Real Estate Agents: The Bad, The Good and The Money

Almost everybody knows the procedure of getting a realtor but only time can tell if the realtor is good or not. There are signs that you can look out for so that you can leave before the boat sinks. Look at the price offers and level of market activity.

The agent suggests the highest price for your house. If you’re selling your house, get listing presentations from at least three agents, who will tell you what comparable homes have sold for and how long they take to sell. The agents are all looking at the same data, so the suggested listing price should be close. Pricing a home too high at the start often means it takes longer to sell and ultimately sells for less. “If you’re too high for the market, buyers will not even look at it because they know you’re not realistic,” says Lee, the author of eight books and a frequent speaker at real estate conferences. “The longer your property sits on the market, the more people are going to think there’s something wrong with it.”

The agent does real estate on the side, part time. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, you want to choose an agent who is actively following the market every day. If you’re buying, you want an agent who can jump on new listings and show them to you immediately. If you’re the seller, you want an agent who is always available to show your home to prospective buyers.

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Every realtor has their own style of doing business but there are certain traits that stand out. These are how they communicate, how they navigate the neighborhood and what they know about it or even how they explain things.

They return calls and emails at lightning speed – These are the people that get a lead and don’t let it go. They immediately make contact and they follow up. They answer any questions and are happy to stay on the phone with nervous clients. They are the warriors of email, text, and phone and they keep that rhythm right up through the whole transaction, busy Washington DC agent Jeff Vinson told me he calls it his land, sea, and air approach, reaching out to clients through as many channels as possible in the beginning even using Skype. Their clients feel like they are very important to the agent. They also switch their communication style to match the client. If the client prefers text, they text, if the client wants a phone call, they call. They mirror the client’s communication style so the client feels more comfortable.

They explain everything they are doing – Like straight A students doing math homework, successful agents show their work. When they meet with the client for the first time they explain the process, the potential roadblocks, and a few scenarios that could occur. They let the client know that they are negotiating, they keep in regular communication, and they adjust their strategy as needed. When I attended the Hear It Direct conference in Orange County last fall, one of the things that sellers told the audience made them most satisfied with their agents was regular communication on what was happening with the efforts to sell the home.

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Most people think that realtors make money by showing houses to buyers. There is more to their pay than just that. They earn commissions from those efforts especially when the house is bought.

The real estate agent’s fees are paid by the seller (or actually, you the buyer because you’re the one paying for that amount!).

Typically (here in B.C. anyway) it is 7% of the first $100,000 and then 3% (to 3.5%) on the balance if you’re using the big brokerages (like RE/MAX). This is split between the buying and the selling real estate agent, and usually it is split 50/50.

So that means, if you’re looking to buy a $600,000 home, the commissions would look like this:

7% on first $100,000= $7000

3.5% on the remaining $500,000= $17,500 Total= $24,500 + Tax
(yes, you have to pay for tax because it’s considered a “service”)

So the seller of the home paid $24,500 out of their home sale for the real estate commissions. This $24,500 is split between the two agents, netting $12,250 each. However, this is not always the case and it is not always 50/50… and their might be other real estate agents involved like I mentioned above.

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