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Is the era of the Real-estate agent / broker vanishing?

As more and more people understand the process of the simple real-estate transactions, are agents really needed. Though many provide customized service, is it worth the 6% commission for a product that really sells itsself.
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June 01 2010 - Dallas
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Is the face of Real Estate changing......Yes.

Will the traditional system of Broker - Agent fade away?

Brokers and Agents who refuse to adapt to the modern era, will fade away. They will not be able to afford to stay in real estate.

Older ones that are using older methods will probably just hang on to retirement.

For me and I am a older one, I had planned to pursue my real estate career into and after retirement. I have been a broker since 1976, but did that primarily for my personal real estate investments. What is different now is that I am trying to take a more personal approach to helping first time how buyers and concentrate on the Texas Affordable Housing Market. I am aware of the large commissions available in the other markets, but here near the end I am not out for just profit or commission.
I really enjoy helping people and there are still people that need me.

The sophisticated buyers and sellers can proceed on their own, but it is a minefield and some of them will be maimed and some dismembered (are at least it will feel that way).

The Professional Realtor® is worth their commission earned.
As a listing broker, using only the internet to market and promote a property, the usual 3% is higher than I think it needs to be. When you are buying newspaper ads and magazine ads and other print media the 3% is more correct. I tell my sellers that I am only using the internet and modern marketing techniques (of course the local MLS).

I have adjusted my listing fee downward, because my hard dollar cost are so much less, just using the internet. I am an independent broker and I have kept my overhead low.

Time will tell.

Good Luck!

James Callas - Realtor®
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June 01 2010

I beg to differ that a home 'sells itself'.  There is a lot of work that goes into selling a home, and not everyone has the understanding of what it takes to get one ready for market.  From the staging and preparing a house to go to market, establishing an accurate price for the home, marketing the home to both potential buyers and other brokers in the area, negotiating the terms of sale, assisting sellers in locating contractors, title companies, movers, etc., I think that Realtors do quite a bit of work for their paycheck, and too often are made to feel like they didn't do anything to deserve it. If it was truly that easy to sell a house without a Realtor, I guarantee you would never see another brokers sign in a sellers yard.  Can it be done without the help of a Realtor, of course.  I could roof my house by myself too, but I plan on calling a roofing contractor in to do it though because I know that if I hire a good contractor, the job will be done, done well, and will be well worth the money spent.  Same holds true for sellers working with Realtors.

-James Dunn

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June 01 2010
I see our services needed more than ever.   In an area of information overload, most buyers and sellers need an experienced agent and broker to weed through the mess and provide expertise in a quick and concise format.   Based on our experience and expertise we regularly save our clients both time and significant money on both purchase and sale transactions.  
Case in point I listed and sold a townhome in a community I regularly work in the 190s range.  We sold it in about 60 days.  Same time another seller told me he wanted to"save 2%" by using a discount broker who would list and sell for 4%.  He's now gone through 3 realtors and nearly a year of the place being empty and looks like sales price will be in the high 170s or low 180s.   All to save 2% or less than $4000.   This bad decision has cost him $15,000 or so in lower sales price, Nearly 12 months of taxes, insurance, and lost interest which I calculate at about $1600/month.   Plus he probably put himself at fairly high risk of something bad happening to the property while vacant as most normal homeowners insurance will not cover a vacant property.  
I see this all the time on the buyer side too....we could have saved them $1000s on purchase price, insurance, mortgage, lots of time, and often headaches if they had used an expert in the transaction instead of going at it alone.
Very few transaction are "simple" these days....and even on those our clients normally benefit in excess of the fees we charge.
So no...the days of the good agent and broker are not over.
Perhaps the days of the part time casual loan officer and sales agent are though as the transactions become more complicated.
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June 01 2010
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The answers are various and a similar analogy would be our dependence on oil, we know there is a better way, but we are tied to it for all the wrong reasons.

I believe the process has matured enough that it will allow basic transactions to be completed through basic disclosure, inspection, and a competent title company.

What is holding that back, the old notion that the process is so complicated that it takes someone else to do it.

I am sure we can find better ways to make the experience more equitable for the home seller.
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June 01 2010
Things are changing faster so Agents will learn to adapt. Agents are now working longer to earn their commissions. Is it still worth to pay 6%? The rates are negotiable but bear in mind that Realestate Laws are always changing and you need Agents who are well informed.
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June 11 2010
I don't see the Broker / Agent going away for many reasons.  What I do see is some "Traditional Ways of Doing Things" going away.

Just Because "That's The Way We Have Always Done It" is not going to cut it anymore. 

The Brokers that adapt to technology, understand their clients way of communicating and thinking will continue to thrive.

Who thought we be texting 10 years ago?  "Friending" our clients?  Most of the informationout there is there because WE put it there.  WE understand the nuances of what is good information (appraiser's square footage vs. owner said so).

I could go on and on...but you get the idea.

Great topic though, inspiring, provocative...
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April 08 2011
"I believe the process has matured enough that it will allow basic transactions to be completed through basic disclosure, inspection, and a competent title company."

What exactly is a basic transaction and basic disclosure?  Basic to me is minimum.  Like a basic car - stripped down.

Every state has real estate transaction laws.  Who is responsible to oversee that the seller has at least a cursory understanding of their duties and responsibilities and performs accordingly?

So the seller saves 6% on the sale of their home. They wind up paying an attorney 10% and damages to the buyer, because they did not know they had to disclose a material defect.

Take away agents and you take away oversight.

Caveat emptor


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April 09 2011

Changing as always YES... vanashing NO

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July 28 2011
 
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