The following is a comment I wrote this morning on this article on real estate brokers in the New York Times. The piece was on smaller brokers contrasted with larger ones, and as is common in Times articles on brokerage, the haters were out there in the comments telling us how bad brokers are.
I begged to differ, especially in light of the week I just had. I don't know who these people are or how they came to their opinions, but in my experience the people who hate brokers, or feel we don't fulfill a purpose, often did a poor job choosing their agent in the past.
I felt my reply deserved to be said here in a blog post.
I have to laugh at the trolls who badmouth brokers in these comments. I own my own firm. In the past week, I have spent 4 hours in a cold wet basement de-winterizing a short sale (which I paid for), saved a deal from going south after the buyer found the house still listed on a "by owner" site, closed another short sale that took FOUR YEARS to conclude, and basically worked from dawn until past midnight every day on behalf of my clients.
The notion that agents only smile and unlock doors is laughable. And if you think that the work ends once you "find" the house you clearly understand nothing about the process. Banks aren't loaning money. Homes aren't appraising. Many "buyers" are phony. Just as you pay for every mile traveled by a loaf of bread in the supermarket, you pay for the risks brokers take, the unrealistic sellers who demand that we buy expensive paper ads for their overpriced home, the buyers who call us Sunday night at 7pm demanding to see a house (then often don't show up) and the buyers who work us like rented mules and then buy with another broker. Every low cost brokerage found out the hard way that discounting is unsustainable.
If you had a bad experience with an agent, look in the mirror. Did you check them out? Were they a relative or buddy from your kid's cub scout pack? What did you do to verify the claims of the agent? 99% of the haters spent more time choosing their cell phone than their broker. If you think we suck profit, try getting your lawyer to do what we do. Most of the work they'd never stoop to, and the billable hours for the rest would dwarf the flat fee most lawyers charge for a regular closing.
Want to suffer? Make the hugest transaction of your life a do it yourself project.