When Aurora, Oregon residents consider selling their home, which Realtor should they hire for such an important job?
Several factors are key to consider when hiring a Realtor. To optimize the sale of your Aurora home, it’s helpful to work with a Realtor having both extensive real estate experience and knowledge of Aurora, too.
Outstanding home marketing ability is also important. That’s because Aurora is covered by two completely different multiple listing systems. It’s expensive for Realtors to belong to two MLS systems. Yet you’ll be better served if the Realtor you use holds membership in both of them and can therefore reach the maximum number of buyers. Otherwise, the result could mean fewer offers and a longer time on the market.
Realtor Roy Widing first began selling Aurora, Oregon homes and farms in 1988. An Aurora resident since 1966, Roy is a co-owner of locally owned Certified Realty. He specializes in selling Aurora properties of all kinds and also hosts the Oregon Real Estate Podcast. Roy has sold hundreds of area homes, holds dual MLS membership and has been designated a real estate ‘expert witness’ in court proceedings.
Thinking of selling? Let Roy provide you with a free report on the current market value of your property.
Contact For your free home value report, call or text Roy at 971-258-4822, or use the form below.
‘When’s too soon to list my Aurora house for sale?’ is a common homeseller question. There are a variety of factors that influence a good time to sell. When considering the best time to sell your Aurora home, several factors stand out. One is the amount of homeseller competition based on predictable seasonality, such as Springtime, when many homesellers place their property on the market. Another related, but independent factor is competing homeseller inventory, which can fluctuate wildly. Curious about factors to consider when timing your Aurora, Oregon home sale? Find out more…in this insightful edition of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast!
Each season of the year has some built in advantages, even during the holidays. But especially enticing for home sellers hoping to beat the Spring rush is the dynamite combination of highly motivated buyers, plus reduced seller competition. Speaking of competition, it’s helpful to understand that when the balance of more sellers enters the equation, buyers have more of a choice and are in a better position to pit one seller against another in search of their best deal.
Charting Your Course A month-by-month new listings chart illustrates the seasonality of real estate. In Oregon, the months between October through February provide the lowest homeseller competition, with fewest homes placed on the market. This means March through September is typically our ‘hottest’ time for home sales. Does this mean if you don’t have your home on the market before March, you’re ‘out of luck?’ No, because seller competition is but one element to consider.
That’s because housing inventory fluctuates, irrespective of season. And depending on how many homebuyers are looking, demand can be considered relative. We can help adjust for seasonality to better determine buyer demand by using a buyer/seller ratio. For example, typical housing demand in a particular community or neighborhood might be 100 buyers interested in 50 homes in June, a 2 to 1 ratio, then fall to 50 buyers showing interest in 25 homes in January, also a 2 to 1 ratio. Under such a scenario, relative demand would be the same, which should result in a similar amount of real estate activity.
Yet while relative housing demand may be a functional rule of thumb in theory, it doesn’t take into account one other extremely important factor: Motivation. That’s because in less active periods, homebuyers frequently have a more urgent need to buy, or they would be looking during the more usual times of Spring and Summer. Looking for a house in the bad weather typically indicates a higher-than-usual need to purchase. In addition, some buyers beginning in April or May have the luxury of months to ponder their next move.
‘Seize The Gray’ To address the question of how soon is too soon to list your property for sale, the short answer is that it’s often never too early to place your home on the market…for good reason. That’s because even in the midst of Winter, highly motivated homebuyers often make a home purchase their New Year resolution and start looking early…sometimes before Christmas.
Some homebuyers take a week or two off during the holidays, but beating the Spring homeseller rush gives you an early advantage against a very large number of competing homesellers who will be ‘up and running’ during Oregon’s earliest good weather. This clever strategy places your property before these highly motivated buyers before a glut of competing homesellers goes head-to-head against you.
But the good news is that in order to take advantage of seasonal ‘soft spots’ in seller competition, homesellers needn’t place their properties on the market during the holiday season, or even immediately adjacent. There’s plenty of ‘gray area’ to go around throughout the year and that’s typically enough to help make your house stand out even more from the competition. Navigating around May through August is usually enough to help counter higher-than-usual competing listing activity. And if you happen to notice lower than usual housing inventory, that can be a big help for homesellers, too, regardless of when you sell…including between May and August in Oregon. That’s because low housing inventory helps sellers.
Timing Your Sale—Without Unpleasant Surprises If the goal is to get a ‘jump start’ in selling your Aurora home with less competition, consider several factors. This includes getting an honest evaluation of your property by a licensed Realtor. But first, ask your agent for an honest opinion. Not sure you want an honest opinion? Check out our previous podcast and feature length article ‘Can You Handle An Honest Real Estate Agent?’ here.
The experience and objectivity of an expert Aurora Realtor is difficult to overstate. Take repairs, for example. If you truly want to maximize your return and your home has some needed repairs, it’s unrealistic to expect buyers to absorb, for example, that complete spendy roof repair ‘hit’ by themselves by coming in with a full price offer on your property. Before listing your property what you’ll need is a professional analysis of necessary repairs that could make a difference in discouraging homebuyers. And aside from repairs, sometimes it’s what you don’t do that can make a difference. Like maybe don’t put in new carpet or have the exterior painted, if it’s going to push your price up considerably. Normally, carpet and paint are frequently good ideas to have completed. Yet few updates provide a 100% return, so consult your Realtor for details.
The ‘School Year’ Equation Some buyers aren’t the likeliest candidates for ‘off season’ marketing by homesellers. This can include families with children, a significant homebuyer pool for many. That’s because many families with kids begin their home hunt around the end of school in late Spring, usually settling into their next home by September. On the other hand, much of the impact of losing these buyers using ‘off season’ marketing depends on the property type you’re selling. Are you selling a tiny house on a postage stamp sized lot, or a 5 bedroom home on acreage? Big homes with fair sized yards, or those located close to parks are often better matches for larger families. Conversely, if you decide to sell a smaller home out of season, marketing to other suitable buyer groups can substitute for larger families, with significant success. Good prospects for smaller or more urban homes might include ‘Baby Boomers,’ professionals, singles, or ’empty-nesters’ with grown children.
Now You See It… Regardless of season, one interesting real estate phenomena can occur when buyer interest suddenly increases for a home that’s been sitting on the market for a while, with little buyer interest. Then suddenly: ‘Whoosh,’ multiple offers on the table! What could possibly create such a positive shift for homesellers? Buyer activity can spike quickly once a competing property is sold, or otherwise off the market. Price changes aside, sometimes it’s because the most similar competing home is now off the market. This has the effect of buyers then turning their attention to the next closest suitable replacement and the ‘substitution principle’ in action. That’s where the maximum value of a property is often achieved, due to the cost of acquiring an equivalent substitute property with similar use and features.
Thinking About Selling Your Aurora, Oregon Home? Go with professionalism, experience and results. Roy’s also been an Aurora resident for more than half a century. Contact Roy with Certified Realty, with 31 years of Oregon real estate expertise. For a free Aurora homeseller consultation, call Roy at (971) 258-4822, or use the convenient contact form below.
Given Aurora, Oregon’s lengthy history, there are some unique facts about this unique town you may not know. Here are half a dozen interesting ‘info nuggets’ about Aurora, Oregon.
Fact #1. Aurora Has A ‘Secret’ Cemetery
One of Aurora, Oregon’s best-kept secrets is among its most historic. There are numerous cemeteries in Aurora, nearby Butteville and Champoeg. Yet the one with the biggest connection to Aurora is tiny Keil Cemetery, situated off a graveled, little-used lane called Cole Road near Aurora’s west side. Founder Wilhelm Keil is buried here, as are his family members. Especially noteworthy is the burial site of Dr. Keil’s daughter Aurora, the town’s namesake. The cemetery is less known because it’s located on private property.
Fact #2. Aurora’s Record of Fine Dining
Aurora has both good modern day restaurants, plus an exceptional culinary history. Ben Holladay, President of the Oregon & California Railroad, worked out an arrangement with Aurora’s founder, Dr. Wilhelm Keil to feed train passengers at Aurora with the settlement’s renowned cuisine. The food was so good in Aurora that travelers and even train workers would bypass eating at other railroad stops, making a point to dine in Aurora.
Fact #3. Aurora, Oregon Is An Aviation Powerhouse
The Aurora State Airport is Oregon’s third busiest. Yet given its relatively small size, some might call the Aurora Airport a ‘mighty midget.’ Originally constructed during WWII as a military support airbase to Portland, the Aurora Airport is now a vital economic hub with vibrant businesses, including two helicopter heavyweights, Columbia Helicopters and Helicopter Transport Services.
Fact #4. Aurora, Oregon’s Unique Geography Aurora includes both a town, but also encompasses a far larger rural setting, too. Greater Aurora is located virtually equidistant between the major metro areas of Portland & Salem, Oregon. Aurora’s 97002 zip code also lies astraddle of both Clackamas & Marion Counties. So depending on your specific location, this means two completely different sets of schools (Canby & North Marion) and property tax systems (Marion & Clackamas Counties).
Fact #5. Aurora Colony Days Aurora’s Colony Days is a multiple day celebration of Aurora pageantry held every August. Features include a parade, marketplace, concerts, beer garden and even a 5k run/walk. It’s a family-friendly environment with something for everyone.
Fact #6. Yes, There Are Antiques, Too
Among Aurora’s commonly known, modern-day ‘claims-to-fame’ is its antique heritage. In fact, to many, antiques have long been Aurora’s main attraction. Given its small town charm and pedestrian friendly design, weekends are especially popular for many to visit downtown Aurora, Oregon.
Are you interested in buying or selling an Aurora, Oregon home? Contact our Aurora, Oregon sponsor, Certified Realty for a free consultation at 503-682-1083 or use the convenient form below.
As is usual with the sale of anything, there are a few factors for Aurora, Oregon homesellers to consider. Local homeseller costs typically include a real estate commission, plus items like title insurance, escrow and recording fees. There are other attendant costs, too, like the ‘hassle factor’ and moving expenses.
Spoiler Alert: The answer to the question of how much it costs to sell your home is, ‘it depends.’
Why is this the case? Well, for starters, Realtors frequently work using different commission rates. On top of that, you don’t always know with precision every single cost you may incur as a homeseller, such as negotiated home repairs. Yet despite all this variability, sellers can still receive an estimate of the cost to sell their home from a Realtor and while sometimes it’s within a given range, that figure is typically close to reality.
First, let’s focus on specific hard costs to actually sell your home. When considering your ‘bottom line,’ it’s important for homesellers to include in their calculations any liens (like an existing home loan, home equity line of credit, or unpaid property taxes) that need to be paid at closing.
Price vs. Cost In selling a home, it’s helpful to understand the difference between price and cost. Here’s a summary for homesellers to consider when looking at most efficiently selling their home for the least cost:
Price = The ‘sticker’ amount of what you’re buying, like hiring a Realtor to sell your home.
Cost = What you stand to lose if you don’t consider your return-on-investment. For example, if the agent you hire does a poor job, you can:
1. Lose time (say goodbye to opportunities like that home purchase you planned to make, since you expected your home to quickly sell).
2. Receive less buyer activity and fewer offers.
3. Experience frustration (lost sleep and more).
For example, if you find a dentist to work cheaply, but end up with an infection or need to pay another dentist to get the job done to your satisfaction, the case can be made that a cheaper price is hardly a bargain. That’s because the cost can be significantly higher than the price you initially agreed upon.
Commissions Are Negotiable
The Realtor fee to sell a home is usually called a ‘commission.’ Regarding the real estate commission amount, because Realtors are independent contractors, if you ask more than one real estate agent, you may receive a few different answers. This article gives one attorney’s view of a Realtor’s value. A Realtor fee is truly the free market in action. Cream ‘rises to the top,’ so better agents usually are paid as much (sometimes more) than less experienced brokers, who may be less successful and/or offer fewer services.
Give Me A Number By far the most common commission arrangement is that unless your home actually sells and closes, no real estate fee is paid. According to this 2017 Realtor.com article, the average prevailing commission for a home sale is about 6%. That said, you can expect the majority of professional agents to approximate each other. The commission amounts quoted are likely to be different, but so is the service and expertise of the agent. Like you, Realtors only have 24 hours in a day. When an agent is working with you, that’s time he or she could be spending with another client. And because commission sales are a results-based, expect to pay a competitive rate to hire a successful Realtor.
This isn’t so surprising, since if you were to pay for a doctor’s visit, a home furnace service call, or a mechanic to fix your lawn mower, there is usually a range of what is considered reasonable. Similarly, throughout our region that range can vary. This explains why it’s difficult to provide a precise and accurate dollar figure on seller costs when selling a home. It can also depend on the property itself.
Feeling The Burn
Expect ‘bargain’ commission rate quotes from less experienced or desperate agents. Also expect a low quote from less diligent agents who may simply stick a sign in the yard and either hope it sells, or intend on ‘beating the seller down in price’ in order to increase their odds of eventually being paid. If a ‘churn and burn’ attitude is not what you want, consider working with a helpful, consultant type Realtor who actually represents your best interests and doesn’t use ‘strong arm’ tactics. To summarize, if a commission seems to good to be true, it probably is. In the end, you may pay considerably more than you bargained for to become someone else’s ‘on the job’ training.
The Volume Discount
If a property is priced very low, such as a vacant lot located in a small and distant town, commissions frequently are higher to help make up for an agent’s considerable time and effort. Why? Consider that the real estate commission on a $25,000 lot can be around 1/10th of a $250,000 home, yet both require plenty of paperwork and attention to detail. Marketing the $25,000 lot may even take considerably longer and involve more sheer work. To attract a good, diligent agent may require paying a bit more in the real estate commission to adjust for the reality of that Realtor’s lost opportunities with other more lucrative properties while selling yours.
How A Lower Commission Hurts Homesellers The thought that sellers are potentially damaged by a lower commission paid to their Realtor is counter-intuitive, right? Think again. Here’s an example using that 2017 Realtor.com statistic of 6% as the ‘average’ Realtor commission.
Real estate is a business. And because Realtors are salespeople, they expect to be paid what they’re worth. This is especially true of experienced agents who are typically among the best at their profession. So let’s consider a seller, Mr. Jones who wishes to save some money. As a result, he talks with several Realtors and finds one willing to work not for 6%, but 4%. Great for Mr. Jones, right? Possibly not and here’s why, looking at just one of numerous reasons.
Doing ‘The Split’
It’s helpful to understand that the Realtor representing Mr. Jones doesn’t typically get the entire commission, regardless of the amount. In our region, it’s common for commissions to be split four ways. There are exceptions, but here’s how the commission distribution usually breaks down and each part can vary, depending in large part upon the total commission:
1. Part to the seller’s Realtor 2. Part to the seller’s real estate company
3. Part to the buyer’s Realtor
4. Part to the buyer’s real estate company.
Given such a ‘split,’ no one is getting rich and compared to the national average of 6%, suddenly a 4% commission is looking pretty skinny. Here’s why that matters.
Commission ‘splits’ or distribution can vary, but if the Realtor and company working for Mr. Jones receive around half of the commission, or around 2%, that leaves a less-than-common 2% commission to be shared between the buyer’s Realtor and the firm they represent.
Why does that matter?
Because the buyer’s Realtor can easily look at the listing sheet and see precisely what commission is being offered to the buyer’s Realtor who writes an acceptable offer for the home of Mr. Jones. If the commission structure pays a percentage or two less than what that buyer’s Realtor is accustomed to receiving for selling a home, expect a tepid response, or possibly no response at all. After all, there are frequently other homesellers who ‘pay the going rate’ whose homes are just as easy to sell.
It’s simply too easy for a buyer’s agent to observe those homes that pay what is seen as a competitive commission. So much for Mr. Jones ‘saving’ money. That’s because the end result of a ‘bargain’ commission could instead be fewer showings, a longer market time and diminished offer activity on his home. Remember, a main reason for multiple listing is to get more offers for a seller’s property. It’s generally a good idea not to work against that principle. Pay professionals the market rate and you usually won’t regret it.
There are different ways to sell your home. The most common and (usually most profitable) is to hire a full service Realtor. Another method is to go it alone, ‘by owner.’ Yet one more alternative is to work with a ‘discount broker.’ Let’s look at each of these scenarios to see which might be right for you.
Homeselling ‘For Sale By Owner’ If you do decide to try selling your property by yourself, you will soon realize there are good reasons why even real estate agents pay a commission to sell their own homes. That’s because in addition to taking on a second job, from a ‘bottom line’ standpoint, hiring a Realtor is usually by far the most profitable way to go.
The irony for ‘by owner’ homesellers is that in their attempt to save money, they usually leave the most money on the table. That’s because ‘by owner’ is often the least effective and most expensive way to sell your home. Since your property isn’t in the Realtor’s multiple listing system, you can expect to have far fewer qualified buyers aware of your property. Fewer buyers means less competition and less offer activity.
Home & Personal Security
Before offers, come showings. This brings the security of yourself and your possessions into play. Realtors routinely scrutinize buyers before agreeing to represent them. Don’t like the idea of unscreened and unaccompanied strangers in your house? Then selling ‘by owner’ may not be for you. The simple fact is that working with a Realtor provides one more layer of scrutiny and seller security.
Sellers ‘by owner’ routinely must deal with ‘tire-kickers’ who are unqualified to buy and therefore can be a significant waste of time. And if you do happen to get an offer when selling ‘by owner,’ there’s no Realtor to deal with under-handed offer tactics, contingency ‘landmines’ and other potential pitfalls, plus no documents to help protect your interests, such as the arbitration and mediation clause. As a result, lawsuits can become more of a likelihood. Didn’t complete a property disclosure or lead paint form? Don’t know a good repair contractor? Dislike ‘legalese’ in documents you’ve never seen? If you plan to sell ‘by owner,’ be prepared for some expensive surprises.
Convicted fraudsters can appear very unassuming. Some ‘sketchy’ buyers take advantage of ‘for sale by owners’ too. That’s because there is often less buyer competition, since you’re not in the Realtor multiple listing system and therefore buyers typically have both time and less buyer activity working for them. If you happen to be a real estate attorney with a ‘hot property’ that has buyers knocking on your door and you have it priced right, plus you don’t mind doing a lot of legwork, going ‘by owner’ may work for you.
Want A Second Job?
But if you have a full time job, want maximum exposure, plus an experienced professional to assist in pricing, marketing and transactional minutiae, including a Realtor simply makes sense. Sellers with a Realtor net a better return at closing compared to ‘for sale by owners.’ Some of the most parsimonious banks realize this and as a result, financial institutions routinely hire real estate agents to sell their REO (real estate owned), which are often foreclosed properties.
Homeselling by Discount Broker For homesellers, a step up from ‘for sale by owner’ is the ‘discount broker.’ Some consider it akin to a low budget buffet, the kind where the food and service may find you walking away wishing you’d gone somewhere else. You could get lucky, but don’t be surprised if you get heartburn, instead.
That’s because while you’ll now probably be placed in a Realtor multiple listing system, a potential downfall is a possibly reduced commission paid to buyer’s Realtor. Unless you’re paying the buyer’s Realtor a competitive rate, don’t expect agents to rush to your door and sell your property. On top of that, some discount broker agreements require the seller to handle showings, negotiate the transaction on their own and even handle much of the paperwork. So much for being easier!
Homeselling by Full Service Realtor This is the ‘full meal deal.’ You’re in at least one multiple listing system, have full representation, plus the abundant resources of a licensed professional at your disposal. Showings are followed up on, paperwork is handled on your behalf and you can expect priority to be made for your questions and scheduling.
The Bottom Line Because any commission charged by your Realtor is only one piece of the seller’s ‘net at closing’ puzzle, it’s a good idea to request an estimate of closing costs, including real estate commission, prior to listing your property. This provides you with a better picture of what to expect at closing. This is a free service provided by Realtors and helpful in gauging an approximation of the funds you can expect at closing.
Thinking About Selling? Consider working with full service Realtor Roy Widing at Oregon’s Certified Realty. For a free consultation of what your Oregon property could sell for in today’s market and your ‘bottom line’ of seller’s proceeds at closing, use the convenient contact form below or call 800-637-1950.
Before entering into a business relationship, it’s helpful to know your Aurora, Oregon real estate agent is nice, patient, available when needed…and honest. So while many of us assume we’re ‘safe’ in the hands of our doctor, attorney or pastor, what about your Aurora Realtor? Find out more in the audio podcast of this program here, or use the audio player below.
Of special note is the OREA ‘Administrative Action’ section, which provides information about decisions regarding Oregon real estate violations. The resulting consequences to untrustworthy real estate agents could include a reprimand, license suspension, license revocation and/or a civil penalty. So while no screening process is foolproof (as witnessed by crimes committed by doctors, attorneys and other professionals), the state of Oregon does considerable due diligence to vet real estate agents.
As part of the application process to become an Oregon real estate agent, any felony and misdemeanor convictions and arrests must be disclosed. The disclosure requirement is fairly high, because in addition to any criminal activity, also requiring disclosure are any administrative proceedings, plus civil and even financial issues. For example, if a prospective Oregon real estate agent has an unsatisfied judgment or bankruptcy, each must be disclosed.
A Matter of Trust
Trust is an important factor when buying or selling Aurora, Oregon real estate. Thankfully, trusting your Realtor is not super risky. That’s because consumer surveys consistently reflect a high level of satisfaction with Realtor performance. One study by Forbes magazine revealed 96% satisfaction for the real estate industry. So if many real estate agents were dishonest, we could expect that figure to be much lower.
This doesn’t mean blindly signing off on every suggestion one receives from their Realtor. But obsessively hand wringing over transaction minutiae is one sure way to make the process less enjoyable. A recommended approach is for Aurora area homebuyers and homesellers to carefully read all documents, ask plenty of questions and work with a recommended professional with a solid track record.
Trust For Homesellers
Looking at trust from a Aurora homeseller’s perspective, for starters there’s significant trust needed to deal with buyers. For instance, significant trust is needed to allow strangers in your house. There’s also trust in taking your property off the market, in the hope a sale will go through. And trust in finding a replacement home.
Trust For Homebuyers
Trust is needed for Aurora area homebuyers, too. Trust is necessary in working with a lender and that the discomfort of prequalifying will be worthwhile. Trust they’ll find a home they like and can afford. Trust their lender will come through.
Trust For Both Homebuyers & Homesellers
So what do Aurora, Oregon homebuyers and homesellers share in common? Trust. And there is perhaps no greater trust that homebuyers and sellers have in common than in their Realtor.
After all, your Realtor is someone you expect to be there to help navigate your way through what is frequently the largest financial transaction of a lifetime. Similar to an attorney or priest, Realtors are expected to keep confidences.
But let’s first look at a few situations which underscore why it’s important to be able to trust your real estate agent.
Trusting your Realtor means you don’t have to second guess suggestions you receive. Let’s take pricing your home, for example. If you can’t trust your agent to provide meaningful comparable home activity information, how can you possibly expect him or her to advise you once an offer comes in?
Trusting your Realtor means you can breathe easier with less stress. Buying or selling a home is considered to be a particularly stressful activity. In addition, most homebuyers and homesellers don’t want to take on real estate as a second job, especially when making a house move. So expect that by having your bases well-covered by a professional you can believe, you’ll find the entire process far less taxing. If a Realtor is ‘pushy’ and won’t listen to your concerns, it’s likely a good time to find a new one.
Trusting your Realtor means you can readily access reliable resources. Speaking of taxing, if you need recommendations for an experienced 1031 tax exchange professional, or real estate attorney, or home inspector, or mortgage lender, or home repair contractor, expect those recommendations to be even more valuable from a trustworthy agent.
Trusting your Realtor means you can focus. There’s usually enough to deal with throughout the course of any real estate transaction. Dealing with lenders, appraisers, inspectors, contractors, title companies and the like can be overwhelming. As a result, you’re more likely to be far more effective if you can concentrate on what you’re best at, while having your real estate agent handle what he or she is best at.
Trusting your Realtor means more time. Just like you can expect to have more time to go fishing if you hire a contractor to build your new deck, working with a trustworthy real estate agent allows you to do other, more enjoyable tasks than scheduling a home inspection, constantly dealing with escrow details, or meeting an appraiser.
Relationship Chemistry Trust is easier when there is good ‘chemistry’ between a Realtor and their client. When seeking an agent to refer for out of area homebuyers or homesellers, there are many things that a Realtor can readily confirm. These include an agent’s years in business, designations earned, coverage area, plus areas of specialty like homes, farms or commercial property.
As a result, I’m frequently able to locate a very good Realtor to ‘match’ with an out of state homebuyer or seller and it’s not always difficult. That said, the one challenging element to know with certainty is the ‘chemistry’ that even a highly qualified, out-of-area Realtor will have with a new client.
People are different and that includes real estate agents. Most times relationships work out swimmingly with the referred agent. On rare occasions, it doesn’t work out. But going in and at least on paper, the homebuyer or homeseller who interviews a previously unknown, yet vetted Realtor, knows the agent is qualified and experienced, along with some important other facts about him or her. Plus, knowing these facts up front is typically less risky than taking a ‘shot in the dark’ with an unknown agent.
Does The Company Matter? Because Oregon real estate agents are independent contractors, the individual Realtor is who typically matters most. After all, you don’t expect a faceless corporation to answer your late night question, or go over the details of your settlement statement. For example, I don’t care that much about what hospital I go to, but I want to have a say in the surgeon who will do the operating. Similarly, it’s the individual agent who is in a position to make the most difference, whether from a small or large office. However, longevity of a real estate firm can be helpful in determining that they are probably doing something right. So if a company you’re considering has been in existence for half a century or more, they’re likely not a ‘fly by night’ outfit.
Alternative Agent Finding Methods One of the ‘little-known secrets’ about real estate online, including agent ratings, is that placement is frequently purchased. Realtors frequently buy what are known as ‘leads.’ Examples include Zillow and even Realtor.com. Sometimes this is done by the agent buying incoming inquiries regarding a specific zip code. Sometimes, the agent pays for better placement on a real estate website page in order to stand out.
If you decide to use a magazine or the Internet to locate an agent, it may be best to consider that as a first step of information gathering. Promotional materials can be misleading and if carefully crafted, can leave out a lot of important information. For example, if an Realtor is brand new, he or she may focus on how many agents their company employs, personal community involvement like donations to charity, or sponsorships. While these could be nice facts, they may not have a lot to do with the agent’s proficiency, professionalism, or even trustworthiness.
Referrals Are Built on Trust One good way to find a trustworthy Realtor is to ask people you trust and get a referral. The ‘proof is in the pudding,’ so if your friend or family member is happy with a specific real estate agent, there’s a good chance for a similar repeat performance.
White Hat or Black Hat?
One area where certain real estate agents are sometimes revealed to be wearing either a ‘white hat’ or ‘black hat’ is in the area known as ‘dual agency’ or ‘disclosed limited agency.’ This is a situation when an agent with a listed property also works with the buyer. To be clear, most Realtors are aboveboard and honest, continually looking out for their client’s best interests.
That said, the challenge to some agents comes when the agent attempts to ‘elbow aside’ other buyers, their agents and/or offers, in order to push his or her offer through. Why on earth would a Realtor push hard to get their offer accepted, since it’s all about simply selling the house, isn’t it? Not exactly. That’s because if the listing Realtor also sells your home, they typically get paid more.
Dueling with Dual Agency In Realtor circles, the topic of dual agency has proponents and detractors. As a result, don’t expect every real estate agent you run into to have the same opinion. In reality, dual agency can be a very good thing, as seen in our previous article titled “5 ‘Insider Oregon Real Estate Tips.’ There, the topic ‘Having A ‘Double Agent’ Can Be A Good Thing‘ ranks as item #1 out of thefiveitems listed. The advantages to having an agent on both sides of a real estate transaction are clear.
The result, good or bad, can significantly depend on your agent’s trustworthiness. For example, hurriedly accepting the first offer can work out. That’s because sometimes the first offer is the best offer. Alternatively, acting without as much available information as possible sometimes comes at significant expense to the seller, who may be urged to quickly accept the offer their listing (seller’s) agent has written. The problem is that the listing Realtor can be expected to reasonably know how much activity there is on the property for sale. Again, trust is key here.
Plus, given the amount of agent and buyer activity, along with the quality of inquiries (such as highly motivated, qualified buyers), the seller’s Realtor may have even heard comments from other agents about possible future offers. So by pushing his or her own offer, is the listing Realtor providing the seller with all known information in order to truly serve the seller’s best interest? Sometimes the only person to seemingly know the answer is the listing agent. A Harvard Business Review articlenotes why this situation can be a problem:
“Take cheating. Claremont McKenna psychologist Piercarlo Valdesolo and I have conducted many experiments on the topic, and one surprising (if disheartening) result we have found, time and again, is that 90% of people—most of whom identify themselves as morally upstanding—will act dishonestly to benefit themselves if they believe they won’t get caught. Why? Anonymity means no long-term cost will be exacted. Even more startling is the fact that most of those who cheat also refuse to characterize their actions as untrustworthy; they rationalize their behavior even while condemning the same in others…”
More than once, an honest real estate agent working with a highly qualified and motivated buyer has inquired about a property, even written up that buyer’s offer, only to have the listing agent hurriedly put together his or her own offer and submit it to the seller in order to ‘tie up’ the property (and presumably make more money), before other offers can be considered. It’s a fact of the real estate business and as a result, unethical agents develop a reputation and are often viewed warily by others in the business.
The ‘Commission Effect’ If all these elements don’t sufficiently complicate the task of finding a trustworthy Aurora, Oregon Realtor, there is also a phenomenon you might call the ‘commission effect.’ This is outlined in a previous article titled ‘5 little Known Realtor Insider Tips:’Realtors Can Calculate Their Paycheck by Viewing a Property Listing Sheet. This means that for agents truly focused on maximizing their payday, you might expect them to guide you toward homes that pay a higher commission structure. The listing sheet is typically only seen by multiple listing members. Thankfully, most Realtors simply don’t do business in this manner.
The Bottom Line During high level negotiations,President Ronald Reagan sometimes used the term ‘Trust, but verify.’ This old Russian proverb could be a helpful approach to grant you peace of mind in finding a trustworthy agent for your next real estate transaction. Do your research and ask family and friends for Realtor references. Be open and forthright, then make your best decision based on relevant, reliable information for your situation.
Thinking about selling your Aurora property, or have real estate questions? Contact your Aurora real estate specialist Roy Widing with Certified Realty today for a free consultation. Roy has been selling Aurora properties since 1988 and he can sell yours, too. Simply use the convenient form below, or call him at (800) 637-1950.