For the past several months, we have been reevaluating our business model. Until now, we have been naively been running our business as a “business”. By this, I mean we have endeavored to provide exceptional counsel, service and results to our clients, and for this we have charged a fee for services. Clearly, this traditional business model is no longer saleable in today’s changing marketplace.
When I call a plumber, I am most concerned with his fee. Whether or not he addresses the source of my leaking faucet is of little concern to me. Before I see my doctor, you had better be sure I negotiate a credit at close of incision; what are a couple of sponges left in my chest cavity compared to the hundreds of dollars I will be saving on the bill? And, when buying a new car, I always pay “sticker” as long as they throw in the floor mats.
In real estate, we have all seen “discount” brokers (they prefer to be called “non-traditional” brokers) come and go, and even stay. Most recently, Redfin’s entry into the San Diego real estate market brought the idea of agent “rebates” back to the forefront. We all know how Redfin offers a 1/3 credit to the buyer at close. The beauty of this is that, by all appearances, the agents become order takers rather than advocates, which translates into savings for the consumer. Who cares if you end up paying more for the home? Think of how much you will “save” on fees.
Up, down or flat market (and we have seen them all), there have always been so many hands in my pockets that I have no room for the car keys. Not only am I growing weary of defending my worth and my paycheck, but now I realize that getting paid for my services is despicable, really.
We are now officially a non-profit organization. Sure, we have effectively worked in this capacity in many transactions and have been asked to operate as such in many more, but it is time to make it official. From now on, we will pay you to buy or sell a home through us. We will give you all of our commission plus we will pay your closing costs and your moving company, and we will throw in a couple of hundred bucks at closing to buy yourself something nice. And we will wash your car every Sunday for a year. This may not make good financial sense to us, but, hey – it is competitive out there.
How will we eat? We will take donations, like any good charitable cause. You may donate your used cars and trucks, and if you contribute cash, we will display your name in all of our advertising. There might not be much advertising, unfortunately, because our new program is a start-up. And, of course, we may have to cut back on some of our services (say, the part about marketing your home, protecting your interests prior to and during contract, and negotiating the most favorable terms on your behalf), but that isn’t important. What is important is that you will be “saving” a bundle.
If this concept takes off, we plan on expanding our services. Ultimately, we hope to be able to actually buy the house for you, or in the case of the seller, from you, but that is a long-term goal.
I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before. Too many people, as reported by the media and even as in some of the comments on this blog, are on to us. We agents are generally uneducated, loathsome, money-grubbing salesmen with no concern for the welfare of our clients. Instead, we victimize them on a daily basis, hoping they will just buy anything and pay more so that we can make more. For sellers, we just want a fast sale at any price for the same reason; their welfare is of little interest to us. If we serve no useful role in the transaction but instead are just intrusive door-openers, it is time to stop charging the consumer.
Emancipation from Representation! Visit us on line at www.SanDiegoCastles.org, which unfortunately isn’t live yet because we are scaling back.
(Author’s Note: APRIL FOOLS! We are still charging a fee, but you really do get what you pay for).