Editor’s note: The following is a collection of reader’s comments found on Inman.com:

‘You get what you pay for’
Help-U-Sell franchiser files for bankruptcy
"I feel there is room in our industry for both traditional/full-service and discount/limited-service brokerage. What I do not like to see is the discount model advertising that they are also full-service versus limited-service. The public needs to be educated on what a true full-service brokerage does: from listing to close and beyond. Therein lies the difference, and let the consumer decide.

"In my business, I have chosen to align myself with a full-service, very traditional brokerage for the full menu of services I can offer my clients. And for that privilege, I pay a considerable portion of my commission to my brokerage and this is in turn paid through the commission I charge my clients. As in everything in life, ‘You get what you pay for.’

"In a hot market, yes — many times homes may find a buyer quickly, but you still need the agent’s expertise in negotiation and other necessary skills to shepherd the transaction to closing. In a not-so-hot market, you may need the added exposure that a full-service provider can bring to the table. Many of the local limited-service or discount brokerages make up their profits through the sheer volume of listings — which must dilute the services available to each client during the transaction process.

"Having dealt with many of these brokerages in the past, some have gone well but the majority involved much more work on my part due to having to resolve issues that typically should have been handled by the cooperating (listing) agent but … there was nobody there to handle what needed to be done. I can’t really blame them as they are only doing the services the seller is paying for but it does put the buyer’s agent in an unfair and often uncomfortable position of walking the line between being helpful and undisclosed dual agency.

"As long as sellers are fully aware of what they are buying when they agree to a limited-service provider and that listing agent is handling the critical portions of the transaction (acceptance of offers, all negotiations, attending inspections personally, going to the closings, etc. — which I view as the very least a seller should expect from their agent) then I have no personal problem with cooperating with such an agency.

"Again, advertise exactly what you will do for your fee and then let the consumer decide what level of service they wish to employ."
Christi Borden

We are here to serve
Something to chat about
"Just being available and willing to find the answers — even if I might not know all of them — will put me a step above much of the competition. I recently had to be reminded and remind myself that I’m not just in the business to help people buy and sell houses, but I’m also in a customer-service industry. We are here to ‘serve,’ no matter how cutthroat the business might seem. Though it might seem like ‘there are a lot of other Realtors in the business,’ it truly is a small world. Besides, ‘that which you give, so shall you receive.’ Life overall is so much nicer to me when I treat others how I would like to be treated."
Stephen Adams

Zero in on the market’s strengths
Play to your strengths in slow market
"I think it is also important to play to the MARKET’S strength as well as your own.

"For example, the current market is creating a lot of investing opportunities for us agents — outside of regular listing and selling. Some of the ‘market strengths’ right now are great terms, rent increases and low prices.

"If we adjust our focus just a bit to zero in on the market’s strengths (as well as our own), we’ll be in an even better place."
–Mike Watson

Online and offline marketing should not be separate
‘Big head,’ print ads survive in mountains
"Online and offline marketing are not separate and apart from each other. A cohesive marketing strategy should include both. As Matt (Fagioli) points out, print media can drive consumers to your Web site … along with many other avenues of promotion which are greatly underutilized. How many agents think to put their Web site address in their outgoing voicemail message? Few.

"As for drawing a causal relationship between successful agents and print advertising, doesn’t it stand to reason that there are probably other factors contributing to their success? Perhaps they consistently and effectively prospect on a daily basis, work their sphere of influence regularly, attend local business and networking events, stay involved in community activities, maintain a good relationship with other Realtors, and write personal notes every day. None of which is visible to the rest of us. I’m a bit skeptical that mailers and print ads are the driving force behind successful agents. I think perhaps hardworking agents are still doing print advertising."
–Catherine Read

Information compiled by Daniel Rothamel, Inman Community Manager

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