The Evolution of The Real Estate Agent
The year is 1984.
You fire up the old Commodore 64 and play a quick game of Pitfall only to slip from your swinging vine and into the green jaws of badly digitized alligator when you hear your mother calling you to come up stairs to look at a house your parents are thinking of purchasing. There in the doorway stands a sharply dressed professional man in a suit with an armful of MLS books which resemble the size of "War & Peace". You stand there, with a slighted look on your face and ask your parents "Are we going to look at ALL of those today? The real estate gentleman smiles and pats you on your head and says "No, no.... I've picked out a few great homes for your parents to take a look at and then you'll have your brand new home in just a few days." That was how easy a real estate transaction worked in 1984.
Let's fast forward the Tivo of life to 2010.
You need a new home. You drive around a neighborhood you've heard about that you might like, see a big sign that says "Rupaul's Realty, a Phone Number, Text 1234 for More Info, Friend Me on Facebook" and a picture of a guy in a Hawaiian shirt with a quirky smirk that screams " You know I will be using this commission to buy my standard poodle a matching Hawaiian shirt."
Ok. So you have a few choices here:
A: Call the schmendrick in the Hawaiian Shirt
B: Call your brother who's a part-time funeral director/financial planner/mechanic/Realtor
C: Call your best friend who just bought their dream home and won't stop talking about his state-of-the-art sump pump system
D: One or more of the above
Unfortunately, most of us WILL pick D: One or more of the above. The reason why? You as a consumer don't know who or what to trust anymore. Today's homebuyer will typically drive around town, write down as many numbers that will fill up their note pad and head straight to their most reliable, tried and truly trusted friend named... Google.
In 1996 the "BackRub" engine (The original name of Google) revolutionized the way information was collected and thus presented on a silver platter to us common folk. No more Dewey Decimal systems ... each and every one of us has become a digitized Sherlock Holmes with the ability to snuff out even the most elusive information. Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, IWillFindMyOwnDamnHouse.com, etc, etc. has replaced the property search function of a real estate agent. Well...for residential real estate at least. Commercial Real Estate is another issue in itself (I will write about that topic in length at a later date).
The fact is now the agent's role consists of 200 Things a Realtor Must Provide to Their Client which in essence shows that more than ever, an agent is there to fiduciary advise you throughout the entire real estate process just as your attorney gets you out of those pesky speeding tickets (so I've heard) and your accountant advises you trough an audit. The evolution of a real estate agent has transformed from seasoned professional to Neanderthal and (hopefully) back to seasoned professional.
The next time you sign your representation agreement with an agent, ask him/her to detail out the value they bring to the transaction. If they just say, "Well, um...um..." It's time to find a real estate professional that will detail out what they can and cannot do for you.
Fully Client Committed Professional Agents:
Remember, for every person you don't help (buy or sell a property) they have the chance of being screwed by someone else.