By Chris Nichols
About a week ago, I had a young couple looking to buy their very first home come interview me. I was quite impressed they were actually doing an in-depth interview to find the right agent to represent them in such an important transaction. It was a welcome surprise, and brought back memories of my experience with a consumer focus group that NAR had me observe. Those buyers had realized they hadn’t interviewed potential representation and had simply gone with the first agent they met.
I was really impressed with the preparation that this couple had put in to asking the right questions. We spent almost an hour together and I enjoyed every minute of it. One of their questions was of particular interest to me. They asked me if I was willing to give up some of my commission if they found the home they wanted to buy on their own and I just handled negotiations and contracts. I explained to them that I was not willing to do that. I told them that where I earn every penny of my commission is in the negotiations, the contracts and in protecting them throughout the process.
I continued by explaining that very rarely do I even get involved in the home searching process, that buyers know what they want better than I do and that using the various online tools allow the consumer to do that quickly and easily. I also made the point that someone who didn’t feel their services were worth every penny and would give up some of their commission for the most important aspects of the transaction, probably wouldn’t be the best negotiator on their behalf.
Fast forward a week… I just got off the phone doing a follow up call with these potential clients. He hesitantly informed me that they had decided to go with someone else. I told them that’s okay and that the most important thing is that they found the right agent for them who would represent them they way they wanted to be represented. At that point he admitted that he had made a grave mistake and had not taken my advice. He told me that they had selected the agent willing to discount their commission and that already, within just one week, they were seeing what a mistake they had made. He confided that he wish he had gone with me and been more concerned with quality over savings.
While I am happy that he complimented me, and even said he planned to refer me to friends and family, I am so sad that once again a consumer has to learn the hard way. There is a difference between cost and value. Clearly this buyer is learning that while they saved on cost now, they lost out on long-term value, which may in the end cost them even more.
My reason for sharing this story is that I hope it helps you stand strong next time someone questions your value. Don’t ever discount your value!