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Publicizing The Listing Agent

The old rule was that any agent could advertise any MLS listing via the IDX, as long as the listing agent’s name and brokerage was displayed. But now you have to include their contact information too. He sounds confident because this is clearly a shot at Zillow but the unintended consequences from directing the consumer to the listing agent is promoting single agency which will eventually eliminate broker cooperation as we know it.

The discouragement of buyers getting their own representation from a buyer-agent is part of the dumbing-down of the business.  Sellers and listing agents prefer buyers who just pay whatever it takes and don’t ask questions, and when the History of the 2020-2021 Frenzy is written, it should include that it was fueled in part by crazy buyers getting no good help. 


In an emailed statement, a Zillow spokesperson said, “As part of our switch to IDX feeds and becoming CRMLS participants earlier this year, we agreed to comply with all CRMLS rules and regulations, which includes adhering to listing credit and display rules — such as the updates that went into effect this month.

“One of our core values is to empower consumers and increase transparency in real estate, which includes efforts to give shoppers the information they need to connect with listing agents. For more than a decade, our philosophy of ‘turning on the lights’ for consumers has meant that we’ve consistently displayed listing agents’ names and contact information, something not done on all IDX sites today.”

Get Good Help!

State of the Frenzy

Buyer fatigue has hit San Diego’s real estate market as some people are taking a break after making offers on several homes to no avail, according to several real estate agents.

“In my opinion, I feel the buyers are feeling beat up and a little tired,” said Dawn Suprenant, with Windermere Homes & Estates. “It’s still crazy. It’s not as crazy as the spring. I think they feel like, ‘I’ve tried everything. I’m going to take a break,’” Suprenant said. “There’s only so many times you can make an offer and be rejected and want to come back.”

Julia Maxwell of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties said that for most buyers, “it’s a very frustrating and emotionally draining market.”

“Currently we’re seeing a very subtle, I can’t emphasize how subtle, softening in the upper range prices where we were seeing market times of two days, three days or less, we’re seeing slightly longer market times,” Maxwell said.

Even so, the market remains hot, with multiple offers still commonplace as prices continue to rise, interest rates remain near record lows and buyers far outnumber sellers with no letup seen anytime soon. Suprenant said she recently sold a Rancho Penasquitos home for $101,000 over the asking price. She said it’s become more common for buyers to pay more than list price.

Carlos Gutierrez of eXp Realty of California said the market is shifting ever-so-slightly, but that it remains very much a seller’s market. “We’re starting to see inventory creep up, longer days on market,” Gutierrez said, adding that there are fewer “hyper bidding wars happening.”

“We still have bidding wars but I don’t see them happening as much,” Gutierrez said.

Nancy Layne, president of North San Diego County Realtors, said she’s noticed a letup in the market, like Suprenant, attributing it to buyer fatigue. “We’re finally seeing more stuff come on the market. It’s getting a little more competitive, Layne said. “I think it’s flattening out.”

Dina Brannan, vice president of operations for Century21 Award, said the market “has kind of lost its panic mode.” “Things are not flying off like hotcakes. They’re still going fast, but they’re not this crazy where things are selling before they even hit the market,” Brannan said.

Melissa Goldstein Tucci of Coldwell Banker West said that the overall market is “the strongest it’s ever been,” although she said the number of offers being made on a particular house has dropped a little since mid-June. “The values are still skyrocketing and it’s still a great time to buy because I don’t personally see anything changing anytime soon,” Tucci said. “I see the market remaining strong.”

Wendy Purvey, chief operating officer of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty, said it would be wrong to say the market was softening. “The frenzy has tailed off. I would not say it has died down. We still have frustrated buyers that can’t get what they want,” Purvey said. “There’s no way that there’s a softening in the market. What’s happening is a tiny correction and that correction is way, way needed in a healthy market. The price and values can’t keep going up at this rate.”

Sean Caddell of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty, said he’s seen more people paying cash instead of having a mortgage, and they’re willing to pay more than the seller’s asking and they’re eliminating contingencies, “buyer investigations, everything.”

“We’ve had almost every property we sold recently, the buyers have removed their appraisal contingency, whether it’s financed or cash,” Caddell said. “I have not seen it like this before where people are so anxious and excited to get a property.”

According to Reports on Housing, an agency that tracks housing in San Diego and Orange counties, the inventory of homes on the San Diego County market was up by 11% in mid-July, to 3,059 listings but that still was a near record low and compared to 4,577 homes on the market at the same time last year.

The inventory in 2006 – a year before the Great Recession – was 18,000 homes on the market, reaching 20,000 in 2008. Meanwhile, housing prices appreciated at a rate of 14.6%, the highest rate of appreciation since 1988, according to Reports on Housing.

Read full article with more realtor quotes here:

https://www.sdbj.com/news/2021/jul/27/san-diego-seeing-tightest-housing-market-years/

Pocket Listings in 2021

The Journal touched on pocket listings yesterday – excerpts:

Real-estate agents are selling more homes to select customers while bypassing the public market, a move that squeezes supply tighter for many buyers when inventory is already near record lows.

In the vast majority of transactions, an agent lists a home for sale on a local database and markets the property widely to drum up interest and get the best price. But in certain cases, a broker will show an unlisted property to a small circle of potential buyers more exclusively, often in hope of getting a deal done quickly.

These private sales are known as pocket listings, or whisper listings. They have been around for many years. But they are on the rise now even though the National Association of Realtors adopted a rule last year aimed at discouraging their use following complaints from some of its members.

Pocket listings persist in part because they benefit big brokerages, which can shop listings in-house and advertise to potential clients that they have properties that aren’t available anywhere else.

On brokerage Compass Inc.’s website, a search for active listings or those coming soon in San Francisco pulled up 1,320 online listings as of midday Tuesday. The website also said 105 listings in the city weren’t publicly available but were available through a Compass agent.

A Compass spokesman declined to comment.

Link to WSJ Article

My thoughts:

Compass is known for the in-house Private Exclusives program, and it was one of the main reasons I joined. If any big brokerage were to mount a strong in-house campaign, they could commandeer the market – especially if they had the #1 market share. I wouldn’t recommend it for my sellers, but it could be a boost for my buyers.

Last year I did four off-market sales with my buyers, and only one was with a Compass listing agent. But I haven’t even sniffed an opportunity this year. Why? Because in 2021 every seller and listing agent wants to go on the open market to see if they can get bid up. They’ve heard the stories of sales going for hundreds of thousands over list, and they want their chance at glory.

We still have a Private Exclusives section, but every time I contact a listing agent who has a home listed there, they say they are going on the open market (there is some confusion on what the PE program is supposed to be). I’m sure there are off-market deals happening, but I don’t think they are any more than normal – and they have been around since the beginning of time.

In Northern California, the Compass presence is huge, and I’ve been told that management there is really pushing the Private Exclusives. But in the WSJ article, they mentioned that only 8% of the listings were Exclusives, and my guess is that many of those are heading for the open market.

Another unintended consequence of the frenzy? Slowing down the off-market sales!

The Typical Bidding War

Here’s a great snapshot of how the vast majority of listing agents handle multiple offers. They just grab one, and kiss off the rest – which isn’t good for the sellers, it’s not good for the losing buyers who might have made a better offer if there was a highest-and-best round, and it’s not good for the buyer-agents who should have the right to compete fairly to sell the home.

But the listing agent gets to go back to sleep, so there’s that.

The most common response? “I just did what the seller wanted to do”. But isn’t it your job to advise them of a way to create a fair competition that could get them a better offer and more money? I think so.

Buyer-Agents Being Crushed

Home buyers deserve to have their own representation.

The broker cooperation system which allows every agent to share their inventory with all other buyers via the MLS has worked well for 100+ years.  But it has been under attack for years, and it may not survive the tight-inventory era where sellers and listing agents want to minimize or eliminate buyer-agents altogether.

An agent sent this in today:

Do you know that Lennar is no longer paying agents a commission or referral fee?

I have been working with a client for almost a year. She wouldn’t have known about the Lennar at Treviso community without me bringing her there. I registered her as my client and when her name got called on the list, they told her they’re no longer cooperating with agents and if she tried to include me she’d lose the house. Thank you Lennar for putting my client is a horrible position. Hey builders. Don’t ostracize the brokerage community! The market may be busy now but when the tides turn, you’re going to need us again. This is bad business.

I know for a fact that Lennar isn’t paying commissions on any of their SD communities currently.

I agree that it’s bad business to have an agent sign in their buyer as required to receive the commission, but then rescind their offer of compensation when the buyer steps up to purchase.  But nobody cares about buyer-agents, and the abuse will continue. Lower or no commission being offered, no clarity on how multiple offers get handled (other than the usual “I just let the sellers decide”, which is a lie), and no easy path to show and sell.

What is the result of buyer-agents being snuffed out?

Here you go:

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/17/64percent-of-millennials-have-regrets-about-buying-their-current-home.html

Buyers don’t recognize the need for getting good help.

An apprentice from a realtor team will suck them in with the promise of getting them an ‘off-market deal’, but then get sold a 1,200sf two-story house in a gang-infested area for 10% to 20% over value (true story).

We should probably just drop the seller-paid commissions – though they should have the right to offer a bounty – and have buyers pay their own agents. Those who value good help will seek out the best agents, and those who don’t will get what they get and wind up with regrets.

 

CCP and The Future

Two years ago, the National Association of Realtors began the Clear Cooperation Policy, a directive that compels agents to submit their listings to the MLS within one business day after any public marketing.

It was an attempt to quell off-market sales, but Glenn says that it’s done the opposite.

Specifically, because the CCP allows brokerages to have ‘Office Exclusives’, he asserts that more companies are withholding their listings from the MLS and selling them in-house without any attempt to include outside agents or buyers.

Rob and Sam, two industry titans, conducted a livestream discussion to see what else can be done.

Rob has the likely solution – that any agent who wants to exclude their listing from the MLS will need to get a signed waiver from the MLS committee to do so.

Yes, it has come to that – agents can’t be trusted to play by the rules, and will need a permission slip from the principal to officially withhold a listing from the MLS.

But it gets worse – I left a bomb in the comment section here:

https://notorious-rob.com/2021/05/in-which-sam-debord-and-i-solve-the-clear-cooperation-dilemma/

Pay-Per-Showing

We have another disrupter who is providing a service you didn’t know you needed until now.

Traditionally, a buyer’s agent accompanies their clients to show them the homes for sale, and to give expert advice about each house while on site. But other real estate companies – who don’t appreciate that valuable service – have dumbed it down by just paying door-openers that allow buyers into the house, but leave them on their own to figure out the rest.

A new company has taken it one step further, and is providing an Uber-like service where random agents can get paid for opening doors for other agents.

The company charges $39, and pays $24 of it to the door-opening agent – who agrees to not offer advice to the buyers, and to direct them back to the agent who paid the $39 showing fee.

https://showami.com/

Will it happen some day that the buyers will be charged a fee to see a house?

Disclosing Offer Prices

To say it’s the Wild Wild West out here is putting it lightly, and how realtors handle multiple offers is the primary reason. There isn’t a standard way to handle a bidding war – and heck, we don’t even agree on what is confidential, and what isn’t. Here is the variety of opinions from a FB thread:

Even when presented with a copy of the actual verbiage from our contracts, she comments, “Wrong”.

Is anyone surprised why buyers are so frustrated?

‘No More Showings’

We see it more and more these days – listing agents who shut down showings of their listings. I’m sure most would say, “What do you want me to do? I had 20-30 appointment times available, and they all booked up!”

When faced with having to work harder, smarter, or less, agents always seem to pick less.

  • But they owe it to their sellers to find a way to show their home to every possible buyer.
  • They owe it to their fellow agents too, and their buyers.

Work Harder:

An agent over the weekend was bombarded with requests to show a newer one-story home on a half-acre lot. She TRIPLE-BOOKED the whole weekend, and designated four stations – two inside, and two outside. As visitors arrived, she explained the process, and deftly guided everyone from station to station to keep the parade moving – and it went very smoothly.

Work Smarter:

Can we please require agents to produce YouTube video tours?

If you don’t like the way you sound or you’re afraid you might say something stupid, then just don’t talk. The video is a boost to understanding the flow of the floor plan, and and a way to highlight the biggest benefits. It’s not that hard to do – you’re doing videos of your grandkids every weekend, surely you can walk around a house with a videocam and pretend you’re showing the house to a buyer – of which you have plenty of practice!  Then the buyers who got shut out from an in-person appointment can view the video and have a fighting chance to compete.

Selling homes by video should have been commonplace by now. Let’s do it!

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