Frequently asked questions
Wouldn’t it be nice if the realtor charging 10 times my price do the work 10 times better! That’s a pretty sly marketing line to coax the consumers to pay more, under the impression that they are getting better service. If you think about it, there is no support to back up the argument, and no quantitative measure as to what is “bad” or “limited”. It’s just a flat statement, which could be true or false, or partially false.
In my opinion, the real estate brokerage industry has some inherent flaws. First, the industry has a relatively low entry threshold; second, there is no transparent, universal standard to judge the quality of a realtor. The result of these two is that there are people of different educational levels, different motivation, different worldviews and different technology awareness, all broadcasting themselves as “your local expert” or “best choice” or “real estate guru”.
On the other hand, consumers rarely have a way to objectively compare realtors, like the way they can compare cereals or electronics. Most consumers deal with only one realtor in many years. And due to the uniqueness of every transaction, it’s hard to know if apples are better than oranges. Say you used this really famous local realtor, because she closed hundreds of deals last year and has a 4.8 star review. Half way into the transaction you started to dislike her style, but there’s too much hassle in changing realtors now.
Most of the time, if a realtor really sucks, you just think to yourself “it’s just one deal, it’ll be over in a couple of months, and I’ll just never use her again. It’s better than being stuck with that horrible boss of mine.” Do you think this realtor is counting on your returning business to survive? No. She earns plenty just from the people that decided to try her once. So the market forces driving improvement through competition is not working well here. Then how do you find the “good” ones? Are online reviews reliable? Are their sales numbers reliable? Granted, there are some really good realtors out there. But a lot of times, it’s merely a reflection of how much marketing dollars they spent. And it’s the quandary that consumers are in today.
I’ve been there, both as a consumer and a realtor representing my client. I’ve dealt with realtors that could go days on end without answering my texts, realtors that are snobbish and didn’t care to work with me because the house is under $150k, realtors that are pushy and get upset when we didn’t offer them, realtors that are cunning and tried to take our earnest money when it’s not our fault, and realtors that are flat out ignorant that I ended up educating myself on everything and got my own realtor license. All of it made me think of what is a “good” realtor, and how much is realtor service really worth.
Back to this statement of realtor fee level v.s. service quality. I reckon that different consumers have different preferences, one man’s good realtor could annoy the other man like hell. And that’s fine. No one could be liked by everyone. But there are concrete standards that are universally accepted, like professional skills, knowledge base, care for the consumer, efficiency, and integrity. We have things that we don’t do. But if we do it, we must do it to the highest standard.
“Limited service” is partially true. In order to keep our cost low, there have to be services that are usually provided by traditional realtors but we couldn’t do. But we believe in this day and age, if a consumer is able and willing to do some work since everything could be found online, he deserves to be compensated. And once we strip the puffed-up idea of realtor service to its core, most transactions don’t differ that much. Hence the flat fee.
Sorry I rambled this much. I’m usually not very chatty. But this is a topic that I’m passionate about. I’ve thought a lot about the industry and realtor behaviors, and this is my answer to it. So to summarize, limited service is true; low service quality is absolutely, categorically false. I know that this model would not be for every buyer or seller. But for the ones that choose us, you won’t be disappointed.