Didn’t we talk about this the other day?
From the New York Times:
Are real estate brokers — like travel agents and other middlemen coping with the increasingly digital culture — in danger of becoming expensive anachronisms?
After all, it is only logical that as people feel more empowered based on their access to information and their ability to connect without help, they are at least questioning the wisdom of the conventional way of buying and selling a home.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the percentage of homes sold nationally by their owners has actually declined, from 14 percent in 2004 to 11 percent in 2009. But Real Trends, a company that monitors the residential brokerage industry, considers those findings to be low, and estimates that the number of for-sale-by-owner, or FSBO, homes was almost one in five three years ago, when it stopped tracking them.
“I’ve been in this business for 33 years and I’ve always wondered why more people didn’t say, ‘I’m going to take a shot at this myself,’ ” said Steve Murray, the editor of Real Trends’ reports. “Now, with the technology available, that would seem to be inevitable. We tracked FSBO numbers through 2006 — before the market collapsed — and we were already seeing substantial differences between the attitudes and habits of people under 35 and those over 50.”
Younger people, he said, are far more likely to embrace the multitasking and risk taking involved in selling their own homes. If the decision to use an agent is becoming generational as well as situational, that would not augur well for real estate agents.
“This is going to sound bad, but I just don’t give a lot of credence to what brokers do,” said Cynthia LeStar, who is selling her studio apartment on the Upper East Side. “I mean, what do they do that I can’t do on my own?”