Let me begin by defining a "Discount Agent" - A buyer's agent who will 'kickback' to their buyers, a portion of their Realtor fees, as offered to them by the seller's Listing agent.
Here are 6 Reasons why the kickback isn't worth it -
1. Buyer agent fees
Firstly, hiring a good buyers agent costs you, the buyer, nothing. The agent fees are paid by the seller - so why not take advantage of a knowledgeable, professional Realtor to assist you with the purchase of your home. It is a decision that you are involved with financially, personally and emotionally...potentially for decades. A home where you raise a family and make memories.
2. Knowledge and Education
Barriers to entry in the real estate business are quite low. All you have to do is pass 2 exams and you can get licensed. The monetary investment in the business can be pretty minimal, so anyone can become a real estate agent easily. The question then is, what separates one Realtor from another. In this profession more than any other, experience and learning matters. Does your Realtor understand contracts? Do they educate you on the market? Are they knowledgeable about local neighborhoods? Are they available to answer your questions, or follow up with related parties to the transaction?
3. Wal Mart home shopping
Realtor fees are predetermined, so why do these agents decide to share them with the buyers? When asked, the reason the agents discount give is "We would not get any business otherwise" Literally, discounting is the only way they get business. These agents are essentially the "Wal-Mart" analogy in real estate, competing on price alone. Would you really buy a business suit, for your most desired job interview, or a wedding dress at WalMart? Would you trust a discount agent with the most expensive thing you will ever buy or sell? Some things deserve the attention of an expert - and buying a home is certainly one of them.
4. Real Savings
The question is - are you really "saving" money? The kickback from the agent helps reduce a specified amount in your settlement costs - but that is completely wiped out, if they unable to protect your best interests. You may not be aware of issues in the home you are buying, and only find out when its too late - or worse, at resale. You may need the contractual skills to protect your interests, in case an issue arises during the transaction, but they are not qualified or skilled enough. You miss the house you really really wanted because they were simply not answering your phone call, or didn't have time to show it to you. How effective would those savings be under these circumstances?
5. Negotiation Skills
Would a discount agent negotiate strong for you. An agent who does not have the negotiation skills to protect their own fees, how well will they negotiate on your behalf? Negotiation not only happens at time of putting in an offer - it may happen during Inspections, it may happen during the walk thru or when an appraisal come in short. I have several instances where I easily saved way more money for my buyers, that the possible credit they could have got from a discount agent.
6. Multiple bids
In a hot market it is essential to "win" the house from competing buyers. Agent reputation and professionalism matters a lot in such situations. The discount agents are not respected, and in fact perceived as highly unprofessional, and seen as diluting the professionalism standards, so most listing agents prefer to not work with them.
In my experience over the years, I have encountered many incidents where all of the above was true - the clients involved knew it - and really appreciated they went with a full time, knowledgeable, reputed and professional Realtor like myself. As the graphic suggests - Expensive or Cheap - choose wisely.
Every transaction is different and has different set of players and circumstances, Every house is different, even in cookie cutter neighborhoods. Hire a Realtor who makes a difference, every single time, someone who looks out for your best interests and is willing to put in the time and effort. Read some of my success stories here https://www.belavorahomes.com/cp/reviews/
To learn more about me visit Zillow and read my reviews - https://www.zillow.com/profile/Bela-Vora/