News Brief

Top comments of the week March 28-April 1

Real estate's Walmart, anxious sellers and what clients need when the market gets tough

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What’s in a good comment? Delving into the new-age art form that is “hashing it out” online, sometimes feedback on an article turns out to be a small essay of its own — or, at least, worthy of one. In many ways, the power of persuasion has less to do with the “what” of a conversation point than the “why.”

Our top comments of the week, compiled here in no particular order, brought something new to the discussion, whether it be context, perspective or a moment of pause.


Cindy Mustafa · Commented on Stop using ‘I’m busy’ as an excuse | Inman

Being busy and being productive are indeed two different things. Life can be busy but doesn’t necessarily always have to be productive. Learning to accept and balance life is something to we always work on, the reason to replace the word “busy” with “balancing.”

Faith, love/relationships, family, health, business, friends, career, home, laundry, mail, cars, groceries and walking your preferred pet, need individual and sometimes daily attention, remember there are only 24 hours in a day. Awesome article, “make sure what you’re doing is in alignment with your goals in life” — thank you for the great article, time now to balance!

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Jennifer Hayes Burgess · Commented on Zillow invests in team success with massive Premier Agent update | Inman

When it came to small business, we used to say, “You can’t out-Walmart, Walmart.” I think the same applies here, but with Zillow. It has come to the point that you adapt and overcome or just get the hell out of the way. I choose adapt…


Hank Miller Team/Harry Norman Realtors · Commented on Only 1 in 4 likely homebuyers would make offer online | Inman

The RE industry is among, if not at the top of the industries considered the most sleazy and dishonest filled with participants that have no bar to entry or retention. Housing was ground zero for the economic collapse and the mortgage industry deeply involved. What’s not to trust?

I will not do anything with HUBZU or any online nonsense; clients that want to pursue that find other agents. I’ve been doing this far too long and saw how the lenders, disposition companies, large investors, etc operated while appraising these homes. Suffice it to say, the reputation is well deserved.

That said, I find it interesting that while homes might be avoided, individuals trading stocks online is rather popular and rather common — this crank pot does it. And Lord knows that Wall Street isn’t well regarded…..


Michael Martin · Commented on 5 steps to go from rookie to rising real estate star | Inman

Excellent tips! Just one more for NYC newbies: there are no try-outs to becoming an agent in this city, it requires a 100 percent full-time commitment. This is not a part-time job or a see-if-you-like it gig. If you don’t go all out you’ll be eaten alive, and if you do go all out you can make it big — really big.


John Smith · Commented on Why sellers should keep their politics to themselves | Inman

I completely disagree! Some things are more important than money. This mentality is part of the reason why too many good people stand silent while bad people take over. Isn’t it more honorable to stand on your principle instead of your wallet?


Cj Yeoman · Commented on Why sellers should keep their politics to themselves | Inman

If you feel so strongly about a political candidate that you can’t take down their signs when your house is listed, maybe you don’t want to sell your house very much. I love my children, grandchildren and dog, too, but I will be storing my personal pictures and taking my crosses off the wall when I sell my home.

It’s not about standing on principles, it’s about enabling the successful sale of your biggest financial investment. Wow, if agents can’t understand that, then how will their sellers? When you list a home, it basically “ceases” to be your home, it becomes a house that you want buyers to relate to. That’s the #1 concept of staging, to put a buyer mentally “in” your house so they will want to live there. Thanks for a very timely post, Chris.


Lorraine Leonard · Commented on Are buyer’s agent bonuses unethical? | Inman

Personally, as a listing agent, I have never offered a bonus — think it looks like the seller is extremely anxious and, therefore, negotiable.

On the other hand, as a buyer’s agent, I would simply disclose the bonus to a buyer upfront before I even showed the house and tell them that means that the price might be that much more negotiable, and if not, I would give them the bonus to cover their closing costs. I would never personally accept a bonus. Just negotiate it away in favor of the client you are representing.


Brian Adams · Commented on Will new commission models die in the next downturn? | Inman

So when times get tough and sellers are paying money at closing to sell, cheaper discounted options will lose their luster? Hard to swallow.

When Ford produced the cheap Model T, or Apple the personal computer, would anyone have been wise to deride these “discount” business models, or might they have recognized that they had built a better mousetrap and revolutionized an industry?

I am not saying one-off discount agents or even flat fee/limited service listing agreements are poised to revolutionize the real estate industry — they’ve failed so far. But this article has a dangerous fixation on the superiority of “full commissions” when a robust, vibrant industry is always finding new ways to deliver more for less.

Perhaps it should be more worrisome that our industry has failed to deliver.


Ed Smith · Commented on Will new commission models die in the next downturn? | Inman

Good article, Bernice. I absolutely agree that discount models will suffer losses during the next downturn. Historically, this has certainly been the case. When it is tougher to sell the home or condo, sellers want marketing expertise and experience, not the blue light special.

As to downward pressure on commissions? There always has been and always will be downward pressure on commissions, however, I am charging the same number of bananas today that I was charging 29 years ago. At the end of the day, the lack of experience will always be the biggest pressure on commissions!


Sissy Earthman Lappin · Commented on Will new commission models die in the next downturn? | Inman

First of all, getting your information from the NAR is like listening to the big tobacco companies tell you that smoking can’t hurt you. You have to look at the source and consider their motivation. If you look at their studies, it is such a small group that just a few homeowners’ answers can change the outcome of the study. Most 3rd party independent studies refute the NAR’s findings on several issues including the FSBO market.

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3 factors that have affected commissions

1. Times are changing. Three years ago, Zillow wasn’t as big and powerful as they are today, which means that the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) served as an agent’s ace in the hole. Today, Zillow is a real alternative to MLS and is the #1 home search tool. Love or hate Zillow, they are #1 and here to stay.

2. Three years ago, comparable sales and active homes for sale were guarded like Coca-Cola guards their top secret formula. That is no longer. Buyers and Sellers are extremely educated and know the market.

3. Change in culture. Once intimidating processes have been simplified. Americans are becoming more and more comfortable with DIY. Look at TurboTax, LegalZoom, E*Trade, Esurance. DIY is the new MBA of personal finance.

No industry is protected from the power of technology to reinvent business models. Not even real estate. Great agents will always make money even in a buyers market. There will always be a place for great agents. A buyer’s market will weed out the weekend warriors.

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