Morris Massre's Blog

Thoughts on South Florida Realty and the Planet in General

Death of a realtor

It was only a matter of time, the death of the realtor as we know it. I know this because I am one. There was once a time when the majority of the public counted on realtors for help. But, over the last decade the real estate landscape has been altered by factors that realtors simply have no control over.
Does the public really need realtors anymore? Only those that are either too busy or have no knowledge of the business hire realtors today. The factors that have contributed to our downfall and the way in which we do business are as follows; Tighter lending rules by banks. Before the housing meltdown everyone was lending money like it was going out of style, but banks today are much stricter because they do not want to get burned again. If you cannot get a loan you cannot buy a home. This leaves realtors with mostly cash buyers that are hard to come by. Lenders are tightening the noose even more in 2014 as evidenced in this article from HousingWire.com. http://www.housingwire.com/articles/28192-headwinds-ahead-for-housing
Buyers and sellers alike also have a great deal of access to realtor’s listings in the MLS via websites such as Trulia and Zillow. Sellers can even advertise on some of these housing sites, which begs me to wonder why on earth would the websites that are trying to help realtors actually hurting them?
The internet, of course, opened up all kinds of doors for buyers, renters, and sellers. Instead of calling an agent they can simply go to any of a numerous real estate sites and conduct a search on their own, study photos and videos, investigate taxes and maintenance fees, and even make an offer. This essentially eliminates the Multiple Listing Service that agents use because those same listings are taken from there and posted on these various sites while we as realtors still have to pay dues to the local, state, and national boards.
Unscrupulous realtors who only look out for themselves are a back breaker for any of us who take this business seriously and treat it with the utmost professionalism. Unfortunately, there are way too many of them, especially in South Florida because this area of the country is ripe with fraud. As an industry we also make it too easy for anyone to obtain a license. It is not about the quality of the realtors out there, but for those at the state level, the quantity of agents they can collect dues from. These same realtors go so far as to charge a very low fee for service for sellers who want their home listed in the MLS, but want to save the 3% on the selling or listing side. Every time one of these realtors collects $250. to list a home in the MLS they are hurting the another realtor that much more.
The fickle housing market has a tendency to change like the weather. I have come to realize that America’s economy depends heavily on the housing market because the industry employs so many people on so many levels that most people do not even realize. Every time the market takes a nose dive every realtor and those they do business with feels it. It has a negative trickle down affect. What else can a realtor do when the market tanks? There is no golden parachute for us. We have to wait it out and hope the market makes a comeback as quickly as possible.
If a bad economy coincides with a housing meltdown, as we discovered in 2006, then we have a recipe for disaster. The downturn can last for years. When this happens most realtors who cannot wait it out leave for another industry, usually something that just pays the bills because they are not qualified for anything else. And since housing dictates a large part of the economy, one cannot rehabilitate without the other.
Lastly, greed comes to my mind when I think of our death. A buyer always wants a property for as low as he can get it, even if it requires dirty tactics. The seller wants more than his property is worth. It is a never ending cycle in which the hired realtor is always trapped in the middle. What matters is what is fair and how it will affect those in your neighborhood later on down the road, but everyone is always thinking of himself. If things do not go their way then the realtor is to blame, so next time they attempt a sale on their own to eliminate us and try to make even more money off of those unsuspecting buyers.
Everytime you eliminate a realtor from your property sale consider this; You have just put a small business out of business and small business is the backbone of this country. Without small business you are left with nothing but big box stores and the internet.

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Filed under: Real Estate, South Florida, Thoughts on Life, , , ,

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