There are over 40,000 licensed real estate agents in Arizona. Can you believe that? It seems having your real estate license is basically the same as having your driver’s license. Now all of those licenses are not currently active…but in order to have a license, either active or not, you must take continuing education classes every two years. So it isn’t like the people with inactive licenses have just forgotten about them. So there are a TON of real estate agents around. Which AS a real estate agent, obviously, kind of sucks. But, how many of those active real estate licenses are actually used as a full time professions? Not nearly that number. A drop in the bucket is my guess, though there aren’t published numbers on this. Some people hold active licenses for their own purchases and sales, and others do real estate on the side…as a side hussle. Evenings, weekends, but during the week they are at their normal jobs…you know the one with regular paychecks and insurance!
It’s a tad competitive
There is still a TON of competition though among full time agents. We are in no shortage. Some of work from home, others in an office….but this is how we feed ourselves, and our families. Selling real estate is the main gig, the ONLY gig. So we take it seriously. We are educated, we are constantly getting more educated. We are expanding ourselves and our knowledge to share that with our clients, and serve them better. We learn about how to market your properties so they reach the most people, and shine a light on your home to attract the RIGHT attention…people that actually are wanting to buy right now. We take pride in representing you well, helping you make decisions and prepare your property for the market. We want you to get the absolute top dollar for your home that the market will support today….so if your property doesn’t appraise, or a buyer doesn’t appear…it is a hit to our ego and our efforts…bottom line is we care!
Dual Agency is LIMITED Agency
But are we all the same? Are those of us that do this full time and take it seriously all in agreement about the best practices or what client representation means? No, not even close. That is why before you hire someone to represent you you should really be clear on their values and practices. One practice is extremely common, and extremely well accepted among real estate agents that I am here to tell you is a load of crap, and should NEVER accept it. This is practice of DUAL AGENCY (now called LIMITED agency to be more clear to sellers and buyers). Dual agency can mean the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent work for the same brokerage…but that isn’t the type of dual agency I have an issue with. The type of dual agency I can’t wrap my brain around being an ethical choice is when ONE agent represents both the seller and buyer in a transaction. What this does is essentially remove the main job of a real estate agent. No longer can the agent advise the seller…or the buyer. If our experience and education can’t be used to advise our clients….we are essentially just paper pushers. We push the paperwork from the seller to the buyer, and from the buyer to the seller. Legally when representing both sides of a transaction you can explain the paperwork, but give no opinions or share common practices or your experience if there is a conclusion or opinion. That is considered advising, which you are not allowed to do. So how is the agent doing their job? They aren’t in my opinion. And often for this terrible service the agent earns TWICE the commission. That’s right. They get twice the money because they collect both the buyer’s and the seller’s agents commissions. For being a paper pusher.
You Deserve Representation
If you are considering selling your home, ask the agents you are considering hiring what their thoughts are on dual (or limited)agency. Do they practice it? (MOST DO) How do they defend it? Do they understand they can no longer advise you as the seller? What do YOU, as the seller, have to gain by the listing agent also representing the buyer? (Nothing, and stand lose a lot…but ask the agents you might hire this question.) Dual agency in my opinion is a way for a real estate agent to double their commission and take none of the responsibility of advising. It is very celebrated when an agent “double dips” a deal in real estate offices…but it isn’t the type of celebrating I would want done on my dime. If the agent offers to reduce the commission you as the seller have to pay (rare) …that is at least something…but keep in mind what you are paying for this service. No longer will you be fully represented in your sale. So sure, you may save 1 or 2%, but in exchange you might be paying for something for the buyer that you should or could negotiate off the contract but aren’t aware that you could do that. Or if you are a buyer, NEVER call the listing agent. You are only putting yourself in a position of not being represented. That commission reduction will not be off the price YOU pay…it will be off the commissions the seller pays. Might they pass that on to you? Maybe…but maybe they would have paid your closing costs, bought you a home warranty, left the refrigerator and washer and dryer for you, but you didn’t ask because you weren’t fully represented!
Make sure to hire the best real estate agent to help you make the best decisions when buying or selling!