Realty isn't easy

Published November 28, 2002, in issue #43 of The Hook

I applaud Rob Lynch and Anthony McGhee's enthusiastic capitalist spirit in establishing Assist2Sell, the latest real estate venture with a hybrid commission structure. [News: "$2,995 special: Will it rock the realty world?" November 7, 2002] (http://www.readthehook.com/92714/newsshy-2995-special-will-it-rock-realt...).

I also would agree with their customer Scott Hiller if his belief– that a realtor takes half an hour to show a $200,000 house and then walks away with $6,000 as half of the standard six percent commission– were realistic. That would indeed be a "hard pill to swallow."

However:

* A listing agent invests many hours, miles, and research in order to correctly price a client's home for the current market (insure that the Seller gets maximum dollar).

* When Hiller alludes to a realtor walking away with $6,000, I am curious who, at bare minimum in such cases, negotiates the ratified contract and advises the Seller from ratification to closing (typically a 30- to 90-day period involving home inspections and other contingencies that must be resolved prior to settlement)?

* Regarding Hiller's math, unless an agent owns their own firm (approximately 15 percent of Charlottesville realtors in 2001), they give as much as half of that 3 percent commission to their firm before they see a penny.

I'm sure there are situations in which Realtors are fortunate enough to meet a client, sign a listing agreement, put a sign in the yard... and without a glitch, sell the house to the first customer.

But such instances are extraordinarily unusual, if not virtually unheard of, even in Charlottesville's sizzling market. Every such case can be contrasted with 15 of the opposite extreme. Agents often work for a client for months, even years, never to list their home, or sell their next one to them, through no fault of the Realtor's, but simply because of a client's changed physical, financial, or emotional circumstances.

I encourage anyone who likes Assist2Sell's compensation structure to take a careful look at the company's definition of their logo, "Full Service with Savings" versus "full service" at a traditional firm. Selling a home is typically a momentous event in any person's life.

From the first meeting with a client through closing and beyond, does Assist2Sell provide ongoing guidance, availability and, well... handholding?

As anyone who has been through the experience knows, putting a sign in the yard, providing an agent to show the home, and running an advertisement are only the first steps in effectively and satisfactorily selling a home.

Loring Woodriff
Charlottesville
lwoodriff@stevensandcompany.net