5 Myths About Real Estate Agents

Dated: 11/13/2018

Views: 116


Is it necessary to have one? Do they get all of that money? That's why we are here - to break the myth pattern and set the record straight!

Buyers and sellers, especially those who are new, often begin their searches with misconceptions, like how/why we work, what the processes are, and even what our intentions are.

It’s helpful to point out, without getting too far into the weeds, that in any one real estate transaction, there are most likely two agents: one for the buyer and one for the seller. (Desimone, 2018)

Below are some myths, along with the truthful answers, about working with real estate agents.

1. Their commission is always 6%

Most clients assume that agents get the entire commission amount.. Which is unfortunately (for us) not true.

The truth ↓ 

One of the biggest misconceptions is WHO is paying the commission - it is the seller. The commission gets broken up in more than 4 ways... Two brokerages, two brokers, and then often again between the agent themselves and their broker. 

Finally, the brokerage commission isn’t fixed or set in stone, and sellers can sometimes negotiate it.

2. Once you start with an agent, you’re stuck with them

If you’re a seller, you sign a contract with the real estate agent and their brokerage. That contract includes a term — typically six months to a year. Once you sign the agreement, you could, in fact, be “stuck” with their agent through the term. But that’s not always the case.

The truth ↓

If things aren’t working out, it’s possible to ask the agent or the brokerage manager to release you from the agreement early.

Buyers are rarely under a contract. In fact, buyer’s agents work for free until their clients find a home. It can be as quick as a month, or it can take up to a year or more. And sometimes a buyer never purchases a house, and the agent doesn’t get paid.

Before jumping into an agent’s car and asking them to play tour guide, consider a sit-down consultation or a call, and read their online reviews to see if they’re the right fit.

Otherwise, start slow, and if you don’t feel comfortable, let them know early on — it’s more difficult to break up with your agent if too much time passes.

3. It’s OK for buyers to use the home’s selling agent

Today’s buyers get most things on demand, from food to a ride to the airport. When it comes to real estate, buyers now assume they need only their smartphone to purchase a home, since most property listings live online.

The truth ↓

First-time buyers or buyers new to an area don’t know what they don’t know, and they need an advocate.

The listing agent represents the seller’s interests and has a fiduciary responsibility to negotiate the best price and terms for the seller. So, working directly with the selling agent presents a conflict of interest — in favor of the seller.

An excellent buyer’s agent lives and breathes their local market. They’ve likely been inside and know the history of dozens of homes nearby. They’re connected to the community, and they know the best inspectors, lenders, architects and attorneys.

They’ve facilitated many transactions, which means they know all the red flags and can tell you when to run away from (or toward) a home.

4. One agent is just as good as the next

Many people think of “agent” as a generic term and that all agents are created equal.

The truth ↓

A great local agent can make an incredible difference, so never settle. The right agent can save you time and money, keep you out of trouble and protect you.

Consider an agent who has lived and worked in the same town for ten years. They know the streets like the back of their hand. They have deep relationships with the other local agents. They have the inside track on upcoming deals and past transactions that can’t be explained by looking at data online.

Compare that agent to one who’s visiting an area for the first time and needs their GPS to get around. Some agents aren’t forthright and might be more interested in making a sale. Many others care more about building a long-term relationship with you, because their business is based off referrals.

5. You can’t buy a for sale by owner (FSBO) home if you have an agent

In a previous generation, sellers who wouldn’t deal with any agents tried to sell their home directly to a buyer to save the commission.

The truth ↓

Smart sellers understand that real estate is complicated and that most buyers have separate representation. And many FSBO sellers will offer payment to a buyer’s agent as an incentive to bring their buyer clients to the home.

If you see an FSBO, don’t be afraid to ask your agent to step in. Most of the time the seller will compensate them, and you can benefit from their knowledge and experience.


About the author

Brendon DeSimone

Brendon DeSimone is the author of Next Generation Real Estate: New Rules for Smarter Home Buying & Faster Selling. A 15-year veteran of the residential real estate industry and a nationally recognized real estate expert, Brendon has completed hundreds of transactions totaling more than $250M. His expert advice is often sought out by reporters and journalists in both local and national press. Brendon is a regularly featured guest on major television networks and programs including CNBC, FOX News, Bloomberg, Good Morning America, ABC’s 20/20 and HGTV. Brendon is the manager of the Bedford and Pound Ridge offices of Houlihan Lawrence, the leading real estate brokerage north of New York City.
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Jill K Biggs

Jill Biggs leads the top-producing real estate team in Hudson County, N.J., a booming market located just outside of New York City. With more than a decade of experience serving Hoboken, Jersey City a....

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