Selecting A Real Estate Broker
OK, you need to sell your land, home, or business and you want to make a wise choice. There are about 150 licensed practicing realtors in this market today, plus some business brokers. (Note that a realtor is one who is a member of the proper associations, no more and no less.) Some brokers have wonderful, deserved reputations – and then there are the rest – many of who are really good, or could be for you.
It is said that if you want to be successful align yourself with successful people. I think that good advice. The brokers who do the most business are where they are for good reasons. At least most are. You can ask around about people, call the Taos County of Realtors (TCAR) offices and get stats on who does what business, talk to your local banker or the officers of the title companies, or look at the ads you see and who presents themselves as you like. And consider who shows properties the way you would want yours to be represented. There are reasons for things and those that do the most business generally are that way for good cause.
I’d make a list, and schedule appointments. Meet the people, see how they present themselves, and then go see their work environment – like meeting rooms where business can be conducted professionally. Ask about their advertising programs and by all means look at their web sites, where they show up on Google and other important search engines.
The world has changed very quickly in real estate. Just 10 years ago only 10% of buyers went to the web to look for property. Today it is 94%.
Talk price. But be forewarned that not all brokers are created equal. Be aware that some will tell you what you want to hear and some will tell you the truth. Be open to opinions that are different from yours and by all means look at both past sales and the competition. My view is I care more about who I am competing against at that moment than what has happened in the past. I am an optimist by nature but I am grounded in the reality of our times. My goal isn’t to please but to educate because only if you know and understand can you make sound decisions.
Talk commissions. Expect to pay 6% for a residential sale, 10% for a land sale, and between 6 and 10% for a commercial sale. Those numbers never made sense to me because there is so much more work involved in the sale of a business or even a residential transaction then raw land, but that is the way it is done in Taos. Commissions are always negotiable and if it were otherwise there would be restraint of trade issues. Know that there are brokers who will discount commissions but don’t make that the sole criteria you judge by. Sometimes a deal is not a deal.
Make sure you speak the same language as the broker you select. Transactions can be stressful, full of surprises, difficult on all. I think you ought to feel that you and the broker are a team, that you have confidence is her or his leadership and opinions. but the decisions must always be yours. I tell my clients that if my advice doesn’t work for them, doesn’t really make sense, I’m probably not the right guy. Frankly that has never happened, but it remains the way I see it.
It is important for you to know that there are two kinds of brokerage relationships you can have with a realtor in New Mexico – the traditional agency, and transaction broker. Make sure your broker provides explanations of the differences so you can decide. Too many brokers fear what is called agency so they only present transaction brokerage. The law requires you be given the choice and you ought to. Get nothing less. While I will go into this in greater depth in a subsequent column I do urge that you have a written agreement confirming whatever that is you choose. Please. Oral agreements are dangerous for all as memories can be affected by subsequent events. But writings speak for themselves. Our state forms are fair and reasonable so you can be comfortable with them.
When all is said and done, pick a horse to tie your wagon to and good luck with the ride.