Author Topic: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs  (Read 4126 times)

ellamonz

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Background: I've worked for a couple real estate appraisers, my darling mother is a licensed appraiser, I am experienced in running comps, and I have very particular wants and needs in a house that a generic MLS search will not fulfill (not to mention they're all automated anyway and it takes like 5 minutes to put in the search terms).

We're PCSing (forced move due to needs of the Army for all y'all non-military folks) to the Colorado Springs area this week, and I've had just terrible luck trying to find a buyer's agent who is willing to negotiate rates. The best I got was 0.5% cash back, not negotiable: it was only because the mister is Active Duty.

I thought I'd go the other way and work the seller's agents for the homes I'm interested in. Surely they'd be willing to negotiate, considering they're scheduling showings anyway, and if I buy with no buyer's agent, they get DOUBLE the commission for the cost of being present during the appraisal, right? Wrong. They won't budge at all; I've been talked down to and outright contradicted. More than half the time, this includes a long tirade about how they earn their rates because of the legwork they do (even if it's legwork I don't need them to do and actually prefer that they DON'T do because I'm going to have to do it myself anyway) and it's none of the buyer's business what the commission is.

Honestly, if I had less of a handle on the English language, I would put this down as my own fault, a communication issue maybe. But I've spoke on the phone in some instances (my job right now is as an account manager, I'm the one who calms you down when your thousands of dollars of service a month goes out and we don't know what's wrong yet), and I still can't find anyone remotely open to the idea. I feel like I'm back in the times when travel agents ruled the world. Is there a mustachian out there to help me? I'll take advice on approaching the issue, or a name of someone you think might be willing to talk, or literally anything.

Thanks!

Another Reader

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2015, 11:49:51 AM »
Expecting a rebate from a conventional agent?  Why?  You are buying in a hot market.  Buyers outnumber sellers by a lot and a lot of work has to be done to procure a house for a buyer.  Why would an agent work with you when there are five other qualified buyers willing to pay the going rate?  And being the daughter of an appraiser is nothing special.  Anyone can run comps these days.  That's why the appraisal "profession" no longer pays decently.

If Redfin operates in that area, you might get their rebate.  Otherwise, take the half of a percent and chalk it up to "market conditions."

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2015, 11:59:53 AM »
Try looking for a solo that is not with an agency.  My friend was my Realtor but due to her agency's rules, the most she could compromise was down to 5% if she was a dual agent. Her agency wanted their cut in full so it was coming out of her pocket.  Also, having a friend as a Realtor didn't work out.  We didn't sell it, the contract ended and we got someone else.

eil

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2015, 12:14:25 PM »
They're probably confused as to why you're trying to negotiate rates... 5% on a single commission and 3% on a split is completely and utterly standard. Doubly so in a rising market like we have now.

That being said, a few years ago when we went looking for our house, we tried looking on our own without a buyer's agent and found only a few that would even return our calls. Around here, if you don't have a buyer's agent, you don't exist and you can't even look at house, let alone buy one. Real estate is probably the strangest industry I've seen.

ltt

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2015, 12:15:28 PM »
Why not look for a "For Sale By Owner" and skip all that?

Mr. Green

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2015, 01:56:10 PM »
That being said, a few years ago when we went looking for our house, we tried looking on our own without a buyer's agent and found only a few that would even return our calls. Around here, if you don't have a buyer's agent, you don't exist and you can't even look at house, let alone buy one. Real estate is probably the strangest industry I've seen.
What is truly ridiculous about this is that you don't need a Realtor to buy or sell a house. And frequently I find the information I can dig up on my own to be more accurate than what they can tell me. I'm pretty sure it's illegal for a seller's agent to refuse to show you a house if you don't have a buyer's agent because you are not required by law to have one. You might have to get nasty about it but ultimately not allowing you to see the house violates the whole purpose of their profession. Of course you could make an offer and if there were other offers there's no way to know if your offer might "somehow disappear" if you didn't get the house

NOTE: You do not have to send your offer through the seller's agent. See the house, then submit your offer directly to the seller if you have concerns the seller's realtor might be biased against you for "not having a buyer's agent." At least this way you can ensure the seller sees your offer. The seller still has to pay their realtor but that's not your problem. This doesn't help with the commission reduction aspect though.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 01:58:23 PM by wdanner »

nedwin

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2015, 04:34:44 PM »
I'm not sure what you want from a buyer's agent.  Do you want them to provide you a rebate or cash back at closing from their share of the commission?  In Colorado, as a buyer, you do not have to pay anything to the buyer's agent for their services.

Have you looked into the USAA Homebuyers Program?  I think they offer up to $3000 or $3,500 back at closing to the buyer if you go through their program.  Some homebuilders also offer up to $10,000 off through the USAA program (D.R. Horton, maybe others).  I've had issues originating a home loan through USAA and no longer have insurance with them for other reasons, but you may want to at least look into it.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2015, 05:26:08 PM »
I think it's a matter of supply and demand. The market is too strong for anyone to negotiate. You will probably have better luck in a slower market. What is the end goal? Get a good deal? Many ways to do that besides negotiating the realtor rate. I also liked the idea for sale by owner proposed by someone else.

ellamonz

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2015, 11:31:03 AM »
It's definitely rising but every single agent I spoke with basically started off with how it's still a buyer's market (which is why, as a buyer, the seller is still expected to pay closing costs in most transactions). And to answer Another Reader, I expect a rebate (or discount on sale price, or whatever) from a conventional agent because I will be doing most of their job. Paperwork is drawn up by the seller's agent anyway, so really the only thing I need someone for is to read over everything (which can be done by a lawyer, and honestly I prefer that it is done by a lawyer. I had the same issue when looking at houses a couple years ago--agents aren't willing to negotiate.

Also, "That's why the appraisal "profession" no longer pays decently." is actually quite the opposite. Residential real estate pays an average of $59 thousand nationally (real estate agent is an average of $39 thousand, for comparison), and commercial real estate appraisal has a national average of $89 thousand.

I just want someone who is will to taking a normal pay cut for six hours of work. No, six thousand dollars for six hours of work is not a normal pay rate, regardless of how accepted it is.

Next question then, I guess; does anyone know a Colorado real estate agent that will let me "apprentice" (free work for them!) so I qualify for my own broker's licensing so I don't have to deal with this headache?

MishMash

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2015, 12:04:37 PM »
It's definitely rising but every single agent I spoke with basically started off with how it's still a buyer's market (which is why, as a buyer, the seller is still expected to pay closing costs in most transactions). And to answer Another Reader, I expect a rebate (or discount on sale price, or whatever) from a conventional agent because I will be doing most of their job. Paperwork is drawn up by the seller's agent anyway, so really the only thing I need someone for is to read over everything (which can be done by a lawyer, and honestly I prefer that it is done by a lawyer. I had the same issue when looking at houses a couple years ago--agents aren't willing to negotiate.

Also, "That's why the appraisal "profession" no longer pays decently." is actually quite the opposite. Residential real estate pays an average of $59 thousand nationally (real estate agent is an average of $39 thousand, for comparison), and commercial real estate appraisal has a national average of $89 thousand.

I just want someone who is will to taking a normal pay cut for six hours of work. No, six thousand dollars for six hours of work is not a normal pay rate, regardless of how accepted it is.

Next question then, I guess; does anyone know a Colorado real estate agent that will let me "apprentice" (free work for them!) so I qualify for my own broker's licensing so I don't have to deal with this headache?

We own a home in COS that is currently a rental in the Briargate area (PCSd two years ago), you won't find an agent that will pay you to use them to buy a house, because it is NOT a 'buyers market' in the springs (the good parts at least, most of the areas around post they will take a while, because the area isn't very good) every home in our neighborhood over the last 2 years has sold in a couple of weeks or under.   Your best bet is the Military agent program through USAA, and you don't have to use USAA for the loan to take advantage of it, we went through Wells Fargos military program (super good deal, no fees, cheaper rates, and on our second house, they got approval in under 30 days).  I think we got back like 2k on buying that house. 

In all honesty the agents there are like a damn mafia, they all know each other, they all work for the same 2 companies and frankly EVERY one we dealt with SUCKED, we went through FIVE while buying.  I mean like literally didn't find the house we bought, we did on our own, kind of sucked.  I sometimes think I need to become a real estate agent sometimes, it looks like a good paying gig for not a lot of effort.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2015, 12:29:33 PM »
Quote
The best I got was 0.5% cash back, not negotiable

The fact that they even offered this is amazing.

A buyer does not pay an agent, the seller does.  So what they get paid is none of the buyers business. So the buyer can't negotiate the rate.

If the market is strong, they have no incentive to give up part of their paycheck to you.

Another Reader

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2015, 12:47:48 PM »
I think your attitude might be part of your problem.

Let's apply some common sense here.  Values in Colorado Springs have risen by double digits every year for the last few years, time on market is measured in days, not weeks, and multiple offers are common.  Buyers outnumber sellers, and your attitude towards agents is arrogant and condescending.  You didn't get anywhere with this idea on the last sale, and you aren't getting anywhere here.  My guess is that not a lot of agents want to work with someone with your attitude.  If you are unreasonable with them, you are likely to be unreasonable with a seller and lose the sale.  It's a waste of their time.

Like most western states, escrow/title companies handle real estate transactions in Colorado.  Attorneys are generally not involved, unless either the buyer or seller has an unusual legal issue.  The contract is a standard MLS contract, but the terms of the offer are set by the buyer, not the seller's agent.  You would need less help with the contract than a first time buyer, but an experienced representative can be helpful to anyone.

The appraisal business has been declining for years.  Everyone I knew in the residential fee appraisal business decided to retire when the appraisal management companies came to town.  Now you are lucky to get anyone that has any experience to do a home and the majority that are assigned here come from outside the local area.  Good luck getting the right number if you own something other than a tract house.  The MAI's I know are still doing ok, but it's not a great living by Silicon Valley standards.

Let us know how this turns out.

Jack

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2015, 02:22:24 PM »
Quote
The best I got was 0.5% cash back, not negotiable

The fact that they even offered this is amazing.

A buyer does not pay an agent, the seller does.  So what they get paid is none of the buyers business. So the buyer can't negotiate the rate.

This, by itself, is fucked up (not iowajes' post, the situation). Apparently:
  • The buyer can't negotiate the buyer's agent's rate, because the buyer doesn't pay the agent.
  • The seller can't negotiate the buyer's agent's rate, because the seller doesn't choose that agent.

So who decides how much the buyer's agent gets paid? The agent himself? What's to stop him from demanding the other 97% of the sale price, then? (I realize that's silly, but still -- it's as if the "standard" 3% is completely arbitrary and non-negotiable. Does that mean anybody trying to sell FSBO is forced to pay 3% instead of 0% just because the buyer that happened to show up was one using an agent?)

It makes no damn sense.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2015, 02:29:12 PM »
Quote
The seller can't negotiate the buyer's agent's rate, because the seller doesn't choose that agent.

They kind of can. I have seen listings that have a rate for the buyer agent in them.  If it is lower than the standard 3%, generally buyer's agents won't show the house.  A higher rate for the buyer's agent is usually a way to attract more showings.


As for who decides- it's pretty much just industry standard.  If a buyer's agent demanded 97%, the offer would just be declined.

Jack

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2015, 02:37:07 PM »
If it is lower than the standard 3%, generally buyer's agents won't show the house.

Ah, so it's a "pay us or fuck you" extortion fee kind of deal.

Aren't "Realtors" supposed to have a professional ethical obligation to act in their client's best interest (say, by showing him houses that fit his requirements even if they don't match the agent's fee expectation)?

MishMash

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2015, 03:03:56 PM »
If it is lower than the standard 3%, generally buyer's agents won't show the house.

Ah, so it's a "pay us or fuck you" extortion fee kind of deal.

Aren't "Realtors" supposed to have a professional ethical obligation to act in their client's best interest (say, by showing him houses that fit his requirements even if they don't match the agent's fee expectation)?

Yea pretty much.  What they are supposed to do versus actually do is totally different.  We went through 5 because one didn't believe me that I couldn't stay in a house on a tour because the pot smoke and animal smell were going to give me an asthma attack.  She insisted I stay, que the ambulance.  Another was blatently hitting on my husband while we were looking at houses (can't blame her, the hubz is smokin hot, but it made him extremely uncomfortable), one wouldn't send me listings over the net (we lived across country), one was only showing us houses that were 20-50k above the upper limit we gave her.  So no, a lot of them generally act in their OWN best interest.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2015, 03:19:10 PM »
If it is lower than the standard 3%, generally buyer's agents won't show the house.

Ah, so it's a "pay us or fuck you" extortion fee kind of deal.

Aren't "Realtors" supposed to have a professional ethical obligation to act in their client's best interest (say, by showing him houses that fit his requirements even if they don't match the agent's fee expectation)?

I don't know what the obligation to a client is during the showing period, as on my two houses the buyer's agent has not had us sign a contract with him until we were ready to put an offer in.  At that point he had an obligation to us. Before then, I think either of us could walk at any time for any reason as there was no tie.

jmusic

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2015, 03:19:53 PM »
Your best bet is the Military agent program through USAA, and you don't have to use USAA for the loan to take advantage of it, we went through Wells Fargos military program (super good deal, no fees, cheaper rates, and on our second house, they got approval in under 30 days).  I think we got back like 2k on buying that house. 

+1.  While we all know that "the seller pays the commission," in actuality the BUYER does because he's funding the entire sale.  That said, IT IS A SELLER'S MARKET RIGHT NOW. 

OP:  I think you're trying to negotiate commission because you feel that you can't negotiate on the price of the house.  In my mind that's like negotiating the trade-in value on your $1000 used car while ignoring the ripoff price of the financing.  Forget about all that crap and just look at the "top-line" number. 

Use the USAA program because it's "free money" to you, and guess what?  It comes out of the commissions anyway!  Find an agent that you like & work well with and be done with it.

jmusic

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2015, 03:22:14 PM »
If it is lower than the standard 3%, generally buyer's agents won't show the house.

Ah, so it's a "pay us or fuck you" extortion fee kind of deal.

Aren't "Realtors" supposed to have a professional ethical obligation to act in their client's best interest (say, by showing him houses that fit his requirements even if they don't match the agent's fee expectation)?

Are they supposed to work for free?  If I was selling a house in a buyer's market I'd absolutely pay more to the agent who brings the best buyer!

waltworks

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2015, 05:06:56 PM »
I think at some point if you are *always* having a bad experience with realtors (and some of these stories of Mishmash's... very strange - the agent physically prevented you from leaving a house and you were hospitalized?!? That's a felony and/or huge civil suit...) you have to take a look at the common element in the various situations - ie, you.

I run a business I which I interact a lot with individual customers. Guess which ones are always the biggest PITA, create a ton of drama, and and not worth dealing with at all in most cases? That's right, the ones who come in trying to immediately haggle over stuff.

Seriously, if you can do most of the work yourself, then just get an agent who will be as helpful as you need and stop trying to nickel and dime people. Or just write offers yourself and see if you can make it work, if your offer is attractive, you'll probably get it accepted, and then you can bargain a bit knowing that the sellers agent/sellers will maybe be more willing to negotiate a bit.

-W
« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 05:38:54 PM by waltworks »

paddedhat

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2015, 05:23:49 AM »
I think at some point if you are *always* having a bad experience with realtors (and some of these stories of Mishmash's... very strange - the agent physically prevented you from leaving a house and you were hospitalized?!? That's a felony and/or huge civil suit...) you have to take a look at the common element in the various situations - ie, you.

-W

Maybe, maybe not.  I was a homebuilder and  investor. I did a lot of due diligence to avoid incompetent, dishonest and lazy agents, for a very good reason. The profession is full of them. I currently live in an area that was dominated by one broker who has the ethics of a crack whore. She is famous for stealing from her own employees, and it is generally understood that her long term agents are just as shady as she is. In the three decades in the game, I have been flat out lied to so many times that I have lost count, I had a really good agent who had to threaten legal action against the seller's agent to stop some shady BS, and I have had to ask a broker to step in and babysit their worthless agent who was too screwed up to hand basic, trouble free deal in a timely manner.

There are lots of competent, professional and honest agents out there, as well. In a "hot" market, however, there is typically no shortage of agents that will only last until the market cools, and their performance catches up with them.

waltworks

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Re: Help! Can't find an agent who will work with us in Colorado Springs
« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2015, 07:14:29 AM »
Oh, I'm not saying there aren't lots of terrible realtors out there. I'm saying that it's never *that* hard to find a decent one, especially if you're basically competent with RE matters to begin with as the OP says they are. If you have one bad experience, ok. If EVERY TIME is a bad experience, you are doing something wrong.

-W