I confess. I’ve never used a Real Estate Agent before… Neither has our most recent client. She has bought and sold several homes, all on her own, never with an agent. This time was going to be no different, other than hiring a discount / limited service agent to get in the MLS. So what went wrong?
A former client connected us with a friend of theirs, Patty, who was losing a contract to purchase her home. She was represented by a minimum service brokerage. There was nothing I could do to help because she was already under agency, represented, by another brokerage and their agent.
But wait, you ask, “She only paid to get her home in the MLS. She didn’t buy any negotiating packages, just basic MLS input.”
That broker is the one who represents you, even if they only put pictures in the MLS. They are also the only one who can offer you advice or even answer your questions, regardless if you buy any of their upgraded services or not (e.g. negotiation and paperwork services).
Why? Client confidentiality is sacred. Market’s would be completely unfair otherwise. The law leaves ZERO room for interpretation in who represents you as a seller on the market. There’s no varying levels of representation, or service, only who represents you and as such who can advise you on the sale (or purchase) of a home.
When Patty called I could tell she was confused and didn’t know what to do. She had many concerns she wanted to field with me but I had to kindly decline as she was already under agent, represented by another agent.
A couple weeks went by. I got a call back from Patty. She had experienced difficulty selling her home and told us a bit of the story. The former buyer had strong repair demands as such Patty requested all earnest money become non-refundable. Her agent said the buyers agreed. Patty she sold all her belongings, completed all the repairs, and basically had one foot out the door.
Then she got the call, the buyer changed their mind. They canceled the contract and the real surprise was, Patty would not collect the earnest money. Her agent had never made it non-refundable. The paperwork he drafted was not as requested.
At this point Patty also parted ways with her agent, and that’s where our story picks up. We visited her home, took the pictures, and promptly got her back on the market. Patty’s home is absolutely IMMACULATE. As they say, you could have ate off the floors it was so clean. It looked like new, and I understand had been a builder’s model home.
As an agent, I have empathy for minimum service brokers. When things go wrong you are confronted with client’s who need your help. These clients, have nowhere else to go besides you. Minimum service agents have agreements that leave out the most important part of any advisory role. That is handling the unforeseen, the countless contingencies we are faced with in the Real Estate Market.
I think the future of Real Estate will be in the trend of less agent involvement, but only as our services are more highly automated. A good part of what we do as agents can be automated through online tools.Tools that have yet to be developed. The advisory role will likely never go away though as we’re not selling packages of gum here, we’re assisting with the biggest and most complex transaction most people are faced with, the sale of a home.
This is why it is vitally important you choose a Real Estate Agent to represent you who has all the tools to close on your home. And offer you a return on the commissions you pay them. Someone who is as deeply invested with their advice, experience, tools, and team as you are in your home.