Commission an investment, not an expense


by Toby Welch
Numerous surveys have shown that many home buyers and sellers are unaware of the true value a REALTOR® provides. On the flip side, many REALTORS® assume that their hard work and expertise are a given. Since much of what REALTOR® do is unseen by clients, there is a disconnect between the two groups in many cases.
Nancy Deakin, broker and co-owner of Deakin Realty in Pointe-Claire, Québec, feels that if someone is dead-set against using a REALTOR®, sometimes it is better to wish them well and send them on their way after you make it clear you are available if they are in need of a professional. 
As for how to handle a client who had negative experiences with REALTORS® in the past: “First we would listen to their story. Then we would explain the process carefully along with the services we offer and use examples to show how our experience and network will give the client the best possible outcome selling their home. Listening to the client’s needs also allows us to respond to any concerns and to reinforce the positive aspects of having a REALTOR® protect their interests. Explaining the difficulties others have encountered allows us to show them that this is not a walk in the park.”
Jennifer Pinarski is a pro-REALTOR® convert. She and her husband sold their first home in Winnipeg in 2005 without a REALTOR®. 
“We chose ComFree believing that we’d save a lot of money,” she said. “I was a marketer at the time and thought it would be a breeze. We were well over our heads. We had no idea how to price our house and just guessed, then panicked when it didn’t sell the first week. We dropped the price $20,000. 
“The showings and open houses were monotonous and it was awful always having to be on call. Finally, our house sold, for I’m sure thousands less than it could have. 
“Since then we have sold one more and bought one more home (sold in Winnipeg, bought in Ontario). We used REALTORS® both times, and consider the commissions paid to be an investment, not an expense. It was a much more positive experience.”
According to a U.S. National Association of REALTORS® survey, in hindsight 70 per cent of people who sell their home themselves say they would never do it again and most sellers net far less than they would have had a REALTOR® been selling their home.
The complexities of not using a REALTOR® can be a huge selling point.  
“Ask them if they have the time,” said Goran Todorovic, the broker/team leader of RE/MAX Preferred Realty in Windsor, Ontario. “This is a large factor and should not be underestimated. Can they take time off from work and obligations to show the property? Can they market their property effectively and efficiently when it relates to cost and maximum exposure? Do they understand the complex terms in contracts? Can they handle legal pitfalls that can arise when a messy contract is written, which could result in a legal nightmare and involve huge expenses to rectify? Do they know how to pick the market price? Are they aware of the process that is required in a real estate transaction? Are they comfortable with negotiating contracts on a face-to-face basis with potential buyers? 
“If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then best of luck to them. Otherwise, call the best REALTOR® in town and get them to do what they do best.”
Gary Bazuik, a sales rep with Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty in Victoria, said he avoids discussing being burned by a past experience and focuses on the fact that not all REALTORS are the same. 
“I explain that nine out of 10 FSBOs (For Sale By Owners) eventually list their homes for frustration or safety reasons. A for sale sign is an invitation for anyone passing to enter your home. 
“If you list your home, only qualified buyers will view your property. Our MLS® system had 1.9-billion page views last year alone, with each visit lasting an average of over 10 minutes. Your strong Web presence will create the exposure you need to maximize value for your home.”
John Deakin, the other broker and co-owner at Deakin Realty, sums up the issue: “Unfortunately these stories exist in most businesses. Our concept is very simple — we tell clients the truth and explain that any advice we give would be the same if we were seated in their chairs.”
— reprinted from REM magazine, June 2012.