The CAR sent out a survey recently, and these are my answers – plus I added a few extra questions at the end:

Please comment on how technology changes such as online homebuying platforms may change your compensation and role as a homebuyer agent:

Homebuying platforms will be forced onto the consumer by outsiders while the old-guard realtor industry stands by idly.

Please briefly comment on which lender services provided to agents are most important and why:

Having a competent staff that can close a loan on time without drama. Very hard to find.

Please comment on how recent actions of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may affect services that lenders provide to real estate agents:

No impact – they need perp walks to wake up realtors and lenders to RESPA violations.

Please briefly comment on why preapproved homebuyers are a plus or minus:

Preapproved doesn’t mean much today with the incessant re-underwriting of the loan package by nervous lenders. It doesn’t occur to buyers that they should ask their realtor for a lender referral.  They are empowered by the internet to shop for themselves, and many like to walk into their local branch, which is usually the worst place to go.

Please comment on how you make mortgage recommendations:

Based on loan type needed – different lenders have different specialties.

What is the impact of TRID on your closings?

One more thing for bank employees to blame for their own blundering incompetence.  Realtors have to babysit the lenders every day if they want a sale to close on time. For some reason – probably due to their refinancings not having a time crunch – most lenders are oblivious to their customers planning their move around the close date.

Other questions:

Why hasn’t there been more disruption to the real estate industry?

Because change would need to come from the consumers – realtors like it fine the way it is.  But consumers just grab an agent and go – they get what they get, and move on.  Until an outside company spends million of dollars to advertise their disruptive new alternative, any changes will happen slowly.

How many off-market sales are happening?

I’d say less than 5% of total sales.  I just saw a good example where a seller/agent could have sold her house to an early buyer, but decided to hit the open market instead.  These days, it is irresistible for sellers to find what the market will bear.  The pocket/off-market sales happen where sellers aren’t as invested in getting every last dollar, like out-of-town inheritees who just want to hurry up and get their hands on the money.

How is agent competency?

You really see it now that Zillow is publicizing the agents’ sales history. Most are single-digit for the last 12 months, and those are agents who are paying to advertise on Zillow – think of the rest!

Is another bubble forming?

Probably, but it’s not as pop-able because the vast majority of new buyers over the last five years have used a decent down payment, and had to survive a rigorous qualification to get a loan.  It would take an economic downturn for the overall market to ‘pop’.  Let’s call it a perma-bubble for now, where sellers are prone to wait for months or years to see if any buyer will come along.

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