Who Should I Hire?
So. It’s time – you are taking the plunge. You’ve decided to sell your home. Now comes a major decision, should you hire a full-service real estate broker or go with a discount broker and try and save some money in the process? Both are popular options in the Seattle area so it’s important to understand the differences between them and to select the one that’s right for you.
Selling a home is an incredibly important transaction and there are several risks associated with hiring a discount broker - many of which may not be initially obvious.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering a discount broker:
- A discount broker’s strategy is driven by volume. Think of the discount broker like McDonalds and the full service broker like Daniel’s Broiler. The McDonald’s broker needs to move more inventory to make a profit, meaning their service offering is limited and they don’t have time to personalize the experience and ensure that you are completely taken care of. In other words, the discount broker is a corner cutter.
- One way discount brokers cut corners is to hire specialized agents to handle several different aspects of the selling process. One agent stages and shows the home, another lists it and another handles the settlement process. If there aren’t strong partnerships and hand-offs between the multiple agents, then it could lead to mis-informed buyers and a sloppy, stressful, and slow closing.
- Another common thread among discount brokers is to juggle multiple homes and home buyers at the same time. They appear understaffed (and likely they are) so the needs of their clients suffer. The broker may not be returning calls in a timely fashion or passing on critical information to the home owner. In a high pressure – blink and the deal’s gone – kind of real estate market like Seattle, communication and timeliness are crucial.
Here are some of the other experiences I have heard from clients who have previously worked with a discount broker:
- The broker sat on a qualified offer for hours before passing it along to the home seller.
- They listed the home before visiting it and omitted important information and instructions in the listing. This delayed qualified buyers from viewing the home.
- Not communicative with potential buyers about their client’s motivation for selling – highest price, extended close, etc. Discount brokers tend to focus on price alone so the offers don’t reflect the seller’s needs and goals.
Let me share with you my experience with full service brokers:
- There are many expenses associated with selling a home – advertising and posting your home on the MLS are simply two of them. A full service broker will cover additional and unforeseen expenses, whereas a discount broker may add on additional, hidden costs as the process moves forward.
- Full service real estate brokers are client focused. They advise and consult every step of the way throughout the complicated transaction. The great brokers make it look easy, perhaps adding to the misconception that it is. Not only will your broker respond to your phone calls and requests in a timely manner, they will find qualified buyers through a personalized marketing plan, they’ll negotiate the best price for your home and will guide you through the closing.
- While it may feel like you are paying more for a full service real estate broker vs a discount broker, you are paying for a seamless and stress-free transaction. You’re paying for professional marketing, more interest and traffic to your home. You’re paying for a seasoned negotiator who will bring you the right buyer that aligns with your needs and priorities.
Lastly, keep in mind that not all real estate brokers are created equal, it is a service business after all - which relies heavily on the professional’s capabilities, work ethic and motivation. Make sure you take the time and do your homework when selecting a reputable real estate broker. Gather referrals from friends and family, interview each broker and make sure they have a proven service model and track record of satisfied clients.
When making your decision, I encourage you to keep the whole picture in mind. And as always I am happy to answer any questions that you may have.