I found this article about ditching the real estate agent to be unintentionally amusing.
Eric Boerner was shopping for a house in the Seattle area when he decided he couldn't stomach the idea of a real estate agent pocketing thousands of dollars in fees for work he'd rather do himself.So as their primary example of someone that has kicked the real estate agent habit, they chose an arrogant Californian, so flush with money that he's willing to throw it into a house he hasn't even seen, let alone had inspected? Wowzers.
Did he really need someone to drive him around? And who could choose the best school for his 5-year- old daughter better than he?
So when Boerner checked out Redfin.com, a Seattle-based home-buying Web site, and saw a modern four-bedroom house in Lake Forest Park he liked, he took the plunge.
He hit the red "buy it" button, and made an offer.
"It seemed kind of surreal to throw a half-million dollars into a house, but I have a lot of trust in my own judgment," said Boerner, 39, who made the offer online from California as he and his family were preparing to relocate to Seattle last month.
"We represent a buyer or seller throughout the entire process. Redfin does not," said Bill Riss, chief executive of Coldwell Banker Bain. He said Redfin's model relies heavily on other full-service real estate agents, who often end up showing Redfin clients' properties.I love the "particularly in hot real estate markets like Seattle" bit. So basically what they're saying is that the popularity of the real estate agent has nowhere to go but down? Oh, and $390,000 in Mountlake Terrace? At a whopping 8% less than last month's King County median, now I know what the Seattle Times means when they called Mountlake Terrace the "sweet spot for affordability".
Riss said full-service companies like Coldwell offer an edge, particularly in hot real estate markets like Seattle, where homes sell quickly, often with multiple offers.
"It's a choice of how you value your time over your money, and do you truly understand the entire real estate process?" he said. "The question is, are you trading off something?"
Boerner eventually lost the Lake Forest Park home when the seller backed out of the deal during escrow, leaving him and his wife, Lynn, scrambling. Instead, they found a four-bedroom house for $390,000 with a deck overlooking a wooded backyard in Mountlake Terrace. They toured that one before closing the deal through Redfin.
(Phuong Cat Le, Seattle P-I, 06.24.2006)