Hands cradling fools gold

Fool’s Gold

Technology is changing our lives with blinding speed, leaving a lot of folks worried or excited about changes in the real estate industry. With the sole aim to pay less, home sellers are embracing discount brokerages all over the country. To those who are experienced in selling their own property, this might be a good option. To those who aren’t, it could be costly or even disastrous. The DIY movement has been expanding exponentially, and it’s understandable that a DIY approach would apply to selling a home too. But, like with anything else, there are pitfalls to navigate.

It’s certainly self-serving for me to tout the advantages of hiring me, or any other agent in the area, versus going with a discount brokerage. But, it’s really just a different business model made possible by the internet, the greatest business disruptor of all time. A traditional agent’s value is well-supported by the brokerage business model to which we’ve all become accustomed. Let’s take a look.

First and foremost, a Realtor® is sworn to a code of ethics, a review of which is mandatory every two years. Discount brokerages may or may not adhere to these same standards. A trusted real estate agent who lives by these ethical standards is bound to serve the client’s best interests, as her future business and local reputation is at stake. 

Your agent and you are partners in achieving the same thing: a sale of real estate with the most favorable terms. Such a result does not happen automatically. Discount houses save you money for sure.  But, what are the invisible, unknown costs? Are the discounters available to answer your questions in a timely fashion? Will they negotiate aggressively on your behalf? Is a market analysis part of their service? Will they field questions from buyers, such as zoning issues and deed restrictions, or just dump them in your lap? Can you be sure you are complying with state and federal laws with respect to mandatory disclosures? Will the discounter help you navigate the nuances of a transaction—the deadlines, inspections and financing contingencies, the legal requirements of a property disclosure, or possible solutions to a stalled negotiation? Will they provide trusted, local vendor names, mortgage brokers, and attorneys? Do they have an intimate knowledge of the local market and community? Will they make useful and money-saving suggestions based on your specific situation? Will they insulate you from the inevitable stress when things go wrong?

All of these require a thoughtful agent’s full attention. Without that full attention (discounters rely on volume which means less attention), and without a skilled professional to rely on as your primary resource, a seller is taking on potential jeopardy, just to save money. Saving money is a good thing, but hiring a discount brokerage is fool’s gold, folks! Don’t discount the value of a real estate pro, because she will limit your stress, and with her negotiating skill, will likely put more money in your pocket at the closing table anyway. Really!

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