Profile picture for astroreymon

Realtor trust

When buying a home, you will need to place a lot of trust in your realtor for them to advise you in the best course of action and negotiate on your behalf. However, they are out to make as much money as they can, typically a certain percent of the sale. Therefore, the more the closing price, the more they get paid. So even though they are supposed to be experts in real estate, it is not smart for them get you the best deal. So are they the best people to negotiate for you? What are some signs that might lead you to question the actions or advice of your realtor? How is it possible to trust them when you are a first home buyer and are unfamiliar with the buying process? Is there a good chance that you will get ripped off?
  • December 10 2010 - US
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Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.

 
 

Answers (40)

The more teeth a dentist pulls the more money he makes, but does that mean he's going to pull all your teeth and have you purchase dentures? A car salesman makes money based on the price of the car you buy. Do you buy the most expensive car so your car salesman will make more? Of course not. You are educated that way so educate yourself as far as your Realtor is concerned. We are highly educated to know the market and to negotiate the best deal for you. Why wouldn't you want your agent to get you the best deal? That's what we're here for. I think you answered your own question when you wrote "How is it possible to trust them when you are a first home buyer and are unfamiliar with the buying process?" Bingo..you are unfamiliar with the process so you want someone to represent you so you don't get ripped off. We're not here to rip clients off. We adhere to strict code of ethics and are licensed by the state we work in. We're here to represent you. You wouldn't walk into a courtroom and represent yourself would you? You would hire an attorney to represent your case. I think you get the drift.

Interview agents until you find one you are comfortable with. Write your questions and expectations down and review them with prospective agents. A good agent will be happy to go over that with you. Ask friends for recommendations. As a first home buyer, find an agent willing to take the time to go over the process with you. Buying a first home should be fun and exciting. A little education and a good agent will produce those results.

  • December 11 2010
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Ultimately, you are the buyer.  It is your money and credit that is being invested.  You, the buyer alone will have to make the ultimate determination of value.  If you don't have the confidence or capability to do so, then maybe you should not be buying.  A very important realization that American home buyers have learned over the last few years is, BUYING A HOME HAS RISKS. 
If you are working with an agent that in obvious in their attempts to stear you to their own listings or obvious in stearing you away from other listings that otherwise appeal to you; get a new agent.
Other than that, the net gain to an agent for moving you slighly up in your price range or Not negotiating tough enough is so nominal, agents rarely do that.  Most agents do take pride in negotiating the best price for their clients.
Now agents representing both the buyer and seller in a transaction is tricky and I recommend you avoid that. 
  • December 11 2010
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Profile picture for hpvanc
 Astoreymon,

You are wise to question whether you can trust a buyers agent.  They are commissioned sales people and as a group they have all of the drawbacks that go with that compensation method.  If you decided to use one, you need to have educated yourself enough to have some idea how to verify everything they tell you, that doesn't mean they won't be able to shed light on something you didn't know, but be prepared to verify it. 

As to agents comparing themselves to dentists, doctors and etc., your question makes me assume that you realize this is not a valid argument.  The professionals that many REALTORS like to compare themselves with are not paid on commission, which means they have earned a level of respect from their actions and their training where the general public acknowledges the value of their services, and they are allowed to charge for it up front. 

With commission compensation, the argument is that it costs you nothing up front, so they don't have to invest in the kind of training and meticulous monitoring of the ethics of their group that is required to keep that kind of acknowledgement of the value of the services.  Can an individual agent achieve that level, but can REALTORS or even agents that are not closely associated with the NAR as a group, no not as long as they remain paid on commission.

How many respected professions do you know of that are paid on commission?  Granted there are other occupations and professions not paid on commission, but if you look at it, the behaviors that give those other occupations and professions a bad reputation it is usually because too many of the practitioners have emulated behaviors that tend to be associated with commission paid occupations.
  • December 11 2010
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Christine nailed it. You should choose the realtor that you feel most comfortable to work with and you will trust the most and belive he/she will be representing your best interest.
 We all experience something new or unknown to us, whether buying new homes, new cars, fixing staff etc, We are not experts in all fields, so we must put some trust into people we are hiring to do a job for us or we are dealing with.
Good luck!
  • December 11 2010
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Another thought on Realtor Trust.  All Realtors are individuals and we all bring different values to our clients.  Most that I have worked with are honorable and want to do the best for you - so they can get repeat business and referrals. It's as simple as that.  A good reputation is the best asset a Realtor can have working with customers, clients and other Realtors.
  • December 11 2010
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Ignorance may be costly, as you have assumed. Your best bet is to get educated. The following link is a good place to start. http://portal.hud.gov/por ... ng_a_home

Happy funding, Rudi
  • December 11 2010
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So sad to hear this.  I work by referral.  If I was not looking out for my clients' best interest, I would be broke.  The difference in commission we make on a home selling for $300K vs. $320K is marginal, while our reputations are priceless.
  • December 11 2010
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Do your due deligence and check on the market as best you can. I always provide a mini CMA for buyers to make sure they are getting the deal they aare looking for. Past performance will usually dictate future behavior, so pick a Realtor with a great reputation.
  • December 11 2010
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@hpvanc,

There is hardly an industry that does not depend on Commissioned Salespersons. Whether it's products and services for internal use or through distributor, wholesale and retail channels.

As the song goes, "You Just Gotta Shop Around."

Even our government works on a percentage. (They just don't know how to balance a checkbook.)

Happy funding, Rudi 
  • December 12 2010
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As Betsy above said it, my business is not based on one sale, but all future sales, and referrals.

I work just as hard when a deal is falling apart to retain my clients interests (even when I'm guaranteed not to make a commission).... it is NOT about commissions, it is about the best possible customer service.

Also, it's not your agents duty to tell you what to offer on a property (or take for a property you're selling), but it is their obligation to show you what's happening in the market, so that you can make an informed decision, and then they submit the offer to the other agent, whom in turn submits it to the Seller.    As far as negotiations, it often depends upon what the Seller is willing and able to sell for, not how well either agents "negotiate".

Just as in any business, some professionals are good, some not so good, and some are outstanding.   Ask several people you know that have purchased homes, and find a person that received exceptional service from their Realtor....choose that Realtor.  

Good Luck with your purchase!



  • December 12 2010
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Profile picture for SteadyState
I would trust an agent who:
1. Has informed at least 5 client (buyers) between 2005 - 2007 that they do not have a crystal ball but they (the agent) believe that home prices are not sustainable because it is much cheaper to rent than buy, and that the cost of homes has rapidly outstripped the reach of average household incomes.
And,
2. Has informed 5 sellers between 2007-2010 that the sellers price expectations are unrealistic and will not be met in the current market. So if the agent will list the house the seller will have to lower the price by at least 20%.

All agents that can answer in the affirmative and can provide the 10 buyer/seller reference please raise your keyboard. (I suspect that you could take a copy of this thread and use it for marketing for I would surely do business with you).
  • December 12 2010
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Profile picture for hpvanc
Rudi,

"There is hardly an industry that does not depend on Commissioned Salespersons. Whether it's products and services for internal use or through distributor, wholesale and retail channels." 

I believe that our acceptance of that as consumers, businesses and society is our biggest handicap in the world economy.  It is an inherently unfair, unethical and inefficient way to do business, it actually encourages people to be more unfair, unethical and inefficient to sustain it.  It is the largest fault and most likely that fault that will topple capitalism.  To me it is foolish to keep trying to mask the symptoms that this system causes, and start taking a hard look at the underlying cause.

Until such time, I will be advising people not to trust it, try to find ways whenever possible to bypass the commissioned system.  When not possible do everything possible to validate and verify (actually that one does not go away even if we do find a way to end the commission compensation system), and foremost every person that does do business with a commissioned salesperson should be prepared to say no in no uncertain terms, and walk away without it being considered impolite.

The real estate buyers agency creates a particularly bad situation with it, since it is time consuming and expensive in its current state, and even where there is a contract creates a moral and ethical obligation to continue to do business with a salesperson who does not measure up.  It prevents seeking multiple opinions on an extremely expensive capital transaction, when if there is any personal financial transaction that begs for seeking multiple opinions, it is this the purchase of real estate.

Finally I ask rhetorically, but I will ask for real, how many highly respected professions can you name that are paid primarily on commission?
  • December 12 2010
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Profile picture for sunnyview
As a buyer (or seller) you need to do your own research and ask good questions. You cannot trust a realtor that you have not done business with to protect your interests over their own just as you cannot trust your doctor to prescribe a cheaper generic pharmaceutical over the name brand that is incentivized by the drug company.

A first time buyer (FTB) should do some homework and learn about the basics of CMA's, the neighborhood value history, basic appraisal methods and how sales trends are used to value property. A good agent will explain those things to their FTB, but some agents will twist them. Even a little information on the buyer side will make it easier for a buyer to judge the quality of the information that comes from their agent.

The single biggest thing that an FTB can do to protect themselves is to learn about key RE areas upfront and then trust their gut when they hear anything from their agent that doesn't ring true.
  • December 12 2010
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Profile picture for hpvanc
"even where there is a contract creates a moral and ethical obligation to continue to do business with a salesperson who does not measure up."

Should have been: "even where there is no contract it creates a moral and ethical obligation to continue to do business with a salesperson who does not measure up."
  • December 12 2010
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@hpvanc,

"Finally I ask rhetorically, but I will ask for real, how many highly respected professions can you name that are paid primarily on commission?"

You are so negative I wouldn't know where to begin. Tell me the professions you respect and I most likely can identify at what level there is dependency on a commissioned salesperson.

Happy funding, Rudi
  • December 12 2010
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
"Commissioned sales" are not the problem with our mode of business. Uninformed and irresponsible consumers are. If consumers took the modicum of time it requires to become "informed" (note, not "expert"), then much of the nonsense in our varied markets would not occur.
  • December 12 2010
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Profile picture for hpvanc
Rudi,

I agree that we have little common ground to agree on with regard to commissions or salesmanship and 99% of all marketing.  For one I would only accept answers where the commissioned position itself is highly respected.  My view is that a profession can use commissioned salespeople to pimp their services, but it is still damaging to the reputation of that profession.  In other words if you have to use salespeople to sell your service you haven't maximized the reputation of your profession. 

I also agree with Socal, that if people took the time to become informed, many or most of the tactics of salespeople would be ineffective and die out.  I am definitely in favor of having better educated consumers willing to call them out and ultimately put them out of business. 

Luckily I am able to work for a company that does not use people that are dedicated to being salespeople.  I will go out on my own again as an independent before I would go back to work for a company with a full time sales staff, how my current employer weathered this recession versus the company I was laid off from in 2001 recession has proven to me (at least strongly reinforced what I already believed was proven) that this is the only way to go.  Unfortunately my industry and profession do generally use salespeople and it has certainly suffered in reputation because of it.
  • December 12 2010
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You're right, when you look at the math it does seems counter-intuitive, that is paying a negotiator less to do a great job for you! But boil the math off and you'll realize that the amount of income a Realtor may loose by securing a great deal for their Buyer Client is a very small percentage. For example, negotiating a purchase price down from $340,000 to $320,000, a typical Buyer Agent's income would be reduced by $250. Hardly enough to sway a transaction.

Interview the Realtor, ask for referrals, and if you're like my Clients, you'll be singing your Realtor's praises for years after your pruchase.  Good Luck!
  • December 13 2010
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I do not worry about agents being unwilling to negotiate over a small loss in commission. What I worry more about is agents being unwilling to tell their clients to walk from a deal that is not good. Many agents are honest and will tell their clients to refuse a property that has issues on inspections, but unfortunately some agents will also push for a close even when the buyer has legitimate concerns.

Agents are people and it can be painful for them to say walk away when they also have a mortgage payment to make at the end of the month. That is why when you find a good agent you hold onto them with both hands.
  • December 13 2010
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hpvanc,

My first post on this thread was to get educated. I posted an excellent link as a starting point. 

A person is smart when they are educated on everything they purchase. From processed foods to major purchases.

We will just have to disagree on the commissioned sales, which is the backbone of manufacturing and service related industries worldwide.

Happy funding, Rudi
  • December 13 2010
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Realtors take a lengthy ethics class, at least in Oregon, before they are given their license.  There is an oath that we take that states, among other things, that we will always act is the best interest of the client we are representing.  It is obviously not in the clients best interest to list their house for more than it's worth just so we can make more money.  Chances are this will actually cause us to make no money as your overpriced home won't sell and eventually you will fire us.  I know what my fiduciary duty to my clients is and I live by the ethics I have been taught.  There is no more risk in using an agent than there is using any other professional.  Bad people will do bad things to their clients regardless of profession.  The only way you can protect yourself is by asking that professional a ton of questions and decide for yourself whether or not you should have them work for and with you.
  • December 13 2010
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hpvanc,  we've had the discussion regarding commission before. If you remember, I'm not a fan of working on commission. However, I believe that there is no other feasible way of being paid to do what we do, especially regarding buyers.

Although I understand what you are saying about professions that are commission based and the abuses it can lead to, name me one profession, just one, which is free from abuse, corruption, unethical and/or immoral behavior. 

It is up to buyers to go through a thorough interview process in finding an agent who will presumably lead them through the process of investing in the largest purchase of their lives.  There are good ones out there and buyers need to take responsibility,as other have said, to educate themselves enough to know what to expect from their agent and how to find a good one.
  • December 13 2010
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And Rian, although I agree with much of what you said, lets be honest-  taking a class in ethics and paying for the Realtor designation and signing off on the oath does not make for ethical agents.

Sorry, it always bothers me when agents crow "make sure you hire a Realtor because we are obligated to perform ethically!"
Utter nonsense.

I feel better now, thank you.
  • December 13 2010
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Profile picture for sunnyview
It would be great if ethics classes translated into ethics, but unfortunately they don't. Ethics in a professional classroom is very different than in practice.

Good agents don't need ethics classes because their sense of right and wrong is internalized. Bad agents don't have ethics to begin with so the class is no guarantee of good behavior. I would love to see the local RE boards take a stronger stand on this, but until that happens people need to separate the good and honest agents out for themselves.
  • December 13 2010
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
"name me one profession, just one, which is free from abuse, corruption, unethical and/or immoral behavior." -

Well, I would suggest "street sweeper", but they have been known to drive around piles of trash that need to be picked up, and to skip streets in order to get done with their route earlier, and to take breaks on city time, and to use illegal drugs when driving, and to distribute illegal drugs from city vehicles.  But the GPS tracking added on the sweepers helps prevent some of these problems.

Ultimately, every form of employment needs some accountability checks.  And a local board and state licensing is not sufficient to insure that.

Librarian may be another profession that has relatively little corruption, but that still doesn't mean there is never any book theft, or misuse of library resources, or taking of cash.

Musicians for Non Profit associations (like orchestras or Churches, or Synagogues...) tend to have little corruption, but that is mostly due to nothing to take and little extra time.  Still, there have been sеx scandals and drug abuse issues with some that become too popular.
  • December 13 2010
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Profile picture for hpvanc
"name me one profession, just one, which is free from abuse, corruption, unethical and/or immoral behavior."

There are none that would qualify, that doesn't change the fact that it is more prevalent in some than others.  General reputation both bad and good are generally well deserved.
  • December 13 2010
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
I don't know if commissioned sales is beneficial or practical in most cases or not, but I do know I have often contacted manufacturer sales reps for information on their product line, and that sometimes purchases are made based on the information obtained, and that they usually get a commission for such a sale.  But how often do they provide the information for the manufacturer and there isn't a sale?  Some of them may be paid a salary in addition, but the manufacturer is more likely to make a sale if the sales rep knows that they will get a commission if the sale goes through.

How much commission?  Sometimes the choice of products is bid, so if they mark up the costs too much, the sale won't go through, and they won't be paid for that extra time.  And obviously, no sales means decrease in market share, and not being able to pay the workers that produced the product.
  • December 13 2010
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For myself, it's very Smart to get my client the best deal.  

Why?  When my clients are happy, and satisfied that they just saved thousands of dollars by using me to negotiate their purchase, I am the happiest Realtor on the planet.


I live for those moments.  The benefit is, Happy clients= great referrals=great business.


When negotiating the best deal.  Make sure you Realtor has your best interests at heart by doing a Comparable Market Analysis before making ANY offers on properties.  This ensures you are making an educated decision about the value of your purchase.

Ask friends and family for at least 3 referrals to Agents they have used themselves for a purchase.  Interview, then make a decision on whom you think would work best for you.


Best of luck,

Kimberly Kinville

East Metro Specialist









  • December 13 2010
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
"What are some signs that might lead you to question the actions or advice of your Realtor?" -

Well, I just have one very simple test; as soon as they state any of the NAR "talking points", walk away, and find someone else.  No-one needs that kind of propaganda and deception.  Of course any other deceptions would also be good reasons to find someone else, such as not knowing where a city or neighborhood boundary is, and stating something is in a location that it isn't.

And if they start asking personal questions about me, or my family, or anything else that is "private", I still should find someone else.
  • December 13 2010
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Pas, regarding agents asking for personal information:

First of all, it is the nature of this business to get to know your client/customers.  RE transactions are typically lengthy ones and honestly, agents often end up finding out much more about the people we are working with than we want to know.  Some of it is important and questions that I may typically ask my buyers are:  do you have kids and what ages, urban vs suburban vs rural lifestyle, do you want a lawn to mow, where do you work, is privacy important, are you handy, what type of house, what kind of layout, do you have preapproval for the price point you are interested in and the list goes on.

If a property is purely for investment purposes, the questions are different and are much less of a personal nature.  However, if a property is one that is going to be lived in, its virtually impossible to do our jobs properly without finding out some personal lifestyle information.

This profession is very much a people business (as the owner of my brokerage says- "we move people, not houses") so agents for the most part do try to get to know the people we will have a fairly long term business relationship with.  All clients/customers are different and of course some are more private than others but for the most part, developing a relationship that goes beyond just business is not unusual.

  • December 14 2010
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