I have been giving a lot of thought about how we distinguish value and quality of the goods and services we purchase every day. We have all been taught that the higher the price, the higher the quality. Walmart competes on the assumption that low price will bring you into the store. Nortstrom, on the other hand, promises (and delivers) outstanding customer service and very high quality goods. Obviously, prices are higher at Nordstrom than at Walmart. Where do real estate agents fall into the mix?
Historically, real estate agents have been paid by the seller. There is no line item on the buyers closing statement for the services they received from the agent representing their best interest in the purchase process. There is no apparent relationship between the price paid, and the quality of services received. Hopefully, they received a very high level of professional service from an experienced, knowlegable professional. On the other hand, they may have received a level of service boardering on the incompetant and unethical - and for the same price!
Sellers will often interview several agents before listing their home for sale, and many times will list with the agent representing the highest listing price. This strategy often results in long marketing times and numerous price reductions prior to recieving their first offer.
Buyers may not initially see the quality differences between agents unless they ask the right questions. Simply having a real estate license is no indicator of knowledge, professional experience, competence, or ethics.
My best recommendation is to talk with several agents and ask questions. Learn about their experience in real estate, their areas of specialty, professional education and training, and your overall feeling of confidence with the person. Compare several, and stick with your decision. Loyalty works both ways in any relationship. Don't be in a hurry to jump in the car and look at nice houses.
Do you get what you pay for? If you have done your homework, selected the best agent, stuck with them through difficult situations-absolutely yes! You got a great deal!