Thursday, August 27, 2009

What I've Been Up To--

This quarter, I've closed all my transactions (it's not uncommon for deals to fall through these days!), assembled market info for clients trying to decide how best to meet their real estate goals (should we sell now or later? Buy first and sell second?), wrote ''green real estate'' stories and the quarterly market update for the Piedmont Post, pulled together comparative market analyses for clients seeing reductions in home equity lines, advised clients thinking about large or small renovations, provided on-the-ground insight to national housing advocates regarding how efforts to moderate the financial crisis were really working, was a guest speaker on a national ''webinar'' on upscale marketing strategies for the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, helped the friend of a friend buy a home, notarized documents for clients, brought coffee to the monthly Piedmont High School Parents Club meetings, gave neighbors my list of five excellent mortgage professionals, and provided the champagne for the PAINTS Birdhouse Gala.

The job of a realtor has changed dramatically in the last year. We need to be up on new regs from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA; we need to keep a calm head, comfort our clients, and work well with our seller side-colleague when the lender asks for another appraisal the day we're supposed to remove our contingency; we need to cajole homeowner association managers to fill out forms they've never been asked to fill out before, and probably research title records for the answers so the transaction will continue forward; and we need to help our clients get beyond the emotion of the moment and agree to make one more counter offer hoping to get an agreement.

So don't be shocked if your broker's jaw drops if you ask about reducing a brokerage fee down to 4%, arguing that there are so many licensed agents out there and so few sales to be had.

The workload is heavier, the requests for ''free'' help are more numerous, and solicitations for community donations more important than ever.

(But remember that for the last several years at our price point, the vast majority of sales involved a 5% brokerage fee, rather than 6%, unless your representative pays for staging.)

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