The Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights

Inman News announced this morning, that the industry is being asked to consider and support the following “Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights”.

1. Choose the services you pay for: Laws in more than a dozen states forbid brokers from refunding commissions to you, or require brokers to provide services you may not want to pay for. These laws protect the industry, not the consumer.

2. Know how your agent makes his money: In real estate, the seller pays both his own agent and the buyer’s agent a percentage of the sale; the agent earns more when his client pays more. If a house seems difficult to sell, the seller may even offer buyers’ agents an especially high percentage. Buyers’ agents should be required to explain to their clients how they are paid.

3. Know when you are committed to an agent: Often just showing a property entitles an agent to the commission for representing you, regardless of whether you intended to work with someone else or even preferred to represent yourself. The relationship between an agent and a consumer should always be explicit, so that both parties know when they’re committed to one another.

4. Know what services your agent will provide: Much of the work of a buyer’s agent begins after the buyer has agreed to buy a house. This work includes coordinating inspections, repairs, mortgages, title reviews and escrow services. But agents today are paid only to bring a buyer to a transaction. Once that happens, it is virtually impossible to fire your agent. In most cases, this is appropriate, as the agent who puts a deal together deserves the commission. But in becoming committed to an agent, you should know what services the agent will provide as part of that commitment and what recourse you have if the agent doesn’t perform those services. An open agreement between you and the agent protects the agent from being unfairly dismissed, and ensures you get the service you expect through closing.

5. Have an agent that represents only your interests: Most states allow an agent to represent the buyer and seller in one transaction, and get both sides of a commission. As a result, some sellers’ agents are on the prowl for unrepresented buyers to bring to the seller. It’s a solicitation neither side can easily refuse because the seller wants the buyer and the buyer wants the house. But an agent can’t fairly represent the interests of two parties to the same transaction. An agent should represent only one party, and take commissions for only one party.

6. Know the commission refund you can get before you buy a house: Depending on the service provided by the buyer’s agent, some sellers vary the commission offered to buyers’ agents. This flexibility is good in theory, but in practice it’s often used to thwart commission refunds: buyers expecting a refund of $10,000 or more from their agent discover on making an offer that the amount has been radically reduced in favor of the seller’s agent. Buyers should know in advance what circumstances let the seller’s agent keep more of a commission for himself. It’s fine to change the price but not at the cash register.

7. See all the houses for sale: Many of the multiple listing services set up to share listings between brokerages forbid participating websites from displaying for-sale-by-owner houses alongside broker-listed houses. As a result, home buyers usually don’t see all the houses for sale, and home sellers have to hire brokers just to get their house on mainstream sites. MLSs should not require exclusive display of listings.

8. Have an open discussion about a house for sale: On the web, you can openly discuss almost any product for sale except a house. That’s because sellers’ agents “own the listing,” controlling where and how it’s posted for their benefit. The rules of some MLSs discourage real estate websites from publishing independent reviews and preclude owners from distributing MLS marketing materials outside MLS-sanctioned websites. Once a house is for sale, everyone in the market should be able to discuss it.

9. See all the information available about a house for sale: Many MLSs make it difficult for buyers to see recent past sales data, how long a house has been for sale, or whether its price has been reduced. Once a house is for sale, you should be able to see all the information available about it on your own, without becoming anyone’s client. The only exception to this rule is information whose publication jeopardizes the seller’s safety, such as when the presence of children precludes a showing.

10. Be sure your agent will show your house to everyone: Some sellers’ agents selectively refuse to show houses to a buyer represented by an alternative brokerage, which hurts the seller and the buyer. If, as part of his service, a seller’s agent doesn’t show houses to all buyers, the seller should know it, and the buyer should be able to contact the seller directly. When agents don’t facilitate showing a house, they should at least stand aside and let buyers see the house on their own.

Greg Swann of BloodHoundBlog in Arizona, Kevin Boer of 3 Oceans in the CA Bay Area, Kris Berg and I were contacted by Glenn Kelman of Redfin prior to the Inman anouncement and asked to support The Consumer Bill of Rights on Redfin’s site. The email we received is posted in Greg’s article today.

There are portions of the Bill of Rights that appeared contradictory, and a bit self serving of Redfin, such as:

#5 which preclude’s the buyer consumer’s right to represent themself with NO agent, while still holding the listing agent somewhat accountable.

From what I’ve seen in the marketplace, there are many buyers who want the same advantage as a For Sale By Owner. They want the right to be totally commission free, and represent themselves without an agent at all. I don’t see that right highlighted adequately in this Redfin penned “Consumer Bill of Rights”. I have provided this option free of charge to buyers this year on a couple of occasions, and so know it is an option that is possible for buyer consumers. Clearly omitting this option is an error that needs to be corrected by Redfin before I would jump on this bandwagon of supposed “consumer rights”.

#4 which suggest that assisting the buyer consumer with property selection, and giving advices regarding properties with inherent market weaknesses BEFORE an offer is made, is of no never mind, since they don’t do that.

#8 seems to forget that the Seller is a “consumer” as well, and so maybe this “Consumer Bill of Rights” should say “Buyer Consumer’s Bill of Rights” and we should counter balance with a “Seller Consumer’s Bill of Rights“. I may just have to pen that one myself, showing that Seller’s have the right for the buyer to be fully and well represented, to protect the seller from after-sale consequences of the buyer being inadequately advised and represented by the buyer’s agent”.

I’m heading over to Greg and Kevin’s sites to comment on their take on this. In the meantime, enjoy the “breaking news”. I expect most of the major brokerages will simply choose to ignore it, hoping it will just “go away”.

122 thoughts on “The Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights

  1. Pingback: Redfin’s Bill of Rights | Phoenix Arizona Real Estate - Dalton’s Arizona Homes Blog

  2. Pingback: Blue Collar Agents Blog - Redfin Introduces Consumer Bill of Rights

  3. Not exactly a democratic process for coming up with a bill of rights. A newby company on the fringe of the industry is going to define the rights of the consumer? Nice.

    I’m suggesting they add these three rights:

    1. Know how experienced your agent is. How many years have they been a real estate agent. How many homes did they personally transact last year. How about the year before and the year before that? In how many transactions were they representing the buyer and how many the seller?

    2. Know if your agent is a local market expert. How many homes have they personally sold in this neighborhood? How about this zip code? How far away do they live? How long have they lived in the area? Have they been around long enough to see the ups and downs of the real estate market? Is your agent involved in the local community?

    3. Know how much expert realty advice you will receive from your agent. Will they use their market knowledge to help you find the perfect home? Will they advise you on if a property is a good or bad investment? Will they tell you to avoid homes that are bad choices based on their experience? Will they personally be on the lookout for a home that meets your needs even before it comes on the market?

  4. Interesting idea, Afthird. But are the first two “rights” in need of reform so much as common sense in hiring an agent? Almost strikes me as protecting someone from themselves.

    I really like the third but it’s thoroughly un-legislatable.

    (That’s an interesting new word, isn’t it?)

  5. I’d be interested to know what other states have for their agency law pamphlets but a lot of this is already covered in the WA State pamphlets that are BY LAW REQUIRED to be presented to anyone from the public that a real estate agent provides services to. I’ve seen many cases where agents haven’t done this and when I pull out the pamphlet to discuss them with a new prospect or client they almost always say it’s the first time they’ve seen one, even when they’ve interviewed numerous other agents before me.

    Perhaps everyone should just all be a little more aware that this conversation is necessary at the beginning of any discussion between the public and a real estate agent.

  6. Jonathan,

    Don’t you think it’s a lot self serving to suggest that a buyer who wants to represent themselves (much like a seller as FSBO) somehow has no “common sense”. Makes a whole lof of sense for some buyers to represent themselves, in whole or in part.

    My first blogclient just bought a 4Plex and was SO good at representing himself well, this time around, that we charged 25% of the commission, and he retained 75% for himself. (the Redfin Microsoft deal). We didn’t perform the same service this time around as we did when he was a first time buyer. So why charge the same?

    A good sign that a buyer consumer can truly represent himself well, is one who can negotiate his buyer agent fee well too. Redfin doesn’t permit commission negotiation any more than the next guy. They just have another “one size fits all” commission.

    Consumers should have the right to know just how much, or how little service they really need. And that can differ with one consumer, based on different property scenarios. A repeat client is a huge timesaver for us. We already know each other well and we already went over everything the first time around. It was also easier for him to work with us again, than to go with someone he hasn’t met.

    A win-win for both client and agent does not have to equal status quo or pre-ordained fee structures of any kind.

  7. Reba,

    I think that is Redfin’s complaint in # 1 “States…require brokers to provide services you may not want to pay for.” The “pamplet” you speak of has some “by law” requirements, that Redfin feels should be the consumer’s choice, and not dictated by State Law.

    You are correct that you tell the buyer what the law says you “have to” provide. The Consumer Bill of Rights would give the buyer consumer the right to contract for a lesser level of services than “the WA Pamplet” dictates, at a lesser price than most Buyer Agents charge.

    How do you handle the situation when the buyer client wants to pay LESS, for LESS service than the pamphlet “requires”, is the question Redfin raises.

  8. Ardell, what are you reading?

    I’m saying that asking those type of questions when hiring an agent are common sense. There’s no reform required. Hell, even USAA has it on their packet for people interviewing agents so you KNOW it’s basic stuff for a consumer to ask.

    Nowhere did I say an unrepresented buyer lacks common sense. I say enough silly stuff without you putting words in my mouth that aren’t there.

    I’ll be waiting for the retraction I’m sure is coming once you realize your error. 🙂

  9. As to “other states”, the very best State Law I ever saw, which they have now changed unfortunately, was one that required you to hand this to a buyer consumer:

    “I do not represent you UNTIL and UNLESS you hire me to do so.” That simple. Then they buyer chose what they wanted to hire you to do and for how much. I like it.

  10. Jonathan,

    I did some strike outs for you up there 🙂 But until you agree that you and the seller do not get to keep the Buyer Agent fee, when the buyer is unrepreented…we are still going to butt heads. Saying it is OK for the buyer to represent himself ,as long as you and the seller keep the buyer agent fee, just makes no moral sense. It may be legal, but clearly not morally correct.

  11. It may be different there, Ardell, but in the Phoenix area there is no “buyer agent” fee per se. There is a commission negotiated between seller and listing agent. It is up to the listing brokerage to determine what is going to be offered as a co-op commission to an agent who brings a buyer.

    Since the seller has negotiated the commission with me, any reduction would go back to the seller by default. We’re not required to offer a co-broke, for that matter (unless, of course, we want the listing in the MLS.)
    I’m not saying this is right or wrong. I’m simply saying this is what is.

    Go with Greg’s idea and divorce the commissions – have a true fee for the buyers’ agent paid for by the buyer – and then you’d have a different scenario. And a new can of worms opened.

  12. “I’m not saying this is right or wrong. I’m simply saying this is what is.”

    But you can reform that all by yourself, with each client. AND it helps the seller too. Offer the buyer the buyer agent fee at the next Open House. It could just be what the buyer wants and the seller needs to get to the next step. But make sure they aren’t working with an agent first.

  13. Pingback: RE Agent in CT » Redfin Consumer Bill Of Rights Is McWeaksauce

  14. You’re assuming that …

    a) I hold houses open
    b) Anyone actually attends

    And I can’t offer the 2% to an unrepresented buyer because there’s no 2% to offer them. My listings stipulate that the commission is 4% if the property is purchased by an unrepresented buyer.

  15. Jonathan,

    Stop doing that. Tell the seller that you and the seller are including 3% for the Buyer’s Representation, and IF the buyer wants to represent themself, they can use that money toward their closing costs or against the price.

    It’s as simple as that. Stop buying listings with the buyer’s money. Trust me…I’ve been there…we’ve all done it. It is the way it WAS, but not the way it should be. Change. Buyers deserve better than we’ve given them historically. Time to change.

    I am quite sure that no agent buyer needs a buyer’s agent, BUT clearly does not let the seller keep that money just because the licensed buyer can represent himself. Why shouldn’t every buyer have that same opportunity? Agents can. Why not buyers who are just as capable of representing themselves?

    When you buy a house, don’t you take that buyer agent fee OFF the PRICE?

  16. Smoke and mirrors. All this talk about representation and seeing all the houses, protecting the consumer, yada yada. Fact is, Redfin agents are writing offers on houses they have never seen. They fax offers to listing agents, never notifying them that the offer is coming, nor follow up to see if the offer was recieved (happened to me personally). They encourage their clients to lie to listing agents, telling them to say that they don’t have an agent so the LA wll be amenable to showing them the property (heard this first hand from a Redfin client). They regularly put their clients at a disadvantage in multiple offer situations, by not being available outside their office hours. I worked for a very successful “Captain of Industry” who established huge retail organizations who regularly said ” You can’t sh_t the public, they’ll always find you out”. Smoke and mirrors.

  17. 8. Have an open discussion about a house for sale: On the web, you can openly discuss almost any product for sale except a house. That’s because sellers’ agents “own the listing,

  18. Ardell,

    I don’t think major brokerages will ignore this, because it is so poorly written, and contridictory it will self destruct. I can’t speak for other states, but in Maryland many of the things that they mention are already laws.

    It’s an interesting idea, but too obviously a marketing ploy.


    I’m negotiating a commission, Ardell. MY commission. There aren’t two commissions down here. I’ll even send you the form that shows there is ONE commission.

    The buyers’ agent is being paid out of MY commission that is being paid to me by the seller. What happens with MY commission is between the seller and ME. NOT the buyer. NOT you.

    If you want to go Redfin and tell me what my business model has to be, at least know what the exclusive right to sell agreement said.

    I’m done with this.

  20. Jonathan,

    There has always been two commissions. No seller would agree to pay what they do, if there weren’t two commissions. Redfin did not create “two commissions”.

    Any professional in this industry who wants to be “done with this” at the point of “MY commission” is just flat out wrong. It is not time to be “done with it”…it is time to be part of the solution.

    The problem? There are two parties to every real estate transaction…and the agent isn’t one of them.

  21. Don’t bother sending me the forms Jonathan. Show me how the form CHANGED when Buyer Agency came into being. Now tell me why it didn’t.

    The buyer agent fee is financed by the buyer, not paid by the seller. It is shown on the seller side of the HUD 1 “as a convenience to the transaction”. There is no reason why the buyer agent fee cannot be treated in a morally correct fashion, by anyone and everyone who chooses not to be “done with this”, at the point where it is self serving to close the book on it.

  22. Sellers should just stop offering a selling agent commission. Let all the buyer agents negotiate their own commissions.

    Ardell as a buyers agent you are just riding on the coattails of the listing agent. Without the hard work of the listing agent you wouldn’t have a commission to discount. If you had to negotiate your own commission with the buyer and get sellers approval to include it in the sale price there would be no need for the term discount. You could get off your soapbox and have all the conversations you want with your clients.

  23. Allen,

    I am a real estate agent. I am bi-salesual. Last I looked, you weren’t an agent at all, even though you talk like an antiquated agent who needs to be dusted off, taken of the shelf, and have a crowbar planted in your brain to wedge it open.

    Time to wake up and smell the coffee, Allen. I know what a listing contract IS and IS NOT and I am NOT an EBA.

    Consumer=Buyer Consumer and Seller Consumer in my book, Allen. Not Either-or. We have buyer consumers AND seller consumers and you are stuck in the 70s. You are not the ONLY one…but you are definitely stuck in “The World Where All Agents Represented Sellers” and Buyers where those people we “lured to our listings”.

    ALL agents need to understand Buyer Agency a WHOLE LOT BETTER. Not because Sellers don’t count, but because agents need to know how to change hats, when they represent different parties in the transaction.

    Seriously Allen, You just don’t get it. When was the last time you personally represented a seller client? When was the last time you personally represented a buyer client? Last I lookejd, I do both every day and you do neither.

    The times they are a changing…but not fast enough. And please don’t presume that I do not represent seller clients. I do. But that does not change the fact buyers and sellers deserve equal consideration in the real estate arena, and don’t get equal treatment from their “supposed” agents.

    Until we take “Salesperson” off that State License as “Title”…we may never get there. It may be time to call a Spade a Spade and dumb down to Transaction Broker. I hate to say that, but when over 80% of the practitioners are practicing at that level, maybe it would be a more honest way to approach the problem.

  24. Allen,

    Come clean here. Why do you always “pop in” when the topic is about what Redfin “may” be doing right? What’s your beef with Redfin? We mention Redfin around here and it’s like ringing the “Allen, come and get it dinner bell”. What’s up with that? Why do you even pay attention to what Redfin is and isn’t doing?

  25. Chris,

    Tell me what law even suggests that you tell the buyer what your compensation will be when you first meet a buyer? Not agency…dollars. At what point does the law where you are mandate that you tell the buyer what he is paying you as part of the sale price?

    Don’t think it’s there Chris…but thanks for popping in. I’d love to be made wrong on this one.

  26. Ardell you are funny!

    You think not offering a selling agent commission is antiquated? Can you please show me when that has been practiced in Washington? I would say that is progressive thinking not antiquated.

    Why are you opposed to it? Because its easier to tell your client you are giving them a discount vs asking them to pay you for your services.

    Since I don’t currently represent buyers and sellers you feel I don’t have the right to express my thoughts. I have 18 years in the industry at many different levels. This may be the biggest issue; you only see the industry from your glass house. You want change, change, change but I don’t think you can get far enough away from your pay check to take the entire industry into consideration. Does there need to be change? YES.

    R_DFIN come and get it!!!!

    I just think Glenn has made it fun to watch R_dfin. How he uses you and others as a tool to propagate his brand. Glenn is a very stealth marketing machine. He sends out pre press releases to all his blogging critics and supporters knowing they will criticize or proclaim for him. All of which brings awareness to his brand. Glenn gets a hats off as the number 1 gorilla marketer of 2006 and he is leading the pack for 2007. I laughed pretty hard when I read his press release about a buyers bill of rights and how he was going to get brokers and agents to sign on and support it. I especially love “please dont blog about this until X date” “PURE GENIUS”. Then on X date everyone can blog the story. Glenn should write a book on “Gorilla Blogging”. “Gorilla Blogging” copyright March 3 2007 Allen Benson Inc all rights reserved. 🙂

    If you truly understand how you are being a tool for R_dfin you will not use the “e” in R_dfin. This way you can continue to have conversations about them without giving them additional search engine credibility.

  27. Pingback: Wisest of the crowds » Consumer Bill Rights - thanks Glenn!

  28. Allen,

    Not offering a selling commission is not “antiquated”, it is just a “cop out” position that doesn’t address how to fix things TODAY within the current structure. I will have no problem embracing that change, if and when it comes. But to suggest that buyers have to wait for that day to come as the answer…get real.

    You have a right to your opinion Allen, just stop making it personal by saying “Ardell as a buyers agent you are just riding on the coattails of the listing agent.” cause that is just clearly FALSE. That is not you expressing your opinion…that is suggesting that we traditional agents get “labeled” buyer’s agents when we choose to address that part of our industry that needs to be worked on.

    Your whole “coattails” idea is antiquated and is a carry over from days prior to Buyer Agency.

    Let’s see if you can get through a conversation about me or Redfin without making personal attacks on me or Glenn. Industry Talk isn’t about flaming the messenger. Get there and we can talk. Take Ardell and Glenn out of the sentence and see if you have a sentence worth reading.

    No personal attacks, Allen. Can you do it?

  29. Ardell,

    I don’t think I can take your challenge.

    When you represent a buyer you are a buyers agent. When you list a home you represent the seller as a listing agent or agent of the seller. I did not EVER say you were an Exclusive Buyers Agent nor did I ever imply that. I said “Ardell as a buyers agent”; this means anytime you represent a buyer in a transaction. From the 1000’s of posts you have made it is clear at some point in time you have represented a buyer as a buyers agent. During the transaction I feel the agent representing the seller has handled all the commission negotiations which allow the buyers agent the privilege of not having to negotiate commissions with their client. On top of that if the buyers agent chooses to provide service at a fee less then what the listing agent has negotiated on the buyers agent behalf the buyers agent can claim they are working at a discount and even offer rebates. I call this riding on the listing agents coattails. The reason I say that is because the listing agent has acquired a contract and negotiated on the buyers agent behalf before they even know who the buyers agent is.

    I didn’t think you had such thin skin you must write a lot tougher then you really are. I will try to put my sensitive fingers on when I respond to your posts.

  30. Are you saying every single agent who represents a buyer in this country, at any point in time in their daily lives is, now let me quote you correctly Allen “as a buyers agent you are just riding on the coattails of the listing agent”

    What a load of crap that is!

  31. I believe I was talking to you specifically. Most agents are not standing on soap boxes saying things like “the seller doesn’t pay the commission” and all the other things we have argued about over the last year.

    The “You”

  32. No, what I’m done with is the idea of abandoning the fiduciary duties I have to my seller, Ardell. Frankly, I can’t figure out why someone would list a home knowing you’re throwing their money around like conffetti at a party.

    Saying it’s solely the buyers’ cost because it’s in the mortgage ignores the fact the sellers’ net also is less because of the commission. Under your logic, no seller should ever accept more than asking price because that’s the number they settled upon.

  33. Allen…except the buyer consumer…sad you don’t see that. Very sad indeed.

    You are very wrong about me, Allen. I have the industry at heart here. The industry and the consumer…both the buyer and the seller consumer.

    Some day we will meet, and maybe you will see me for who I really am. Those who know me know that I have been on this course since 1998…clearly not since Redfin sprung up.

    Yes Allen, if it were all about me, I’d agree with you. But I know that until the agents understand that the buyer is the one paying them, buyer consumers will never be treated fairly and correctly. If the Buyer’s Agent percieves that the seller is the one paying them, they will “work for the seller” somewhere in the chain of events.

    I’m heading the The Rockabilly Convention in Vegas in the morning, but when I get back…can I cook you dinner? Maybe we can come back on the flat screen with a better understanding of who the other really is. Chicken Cacciatore with Angel Hair Pasta, Chianti and salad is my “Peacemaker Special”.

  34. Jonathan,

    Never said the buyer paid it all. I said the seller pays the seller’s agent and the buyer pays the buyer’s agent. There just ain’t no other right way to think about it.

    What seller in his right mind would pay a Buyer’s Agent to represent the buyer well? That’s like asking a seller to pay for the home inspection…it adds insult to injury.

    When you represent a buyer client, Jonathan, who is paying you to represent that buyer client? Your client is the only right answer. Take your head out of the darned listing contract and tell me how it works when you are the buyer’s agent? Would you for one minute let the seller pick the home inspector when representing a buyer client? Of course not. So why would you even dream of thinking the seller is paying the buyer’s agent.

    It’s a mindset…not a change that needs to wait. You can change it tonight. Some of us have and are waiting for the rest to “catch up”.

  35. Pingback: Divorce May Be The Answer | Phoenix Arizona Real Estate - Dalton’s Arizona Homes Blog

  36. Did you know there are buyer consumers in this area who cannot BELIEVE that everyone doesn’t KNOW that the buyer pays his own agent in the sales price? I have trouble convincing them that not only to “some” not see that…but all too many.

  37. Ardell,

    I will pass on the dinner but if you would like to come down and explore my world you have an open invitation. We can show you how we help agents and brokerages. We can show you how we analyze data and new tools being introduced to help agents become more knowledgeable and profitable.

  38. Im sorry,

    Until the seller doesn’t sign a contract that binds them legally to pay the commission the seller pays the commission. The HUD 1 shows the seller paying the commission aswell. All technical aspects of the transaction show that the seller is paying the commission. Until the seller is not contractually obligated to pay the commission the “SELLER” pays the commission.

  39. NOPE, but thanks for reinforcing that there is much work to be done! I can use this the next time a buyer says “Of course EVERYONE knows that the buyer pays the Buyer’s Agent.

  40. Last comment on this.

    A) A sellers sales his house for fair market value without paying commissions (FSBO).


    B) A seller selling his house for the same fair market value and has contracted to pay a commission.

    Seller A will net more money then Seller B.

    It really is very simple.

  41. Allen,

    When a listing agent lists a property they must show the separate and distinct fee, being offered in the MLS to the buyer’s agent, and the seller has to sign that. It is a separate and distinct fee, which is usually at least half, if not more, than the listing agent’s fee.

    No where in the listing contract does it address why the listing agent should secretly capture that fee, if the buyer comes sans agent.

    That needs to change.

  42. Ardell,

    I commend what you are posting about and fully understand the need for this subject to be addressed. Your post and the Inman News is not the first post that covers this topic. Please see a post by Frank Borges from the titled Excellence Comes Standard. Frankly Client Bill of Rights, From The Real Estate Gadfly.

    The fact is that there are things that need to be addressed in the real estate sales arena for the good of the consumer. I think that some are not so willing to address the subject and or may even try to debunk the idea in the name of protecting the traditionalist. Redfin rather a person likes or dislikes what or how they are doing something is still doing something and I think that Redfin is just a pioneer in the competition field. I am surprised that the National Realtors Association is not doing more to counter this need to address consumer issues and the problem is needing to be addressed by individual brokers, agents and sales people. I would almost think that it is because Washington D.C. is too far from Washington State if it was not for the fact that Franklyrealty is from Virginia, which shows that this is a bigger problem that is being addressed by a few.

    The real estate agent, broker, sales person who notes that there is some major disconcert with many real estate consumer base is ahead of the curve. There are many other industries that can serve the consumer better then the real estate sales industry because of well-placed processes in customer relations that are not commission based. Those that are ahead of the curve understand this fact. The traditionalist – NAR, many which are commissioned based have had the luxury of putting consumer rights to the back burner and it is proven every time a real estate agent does not show up to show a house, does not call back a client, does not disclose the contacts that they made for future business while showing the house on behalf of the client, does not exert due diligent in receiving proper training in an area that is not fully understood and several other areas that happen on a daily basis. Any one in the real estate business knows that these things happen and those that are willing to take steps in fixing a problem are in titled of recognition.

    Those that do not offer all possible means of marketing a property are not serving the client in the best interest and I would think there would be a strong grounds for an agency issue should the client find out that the MLS is so demanding. This is one area that the consumer is fixing on their own with the use of the Internet today. The right to have a property fully marketed is not serving the MLS.

    Thanks for the post and keep up the awareness.

  43. Thanks Shane! I was starting to feel a little beat up there.

    Frankly Blog is one of my FAVORITES! I loved it at first sight. I love the name of it…and Frank. He’s good people. I’ve had him in my pack of AR blogs for months.

    If you give me permission, I’ll go hyperlink those posts of Frank’s so people can click to them.

  44. Ardell,

    We are in this business together – discussion is great as it stirs ideas that inspire to set forth change. Please do, I would like that very much. Thank you for the post!

  45. When compensation to a buyers’ agent doesn’t impact the sellers’ net, then you can say the buyer is paying for their representation in full.

    Rather than arguing in circles, divorce the commissions and there will no longer be a need for debate. A lot of buyers will end up going it alone, but there will no longer be a need for the debate.

  46. Jonathan, get over it. All a buyer has to do is bring any old body with a license, to do it himself and grap the mls offering. Don’t make the industry that cheap. Get real.

    Some aspiring new agent in AZ oughtta get their hands on this one, real fast. The mls offering goes to whomever the buyer chooses. You are not providing the best service to your seller by pretending otherwise. That mls offering should go out the door, one way or the other. Raise the integrity of the industry by letting the buyer choose how that happens.

    The days of sellers and seller’s agents reaping the monetary benefits of an “unrepresented buyer” are over, finito, history.

  47. Dear Greg Perry,

    In the past couple months I have worked on Real Estate transactions with 4 different agents from your office. I am more than happy to email you their names as I am confident they will all tell you that they had a very pleasurable, smooth and professional experience with Redfin. They will tell you that I did indeed work at all hours of the day, I communicated with them frequently and I had all forms, notices and addendums sent around to all parties in the most timely manner. In fact, one of the agents in your office had 5 offers on her listing and my clients were the successful buyers and went on to a smooth closing.

    I also took the time to cross reference the 7 listings you have had since last May to ALL Redfin offers made since last May and I did not find a match? Thus, making me confused about the supposed offer that was made on your listing?

    I don’t typically take time to blog but I do take my career very seriously and I have immense pride in my work. If a ‘Captain of Industry’ agent is going to state “fact is” followed by a spew of incorrect statements (slander?) then I feel it necessary to defend my company.

    Please feel free to email me if I am incorrect about any of the above comments. Let’s get the ‘facts’ straight.

  48. Greg said: They fax offers to listing agents, never notifying them that the offer is coming, nor follow up to see if the offer was recieved (happened to me personally).

    Kelly said:I also took the time to cross reference the 7 listings you have had since last May to ALL Redfin offers made since last May and I did not find a match?

    Greg, I do think Kelly deserves a response on this one. Highlighting the issue for easy reference.

    Kelly does a fabulous job. I can personally vouch for her from personal experience.

  49. Allen writes:

    “You think not offering a selling agent commission is antiquated? Can you please show me when that has been practiced in Washington? I would say that is progressive thinking not antiquated.

    Why are you opposed to it? Because its easier to tell your client you are giving them a discount vs asking them to pay you for your services. ”

    I think this is a progressive stance. I think if Ardell or any other agent wanted to change the system from within, they would reduce the Buyers Agent compensation to 1$ for their listings and let the buyers choose how to pay their own agent.

    Ardell says that we negotiate with sellers daily about commissions and we should do the same with buyers. This would force the issue.

    I won’t lead the charge though. Why? Because buyers don’t want to pay their agent. PERIOD. If it APPEARS as though the seller is paying both agents that is good enough for them.

    It’s like paying taxes. Most people like getting a BIG REFUND. Are you kidding me? You just gave the government an interest free loan for much of the year! But to the uneducated it feels like FREE MONEY.

    Ardell- You talk about revolutionizing the industry. I think you need to do it from both sides of the aisle. All this talk of “refunds” to the buyer (I know this is a significant amount of money and I’m not scoffing at the consumer benefits.) seems weak in terms of changing the system if you are not willing to change the way you work as a listing agent.

  50. Geordie says “I think if Ardell…wanted to change the system from within, (she) would reduce the Buyers Agent compensation to 1$ for (her) listings, and let the buyers choose how to pay their own agent.”

    1) I reduce it to ZERO for my listings, if the buyer approaches me directly and they are capable and wanting to represent themselves.

    2) the listing agent represents the seller. The seller wants agents to bring buyers to see his house. Offering $1.00 in the mls does not represent the seller’s best interest or accomplish the seller’s objective and purpose for making “an mls offering”. So when I am representing the seller, I cannot do something that does not represent the seller’s best interests and it ain’t my dollar to make “a stand with” for the betterment of the industry. When I am listing a house…it’s all about the seller’sbest interest. PERIOD.

    3) When I am representing the buyer, I take that mls offering and either negotiate it up front, or treat it like a retainer with a “settle up” at the end. Sometimes based on price range and the amount of work involved, that amount is equal to my fee. I’d say about 20% of the time. Sometimes I know it is too much from the get go and reduce it up front, as Redfin does. Sometimes it is in between. But it is something that the buyer and I need to agree on when the day is done.

    Every buyer’s agent needs to understand that the fee is “set aside” by the seller, but negotiated with the buyer client…cause the seller ain’t his client.

    What do you do when the seller is offering a big fat Buyer Agent fee of 1% or 2% more than the norm? You look for the monster. You look for WHY the seller is feeling the need to inflate that fee in order to sell his house, and use that to the advantage of your buyer client. NOT by giving the buyer the difference, but by asking why the seller needs to resort to that tactic to sell his house in the first place. Overpriced? Worst lot in the development? Bad development? Look for the why.

  51. Frank,

    I promised Sellsius I’d write my own Conusmer Bill of Rights before mid August.

    Yours is as bad as Redfins 🙂 I’m not going to pick yours apart as I did not pick theirs apart. Anytime someone says “You have the RIGHT to get what WE give”…it’s a commercial, not a Bill of Rights.

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