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Valuable or Worthless? The Choice is Yours

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Sammer Mudawar

By Sammer Mudawar

Let’s face it, in the eyes of the consumer, especially the internet shopper, all real estate agents are the same. In fact, they don’t even know why you get paid since they find properties on the internet themselves. Does this sound familiar?

Regardless of experience level, 6 months in the business or 16 years, most agents are insecure when discussing income with clients, especially on the buying side. Why? We work nights, weekends, and holidays to earn their income, but if you cannot demonstrate value in yourself, the consumer will not see value in your service.

First, let’s separate seller representation from buyer representation.

Most agents have less difficulty discussing compensation when dealing with sellers. I’m sure many of you are thinking the opposite; the buyer side is easier because there is no discussion, you just accept MLS offered compensation and the subject is never brought up. So let me explain, this industry has trained sellers to understand two things:  1.) A listing agreement will be required; 2.) A percentage of the sale price will be paid as compensation. In a listing presentation, the expectation of payment is already there, half the battle is already won, now it’s a discussion of how much.

However in buyer agency, the consumer doesn’t expect to pay or they don’t even know how compensation works. Typically, real estate professionals do not work under exclusive buyer brokerage agreements, so you just accept MLS offered compensation and the subject is never brought up. You may get paid $100 or $10,000, it’s all the luck of the draw. In essence, agents regularly take pay cuts to work with buyers because they are not trained to earn their full fee. In other words, they cannot demonstrate enough value to ask for a fee. The difficulty with buyers is you are climbing uphill from the get-go; buyers don’t expect to pay and don’t expect to sign an agreement, but want you to work as hard as you would for a contractually committed client.

Regardless of transaction type (selling or purchasing), the difference between agents who are paid their full fee and those are not, depends on the ability to demonstrate value. There are two types of consumers, those who appreciate value and are willing to pay for it and those who just want the cheapest service or product. Choose your client and you will be paid.

When a real estate professional realizes they have value and chooses the client, it’s the day they have demonstrated their value. This value and confidence will transpire to the client and they will hire you.

So let me ask again: Are you valuable or worthless?

Sammer Mudawar is the broker of RE/MAX Prestige in Orange County, Calif. Learn more at www.make125k.com.

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Comments 4

  1. You wrote an excellent article. When I was working with a Broker/Realtor a few months back, we had this same conversation, as at that time, everyone in the office were cutting their commissions to accommodate their clients’ but we did not for the very reasons you wrote about. I’m sharing your article on LinkedIn and another Realtor Group online. Thanks for good writing and excellent insights on these issues.

    Salwa Omran AKA Sally Omran

  2. Typically, real estate professionals “DO” work under exclusive buyer brokerage agreements…….(in the Metropolitan Birmingham, AL market).

    I think that regional differences should always be considered when making such broad statements such as “Typically, real estate professionals “do not” work under exclusive buyer brokerage agreements……”

  3. I agree with Charita in that “regional differences should always be considered when making such broad statements such as “Typically, real estate professionals “do not” work under exclusive buyer brokerage agreements……”.

    In N.C. our zip forms ONLY offer an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement! Yet in our small rural market, only about 1 out of 10 buyers have buyers’ agents. The majority of buyers are working with sellers’ agents or sellers’ subagents.

    Sellers in NC may chose whether or not they will compensate a buyers’ agent. I’m not sure how it is in other states. I know if I was a seller, I wouldn’t pay for a buyer’s agent. If the buyer wants representation, let him pay for it.

  4. There’s a difference between Saks 5th Avenue and Khol’s. I’m definitely Saks 5th Avenue and my clients recognize that. Some of my buyer transactions have run into extreme difficulty. Upon finally closing, my clients were amazed how far my team and I had to go to work on their behalf and ensure things were going their way. One transaction interrupted my 10 day vacation 8 of those days (frequently) having to deal with a listing agent who was clueless who had a greedy arrogant client who walked all over him. My vacation was stress-laden, but in the end my clients prevailed. Believe me, I earned every cent of that commission and these clients, like my others, will be clients for life. FYI: I work by exclusive buyer brokerage agreement.

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