||Have you even noticed
that photos of $8 items on eBay are often better than photos of
$800,000 homes on Realtor.com?
The reason is that listing agents have little incentive to spend money on marketing after
the listing agreement is signed. Suppose an
agent were able to boost the expected sales price of a home by
$10,000 with an aggressive marketing campaign, including newspaper
ads, professional photography, open houses, and fancy flyers.
If the agent gets a typical commission of 2.5% and splits that
with his broker, the additional $10,000 will only boost his
commission by $125.
Unfortunately, it's the
agent--not the seller--who usually makes the marketing decisions,
which is why you often see poor photography and slipshod descriptions
on flyers, and stale candy at open houses.
Buyers' agents, too, can flake out. Unfortunately,
once an agent shows a
property to a buyer, it can be difficult for that buyer to switch agents or
go it alone. (See, for example,
article on how Jerry Seinfeld was successfully sued by his agent