Finding a home usually starts the same way for everyone; online. You head on over to your home search site of choice, be it Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, or any one of the million options out there for you, the consumer. On the face of it, nothing could be more simple; find a house you like, and in a couple of clicks you're in touch with the listing agent of said house and on the road to home ownership. If only it were that simple.
The click you make to contact the agent does more than you think. It most certainly contacts an agent, but more importantly, that click turns you from a home buyer to a product to be bought and sold. That click makes you a lead, and leads are worth big bucks to brokerages, agents, other lead generation companies, and mortgage brokers just to name a few. So, now that you're a lead (not a person), you're sold to an agent who pays for leads like you. The agent who bought you is not the agent who listed the home, and at this point you know more about the property than they do. The agent has to respond quickly, they don't have to know anything but how to pick up the phone. If they don't, they lose you to some other agent who's quicker on the draw than them.
You see the problem, the click removes your value as a person and replaces it with value as a lead, and leads aren't people. People should get an agent whose primary concern is their client, but leads aren't people. People should be given the opportunity to vet agents in their area they may wish to hire, but leads aren't people. People should be able to easily connect with the listing agent who knows the home inside and out if they choose, but leads aren't people.
Agents should advocate for their clients, and good agents do only that. Good agents can be hard to find, and this system takes away your ability to find an advocate in a situation where having one is absolutely crucial.
So what to do? It's easy, and you do it everyday. Talk to your friends, family, and co-workers. People you trust who want what's best for you. They'll tell you who they like and who they don't, and you can make an informed decision based on their experiences. Good agents are out there and will safeguard your interests every step of the way. The best agents out there will do all that and more, without paying for leads.
For a complete breakdown on this and all things real estate check out our Whiteboard Wednesday series on youtube.
Posted by Kyle Schrader on