How It Used To Be
In prehistoric times, 18-20 years ago, homes for sale could not be found on the internet because there was no real internet. Instead, the Multiple Listing Service published a book every week. The book contained all the houses on the market, about 16 per page, with one postage-stamp size picture of the home. Buyers’ agents flipped through with their magnifying glasses to find their buyer’s dream home. This was work—ugly work. Unless someone directly brought a listing to the buyer’s or the buyer’s agent’s attention, no one knew about it.
How It Is
Today there is an internet and a new dawn. All the homes for sale can be found by anyone in moments. Simply go to any of several websites, put in your search criteria, and you can see what’s out there, with pictures, video, and fresh-baked cookies. According to the National Association of Realtors, 92% of home sales begin by the buyers themselves finding the home on the internet.
The Grand Fallacy
When realtors tell prospective clients why they should be hired, they typically contend that their marketing services are superior to others. However, it is the internet that sells the house, not the listing realtor. In the vast majority of sales, the listing realtor doesn’t meet or even speak to the buyer until closing. In effect, the realtors are selling the thing they don’t do.
The Evolution of The Listing Realtor’s Job
Listing realtors are now primarily advisers and service providers. Here are the steps in a typical home sale:
- Prepare the house for sale—cleaning, landscaping, painting, etc.
- Make necessary repairs—deal with any deferred maintenance
- Decide what price to list the house for
- Put the home in the MLS, where it automatically links to numerous other websites
- Schedule showings when buyers or agents call
- Negotiate the sales contract
- Negotiate any repairs requested after the buyer’s inspection
- Make the negotiated repairs
- Keep in touch with the buyer’s agent to deal with any issues that arise pre-closing
The advice of a good realtor is crucial in listing the home and the negotiations. But can and should realtors do more? Should they help with the preparation and repair steps of this process if needed?
Our Model: Help with the “PINS”
The purpose of a real estate brokerage should be to help the homeowner sell their home for the maximum price and with the least possible stress. As you can see in the list above, there are about nine steps in the process. The realtor helps with the listing stuff and the negotiation stuff. These are crucial and require experience and expertise. However, the house prep and repairs, also known as the PAIN-IN-THE-NECK Stuff (the “PINS”) are the things other brokerages don’t do. Why? We’re not sure, but it might have something to do with the fact that they’re a pain-in-the-neck.
If the purpose of a real estate brokerage is to sell the home for the maximum price with the least stress for the seller, shouldn’t they also help with the PINS, which for many people are the most stressful part? We think so, and we do those things, because that’s part of the total process of selling a house, and we provide Total Service. We believe this is the future of the industry, because it provides maximum benefit to the client, and it makes sense.