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Old 05-24-2009, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Brisbane, Australia
961 posts, read 2,394,089 times
Reputation: 212

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I am wondering if in this day and age one really needs a real estate agent to help them with a purchase. I am able to look up properties in real time just like an agent. I can find raw data on the area without the spin that agents like to put on things (i.e. "It is always a good time to buy". "You should make the highest offer that you can afford if you want the house". "I can't see prices coming down any more than this". "This market seems to be heating up. Looks like we are in recovery!". etc...) We have bought and sold 5 houses and each time we buy, we marvel at the fact that our agents get a big paycheck when they did so little work. There are enough REO's on the market that it seems like I could contact the selling agent directly, make an offer and save the bank and myself the commission that would have gone to the buying agent.

I think that real estate agents are a dying breed and I can't help but feel that they have been part of the problem with the current market. Californian's tend to move quite frequently and each time the seller needs to make up for the commissions that will be paid to the agents, so that is built into the price. If you add at least 5-6% to the sales price each time they sell, before you know it, the houses are outrageously priced and who pocketed the money? Real estate agents. I would love to hear other people's thoughts on this.
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,342 posts, read 88,913,327 times
Reputation: 17697
As a buyer, you are not paying any real estate commission, the seller is paying everything. Now, you could assume that the seller is building the commission into the price (that you pay) so in that sense, you are paying for some of it.

Yes, you can do just about anything an agent can do except enter the home (in most cases). (Hey, you need to feel bad for us out here in Huntsville; the North Alabama MLS does not allow square footage, addresses, or recent sales data to be made public. So when you are looking for a home out here, you can't get any of that info online.) The best tool for Southern California I've found is redfin but zillow is better for recent sales. For some weird reason (a database error???) redfin recent sales have zeroed out bedrooms and bathrooms for some communities. So when filtering on 3 br for example, you get no hits in some communities.

The thing I don't understand is why do agents work on a percent commission? Is it three times more work to sell a $450K home than a $150K home?

One other thing, I don't know the exact numbers, but for real estate agents, 90% of the commissions are made by 3% of the realtors.
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Coachella Valley, California
15,607 posts, read 38,947,310 times
Reputation: 13408
What the general pubic does NOT have access to is how many days a home has been on the market, what the current mortgage on the property is, and any agent notes about how desperate or "motivated" the seller might be and some other information. I have a broker's license, but not so I can go out and sell real estate. I like to gather my own information and make informed decisions with ALL of the information - especially info that is not available to the public. I have been able to do all of my own negotiations without having to go through a third party. I highly recommend that most people get a broker license - just so they are armed with knowledge.
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:53 PM
 
11,715 posts, read 38,321,977 times
Reputation: 7552
Going into the biggest financial transaction of your life without someone who knows what they're doing on your behalf is like representing yourself in court: Everyone else knows the rules and how to use them to screw the noob.
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Brisbane, Australia
961 posts, read 2,394,089 times
Reputation: 212
But like I said, we have bought and sold 5 times so we know the game.
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Old 05-24-2009, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Brisbane, Australia
961 posts, read 2,394,089 times
Reputation: 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twinkle Toes View Post
What the general pubic does NOT have access to is how many days a home has been on the market, what the current mortgage on the property is, and any agent notes about how desperate or "motivated" the seller might be and some other information. I have a broker's license, but not so I can go out and sell real estate. I like to gather my own information and make informed decisions with ALL of the information - especially info that is not available to the public. I have been able to do all of my own negotiations without having to go through a third party. I highly recommend that most people get a broker license - just so they are armed with knowledge.
I think that this is really good advice, but with two little ones to care for, I don't have time to get my license.
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Old 05-24-2009, 02:13 PM
 
27,836 posts, read 58,979,274 times
Reputation: 22542
Of course you don't need an Agent to Buy or sell...

I've done both lots of times and no regrets.

I also have a couple of great Agents that are worth every penny when I'm buying. They called my with properties of the type I buy before the properties hit the MLS...

When I'm buying, I figure what a property is worth to me and that's it... It makes no difference how my purchase price is split or divided on the Seller's end.

I've sold a few homes... even one on Craigslist. No problems either.

The one thing I've learned is that both buyer and seller are figuring to save the cost of a commision... so it's not necessarily any cheaper...

One word of caution on the sales end of things... CA has specific requirements for Sellers regarding disclosures... not difficult to follow, but none the less not something that can be left to chance and something you certainly don't want to be liable for.
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Old 05-24-2009, 02:33 PM
 
11,715 posts, read 38,321,977 times
Reputation: 7552
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaynetarzana View Post
I think that real estate agents are a dying breed and I can't help but feel that they have been part of the problem with the current market. Californian's tend to move quite frequently and each time the seller needs to make up for the commissions that will be paid to the agents, so that is built into the price. If you add at least 5-6% to the sales price each time they sell, before you know it, the houses are outrageously priced and who pocketed the money? Real estate agents. I would love to hear other people's thoughts on this.
They definitely try to increase demand (never a better time to buy, etc) but you can't say that the cumulative commissions over the years have increased prices. The market will pay what it will pay. People who say "I need to get this much to cover my loan and sales costs" are called homeowners, not sellers. If they stick to an unrealistic price the market won't pay, it won't sell. Buyers set prices, not sellers.

Booms bring out a lot of losers looking for a quick buck. Get a license, stick a house on the MLS, make $15k in a month with little work! Thankfully those people are getting flushed out back to the $12/hr jobs they came from, if they can even find those.
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Old 05-24-2009, 03:02 PM
 
3,440 posts, read 7,683,867 times
Reputation: 2398
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaynetarzana View Post
I am wondering if in this day and age one really needs a real estate agent to help them with a purchase. I am able to look up properties in real time just like an agent. I can find raw data on the area without the spin that agents like to put on things (i.e. "It is always a good time to buy". "You should make the highest offer that you can afford if you want the house". "I can't see prices coming down any more than this". "This market seems to be heating up. Looks like we are in recovery!". etc...) We have bought and sold 5 houses and each time we buy, we marvel at the fact that our agents get a big paycheck when they did so little work. There are enough REO's on the market that it seems like I could contact the selling agent directly, make an offer and save the bank and myself the commission that would have gone to the buying agent.

I think that real estate agents are a dying breed and I can't help but feel that they have been part of the problem with the current market. Californian's tend to move quite frequently and each time the seller needs to make up for the commissions that will be paid to the agents, so that is built into the price. If you add at least 5-6% to the sales price each time they sell, before you know it, the houses are outrageously priced and who pocketed the money? Real estate agents. I would love to hear other people's thoughts on this.

I was the right hand man to a guy who worked for Remax for 20 years in California. I think now he has his own company with 3 agents that work for him. Anyhow, as soon as I read, "they do so little work" I just shook my head as he use to talk about this all the time.


As told to me by the guy I use to work for is that people become jealous when they see the size of a commission check to the point where he has to make it look like he worked SO HARD for his money just so clients wont get upset. lol


Even though real estate agents make money they also spend a great deal to be able to make that kind of money they do! A typical agent has to have a nice car, nice clothes, monthly rent to Remax or Century21, and advertising all while doing work for sometimes months before getting paid when escrow closes. The guy I knew even though he is well off from his passive income (rental property) the most he made as an agent alone was 75k so its not a whole lot.


Anyhow, trust me, they work for it as it's just like athletics where you don't see all the preparation that it took just to get where they are.
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Old 05-24-2009, 03:27 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
77,803 posts, read 95,699,644 times
Reputation: 49017
you have no idea how valuable an agent can be and if anyone thinks they do not earn their commissions, you had better think again. A good agent works very hard, is honest and can accomplish a lot more than someone trying on his or her own...

There are rare times when not having an agent can work fine, that is when the house down the street goes on the market, you have wanted to move anyway and you know the value. This doesn't happen often. \

Nita
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