent or a company for information or to list a property for sale, but as the population ages the way we do things is changing. Younger buyers and sellers typically start the process online and bring in an agent on an as-needed/if-needed basis.
This may be a glimpse into the future of the listing and buying aspects of the real estate brokerage business. From my point of view as an independent broker, it’s the way to go.
I market real estate. You sell it. To explain: Let’s say you list a property with me as your Realtor. I market the property, that is, I advertise it, promote it, and try to find a buyer for it.
You, as the owner, can choose to sell it or not depending on the offer you receive. Only the owner, the title holder, can sell the property. By “sell” I mean to transfer the title to a new owner in exchange for payment.
The real estate agent may bring an offer to the owner. The owner may then enter into a contract with the buyer and transfer title to the property. Thus the agent markets the property, the owner sells it.
My role is to bring a buyer and seller together in a contract. The agent is a broker, a middle man or woman. The agent may represent the buyer, the seller, or neither. The agent always represents his or her broker.
The agent can represent the buyer or seller only with a written agreement signed by both parties.
As a broker, I represent myself. At the same time I can represent you as a buyer or a seller.
Always ask any time you’re not sure about some aspect of a listing agreement or any part of a contract. While a real estate agent or broker cannot give legal advice, he or she can usually explain the terms of a contract as stated in the pre-written contract forms.
Two parties have to find each other and enter into a contract that both of them find satisfactory. The seller is looking for someone who is ready, willing and able to buy his property for sale. The buyer is looking for a piece of property that comes as close as is practicable to what he wants.
In some cases the two parties find each other on their own without the help of a third party. They must successfully navigate through the process of agreeing on price, terms and conditions for a purchase and sale to take place.
In other cases, one or both parties use an agent, a licensed real estate practitioner, to help them find each other, get on the same page, and move through the contractual process to a satisfactory closure.
Both scenarios, whether or not an agent is used, requires the services of a lawyer to make sure the buyer gets good title to the property and to close the deal. In Georgia, only licensed attorneys close real estate transactions.
And so, the seller is looking for a qualified buyer, and the buyer is looking for a property that meets his or her criteria as nearly as possible. The process usually involves advertising of the property for sale.
The seller can advertise the property at his or her own expense, or let a Realtor advertise it free of charge. The Realtor will try to find a buyer for the property in order to recoup his or her expenses, which include but are not limited to advertising expenses.
In a nutshell, that’s how real estate gets sold. Your comments are invited.
This is a website for you to ask questions about real estate in the Americus-Sumter County area. Other readers are invited to join me in answering your questions. I’ll draw on my experience and resources in the business to address your concerns.
I’d like to ask you a question: If you’re trying to sell some real estate, how did you arrive at a commission rate with your agent? Did your agent suggest a way for you to get a break on the commission and still receive full service?
If you’re a buyer, does your house come with a home warranty? If you prefer, can you have a Lowe’s card valued at $400 instead of a home warranty?
These are questions worth asking because they may save you money as a seller or reward you as a buyer. Notice the title of this website: This Is Real Estate Today. Leave a comment or call me at 229-924-3089. Michael Dixon