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Archive for January, 2007

Overcharging? A dedicated Realtor is a bargain . . .

Attorney Craig Blackmon issues a testy remark in a comment today, but the truth is, I could not be happier to discuss the underlying issue.

Sez Craig:

Well, it appears that even the “full service” agents are overcharging just a wee bit. It turns out that a successful agent must rebate nearly $69,000 a year to clients in order to charge a “fair” fee for the service. With this sort of transparency, I’m not sure Redfin has such a poor business model — at least they overcharge less.

I rebated more than half that amount in Q4 ’06 alone, so the number is not impressive to me.

Here is a number that has a very high priority for me today: Three.

That is the number of attorneys in two different states who tried with all their might — and failed — to kill one of my transactions.

They weren’t really trying to kill the deal — they were just being lawyers: Clumsy, stupid, ham-handed and — most particularly — slow. It took more than two weeks for the three of them to work out how to remove a bogus lis pendens that should never have been a cloud on the title in the first place.

I’m pretty sure each one of them made more on the house than I did.

But the important thing is, we closed the deal. A real estate attorney would have either killed the deal or bled the buyer white — for months. Lazy-for-less Redfin would have killed the deal. We closed today and my buyer moved in because I refused to let the transaction die.

I get paid for results, not ergs of energy expended nor drops of sweat spilled nor towering piles of paperwork. Results — not my time, not information, not obsequious service. I only get paid when I actually do the job I was hired to do.

Erg for erg, hour for hour, I lost my ass on this deal. But I don’t measure my life that way. I don’t have a job. I don’t get to eat one sesame seed every time I press the big red button. I work for days or for weeks without any compensation, and then, on some days, I get five-figure paychecks. I have worked for years for clients without getting paid for my efforts.

I don’t think I’m going to convince Mr. Blackmon of anything, nor do I wish to, but I can give thoughtful readers a lens for understanding “overcharging.”

If you paid for what you wanted and didn’t get it, you were overcharged.

Even if it didn’t cost you any money to lose what you wanted, you’re still out your time and that opportunity — possibly an irreplaceable opportunity.

If you got what you wanted when every other party to the transaction was working, intentionally or by default, to prevent you from getting it — you got good value for your money.

You’re not paying for an order-taker and you’re not paying for a good ol’ college try. You’re paying for results. If you’re not getting the results you’re paying for — you need to learn how to shop more wisely…

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