It’s been a pretty wild ride for me since I first started mouthing off around here on 1/14/2006. Some things in the Real Estate Industry have changed for the better, from a consumer standpoint that is…many really.
In the next 5 years, because I really DO give a RA about the consumer, let’s work on one thing that hasn’t gotten better. That is “selling people” for 25% of the commission without their knowledge or express consent. Let’s make it a goal to END “selling leads” and giving away people’s money without asking them first if it is OK with them for you to do that.
Five years ago when I started writing here I said it this way and even more succinctly in this comment to that post:
The problem with the lead generating site is not that an agent pays for the lead, but that he pays for it with the consumer’s money (the way I see it anyway).
If you are a consumer and don’t quite understand what I am talking about here, watch this video…and refuse to be “a lead” and refuse to be “captured”. If you are a home buyer, take the extra time to think about whether or not you will be using an agent to assist you. Put a LOT of thought into what you will be paying that agent as part of the sold price of the home you buy, and take the time needed to make a wise choice. It’s your money and it’s a LOT of money.
Don’t just trip over the next body willing to open a door for you and trust them with this important step in your life because you just wanted to “see a house”. That’s both childish and irresponsible. Take the time to choose your agent wisely. You owe it to yourself…you owe it to your family, to get the best your money can buy…because you are going to pay for it either way.
If you are an agent who refers their “leads” out or a bottom-feeder site, make a pledge to FULLY DISCLOSE what it is costing the consumer to go that route. Give the user of your site the information they need to know before they hit that “find an agent” button or the “schedule an appointment to see this home” button. Let them know that by doing so they likely will be picking an agent AND paying 25% of their commission paid, to whomever owns the site or calls the other agent who meets them at the house to open that door.
There are thousands of stories about “worthless agents” and not enough stories about the people who CHOSE them. There wouldn’t be “worthless agents” if people didn’t hire them. There wouldn’t be so many “traps” to “capture” you as a “lead” and sell you…if more refused to be sold.
Here’s hoping that 5 years from now I will be able to report on my 10 Year Anniversary, that this practice has either stopped completely, or at the very least is not happening without the express consent of the consumer.