Deeded Interest: Earning the commission
After near blizzard conditions and record snows in February and March, April has made way to sunshine, warmer temps, spring skiing and, down toward Basalt and Carbondale, sprouting daffodils and even an open patio or two.
And with that, the spring selling season has begun in earnest throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. All indications are we are off to a fast start.
Like the runoff, local market experts predict a torrential summer of buying and selling. Interest rates are down again. The DOW, oil prices and job numbers are up, and with 2020 uncertain, it seems to feel like the time to pounce. After all, we’ve been on a tear around here since 2015 and it can’t go on forever.
And so it goes, a slew of new listings coming to market, emerging from the dregs of winter, ready for their day in the sun. Clean the windows, aerate, weed and feed the lawn, power wash the drive, call the broker and get that sign in the yard before the spring tour of homes begins at the end of the month. Any ’ol broker will do, just take a photo or two, get ’er in the MLS, on the inter-web and it’s sure to sell before the Fourth of July.
If you’ve followed my scribblings on this subject over the years, you know I’ve attempted to drive home the notion of pricing correctly from the start, rather than looking at what the house next door sold for and thinking yours is better and worth more money. I’ve also tried to warn the faint of heart that this process can be akin to a colonoscopy without Propofol if you don’t plan, prepare and consider carefully who you are hiring to help you through the process.
At a recent sales meeting, the theme was, in essence, a clarion call to all of us that choose to captain these treacherous waters for our clients. The challenge was this: What are you doing to really earn your commission?
It’s a question that all of us should ask ourselves. What value do we ultimately bring to the table? What services do we provide? How do we differentiate what we do from the crowded field of competitors? The general public already thinks our job is easy and, frankly, unnecessary. Why even hire a broker when Zillow is just a swipe away?
For those of us who take pride as full-time real estate professionals, the answer is easy. Communicating what we bring to the table for our clients can be much more difficult. Any broker can tell you to tidy up around the house and yard, get rid of the “clutter” and take your family portrait off the wall. The question I’m asking is what percentage of experienced professionals might suggest you do less rather than more and actually take the bull by the horns on their own, taking the onus off you? Hint: The 80/20 rule applies here.
So what expectations should buyers and sellers have of their broker? Examples include:
• The ability to read and interpret a title commitment
• Order the correct improvement survey (ILC or ISP)
• Knowing the difference between water rights and a well permit
• Can suggest a competent lawyer, architect or builder
• Uses an inspector who can find material defects
• Understands the local zoning and building codes
• Knows the difference between an engineering and soils report
• Can suggest a land-use planner and/or builders rep
• Discover and present off-market opportunities
• Can tell you what a home sold for, who designed it, who built it and when
• Can provide a broker price opinion and competitive market analysis
Not every broker, and certainly not a new one or one who works part-time, will have command of this subject matter. No matter your real opinion of our chosen profession, it’s in your best interest to choose an expert who can guide you to the closing table, and knows and understands all the steps required to get there.
Get your money’s worth and make sure the broker you tap to do the work doesn’t drive you around in circles but actually earns his or her paycheck through their experience, hard work and careful diligence.
Scott Bayens (GRI, ABR, CNE) is a realtor with Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty with more than a decade of experience with buyers, sellers and investors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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