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rated:
Hello,
Within the next year we'll be looking to make a 1st time home purchase. Curious how you found your realtor that you felt confident with/trusted?

If you've done a transaction recently in the current market, have you seen realtors more willing to work on their rates/fees?

Thanks!

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rated:
DigiornosHunter said:   Hello,
Within the next year we'll be looking to make a 1st time home purchase. Curious how you found your realtor that you felt confident with/trusted?

If you've done a transaction recently in the current market, have you seen realtors more willing to work on their rates/fees?
 

  All RE is local. Where are you located?

rated:
Current market varies greatly depending on where you are. I found mine last year by talking to others who had bought recently and asking what they liked/disliked. Mine was used by a few friends/coworkers.

rated:
Unless you need to be spoonfed the listings, why have an agent when buying? Why pay commissions to both the seller's and your agent?

rated:
Redfin

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Cincinnati, OH/ N. Kentucky area.

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No Redfin in N. Kentucky?

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We got our realtor from personal recommendation from a coworker of mine.

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Got ours referred through USAA. If that's an option, I'd say go for that. Real estate is incredibly local so there aren't really any broad-ranging techniques. We'd have never made it through without him- we considered doing it ourselves, but it would have turned something taking months to probably over a year without knowing what was going on. If you're doing anything fancy like VA or first time home buying incentives, get someone that understands those things and has worked with him. Basically we were borderline financially ready and were really low on our budget compared to what we were looking for (inner city, at least three bedrooms, a decent yard, and wanting to be under $145k in Houston) we were asking for a miracle. Someone a little more conventionally ready without such stringent requirements might have been easier. Also throw in first time homebuyer incentives, moving into an undesireable area incentives, and VA financing made it into somewhat of a circus though. I can't complain too much, I'm typing this instead of doing my online quiz for school from our guest bedroom.

rated:
you should post in the rebating realtor thread

rated:
As un-affordability of housing is once again Sky-high in many places across the country, now would not be the time to be a first-timer. A correction is coming. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

rated:
For a first time home buyer, you can get a Realtor and if you get from a good reference from family/friends/coworkers, etc.; it would definitely help you buy a properly sized home.
You do NOT have to pay anything to a Realtor, seller pays for it, so why not get the benefit.

Getting a home has more to do with just rooms. It depends on location, proper size (need vs want vs afford) and other such factors.
It is not a simple object that you can easily compare with Google shopping to buy from WalMart or Target or Sears, depending on the price.
Plus it is a the biggest if not one of the biggest purchases for you and your family.
 

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DealsBrokeMe said:   For a first time home buyer who is emotional when they are making a purchase of a piece of property, you can get a Realtor and if you get from a good reference from family/friends/coworkers, etc.; it would definitely help you feel better about your purchase, regardless if it's the right size/cost or not.
Seller does NOT have to pay anything to a Realtor, buyer funds the transaction completely.  Scummy and/or low competence realtors will pretend the buyer's agent is "free" as one of the many ways to discourage any shopping around for best price and competence for representation.  Realtor(r) wants you to believe every single realtor is a "professional" of exactly equal competence and fully interchangeable and worth exactly the same amount (an outrageously high amount in many cases), except those brokers that dare to charge less or have a fee based on amount of work involved rather than an arbitrary high cut of "purchase price"- They're obviously the only incompetent ones!

 

  Modified your statement based on my own experiences and also based on the facts.  The vast majority of realtors don't care if the house is the "right size" or if the buyer's getting a fair deal.  All they care is that the transaction closes with the least required work for themselves.

Referrals from most people are worthless, it's often based on solely "a brilliant personality!" and if they "like" the realtor they used they will explain away any unnecessary issues or difficulty as "but it wasn't my realtor's fault! He/She did their best for me!"

I purchased my first house about a year and a half ago.  The process for me was running into several scummy chain realtors (who lied about their experience even/years as a realtor...).  Then I tried a penfed realtor who I also didn't like and another discount realtor from a "discount chain" who I found online that was incompetent.  I viewed one time with each of the three realtors and made an offer with the third one who was slightly incompetent (bunch of typos in the offer I had to point out to get corrected).  Then, I finally found a owner/broker/realtor online that was in my city and he was very competent and I was very happy with his provided services and negotiations.  He charged a flat 1.5% (rebate 1.5% if standard 3% buyer agent split.)  If I'd found that realtor initially, I would have purchased the first house I actually viewed in person a year before.  I submitted an offer on the first house I viewed with him and that was the purchase that completed.  If you're going to need lots of hand-holding plus will need to go see 100 houses (of average or lower cost) in person, then 3% would be a very low fee.  If you know what you're looking at and do your own research and know what you are going to pay and which houses you reasonably need to view in person with your realtor, then 3% of even a $200k house is an outrageous fee ($6k for potentially a few hours..... at most a couple days' work full time).  Many houses have pretty complete photos on the MLS, and if you view one house in the neighborhood (same builder/age) then you know a very good estimate of "quality" and feel of the others.

I went through many sales data and MLS listings online (I found redfin best to use for sales data and MLS completeness), and knew the amount I was going to pay and the area I wanted (after driving around through some various neighborhoods), and I knew the approximate "value" of the property I bought.  My broker had me come in at a lower price than I planned.  And when I found minor issues in the final walkthrough (wooden gate was off the hinges and wasn't when offer was made and a tile was broken that hadn't been), he got me a $200 personal check from the listing agent while he was at the title office with me signing papers.  If you were going the same path, you want to find an owner/broker rather than a chain realtor.  The chain realtors obviously have much more overhead and can't reasonably charge as low a fee as an independent broker.  There are several strategies for "getting a good deal" as well, mine was to find a house that had some prior much higher offers fall through and therefore lost "new listing" traffic, and didn't have any bad things in the inspections that went with the prior offers.  (Varies by state, but in TX they are required to provide past inspections they had provided to them from any prior offers.)

rated:
I'm going through the home purchase process. I wrote 4 offers. First one was not accepted. Next two accepted but fell through (thankfully). Hopefully closing the last one in a couple of weeks.

I've tried various approaches - starting with rebating realtor, then a regular one, then the option suggested below.

Rebating realtor was, justifiably, a no-frills one. As first time home-buyers, we needed more hand-holding initially in our search process and hence this did not quite work. We then got a buyer's agent! One of the most frustrating experience ever in my life! She wanted me to sign an "exclusive buyer's agency agreement" with crazy terms and conditions from the get go! She'd act offended if I chose not to put an offer at the asking price. In the one offer that the sellers did accept - she was the single reason it all fell through.

So, do NOT get a buyer's agent! In my experience, they are NOT representing you!! They want you to pay the highest price possible as quickly as possible so they can earn their commission.

Cutting out the buyer's agent leaves just one realtor - the listing agent - between the buyer and the seller. I prefer this!! Direct communication doesn't exactly work as selling a house is an emotional affair for most people, so having a professional who has done it many times intermediate between the buyer and the seller often helps!

If you ignore my advise above, and do get a buyer's agent - then under no circumstances sign an exclusive buyer agency agreement. Most agents would require some "agency agreement" (i.e. guarantee that they will get paid) for submitting offers. Liberally cross out words and sections before signing and ask your agent to initial all sections that you alter. Cross out "exclusive" anywhere you see, comb through "buyer's duty" section etc. etc. etc.

You can usually ignore all these usually by doing your own research about the market and finding your own deals. I found the combo of Zillow and Realtor dot com to be very effective. The former has a great search interface. The later is the most up to date one picking up the updates from MLS instantaneously.

Once you identify the house you want to buy, figure out what price you would pay for it! Approach the seller's agent, start the conversation like this:
You: "I am interested in <house address>. Is it still available?"
Realtor: "Yes. Do you have an agent"
... Seriously, this is the first question I got asked 5 times out of 6 that I tried. ...
You: No. Can you represent me as well?

At this point, the seller's agent will be very interested as he will likely make more money on this sale. From this point on, enjoy having low communication latency with the seller and hammer out a deal!!

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In our case - the whole process took about 5 months. First 2 months we were fooling around with no knowledge of the local market. After following the market for some time - we got a hang of it and started becoming more serious in the last 3 months.

I think this timeline should work for most first time home-buyers in most markets.

rated:
There are a couple minor drawbacks with "just talk to the listing agent".  I'm not saying you can't conceivably get a great deal this way, and it's likely some agents will push the buyer to accept a low offer from you if you come through their agency.
1. In some states, they aren't allowed to represent both parties. Either someone else from their "firm" is allowed to, or they must act as an "Intermediary" to both buyer and seller, which is something different. But in that case, there's still 2+ people being paid so although they may still (only if they are grossly unethical, which I won't claim most are or are not...) push the seller to accept the offer -- The pool of money the agent themselves gets does not double.
2. If you go to the listing agent (or who they send) first, you can't then bring in your own agent if you don't like them. (Varies by state laws/MLS rules as to what exactly equates to "procuring cause")
3. You can't go to a couple nearby houses all in one trip. This makes more work for you and also the agent(s). If you know what you want and aren't an emotional nutjob, there is likely more than just "the one" house to find -- So you may find two or three suitable properties in the same area and you could go see them quickly one after another. By not being attached to finding one "perfect" property you aren't pressured into making too high an offer AND you won't be as disappointed when an offer falls through because you already realize there are multiple possibilities and you haven't convinced yourself that there's only one single acceptable property in the whole country.  Sure, there's always going to be a "favorite" out of a group, but it's completely irrational not to look at cost differences and the features you like.
3b.And if you don't know exactly what you want yet... then quickly looking at several properties 1 each (That aren't specifically of interest to you in themselves) in some possible neighborhoods will let you see the build quality and other features of those respective neighborhoods. Then, when a house pops up later in one of them you have a better idea if it will be exactly what you want and can move quickly on seeing it and immediately making an offer. This gives you a huge advantage because you will know before you get there if it will likely be great (barring undisclosed defects) and won't waste lots of time nor needlessly punch uregent holes in your schedule to view houses that you have 0% chance of liking.

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Real estate agents, especially for a buyer, add very little value, unless you're a woefully uninformed novice. Read up about the process online, learn about borrowing, inspections, house valuation and the closing process. Then find the cheapest (rebating) buyer's agent you can. Redfin is pretty good if they operate in your state.

If you're selling, them some agents can add value - and this is a different question.

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novocane said:    Redfin can be pretty good if they operate in your state.  
Redfin also might rebate ~$0 if OP's looking at average priced houses rather than $Ms. They've lowered their rebate rates significantly and repeatedly over the last several years.
They have a slider near the bottom of this page https://www.redfin.com/why-redfin-how-you-save showing the rebate amount vs sale price.
<$200k house is $0 rebate. $2M house is less than 1% rebate. An independent owner/broker can easily do much better (1.5% of 3%) or some chain discount brokers might do 1%.

Example of the house I bought, ~$200k, realtor 1.5% was $3k. Redfin offers $0 rebate in my city if the price is under $200k. Funnily, Redfin has bigger "rebates"/savings for selling than buying which makes no sense. Selling should take more effort.

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SummerSoFar said:   As un-affordability of housing is once again Sky -high in many places across the country, now would not be the time to be a first-timer. A correction is coming. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
  It would be helpful to tell us when. 

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Often times the real estate agent is primarily helpful for pushing around the paperwork electronically which you can do yourself with docusign. Also keep in mind that if you do not have an agent the sellers agent keeps the entire commission. That might give them a bit of subconscious motivation to push your offer more.

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I looked at my HUD statement (closing statement that shows what seller/buyer is paying), the buyer is eventually paying the real agent's commission. Even though buyer is not paying the commission, the seller could just raise the house price to cover the commission. Buyer pays the price, not seller. 

I found my realtor on yelp.com, he's pushy but he has helped me in both selling and buying. I don't mind paying the commission because my mom is a real estate agent and I might go into this field some days. I have a friend who made over $500K last year as broker. He specializes in SoCAL area where houses reach $3 or 4 or 5 million. It is crazy. The commission is 5% or $150K commission easily or $75K each for buyer and seller agent. if they agreed on 6%, it's even more commission. 

rated:
Guys,

Thanks for the feedback.

Again - NO REDFIN IN MY AREA.

It's our first time, but I'm pretty detailed on all contracts and negotiation. I would hope to have some guidance for the first time process, but have been extremely hesitant to start speaking with realtors for the reasons mentioned above - trying to lock us into a contract, they're motivated by the sale, not our best interests, sometimes high rates, etc.

The whole agent referral process seems to be 'oh, my neighbor, friend, relative, used them, so they're good', which I find to be a pretty weak process.

I think we'd somewhere in the middle of realtor and rebating agent, based on my comfort level.

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We are looking to buy our second home and we found our agent using Navy Federal CU's referral program. We get a rebate in the form of points on a gift card with 1 pt=$1 since TN does not allow cash rebates. I asked around to coworkers, friends, etc. and everybody seemed unimpressed with their recent agents and some people's agents sounded total inept. If we could do the process easily without an agent i.e. actually getting into homes without coordinating with each agent individually, we would probably just do it on our own. However, as others noted, we are paying for an agent so might as well use one.

Our experience buying our first house with an agent worked out fine, but it did feel like the agent wanted us to buy every house we saw. Obvious flaws/faults were things that could be fixed or managed. I think he really wanted to help us fine the home we wanted, but he just found the silver lining in everything when sometimes you just needed to call a wreck a wreck. He submitted offers we wanted, but would tell us we were lowballing too much. 2 offers submitted and 1 was accepted at our "lowball" offer.

You just have to make sure you are keeping your perspective on what you want, how much you can afford, etc. or you can easily be talking into something else.

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Bend3r said:   There are a couple minor drawbacks with "just talk to the listing agent".  I'm not saying you can't conceivably get a great deal this way, and it's likely some agents will push the buyer to accept a low offer from you if you come through their agency.
1. In some states, they aren't allowed to represent both parties. Either someone else from their "firm" is allowed to, or they must act as an "Intermediary" to both buyer and seller, which is something different. But in that case, there's still 2+ people being paid so although they may still (only if they are grossly unethical, which I won't claim most are or are not...) push the seller to accept the offer -- The pool of money the agent themselves gets does not double.
2. If you go to the listing agent (or who they send) first, you can't then bring in your own agent if you don't like them. (Varies by state laws/MLS rules as to what exactly equates to "procuring cause")
3. You can't go to a couple nearby houses all in one trip. This makes more work for you and also the agent(s). If you know what you want and aren't an emotional nutjob, there is likely more than just "the one" house to find -- So you may find two or three suitable properties in the same area and you could go see them quickly one after another. By not being attached to finding one "perfect" property you aren't pressured into making too high an offer AND you won't be as disappointed when an offer falls through because you already realize there are multiple possibilities and you haven't convinced yourself that there's only one single acceptable property in the whole country.  Sure, there's always going to be a "favorite" out of a group, but it's completely irrational not to look at cost differences and the features you like.
3b.And if you don't know exactly what you want yet... then quickly looking at several properties 1 each (That aren't specifically of interest to you in themselves) in some possible neighborhoods will let you see the build quality and other features of those respective neighborhoods. Then, when a house pops up later in one of them you have a better idea if it will be exactly what you want and can move quickly on seeing it and immediately making an offer. This gives you a huge advantage because you will know before you get there if it will likely be great (barring undisclosed defects) and won't waste lots of time nor needlessly punch uregent holes in your schedule to view houses that you have 0% chance of liking.

  
Points #1 and #2 are definitely valid considerations.

I'd like to add to point #3a and #3b, however!

We found the whole notion of "seeing" a house to be hugely overrated. You can see the pics on MLS sites. You can often google up the owners, search county tax records and can do a mini background checks on them.

Our search process went like this:
1. Focus on a specific geographic area. Search for houses within our price range. (Usually I would do it)
2. Look at the house in google maps, zillow birds-eye view. Look up all tax and prior sale history. (Usually I would do it).
3. "Google" the owners. Try to find out the motivation of why they are trying to sell. You'd be surprised how much you can find from public records if you put in some effort. (Both I and Wifey jointly did this and exchanged notes).
       - Real Story: We found a listing that seemed like a good deal worth pursuing. A widow was trying to sell it. "Googling" turned out that her son was convicted of multiple violent crimes and had the last known address as this house (before being incarcerated). Well - no thanks!!
4. If it checks all the 3 above, wifey would spend half an hour looking closely at the MLS pictures. We would then drive by this house a few times to get a sense of the neighborhood.

We would contact the listing agent only after 1-4 is done. Typically we found that our desirable inventory was turning over in a couple of months. So, in our 5 month process - we had roughly 2 and a half such cycles. Each one would yield about 5-6 houses that we would start hammering on one after the other.

Our second such cycle was in December. We saw that a sense of urgency set in for the sellers the closer we got to the end of the year. Between Dec 10 and 20, we spoke with 4 listing agents for 4 houses. At this point, they would even verbally discuss offers (which they would not do earlier in the year). This way we would weed out 2 of the 4 shortlisted ones without even putting a formal offer as the sellers had unrealistic expectations - huge saving of time and effort. The third one was trying to play bait and switch - so we cut our chase on this one as well. Finally the fourth one seems to be working out. We had two other houses in our list to go to in case this one did not work.

In this whole process - I was always super-transparent with the realtors I spoke with. Towards the end - it was fairly easy which ones I would like to work with and which ones I won't!! The good ones would reciprocate your attempt to be transparent and will be transparent themselves to some extent.

After all the background research - I knew within a $20k range what my offer should be. Once you go and take a look (and make sure all of you, including kids if any, go to take a look). My 6 year old daughter often gave extremely useful hints what will be a problem in the house and what won't! After this - I could usually nail what the house is "worth" to me within a $5k range, pending inspection.

Unfortunately, you can't have an inspection before putting an offer. So depending on your negotiating position - put an offer at some value in your range and try to negotiate if required based on inspection. Obviously, when you put in the offer - make sure everyone knows this is pending a clean inspection report. Using a dual agent often helps in the after-inspection negotiation as they can themselves bring some "fee reduction" as a carrot to the seller so that their net is not impacted as much.

Hope this long, rambling story helps!!

P.S. - Even after trying to be super-rational about the whole process, AND my wife co-operating with me in this (a huge thing), I am discovering surprises and things I mis-calculated. What I am discovering is that a house is a huge money sink in all possible ways you can imagine and beyond. So be prepared for these shocks as a first time home buyer and make sure you have enough cash in hand to cover many surprises you will get along the way.

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Consider who you might want to get a mortgage through as well, because some credit unions (i.e. PenFed) have preferred realtor networks that allow you to waive closing costs or get other perks for using their referral. I monitored listings on my own and really just used the realtor to get me access to the showings I picked.

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"Current market". A realtor will tell a seller it's a buyer's market and a buyer it's a seller's market, whatever will get you make/accept an offer that is more likely to get the realtor $$$. The $$$ is all the realtor cares about, don't ever think otherwise.

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Bend3r said:   
novocane said:    Redfin can be pretty good if they operate in your state.  
Redfin also might rebate ~$0 if OP's looking at average priced houses rather than $Ms. They've lowered their rebate rates significantly and repeatedly over the last several years.
They have a slider near the bottom of this page https://www.redfin.com/why-redfin-how-you-save showing the rebate amount vs sale price.
<$200k house is $0 rebate. $2M house is less than 1% rebate. An independent owner/broker can easily do much better (1.5% of 3%) or some chain discount brokers might do 1%.

Example of the house I bought, ~$200k, realtor 1.5% was $3k. Redfin offers $0 rebate in my city if the price is under $200k. Funnily, Redfin has bigger "rebates"/savings for selling than buying which makes no sense. Selling should take more effort.

  I'm an investor first, agent second but listing is 10000x easier than buyer.  1-2 days work . set it and forget it. Buyers need much more attentional, weekly showings, etc etc.

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ZenNUTS said:   
SummerSoFar said:   As un-affordability of housing is once again Sky -high in many places across the country, now would not be the time to be a first-timer. A correction is coming. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
  It would be helpful to tell us when. 

  It's not that hard. The first 12 months after a hard crash are pretty much a sure thing absent a zombie apocalypse.

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puddonhead said:   Cutting out the buyer's agent leaves just one realtor - the listing agent - between the buyer and the seller. I prefer this!!
...
You can usually ignore all these usually by doing your own research about the market and finding your own deals.
...
At this point, the seller's agent will be very interested as he will likely make more money on this sale. From this point on, enjoy having low communication latency with the seller and hammer out a deal!!
 

this is what i always do when i'm pursuing a property on MLS. i've bought about 20 houses this way. it might not work for everyone, especially if you need handholding....but in terms of getting the best deal and preferential treatment for your offer....there is no better way. realtors are greedy - might as well capitalize on that. 

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sharpie130 said:   
  I'm an investor first, agent second but listing is 10000x easier than buyer.  1-2 days work . set it and forget it. Buyers need much more attentional, weekly showings, etc etc.

That's minimum wage stuff though: unlocking a door and driving around. 3% of $200k is $6000, or easily over a months worth of someone driving around and opening houses full time.

Listing agent has to get professional photos, advertise, manage maintenance if the seller moved. All things that greatly affect the selling price of the house. Of course it seems like 3/4 of the mls listings i saw were an incoherent paragraph filled with cliches, inaccurate/incomplete room measurements and hoa fees and potato quality photos... The poor quality of many listings is why i suggested a quick look at a property in neighborhood(s) of interest, so you know what you might expect based on sq ft on an incompetently made listing.

It's insane anyone paying 3% for what the median listing product is ( or even over a couple $100). It's easily worth 3% or more in the sales price if done properly.

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Bend3r said:   
sharpie130 said:   
  I'm an investor first, agent second but listing is 10000x easier than buyer.  1-2 days work . set it and forget it. Buyers need much more attentional, weekly showings, etc etc.

That's minimum wage stuff though: unlocking a door and driving around. 3% of $200k is $6000, or easily over a months worth of someone driving around and opening houses full time.

Listing agent has to get professional photos, advertise, manage maintenance if the seller moved. All things that greatly affect the selling price of the house. Of course it seems like 3/4 of the mls listings i saw were an incoherent paragraph filled with cliches, inaccurate/incomplete room measurements and hoa fees and potato quality photos... The poor quality of many listings is why i suggested a quick look at a property in neighborhood(s) of interest, so you know what you might expect based on sq ft on an incompetently made listing.

It's insane anyone paying 3% for what the median listing product is ( or even over a couple $100). It's easily worth 3% or more in the sales price if done properly.

I sold without an agent, took my own photos, wrote my own description, showed my place and managed the rest of the process on my own (with a lawyer to review docs). Probably took me 10-20 hours total and I saved over $25K.
Definitely wouldn't have been worth it for me to pay someone more than several hundred dollars for that amount of work.

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Again, if you have experience, skipping Buyers agent might work, but since you are not loosing out, you can always get an agent to get it done quicker.

Ofcourse, if you do not do the homework (searching online, find what is good etc), any agent or sales person can chew you out by selling most expensive item.
But other than that downside, an agent helps out during inspections, negotiations, etc. If you go directly with Sellers' agent, then it is not easy to negotiate on inspection items.
On >2 houses we had a big inspection list (had very good inspector) and went thru negotiations.

Also involve a lawyer, our state (IL) requires a lawyer, some states, only agents handle it. But if you are buying an existing home (not a new builder built one), then it helps to get a lawyer who comes thru your known circle referral.
Do not get out on web and get any lawyer, otherwise you will be paying and not getting right services.

A buyer agent does make a living by showing buyers houses and gets paid only when the sale is closed and they get paid by splitting the commissions with sellers agent.
As long as you do not sign exclusive contract, I see no reason to skip buyers agent.
A rebating agent will skip several steps, because they do not make enough and do not want to spend more time with you.
I had dealt with Redfin for buying houses and skipped after few days, since they were useless, a full service agent was more than helpful for us.
We were very picky buyers and bought after about 6+ months of searching in 2013, our buyers agent did not lose patience even after showing us 50+ houses.
Hence I can definitely vouch for good agents, time, advice and worthiness.
 

rated:
DealsBrokeMe said:   Again, if you have experience, skipping Buyers agent might work, but since you are not loosing out, you can always get an agent to get it done quicker.

Ofcourse, if you do not do the homework (searching online, find what is good etc), any agent or sales person can chew you out by selling most expensive item.
But other than that downside, an agent helps out during inspections, negotiations, etc. If you go directly with Sellers' agent, then it is not easy to negotiate on inspection items.
On >2 houses we had a big inspection list (had very good inspector) and went thru negotiations.

Also involve a lawyer, our state (IL) requires a lawyer, some states, only agents handle it. But if you are buying an existing home (not a new builder built one), then it helps to get a lawyer who comes thru your known circle referral.
Do not get out on web and get any lawyer, otherwise you will be paying and not getting right services.

A buyer agent does make a living by showing buyers houses and gets paid only when the sale is closed and they get paid by splitting the commissions with sellers agent.
As long as you do not sign exclusive contract, I see no reason to skip buyers agent.
A rebating agent will skip several steps, because they do not make enough and do not want to spend more time with you.
I had dealt with Redfin for buying houses and skipped after few days, since they were useless, a full service agent was more than helpful for us.
We were very picky buyers and bought after about 6+ months of searching in 2013, our buyers agent did not lose patience even after showing us 50+ houses.
Hence I can definitely vouch for good agents, time, advice and worthiness.

I was a very picky buyer and looked for a few years. I only brought in a rebating agent when I needed to see a place without an open house or wanted to make an offer, so probably 5 times in 3 years. They were delighted to get my commission, since they hardly spent any time at all with me over that time and knew I was a very low-maintenance client. So, I would say that if you know what you are doing and are familiar with the neighborhoods where you are looking, a rebating agent probably provides the level of service you need. If that doesn't apply to you, they may not.

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Bend3r said:   sharpie130 said:   
  I'm an investor first, agent second but listing is 10000x easier than buyer.  1-2 days work . set it and forget it. Buyers need much more attentional, weekly showings, etc etc.

That's minimum wage stuff though: unlocking a door and driving around. 3% of $200k is $6000, or easily over a months worth of someone driving around and opening houses full time.

Listing agent has to get professional photos, advertise, manage maintenance if the seller moved. All things that greatly affect the selling price of the house. Of course it seems like 3/4 of the mls listings i saw were an incoherent paragraph filled with cliches, inaccurate/incomplete room measurements and hoa fees and potato quality photos... The poor quality of many listings is why i suggested a quick look at a property in neighborhood(s) of interest, so you know what you might expect based on sq ft on an incompetently made listing.

It's insane anyone paying 3% for what the median listing product is ( or even over a couple $100). It's easily worth 3% or more in the sales price if done properly.


Photos are done by the company if they are a large firm. Even if you have to do it, it is opening 1 door. There is basically zero advertising for most listings. Once you put info into MLS it is everywhere that is relevant.

I spend much more time with buyers than sellers.
You may get lucky and your buyer may find a house fast but you may also get unlucky and have a buyer that takes a few years. It balances itself out but I can you first hand that selling is infinitely easier.

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Bend3r said:   That's minimum wage stuff though: unlocking a door and driving around.

Listing agent has to get professional photos, advertise, manage maintenance if the seller moved.
...
It's insane anyone paying 3% for what the median listing product is ( or even over a couple $100). It's easily worth 3% or more in the sales price if done properly.
 

um...the work being done by the listing agent is minimum wage stuff, too.

realtor market is funny. an utterly saturated field of essentially unskilled workers competing for lots of money.

in this age of open information and DIY everything, "realty" will soon go the way of the dinosaurs.

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DealsBrokeMe said:   I see no reason to skip buyers agent.
 

i guess you aren't reading the thread.

seller's agent will move dual-agency offers to the top of the stack. double commission is double commission.

also, communication is much faster when you speak to the seller's side directly.

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>> But other than that downside, an agent helps out during inspections, negotiations, etc. If you go directly with Sellers' agent, then it is not easy to negotiate on inspection items.

My experience was exactly the opposite!!

Negotiating with the sellers while two layers removed was extremely frustrating!!

The house had a couple of big honking trees right in the middle of the leeching field of their 30-year old septic system!! It was frustrating to the extreme for me to convince my agent that this was supposed to be a problem!! Sewage connection was available!! A good agent right in the middle of buyer and seller would have just figured out how to get the seller pay for the sewer connection, or pay for it by reducing their own commission so that the deal goes through!!

With two layers in between - the chance of one of them being incompetent is doubled, while the chance of miscommunication is many times higher!!

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We recently used Redfin for a home purchase (have used two traditional agents in the past) and the service was both phenomenal and full-service with the Redfin agent we used. Redfin agents have review scores on their site, which helps you pick one. Best part was, we got a $5k rebate of their commission at closing.

Another site to try is hungryagents.com where you get quotes from agents who are willing to rebate part of their commission.

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solarUS said:   Bend3r said:   That's minimum wage stuff though: unlocking a door and driving around.

Listing agent has to get professional photos, advertise, manage maintenance if the seller moved.
...

It's insane anyone paying 3% for what the median listing product is ( or even over a couple $100).
It's easily worth 3% or more in the sales price if done properly.
 

um...the work being done by the listing agent is minimum wage stuff, too.

realtor market is funny. an utterly saturated field of essentially unskilled workers competing for lots of money.

I agree its mostly trivial for people of above average intelligence. Those people don't make minimum wage, though. If i pull up the local mls, ~ half the listings have broken English and incomplete sentences. Or obvious errors in the other filled in data. Or pictures worse than a 5yr old would have taken. Or no pictures at all. There are significant differences in how pictures are taken in how "open" rooms appear, etc. Even assuming someone makes it to view the house in person, the initial impact from photos (first impression) will subconsiously affect their opinion.

Agreed that most "realtors" fall into just producing minimum wage product. Most are probably of below average intelligence (that's why there's such high turnover , and most can't find any other work so they try the commission based job where the employer need not commit to paying them unless they actually produce).

I stated basically the same thing you did, except that I do contend competent marketing can significantly affect sales price. Most realtors are not competent.

Skipping 19 Messages...
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solarUS said:   
in this age of open information and DIY everything, "realty" will soon go the way of the dinosaurs.

People have been saying that for over 15 years, and we aren't even close.  I understand your perspective, and I wish it were true, but the interwebs and information superhighway haven't really gotten rid of realtors.  The realtors have found ways to protect their profits and their jobs, and aren't going away anytime soon.   

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