Witness the Total Eclipse of Real Estate
A world without real estate agents.
This article is part of our October “World Without” series, in which we imagine parallel dimensions where business professionals disappear. And we’re glad you’re here to celebrate Halloween with us!
Let the story begin…
The eclipse arrives with fanfare and excitement. But as the sun peeks out from behind the moon, all the world’s real estate agents vanish.
The United Nations assembles a task force to investigate the massive disappearance. Divers comb ocean depths, explorers brave desert heat, and astronauts roam the cosmos.
But the search comes up empty. Now, rusty “for sale” signs sit in yards of unsold homes. And HGTV has no new programming to air.
Closing sessions last for days as tall stacks of documents go largely misinterpreted. Buyers and sellers represent themselves in transactions, and the results don’t favor all parties.
When real estate agents were around to create win/win situations, sellers netted almost 22% more on the bottom line.1 In the bygone era of 2015, the average for sale by owner (FSBO) home sold for $185,000, while homes sold for an average of $240,000 when agents assisted.2
But now the housing market (if you can even call it that) runs rampant with scams, such as the botched sale of the Gateway Arch. A fake, but very convincing listing leads a famous multibillionaire (we won’t name any names) to lose a large percentage of his fortune.
The uncertainty of the real estate market forces most home inspectors to find different careers. And with no agents to help them identify property issues, buyers suffer.
When they manage to complete transactions for FSBO homes, purchasers find several common defects in their properties:3
- Faulty electrical wiring
- Aged roofing materials
- Drainage problems
- Mold growth
- Poor ventilation and insulation
The buyers must use their own funds to fix these issues, because they don’t have contractual provisions to protect them.
Without agents to guide sellers, market value fluctuates without rhyme or reason. Two identical houses in the same neighborhood are priced $50,000 apart.
The online listings don’t look good, either. With no real estate agents to market properties, Zillow and Trulia fill up with poorly shot, dimly lit pictures of hastily staged rooms. Couches slant at odd angles, dirt covers kitchen counters, and the Smiths upload snapshots of their bulldog, Bruiser, chewing through the living room trim.
Above all else, buyers and sellers miss the knowledge and experience of real estate agents who:4
- Market homes with smart staging and professional photos
- Negotiate in tough situations
- Coordinate appointments with appraisers and inspectors
- Navigate the complications of closing
- Work crazy hours to make clients happy
But what’s this? All the TVs in the world crackle with static at the same moment. An ovular, green face appears amid the grainy gray dots crawling down the screens. The alien’s huge, black eyes reflect no emotions.
The being speaks.
“We took your real estate agents, and we’re not giving them back. They’re a lot of fun, and they say they love the rustic beauty of Mars. And they make sure we get great deals on our properties. Peace out, Earth peeps.”
The transmission fades…
What steps do you take to make your real estate clients happy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
1Weintraub, Elizabeth. “Why Do I Need a Real Estate Agent?” The Balance. 12 August 2017. Web. 8 August 2017.
2Williams, Geoff. “Skipping the Real Estate Agent: What Can Go Wrong.” U.S. News. 23 December 2016. Web. 8 August 2017.
3“Common Problems Found During Home Inspections.” HGTV. Web. 8 August 2017.
4Ameer, Cara. “8 Things homesellers risk when they sell without a real estate agent.” Inman. 26 July 2017. Web. 8 August 2017.