From the WaPo

The reporting on the NAR settlement seems to be focused on creating hysteria, rather than finding the truth. Realtors commissions have always been a juicy topic, and the media is intent on using this opportunity to fabricate wild and salacious stories to attract the maximum number of eyeballs.

The hysteria may just be beginning, however. The NAR settlement included penalties for every brokerage that sells more than $2 billion in volume per year. For Compass, the top brokerage in the country for total volume, it means imposing a fine of $500 million without consulting with Compass management, let alone negotiating. The NAR doesn’t have the authority to speak for us, or commit us to any penalty so who knows what they were thinking but it guarantees the end of NAR – why would any brokerage want to be associated with such bums?

Those fines will get litigated and drawn out for years. The requirement to remove the commission rate in the MLS will start in July, but listing agents can advertise the amount of buyer-agent commission everywhere else. We will hear more about the buyer-agent commission than ever before – and steering done by both buyer-agents and buyers themselves. Buyers will prefer the listings that pay more commission, so they pay less. So much for fixing the concerns about steering!

As realtor-panic goes, the beginning of Covid was much worse – we didn’t think we’d sell a house for months! Those who panic about this hiccup are the realtors who don’t have much to offer – those who aren’t real salespeople. Nobody will mind seeing them either get better, or get out of the business.

But houses will keep selling at a brisk pace regardless of commissions.

This will blow over in a few months.

My previous post mentioned the need for getting good help. Getting cheap help will probably be tempting until people get a feel for the difficulty of what it’s like:

  • We made a clean, full-price offer. Three days later, still no answer.
  • We made an offer on a Friday that was $50,000 under list on a 2-br house in original condition. The sellers decided to take their chances with open houses (in search of two in the bush) over the weekend, instead of responding. We attend, and the listing agent isn’t doing the open house; there is a trainee there instead. We look harder to find something better, and succeed. By Monday, the listing agent wants to re-engage, and by Wednesday she begs me to get back in the game. They receive another offer, but it’s $100,000 under list. We moved on.
  • I’ve had several solid buyers attend open houses in the last year – people I’ve talked to who sure gave me the feeling that they liked the home so much that they were going to make an offer. But then when I follow up with their agents – who usually don’t accompany – they can’t close the deal. It makes me want to sell my listing to their buyer and just send them a check in the mail.
  • Multiple offers – what do you do? I lost another one where we offered the exact same price ($100,000 over list), and the listing agent seller picked the one with the bigger down payment, instead of letting the buyers decide it. Don’t you think there might be some gas left in the tank? Like $25,000 to $50,000?
  • You get an offer while off-market. Then what?
  • When does a seller lower their price? Or not?
  • Buyers and sellers typically have little experience in fixing things – especially the big stuff – and agents aren’t much better. So instead, a proper discount is attempted, but sellers always think in pennies, and buyers think in thousands. With little or no buyer representation, how are those going to get handled? They’re not, and more deals will die. This is a problem on virtually every sale.
  • Inexperienced people tend to over-react, and any bump in the road could be a deal-killer.
  • How much should buyers offer? Most agents respond with, “Well, that’s up to you”.
  • What is the real value of the property? Once a home is on the open market, Zillow and Redfin adjust their estimates to within a buck or two of the list price, so sellers, buyers, and agents must each determine the value themselves. How good are they at determining the value? How much variance is acceptable? Virtually nobody knows, and unless there is a good agent involved, more deals that are 1% to 2% apart will die an unnecessary death.

How do you know when you’re talking to the wrong agent?

Their only line is “Let me know if you have any questions”.

Good salespeople ask the questions, and then offer opinions and advice!

The commission lawsuits are the best thing to ever happen for my slogan! Get Good Help!

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