Danger! On the Real Estate Horizon

Posted by Steve Vincent on Oct 13, 2015 3:10:05 PM

In real estate commission, real estate problems, issues affecting real estate, Sellers

The National Association of Realtors is out with a serious report about the real estate industry that insinuates that huge change is coming soon. The study, prepared by an outside consulting group, compiled information gleaned from interviews with 70 real estate industry experts and insiders. The group’s predictions for the industry were so tumultuous that the report itself is entitled, ‘The Danger Report.’ While there were sobering predictions in a number of areas, a few jumped out at me, specifically:

Real estate commissions paid by American consumers are too high.

Because ordinary real estate commissions are usually a percentage of the final sales price of the home being sold, the size of commissions consumers pay their agents has increased to stratospheric levels. Consider that a typical Guilford County homeowner selling a $250,000 home and paying an ordinary broker, say, 6% commission would pay $15,000 in commission . . . and I think the point is well made!

But, beyond that, here in the United States, our real estate commission percentages are out of step with much of the rest of the world. For example, in the UK, real estate commissions average 1%-2% of the sales price; in the Netherlands, 1.5% - 2%; in Austrailia, 2% - 3%; and in Germany, 3% - 6%. Here in the USA however, commission percentages hover between 5% and 6%.

Commission sticker shock was one of the things that led me to open GreatNest more than 15 years ago. I figured if I could find a better way to do the business that saved consumers money on commissions, I’d have a winner. The GreatNest Low Set Fee pricing model proved to be that better way, and today we are saving consumers many thousands over what they’d pay an ordinary broker.

The next item that caught my attention was this (and I’ll quote the headline directly from the report):

The real estate industry is saddled with a large number of part-time, untrained, unethical and/or incompetent agents. This knowledge gap threatens the credibility of the industry.

Real estate has always been a fairly easy business to get into. It requires completion of a course of study, the passing of a State exam, and a few hundred dollars in licensing fees. But knowing how to do the business and to look out for your customers and clients in their transactions is another matter. It is something you learn through doing, with help from expert coaching on the side, not something you learn in order to pass the real estate exam.

I am proud to say the team at GreatNest is full time, experienced and well able to deal with the problems that arise in any real estate transaction. . We have helped more than 1,500 home buyers and sellers successfully navigate the difficult waters of a real estate transaction, AND we have saved them more than $2.6 million dollars in the process. We are education junkies and often find ourselves in classes aimed at increasing our knowledge and improving our skills.

As dark as The Danger Report seems to be, I am excited and proud of where GreatNest stands relative to it. We are the low cost alternative to the ordinary real estate model - a model undergoing tremendous upheaval as it works to become more like . . . well, us!