That’s the tagline of a new, do-it-yourself website for consumers called BuyerCurious.com. (Read the emotionally charged comments in this Inman News story.) The site claims that, by representing themselves, buyers can save thousands of dollars if the seller doesn’t have to pay a commission split to a buyer’s brokerage.
Make an offer on any home, any time. It’s free, easy, and you can save BIG! All you need is a property address.
Hmmm… sounds easy. Now I’m curious too!
According to BuyerCurious, buying a home involves just six simple steps:
STEP 1: Determine your budget
STEP 2: Find your dream home
STEP 3: See the home in person
STEP 4: Determine your desired offer price
STEP 5: Make your offer (using a “super-slick offer-making platform”)
STEP 6: Close the deal
As a long time real estate broker myself and an obvious fan of technology in real estate, I applaud all who attempt to improve the business. Besides, I’ve never had a client who didn’t want to save money!
So will it work? I think not. Here are my reasons why:
- Real estate is the anti-commodity: Every home and every transaction is unique. Technology makes many things possible, but there is just no way all of the personal, unique factors that go into buying a home can be dealt with using a do-it-yourself website. Something critical will be missed.
- Real estate is a relationship game. Technology is valuable to real estate consumers for such things as home search and tax records. But it requires skilled experts to close an actual transaction—the most important expert being the real estate agent.
- The commission agreement is a contract between the seller and the brokerage representing him. Most listing agreements specify a commission be paid by the seller to the listing agent who, in turn, splits it with the buyer’s agent. A good buyer’s agent makes the transaction much smoother and more likely to close by providing: logistics, advice and even therapy to their buyer. In my experience, unrepresented buyers are difficult, less likely to close and greatly increase my legal risk as the listing agent. I would far prefer to split the commission with a buyer’s agent than have an unrepresented buyer.
Since I can remember, people have been saying that technology would make real estate agents obsolete. While technology certainly has reduced the number of unskilled or unprofessional agents, experienced and skilled agents are in higher demand than ever.
Buyers going it alone are usually a pain-in-the- _ _ _. Except for grossly overpriced listings that can’t otherwise sell, most agents would not want to pass on the buy side commission to an unrepresented buyer. It kind of reminds me of this sign at an auto repair shop.
What do you think?