Yesterday I attended a Mastermind meeting that was an invite only meeting for some of Portland’s top agents. The speaker was very good and covered many good real estate topics. One thing that stood out to me though was something very simple and something we, as agents, hear every year. The National Association of Realtors does a survey every year with real estate customers asking them what is the most important thing to them in working with an agent. You might be thinking it should be a “Knowledgable” agent or something about commissions. Once again the #1 answer was honesty! Buyers and sellers want an honest agent, someone they can trust to have their backs.
I bring this up in my blog because of some recent things I have seen in the market. One of those things is the recent bombardment of ads from Redfin and their new 1% listing fee. Right out of the gate, they are missing the #1 thing people want from their broker, honesty! That 1% listing fee is very misleading because the actual cost to the seller is 3.5% ( On top of the 1% they still have to pay the buyer’s agent 2.5%) One of the reasons that the Redfins and Zillows of the world are not doing great is because they are corporations that care about the bottom line…and not the client! Starting off with a lie, in any business, is not your best way to build trust! Unlike the corporations, agents are independent contractors ( even if they work for a larger chain brokerage firm) These independent contractors care about their clients more …it is their livelihood at stake.
I see many ads that are misleading or just plain wrong. I recently saw a website of a new agent. On their website and Instagram site, they state that they are a “Luxury Home” specialist! It is very funny to me, and not exactly honest, that someone who has not been in the market but a few months and not sold a home over $700,000 claims to be a “Luxury Home” specialist? The worst thing is that I know this person. I really wanted to call her and say to her that the #1 thing people want is honesty and you are starting off with something that is not true. I did not call her because I feel it is not my place to do so, but I wish somebody would because it would do her more good in the long run.
Honesty comes in many different forms. I very much appreciate agents that are trying to get a new listing that are honest in their pricing! I see so often agents that overpromise the pricing to get a listing over another agent. What happens in the end is VERY familiar, the home sits on the market forever with no offers, the agent then starts doing multiple price reductions and then finally the home sells well below where it should have if it were priced correctly. Unfortunately that agent still gets rewarded and the agent that was honest in their pricing, the one that might have sold it for a higher price , gets nothing!
There are many really good agents out there. There are many that give you all that they have to do the job right…and that means putting their needs aside and working for the clients best interest to capture the best price for their clients and take care of all of their needs.
In years to come, you may have multiple options in selling your home. We have begun to see programs that are trying to disrupt the way homes are sold. The interesting thing here is that none of these new programs care about getting you a premium when you sell. It is just about selling the home and collecting a fee. I know, as a person that has been in real estate for 15 years, if I had someone sell a house for me it would be someone that I know has my back and truly cares about me and my finances. It would be someone that I know would spend money to market my home in many different avenues to give it the most exposure ( the big corporate discounters will NOT be doing this!) When an agent does this, more times than not, they will sell that home for a premium price…a price that far exceeds the amount of discount that the corporation says they will be “Saving” you.
Please visit my page on marketing: http://www.luxurycondosofportland.com/marketing
In the end it all gets back to what clients are looking for…honesty! The client can be reassured that the person they hired really does care about them and their finances. The agent is upfront from the beginning ( no bate and switch) They can be comfortable in knowing that that the price they are suggesting is accurate and in the end, that agent will do everything that they said they would do!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Total Property Resources and LuxuryCondosofPortland.com You can reach him at 503-896-8856 or at email@example.com
How long can investors continue to be patient with money losing Redfin? That is a hard question to answer. But one thing is clear, the recent announcement that Redfin is cutting its commissions is truly a sign of the struggles that this company is having. The reality is that Redfin was losing money in its old model, now they think they can turn the ship by reducing its commissions more? This will affect their bottom line even more. Last year Redfin lost money, $15,000,000 on revenue of $370,000,000. They have lost money every year since inception! If the Redfin model was working, and their customers were happy with the service, they would not reduce their fees, would they? To me it is sending out a loud and clear message…this is our last ditch effort to survive!
I have written about Redfin in the past and maybe I am giving them more print time then they deserve. Redfin still has a market share of less than 1% (.71% to be exact) I believe that one of the reasons that the Redfin model does not work is the quality of their agents. It is funny to me how they tout how they can save their client’s money on commissions but they never mention the values lost because of the agents lack of experience in negotiating. Most Redfin agents are not what I would call solid and knowledgeable agents. In fact, it is very much the opposite.
Redfins newest marketing campaign “1% listing Fee” is deceptive just like much of their previous marketing. You will NOT be able to sell your house for 1%! Redfin still needs to pay the buyer’s agent 2.5%. So a more accurate and honest ad campaign would be a *3.5% Listing Fee” but that does not look as great to potential sellers as the 1% does.
Most savvy home sellers would prefer to pay a slightly higher fee for a quality agent that will spend more money to market their home then what Redfin will spend. They will also pay more for an agent that has EXPERIENCE! Experience in how to market the home, experience in negotiating and experience in getting things closed smoothly.
In the end, more often than not, it gets back to the old saying “You get what you pay for”. I know personally, If I were going to sell my house, I know MANY agents that I would pay more to sell my home than have Redfin do it because a lower commission.
Remember, it is all about your net proceeds!
Here is a little blurb from a previous post!
What about Redfin?
Redfin in truth is nothing new! Limited service companies are nothing new, and like many before them…you get what you pay for!
Before I give my 2 cents, here is a little blurb I thought I would show because it sums things up pretty good:
Ok, now my 2 cents!
One thing I do not care for is misleading advertising. When you bring up the Redfin homepage you will read text that states: “Redfin Agents sell homes for $4,300 more and charge only a 1.5% listing fee.” For one thing, the total listing fee is not 1.5% it is 4% (2.5 %to buyers agent + 1.5% listing agent) The next thing really burns me…$4,300 more. Are you kidding me? When I go against a Redfin agent, its like a shark in a busy public swimming area…you start licking your chops! Why? Because I know that usually the Redfin agent is not experienced, and usually VERY weak at negotiating. I believe you can ask the top 500 producing agents in town and you will get the same answer! They are NOT getting their clients more…but less!
Let me share a little with you about the Redfin system. Redfin corporate works their agents 60 to 70 hours a week. All of their agents are inexperienced agents when they hire them. The mid management of this company is weak at best as the redfin agents are not trained to be valuable assets to their clients. They underpay them and then as agents are with Redfin long enough, and gain experience, they leave to become a full service agent because they just don’t make the money to justify their time. I SEE IT ALL OF THE TIME!
Redfin agents are essentially order takers and are NOT hands on agents. The comments above are very typical. The facts about Redfin is that it is still a very large company that is still bleeding money to survive. I do not worry about them because real estate will always be a very hands on business that takes an agent that cares about his clients best interest. How can an agent negotiate for a buyer when he has not even seen the home ( and for that matter…any of the comps!) The answer…they don’t. So it is pretty crazy to state that you are getting your clients $4300 more!
Brad Golik is top producing condo specialist in Portland, Or. He is a co- founding member of Condo10.com . You can reach him at http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com or by calling 503-896-8856. ( firstname.lastname@example.org)