Sunday, March 16, 2014

Listing Agents and Real Estate Investors: Pros and Cons of Using an Agent to Sell Your Property

A conniving pro?

In a real estate agents' newsletter, an agent shared her secret for getting more listings. She said that when she sees a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sign go up in a neighborhood, she immediately calls the number on the sign and tells the seller she has a client who isn't comfortable seeing the home without an agent.

In reality, the agent's "client" is actually her mother or a friend, posing as a buyer. The agent goes along and says very little, at least in the beginning. All she does is give the homeowner a business card upon arrival, and then she stays in the background, listening and observing. The bogus buyer asks all kinds of questions, and eventually the homeowner begins to feel comfortable with having the agent there.

After awhile, the owner begins asking the agent questions about the market, financing, or the many other things involved in selling a home. According to the agent, she converts a fairly large percentage of such appointments into listings, and apparently has no compunction about the deception involved in getting them.

This is an example of the biggest reason why real estate agents have traditionally gotten a bad rap. Some of them are downright dishonest. That's why some investors seem to think they should avoid using real estate agents to buy or sell properties. However, I disagree, and I'm not alone. In fact, contrary to popular belief, many of the most successful real estate investors buy and sell properties using agents. My husband and I often use agents to sell our properties. We've sold some houses ourselves, but we generally appreciate professional help, for a number of reasons, all related directly to our bottom line.

Why Professional Agents Earn their Commissions

We have several agents who call us when they find bargain properties because they know we'll call them back when that house has been fixed up and is ready to sell. Those agents can count on receiving commissions on both ends of the transaction, which gives them incentive to keep finding us properties to flip. The more they find, the more they make, and the more WE make in the end. As far as we're concerned, having reliable, honest agents help us buy and sell properties is simply sound business practice.

Another reason we like agents is because they schedule appointments, show us properties, do the negotiating, and take care of all the paperwork. Not having to deal with all those details frees us up to spend more time on the houses themselves, which is our main concern. For us, the real estate agents we work with on a regular basis are invaluable and make us far more than their commission on every transaction.

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