Is Cheap Too Expensive? : Ethics in Real Estate

Your choice of real estate agent and brokerage is an important one. The professional you choose to market your home and represent your interests can have an enormous impact on the ease of sale and the eventual selling or buying price of your home. Long before your house sells, well before the offer comes in, and even before the showings start, your real estate agent has built a reputation in the community and amongst other local agents.

When looking to transact in real estate, local knowledge of the market and the connections within are of great importance. Roughly 80% of active buyers are already working with a REALTOR®, making it very important for an agent to have a respected reputation within the local market in order to properly market a listing. There is a recent trend of "outside" or "discount" agents pretending to be experts in a market in which they do not reside or work. Ask yourself how your "outside" or "discount" agent with be received by those likely to bring in a buyer; will another agent be wary of dealing with a periphery agent due to a reputation of unethical actions? This could seriously limit the level of exposure for the listing and the quality and number of offers.

A discount brokerage may also cost you in the long run. There is a great saying that "cheap is too expensive," and this certainly applies to real estate. Let me describe a recent sale in Milton to bring the concept home. We believe a seller potentially lost out on thousands and thousands of dollars in their sale and, most likely, did not even know it. Unfortunately in this case, two respectable local agents had brought in offers on a discount brokerage listing. The agents were not permitted to present the offers in person, which is customary in our profession. Both were simply asked to fax the offers and they would be presented to the seller within 48 hours. The discount agent failed to present one offer within the 48 hours, which, in respectable circles, is abhorrent. The two respectable local agents did not have their buyer’s offers signed back or accepted. The discount brokerage ended up “double ending” the sale of the home. Do you believe the seller was best served in this instance?

The Sellers were under the impression they were getting a "cheap" deal and saving commission costs by working with a discounter that does not have an office in Milton. However, given that the second offer they likely did not see was for thousands over the accepted offer, it is safe to say in the end cheap was, in fact, too expensive. These clients lost thousands of dollars because of their choice in real estate agent and brokerage.

Do you believe the seller was best served in this instance? Could it be the listing brokerage charged too little to list the home and had to make it up on the buyer side in order to come out ahead? Motivations and tactics clearly need to be questioned in this scenario.

Local Milton agents have built relationships and networks in the local community and are able to serve your interests best. Only local Milton offices, owned and managed by local people, are truly in tune with the Milton market because they are active in local issues. If you are considering using an "outside" or "discount" agent, ask yourself if the risk is worth it, as situations similar to the one above or other questionable tactics are employed.

A home is the biggest purchase most will make in their lifetime. While at first glance flashy advertising and misleading statistics may sound good, consider the reputation an agent has built-up in their career and how it will impact how other REALTORS® interact with your property. This impacts you, the consumer, most.

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