More than 50 real estate agents wrote to me after the “controversial” commentary I wrote in The Globe about how to hire a real estate agent. My conclusion is that most of them are delusional about their roles and the value they add.
None of them, of course, could challenge the main thrusts of the argument – although some tried. Instead they went off on tangents and blathered about how proud they are about their profession. But even with this self-serving exercise they only made it clearer that they’re living in a bygone era.
A common refrain was that they have to charge sellers a lot because it costs a lot to advertise for, or otherwise acquire, listings. But that’s clearly absurd. That’s their problem, not the customers. It’s like a law firm saying “oak panelling and spiral staircases are expensive, but we need them to impress clients, so we have to charge you for it.” Or a mutual fund firm saying “we have to charge you 3% to manage your money because we need to advertise our funds to attract new business.”
The agents could always attract new business by charging less. Apparently that doesn’t appeal.