The New York Times article: hold your fire


A study covered by the New York Times today that researched home sales in Madison, Wisconsin over a period of several years concluded that people who sold their homes through a real estate agent typically did not get a higher sale price than people who sold their homes themselves. When agent commissions were factored in, the for-sale-by-owner people came out ahead financially.

This directly hits at our industry’s standard response to attacks on the “traditional” real estate commission – “A full-service Realtor will get you a higher price for your home.”

As of right now, on the New York Times website, there are 192 comments from consumers in response to this article. This will continue to grow as this article spreads virally.

Are they wrong? Possibly. Can we pick apart the study? Certainly. But please, let’s not go down that road. The consumer is speaking. It’s time to accept what they have to say and meet their challenge – not offer one in return.

My point here is not to diminish the role of the Realtor or give up the ship, but rather to help our industry understand why their arguments for The Way Things Have Always Been are now hurting more than helping.

The bottom line is that if “traditional” real estate wants to effectively justify itself and its fees, it needs to start addressing real issues. Like standards. Professionalism. Training agents in the skills that will make it unquestionably clear that working with a Realtor is always in the consumer’s best interest. Then it needs to formulate a campaign that speaks those truths.


That’s the response I’d like to see.