Why a Realtor Team May Not Be the Best Choice for Buyers

“If you’re looking for a heart surgeon, no one says, ‘Oh, Dr. Smith is so nice. Go to him. He just got into the business.’ But, you hear that a lot in real estate.”

–“Finding the Right Broker Can Be the Key to a Big Deal“; The New York Times (12/30/2018).

[Editor’s Note:  The views expressed here are solely those of Ross Kaplan, and do not represent Edina Realty, Berkshire Hathaway (“Berkshire”), or any other entity referenced. Edina Realty is a subsidiary of Berkshire.]

The corollary to the observation above?

When consumers are vetting heart surgeons (or CPA’s, or estate attorneys, or other skilled professionals), they seldom open with, “So, what do you charge?”

Or variations on, “I’m really tempted to go with you, Dr. Smith, but Dr. Anderson at XYZ Hospital will do my open heart surgery for $50,000, and you quoted me $60,000.  If you match her price . . . you’re it!”

Or, when the operation is a success, they CERTAINLY don’t say afterwards, “the procedure seemed to be very straightforward; would you consider reducing your fee 10% (or 25%!).”

Ahhh, the joys of residential real estate.

One of the reasons veteran Realtors are so good at negotiating is . . . they (we) do a lot of it. 🙂

German Shepherd > Pit Bull

The NYT article also had a good insight about Realtor teams, and specifically, why they may not be in Buyers’ best interests (full disclosure: while I have a part-time assistant, I’ve never been on a Realtor “team”).

According to one New York City Realtor, “If you end up with a different agent every time you go out to look at properties, there’s no single person learning what works for you. Much as great teams share information, things may get lost in translation.”

Finally, while consumers understandably want to work with an agent who’ll aggressively negotiate on their behalf . . . it’s possible to over do it.

To put it in dog terms, it’s better to pick a German Shepherd than a Pit bull.

The logic?

“Sellers sometimes focus on brokers they perceive to be tough or forceful negotiators. But it can turn off Buyers and their representatives if a particular broker has a reputation for being difficult or unreasonable. You’re better off with [someone] who gets deals done.”

Nice article!

See also, “Will You Cut Your Commission?” Top 10 Replies“; “Realtor Job Description, Circa 2017“; and ““The Goldman Sachs Risk”: Sheep, Wolves ” and German Shepherds“; and “New Metric for Evaluating Realtors: Average Number of Showings Per Listing.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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