As I write this, there is a lot in the news about the Department of Justice's lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors and several brokerages for anti-trust issues surrounding the payment of agents for their work in transactions. The gist of it is this: They claim that having the seller pay the buyer's agent's commission creates bias towards the seller, is an unfair cost burden for sellers, and creates poor representation.
Those of us in the business know this could not be further from the truth, but just as I rail against a lot of real estate-related potential legislation, the lawsuit is wrong-headed and clearly has not considered the way the industry works as a whole, or the cost ramifications on buyers and sellers if this lawsuit is won. The potential ramifications of this are huge.
Realtors have been very bad about publicizing our worth to the general public. Most people don’t know what we do. We have to pass college-level classes, take continuing education classes, pass long and stringent exams, are held to a code of ethics, and are fingerprinted because in California we are one of the professions—like lawyers and doctors—and are held to a higher standard of conduct in our practice than most professions.
Moreover, we bring real value in negotiations, in sale preparations, in marketing prowess, in protecting our clients from exactly the sorts of problems that will likely happen if this lawsuit is won.
How We Help Buyers
When you next look online at a gorgeous house, and see the beautiful staging, and read the advertising copy, and look at the disclosure packet, and follow the signs to an open house, and get to the open house and snag a beautiful glossy brochure, and read about it again on every single site out there for real estate, write a great offer with your agent’s advice, win the property because you wrote the best offer, and go through escrow and negotiate terms and address issues of discovery that your agent has pointed out to you, and finally close escrow on the property, and meet your agent who gives you the keys—realize that realtors made every single part of this happen. It doesn’t happen by magic.
How We Help Sellers
When you price the house, because a realtor made you a comparative market analysis and asked specifics your realtor could answer because they have an encyclopedic knowledge of the neighborhood history of the areas they serve, and you take their advice on aesthetic and other upgrades to the house, when you get your inspections and use inspectors that will be most useful for the sale because your agent knows who they are, when you get great photos because your agent makes sure the staging and the angles the photographer works on are great, when your property receives literally thousands of looks online and postcards are sent throughout your neighborhood to potential buyers, and when the house is held open and on broker tour and advertised literally everywhere, causing multiple offers and an offer you could only imagine to be the one you accept, and when your realtor stands firm in negotiations and literally saves you tens of thousands of dollars in the transaction and makes sure all the disclosures are correct and protecting you — realize none of this really would have happened without the help of your realtor.