By Mary Lynne Gibbs • 2018 Director

Moving often rates among the top stressors in life. So, when various start-up companies say they have invented ways to make buying and selling homes hassle free, we, as REALTORS, often want to know more. Because isn’t it our job to make sure our clients have a pleasant and smooth experience during these kinds of transactions? 

But let’s remember that our job is also to protect our clients during these transactions. As we often say, “they don’t know what they don’t know,” and our job is to educate buyers and sellers. These new options to buy and sell a house with the click of a mouse – or a tap on a phone – may be convenient, but, as in many things in life, convenience often comes at a cost. I did some research on one of these companies that is active in some our state’s largest cities and found that at least one of these start-ups has charged fees of 8 to 10 percent, and sometimes as high as 12 percent. Clients have the perception they are saving 6 percent without working with a traditional REALTOR, but often they aren’t.

In addition to possibly higher fees, sellers may be leaving money on the table that they don’t know they are leaving. Like I said before, “they don’t know what they don’t know.” If they are in a hurry to sell, perhaps a click and sell method is beneficial to them, but in most cases, people need to get the most money for their homes. As REALTORS, we bring experiential knowledge that sets us apart. Algorithms used by these technology-based companies can’t touch, taste, smell or put their eye on the property to determine its value like we can. 

Even a former REALTOR, who had years of experience but had let his license expire, did not know how much his home was worth when it came time to sell. Factors such as low inventory and location allowed us to push the market and we got him $100,000 more. If he had used a click and sell type of company, he would have left that on the table unknowingly. How is that helping the consumer?

In everything, there is going to be a bigger, better model that touts itself as being more efficient and saves money, and we in the industry must be prepared for that. But we also must be ready to educate and protect our clients about the potential costs of these click and sell methods. More than ever, be ready to show clients how using your skills as an experienced and educated REALTOR is essential. And if the transaction does turn out to be one of life’s stressful events, they can buy multiple massages with the money they did not leave on the table!  RL