Referrals Everywhere

It's been a busy few weeks for people calling me to ask for help in selling real estate here and elsewhere. After all the talk about the Internet as a way to sell real estate oneself, and all the fears about the demise of our profession, it's heartening to see how many buyers and sellers out there know that they can use our help profitably. Even though all the studies show that the vast majority of transactions are done through real estate companies, there is a perception that that time has passed. It is true that the information buyers need can now be found online in many cases. What isn't true is that buyers don't need assistance in interpreting the data, in learning about a region, and in structuring an offer. And sellers are much the same. I've heard some talk about using Zillow to price a property, although it is very unreliable in certain areas. I've also known people who do their own marketing and even open houses. Much more often, though, I've heard people say how much they value having an intermediary in the negotiations, especially when they know the other party. What would seem to be an advantage--familiarity with the other side--makes most sellers and buyers very uncomfortable. The addition of professionals is highly comforting. At a time when saving money is chic, the use of real estate agents and agencies is a clear sign of their value. And you get what you pay for. As they say about lawyers ("he who represents himself has a fool for a client"), so goes the saying for sellers and buyers.