Tag Archives: real estate

A True Greater Good in the Real Estate Industry

There was a recent blog from a Realtor discussing the “Skyhook Theory” in real estate. He basically explained that this theory encompasses the principle of finding a greater good in the things we do–and that aspiring to do this makes us better people. While I earnestly believe and agree that finding the greater good in all things is the ideal way to be, the reality of the situation in the real estate industry, is that the greater good is generally neglected when it comes to consumers.

The greater good in the sense of the real estate industry is not just about touting superior service, because a higher level of service should go without saying. I believe that the greater good goes much deeper than that. It should be about ensuring equal footing for buyers and sellers alike. It should be about real estate professionals doing everything they can within their power to prevent either side from being exposed to dual agency–which is a conflict of interest.

It should mean that traditional real estate companies demonstrate a willingness to relinquish the age-old tradition of double dipping–which happens when one real estate company collects commissions from both sides of the same transaction. It should mean that the real estate industry, as a whole, be completely honest with real estate consumers about all available agency options–including Exclusive Buyer Agency.

Not so long ago, real estate was ruled by seller representation. This is no longer the case. The real estate industry is, and has been, transforming to a level playing field between buyers and sellers. As more consumers become aware of dual agency, they are realizing that it is not in their best interests to consent to it, because dual agency is a conflict of interest. The way buyers can be assured that an agent is truly working for them, is by hiring an Exclusive Buyer Agent, or an Exclusive Buyer Broker.

Until the real estate industry owns up to what is truly in the best interests of consumers, we cannot really begin to speak about a greater good in the real estate industry.

The Importance of Honest and Direct Communication in Real Estate

The relationship between real estate consumers and real estate professionals is that of a partnership, and a team. It means that they are working together to get the best possible results, whether one is buying or selling real estate. It is of great importance to have direct and honest communication. Without establishing this, goals cannot be accomplished, and trust can break down. Having honest and direct communication will put a working team on the right path. Important issues will be clear, and there will be synergy between team members.

According to a book called Tools for Teams: Building Effective Teams in the Workplace by Leigh Thompson, Eileen Aranda, and Stephen P. Robbins:

“Finally, teams develop synergy. Synergy means that team members together achieve more than each individual can. Whereas group members combine their efforts to achieve their goals, teams reach higher performance levels.” (Thompson, Aranda, Robbins p. 6)

An effective team is not developed through hearsay. I recently declined a buyer referral because the buyer wanted to communicate through a third-party, instead of communicating directly. Working under these conditions does not make sense, because it leaves too much room for misunderstandings to develop. It should go without saying that real estate is not the place for hearsay. It is important that prospective clients are willing to communicate honestly and directly. Clients should be open, honest, and straight-forward about their situation. This allows an agent or broker to give them the best level of service.

Direct and honest communication prevents the possibility of a misunderstanding or confusion. It is not only a matter of principle, but it is also a matter of common sense, because it is critical that clients maintain clear communication with their agent or broker during a real estate transaction.

Keeping these things in mind will ensure success, synergy, and positive results, as well as, a satisfying closing experience for all members of a real estate team.

The Truth About Exclusive Buyer Agency Services

Exclusive Buyer Agency – A Value to Buyers:

Many traditional agents and brokers have nothing good to say about exclusive buyer agency, for the obvious reasons. The truth of the matter is that exclusive buyer agency offers something that traditional agencies do not; loyalty and commitment to the buyer only–without any possibility of dual agency conflicts.

An exclusive buyer agency agreement spells out in writing the expectations between client and broker. It is a negotiable instrument that protects both broker and client. It demonstrates that a buyer is serious, which allows room for other types of negotiations–such as buyer rebates. It will contain a cancellation clause that will allow a buyer or agent the option to cancel the agreement, should either party decide that the association is not working for them. It establishes mutual respect, loyalty, confidence, honest communication, and trust–five elements that create a fantastic working environment and team synergy.

If a client does not agree with certain elements of the proposed agreement, then they should raise their concerns and negotiate for better terms. The best agreements are those that are win/win, meaning that both client and broker feel good about the terms negotiated, as well as, feel good about working together. It is very important to establish honest communication, mutual respect, trust, and loyalty between broker and client upfront–and this is the primary purpose of the agreement.

An exclusive buyer agency agreement assures a buyer that the agent or broker working with them is only working for them. It means that they will have maximum choice of available properties, listed and unlisted, as well as, properties that are both on and off the market. It also means opening up the possibility of negotiating special terms, as already mentioned above.

Favorable feedback from traditional real estate brokers and agents about exclusive buyer agency is highly unlikely:

Buyers need to understand that getting honest feedback about exclusive buyer agency from traditional agents or brokers is highly unlikely, because their priority is to get your business, and if their company takes listings, they will not be able to sign an exclusive buyer agency agreement with you even if they hold an ABR designation.

Their first priority is to keep your business with them, and not necessarily talk to you about the purest form of buyer representation; which is always the best option for buyers. As a matter of fact, there is plenty of mixed information on the Internet regarding whether or not a buyer should sign a buyer agency agreement, let alone an exclusive buyer agency agreement. The negative information found happens for reasons already described above.

Working with clients:

As a policy, my company only works through exclusive buyer agency agreements, also known as, Service Engagement Letters. While there are some buyers out there who prefer not to work this way, we prefer not working with such buyers, because clients receive the highest levels of loyalty, integrity, advocacy, and commitment. Therefore, it is only fair to expect the same in return. Ideal clients understand that it is a good thing to give and receive mutual consideration and commitment in writing–as all real estate agreements are supposed to be.

A Word About Fees:

Fees are negotiable and depend on the type of property purchased, for example, if the property is listed or unlisted. For properties listed on the MLS, fees are covered by the "Selling Office Commission" through the listing company. This means that clients receive the purest form of buyer representation at no cost to them. While there are real estate companies out there that would like the public to believe that buyers actually pay for real estate commissions on listed properties, the truth, is that commissions on listed properties are deducted from the seller’s side of the closing statement, not the buyer’s.

This means that the seller is paid the purchase price first, and then his or her costs of sale are simultaneously deducted to result in net proceeds. The notion that buyers pay commissions on listed properties makes about as much sense as employers paying their employees income tax deductions. An employee must be paid by his or her employer first (aka. Gross Pay) before taxes are simultaneously deducted to result in an employee’s Net Pay. Hence, an employee pays his or her own income taxes through automatic deductions. The employer does not pay the employees income tax deductions–just like in real estate–buyers do not pay the sellers costs of sale on listed properties. The seller’s costs of sale are deducted from “Gross Sale Proceeds” to result in “Net Sale Proceeds.”

Buyers can owe commissions or flat rate fees, however, if they desire to include unlisted or off-market properties in their search–unless a seller agrees to cover the cost. This would require negotiating with the seller to pay some, if not all, of the fee. Since our fee is generally less than what a seller would pay to a traditional real estate company, a motivated seller should not have a problem with this. However, the portion that is not covered by the seller would be owed by clients at closing.

Clients have the choice of limiting their property search to only MLS listed properties, or including unlisted and off-market properties. It is entirely up to them, how they would like to go about it.

The bottom line:

Clients have the opportunity of customizing their own exclusive buyer agency experience to fit their individual needs, while completely avoiding dual agency, designated agency (just another name for dual agency), and the limitations of single agency. It only takes communication, honesty, and a willingness to reciprocate mutual respect.

‘Flipping’ is not always a dirty word

There was an interesting article delivered to my inbox today, regarding residential rehab projects, also known as, “flipping.” In recent times, this practice has garnered an unflattering reputation, because of unethical people, which abuse the system. The truth is, rehab projects can yield decent returns, without resorting to greedy tactics.

Here is a glimpse of Q&A; article “Flipping Is Not Always a Dirty Word” by Steve McLinden of BankRate.com:

Q. “Dear Real Estate Adviser, Why is it called “flipping” when an investor buys a house under value and sells it for what it’s worth? Whenever I hear the word, it seems to have a negative connotation. — Tina R.”

A. “Dear Tina,You’ve really hit on something here, especially with your ‘sell it for what it’s worth’ comment. But let’s back up for a second. Some honest and handy rehabbers who buy properties that are physically and (or) financially distressed, then promptly fix them up and turn them over — or ‘flip’ them — to a new owner are being punished because of rising mortgage fraud over the past decade.

Sadly, it was the old ‘one-bad-apple’ syndrome that caused most of the acrimony. During the overheated housing market of the late 1990s and early 2000s the distinct odor of greed wafted over the industry. Not satisfied with healthy profits, a number of participants sought excessive profits and didn’t let things such as ethics and the laws get in the way.”

Click here to read full Q&A; article by Real Estate Adviser Steve McLinden —ยข Bankrate.com