Friday, January 4, 2008

Hiring Help

The pros and cons of different Realtor types, as I see it:

Knows the area well, and has seen the inside of many local homes, so has a better idea what to expect in terms of local comps. Knows or has network to find out any special circumstances about a home (such as Paul mentioned in yesterday’s comments….eeeewwww). May be too narrowly focused to realize there are other neighborhoods that fit a buyer’s needs which are less pricey. Likely biased toward particular developments.

If you aren’t tied to a particular area (i.e with kids in a school district) a generalist might be able to give you a broader view of the market. Generalists tend to have a better idea of overall market trends, and can likely spot signs of good vs. troubled neighborhoods more easily. Because they know what money can buy in various parts of the region, they know a good deal when they see one.
Side note: I’ve never really understood why a specialist couldn’t help someone looking in a different area. When we first moved here a friend had referred us to their family friend who specializes in East and Midtown Sac. What exactly is so specialized about the process that they can’t unlock doors in a different neighborhood?

For folks who are tech savvy go-getters and have a strong sense of what they are looking for (probably not first time buyers), this option is great.

Go it Alone:
Not sure there is any incentive to do this. A buyer’s agent’s commission is written into the seller’s contract. In this case, hiring a discount broker would be better, since they would return some of the commission to you.
Only time this might be a good strategy, is if the seller is not working with an agent. Then both parties can save money by cutting out the middle man (i.e. if we were to purchase our rental from my landlord, we know the home and the area well so an agent would be of minimal assistance….but an RE lawyer would still be a good idea).


Gwynster said...

My choice is easy. That phone call to Jason just got a little closer after today's Employment numbers >; )

sacramentia said...

I try to work with people that compliment my skills.

For example I don't think there'd be any value for you hiring someone that is strong with analytics. While they may be like able and fun for conversation, they probably won't add much to what you are capable of.

And if you don't like to dress nice and "put on the dog", then someone that does will help you work within the real estate industry.

You're paying good money for the help so try and build the best team you can.

Gwyn - can you elaborate ?

Buying Time said...

I dunno Sactia. As an investor, I think that strategy works out fairly well.

But as someone who wants to find a home to live in, I would rather have someone who thinks like me. There are a lot of realtors who don't listen when you tell them what you are looking for, and they waste your time sending/showing you stuff you would never consider. More on this in next week's post.

Gwynster said...

Amen BT.

The annoying agent at Zip realty keeps writing new searches and sending them to me even after I have sent him numerous emails and one in all caps screaming at him to not do this. Like that j@ckass is ever going to get my business.


The unemployments numbers came out today. A .6% jump in 1 month. A .5% jump has the been the indicator of the recession pretty consisently for the last 50 years.

sacramentia said...

Gwyn -

I saw the report, it looked bad, I just didn't understand what choice was easy. And the name calling is getting so old I feel like I'm in Jr high again.

Paul said...

A good real estate agent is worth every penny of his/her commission. A not-so-good agent is worth .... something less. I know folks who are trying to sell in this depressed market, without an agent, to save the money because they have little financial margin left. I disagree with this approach, because I believe sellers especially, need a good agent now, more than ever.

But if you are an educated buyer and choose to "go it alone," but do not care about making any friends with listing agents who hope to double end the commission, here is a provision I have seen replacing the standard CAR Form real estate commission provision: (This is only a part of the provision.)

Listing Firm agrees to pay [_] Buyer [_] Selling Firm, and Buyer or Selling Firm agrees to accept, out of Listing Firm’s proceeds in escrow: (i) the amount specified in the MLS, or (ii) [_] the amount of _________________. (Buyer does not represent that Buyer is a real estate licensee, but is acting in Buyer’s own interest. By paying Buyer herein, Listing Firm is not paying or sharing a commission with Buyer, but is crediting Buyer in escrow with a contractually agreed finder’s fee.)

SactoEJ said...

In 2001 I was working with an agent to find my first house purchase. I was specific about the neighboorhood/zip code I was interested in viewing homes within. We went to view a few homes in the area a twice with this agent, for a total of about 5 homes. At each stop I would make sure to give my likes and dislikes, hoping the agent would fine-tune what she was looking for in MLS/by experience.

So, we went on our third viewing trip, when we pulled up to a house we had already viewed in a previous trip. We get out of our cars, and I tell the agent that we had already seen this house with her, last week. Her response: "Are you sure?"

We got back in the car and went home. We found a new agent.

mr big said...

Well help is pretty relative here.Some of these so called agents don't know their ass from a hole in the ground.A 100 point multiple choice test does not prove much.There are some awesome agents out there that are very competent.I have also seen some I would not let my worst enemy do business with.If you are a buyer than really it is a no brainer to seek advice from a good agent.If you are selling make sure you do your homework and find someone good.It is almost like finding a good contractor.Some of these general contractors couldn't operate out of a cardboard box.It's all about the research.

Paul said...

Amen to Mr. Big. Just like any business, one only needs to meet the minimum requirement for admission, and this is equally true of agents and contractors. FYI. To be a contractor in CA, you need 4 years experience in construction, a net worth of $2,500 (that is not a typo!), pass a test (after buying the questions and answers from any number of mills), and post a bond. A telling number: I believe there are more licensed contrators in CA than there are real estate licensees!

realtor headhunter said...

I'm going to find a realtor to shag tonight.The last one I used screwed me for 20 grand.The B@tch didn't even no how to fill out a contract.I asked her about disclosues and she looked at me and asked, why? I'm telling you the quality of help out there is just horrific.I'm thinking about mounting a march on the real estate board.