Search Google for
Ten Questions to ask your Real Estate Agent and you will find
hundreds of entries - almost all of them presented by, you guessed
it, agents, themselves. Almost all ask the same questions and
they are carefully written to obscure the real issues and put
themselves in the most favorable light.
We join the fray below - with one
difference. You will not find many of our questions on other
agents' lists. And, we will go a step further. Before
you begin with our own, surely biased, list of questions, have a
look at the most notable
contemporary critics of our industry.
Now of course we do not agree with
everything Messrs. Levitt and Dubner have to say about our business.
But in today's marketplace, agents should stop obfuscating and address the
real issues. Intelligent,
informed clients demand it.
Questions Buyers and Sellers Should Ask any Firm prior to Hiring
General Brick and Garden Real Estate
Questions from Other Realtors
SHOULD ASK ANY FIRM
PRIOR TO HIRING
What do you charge? What are
For sellers, see our brief essay:
and The Children
For buyers, the real estate agent is
most often compensated by the seller. While this is typical
and traditional, this is not always the case. Regardless of
the firm and broker you engage, be sure to have a clear discussion
of fees before you get started.
I bought some stock last week and sure
enough, my stockbroker charged me a commission. If I am
selling my real property, why am I expected to pay the commission
for the buyer?
For better or worse, there is one
primary answer to that question: It's always been done that
way! Customary, traditional - call it what you will.
It's a holdover from the days when all agents represented the seller
and the buyer was always unrepresented.
Is it required?
But like it or not, the way to think
about this is as a marketing expense, like any other. Coke and
Pepsi are not required to market their products - legally,
ethically, or otherwise. Yet, no doubt, they would argue that
marketing is a required cost of doing business. As the seller,
you are certainly not required to pay the buyer's agent. But
remember, neither is the buyer. While real estate may not be
the most transparent marketplace, believe it or not, it is subject
to the laws of competition like any other. As the seller, you
are competing with other sellers who, yes, are typically paying the
buyer's agents. If you do not, the buyer will pay this
expense, themselves, and simply include it in the "gross cost" for
your property, which they will, of course, compare to others.
Therefore, as a marketing expense, we encourage you to offer
competitive compensation to the buyer's agent.
I am considering using a discount
broker. What should I know beforehand?
Discount brokers only quote prices for
the "list side". Sounds like a deal, right? Well, "$499
and we list for you" is really $499 PLUS whatever you decide to pay
the buyer's agent. What you have to understand is that most of
the work in any real estate transaction is done AFTER listing.
So for a discount listing, the bulk of the work is done by the seller, yourself, and
frankly, since you don't do this every day, primarily by the buyer's
agent. In fact, much of what was formerly done by the listing agent is
now involuntarily hoisted upon the buyer's agent. We strongly urge you to
make it worth their while. Note, so do the discount brokers -
they all encourage you to pay the buyer's agent. Why?
because they have already captured the
Why should they do any real work?
Here's what the discount brokers do
NOT want you to know:
Often, by the time you compensate
the buyer's agent, you could have hired a full-service firm for the
But the discount broker offers a
premium "full-service" package...
Yes, they do. But again, quoted
for the list side only. The above statement is even more true!
Here's our question:
Regardless of the package
or broker you select, shouldn't we begin this six-figure transaction process
with a direct, aboveboard, completely honest discussion of the costs
I am considering using a traditional
agent. What should I know beforehand?
Well here we could easily focus on the obvious
high overhead and high cost to the client. But most of our readers are
fully aware of this situation. Let's move on to something more
The real estate business is in many ways,
counter-intuitive. To quote Mr. Churchill,
It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an
An example is in order. Traditional real estate agents want you to believe that they
are great at selling houses. Don't believe it! What they are
really good at is selling themselves to potential clients with the illusion that
they are great at selling houses. For these agents, real estate is a
one-dimensional business: Self-promotion. Agent-centered marketing
is blatantly self-serving, and from a client-goal perspective,
almost totally ineffective. And yet, it is the client
who ultimately pays for this subterfuge.
Many quite successful agents are not so great at
the details of brokering real estate transactions. But they are excellent
at converting potential clients into clients.
Here's what traditional agents do NOT want you
They spend more of your money on self-promotion
than they do on marketing your property or brokering the transaction.
How are we different:
Our multi-dimensional approach combines
authentic client-driven real estate marketing
with unmatched broker integrity, education, experience, competence,
and professionalism. Our goal is to
provide our clients with superior representation and a distinct competitive advantage throughout the
estate transaction process.
Why do you refer to discount brokers as
children and traditional agents as dinosaurs?
Children do not always tell the
whole truth and they sometimes like to avoid responsibility.
As for dinosaurs, well, they are extinct.
Does Brick and Garden Real Estate
cooperate with other firms and agents?
For Buyer's Agents: Yes.
We strongly encourage our seller
clients to offer competitive compensation to any buyer's agent
from any firm.
For Listing Agents: Most
If a non-client seller offers
competitive compensation to our firm, as the buyer's agent,
However, today an ever increasing
number of sellers are opting to offer buyer's agents something
less than competitive compensation, or even no compensation.
In this case, our buyer client is forced to add this expense to
their calculations. Our buyer clients will decide if they
are willing to do this. If not, we will attempt to
negotiate a reasonable fee from the seller. But let us be
perfectly clear, if the seller is not paying and the buyer is
not paying, we will not cooperate with either the
listing agent or the non-client seller. Odds are, we will not even show your
Doesn't that disadvantage your
buyers? Not a
On the contrary, because we leave
the choice to our buyer clients, it places our buyers on par
with the non-client seller.
Make no mistake about it, whether
we represent the buyer or the seller, we fiercely protect the
interests of our clients!
Will Brick and Garden Real Estate manage
my residential rental property?
No. Property management is a
unique business and is best handled by a firm that specializes
in that area of real estate.
Will Brick and Garden Real Estate help
my residential rental property?
Yes. While we will not
engage in any form of property management, we will be happy to
help you market the property and secure a tenant.
QUESTIONS FROM OTHER
If I am a cooperating agent working with
a buyer, will you allow me to show and sell your listings as a seller
No. In our view, this
practice should be banned. You need to fully represent
your buyer, as a client, and we will be happy to cooperate with
100 Questions & Answers about Buying a New Home
Frequently Asked Questions about RESPA
Federal Trade Commission Consumer Education (Real Estate)
Note to our website visitors:
This FAQ Page is a catchall for questions
not addressed elsewhere within our website. We believe the
complete Brick & Garden website has more substance than any other real
estate site in our market. Dazzling? Hardly. Informative?
You be the judge. Our goal with the entire site is to provide our clients and potential clients with
complete, unfettered information about the market, our firm, our
brokers, and our approach to real estate. Have more questions?
Call or email us.