My New Favorite Realtor

In an industry where honesty and transparency are rare, it is refreshing to come across a Realtor who tells it like it is. Regrettably I may never be able to use Gary Lucido because he operates in Chicago and I live in Texas (and I am not likely to move to Chicago anytime soon). But I still feel compelled to highlight him and his ideas.

Lucid

In an article Gary wrote seven years ago (I just stumbled upon it now), he gives some brutally honest advice on how to choose, and more importantly, how not to choose a real estate agent. It is the kind of advice you are not likely to hear from one in a thousand agents. What are some of the tips he shares?

• Do not hire a friend or relative
• Do not go with a referral from another agent
• Do not go with a referral from a friend
• Do not go with a high volume agent
• Do not go with a highly visible agent
• Do not go with a big, highly visible brokerage

All of these are the complete opposite of the advice offered by most realtors and the mainstream media, but they are also sage advice. Unfortunately, these tips only work for home sellers who are informed and courageous, and there are just not that many of them.

Most home sellers, who know next to nothing about selling their home, tend to choose the path of least resistance when choosing an agent: they choose someone they know or someone a friend knows. It gives them a vague feeling of comfort to select such an agent.

What Gary, who is a discount Realtor, is saying in his article is that there are better criteria to use when choosing an agent and one of the most important factors is money…yes money. You see Gary offers the same full service as every other agent in town, only he offers it at a lower commission.

When people shop for anything in their life, they almost always consider money as one of the factors, but not a real estate agent. Why is that? It seems to me that with a transaction this big and this important, choosing the best agent at the lowest price is better than choosing an agent who is the most familiar. There are, however, two challenges to picking the best agent at the lowest price.

First, most home sellers do not know how to tell a good agent from a bad one. And second, the real estate industry has convinced home sellers that there must be something wrong with any agent who charges less than the customary amount.

I know most home sellers will continue to choose lousy, over-priced real estate agents they know rather than learn to identify a good one offering a discount. As for me, if I were living in Chicago, I would give Gary Lucido a call. I know how to tell a good agent from a bad one and I sure as hell like keeping more of my hard-earned equity. If you would like to be like me, check out my new book The Intelligent Home Seller.

To learn how to keep more or your hard-earned equity when you sell your home, check out The Intelligent Home Seller eBook and The Intelligent Home Seller eCourse.

Rarely is the Hypocrisy this Transparent

I have been calling for greater transparency in the real estate industry for years now, with little success. So, you can imagine how happy I was to see this article (paid) on Inman News a few weeks ago: Some brokers learning to live without Zillow and Trulia.

Apparently, Crye-Leike Realtors, one of the largest firms in the country, is pulling their listings from Zillow and Trulia in Nashville, TN. According to the article, the company claimed that “After testing life without the two popular portals in a handful of markets, the firm says that its business was unharmed.” Hooray for their business. But what about the home sellers they represent? Were they harmed? Most definitely.

You get top dollar when selling a home by getting every interested buyer to see that it is for sale. And since most home shoppers now look for homes to buy on Zillow and Trulia, the single best thing a home seller can do to market their home is to advertise it there. Purposely keeping a home for sale off those two sites without question reduces the number of buyers who see it. Not even a hypocritical Realtor can argue that more buyers will see a home for sale by keeping it off Zillow and Trulia.

So, why would Crye-Leike keep their listings off the two powerhouse real estate sites? Because advertising a home for sale there benefits agents who do not work for Crye-Leike. It would follow then that keeping it off those sites benefits Crye-Leike agents at the expense of their competition. So, this little stunt is all about putting Crye-Leike agents first. Go Crye-Leike. You’re number one.

The agents who work for Crye-Leike are “Realtors”. I know that because I see that word in their corporate name. And Realtors have a code of ethics that basically says they must put the interests of their clients before everyone else’s, even their own. Pulling listings from Zillow and Trulia would seem to me to be a clear violation of their code of ethics. Eh, no biggie.

I bet whenever a Crye-Leike agent sits down to do a listing presentation they explain to the naïve home seller that they should choose a Crye-Leike agent to list their home because Crye-Leike agents are Realtors and Realtors have a code of ethics. Oh the hypocrisy.

To learn how to keep more or your hard-earned equity when you sell your home, check out The Intelligent Home Seller eBook and The Intelligent Home Seller eCourse.

What is Better Than Really Sticking it to the Seller?

Sticking it to another agent at the same time.

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I have written here on many occasions about the unscrupulous activities of some real estate agents who choose to benefit themselves at the expense of their seller. Most home sellers are too naïve and too uniformed to even know when it happens to them, so it tends to make for a pretty clean getaway for the perpetrating agents.

So, you can imagine how happy I was to read the article Real estate ‘turf wars’ lead to lost sales, leave seller money on the table on Inman this week. In the article, the author details the experience of a real estate agent whose buyer got his offer rejected, ostensibly because it was not the best offer. But after following up when the deal closed, the agent discovered that the accepted offer was for less than what his buyer had offered, thereby leaving money on the table for the seller.

The reason presumed for the rejection was that the buyer’s agent was an “out of town” agent and the listing agent preferred to work with a “local” agent. Apparently this type of behavior is not that uncommon. In the article, the author laments…<\br>

I’ve personally experienced some rather questionable territorial agent behavior in this area in years past, as have several other agents I know. But I surely thought most agents have moved beyond any semblance of a turf war after the recent real estate meltdown.

Now, it may or may not be true that buyer’s offer was rejected because their agent was not a local agent. Ultimately it is irrelevant. What is relevant is did the seller know about the higher offer and did they objectively decided to “leave money on the table?”<

Most seller do not knowingly (or willingly) choose an offer other than the highest offer. Therefore, I think it is fair to assume that they either did not know about the higher offer or the listing agent convinced them not to take it. So, you have to ask yourself, what the heck is going on in the real estate industry and when will home sellers wake up and stop being such patsies?<

The greatest crime of all is the one that goes undetected. And in an industry that fights tooth and nail to prevent transparency, we can expect the crime wave to continue.

If you are home seller who does not want to be a patsy, visit ReaListing.

To learn how to keep more or your hard-earned equity when you sell your home, check out The Intelligent Home Seller eBook and The Intelligent Home Seller eCourse.