Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Home Buying Process (5) ... Almost

1. Can we please get back to Home Buying? I’m about ready to write an offer.

Do you mind if I digress a little first?

2. …Unlike what you’ve been doing the last month?

I’ll take that as an “Of course I don’t mind.”

Kendra Hogue, editor of The Oregonian’s Sunday Homes and Rentals section, I’m sure is an exceedingly nice person. Realtors, Builders and Macy’s are The Oregonian’s last consistent revenue streams, and keeping each happy is a priority. So I’m sure it’s with that intent that she said this Sunday:

…For those of you who haven’t purchased a home before, “hiring” a Realtor to help locate a house costs you nothing.

That bothers me on several different levels:

First, it’s not entirely true. Yes, commissions are taken out of the seller’s net, and the amount of the commission is negotiated between the listing agent and the seller. But that commission comes from the funds provided by…the buyer. That’s who ultimately writes the check. The commission is factored into the home price.

Second, some of the best agents are now using an Exclusive Buyer Service Agreement, which not only protects the agent but assures the buyer of the very best representation. It states clearly the buyer is responsible for a set percentage or flat amount upon a successful sale, less any amount received from the seller. Using Kendra’s assumption, a buyer could legitimately ask “Wait…I thought you were free.”

Finally, ‘free’, practically and by definition, diminishes value. As noted elsewhere, a buyer’s agent is every bit as valuable to a buyer as a seller’s agent is to a seller. ‘Free’ implies the exchange of one warm body for another – as long as both are licensed – equals like representation. That’s emphatically not true.

Buyers: Please assume you’re paying an agent, then hire the best.

3. Weren’t you going to mention something about ‘green’ listings?

Can we please get back to Home Buying?

4. Soon. Please get the phone.

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