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New Services Spur Broker Fee Debate

March 25, 2001

Regarding "Bargain Hunters Cut Realty Costs" by Jennifer Oldham, March 18: The article quotes a home seller as saying, "When I figured out how much money I was going to pay someone to sell my house for just a couple hours' work, when I've been making payments for many years, it just didn't seem fair."

A couple of hours work? You've got to be kidding.

We each have 25 years' experience in the real estate business:

A listing takes two hours to fill out [and requires] explaining the three-page listing contract, the three-page Transfer Disclosure Statement form, the Agency form, plus the Lead Based Paint form. All of these must be explained and filled out correctly to prevent lawsuits. Part of our mandatory weekly meeting is spent on changes in consumer laws and changes mandated by the California Assn. of Realtors for us to [be] current and knowledgeable to keep our clients out of the courts.

Before a listing appointment, we do a thorough market analysis of the sold listings, the active listings and the expired listings. The analysis must state why they sold for the price they sold, what they had that was outstanding and what they had which was a negative. That preparation will take another six hours plus.

Once an agent has the listing, we do not merely put it into the computer:

* We call agents in other offices who may have a buyer.

* We order a virtual tour video of the house and meet the photographer at the home for the video.

* We schedule a different photographer for a glossy brochure giving information on the home for potential buyers.

* We order a termite inspection from the sellers' choices and then meet the inspector there if the sellers cannot.

(All of the above takes place before an agent even thinks of holding an open house.)

* We schedule a brokers' preview of the property.

We do all this to maximize the exposure and obtain the best price for the seller (our client). This is just the first week's work on this property.

Don't tell us or the public "it's a couple of hours work." You haven't walked in our shoes.

MELIDA CANFIELD and MARCIA SAUNDERS

Tustin

*

I've been a Help-U-Sell franchise owner since 1986 and I know consumers will come out the winners after the turmoil within the Realtor ranks settles. I find the demand for our services and opening new offices at an all-time high.

ROGER STEINER

Corona

*

I absolutely agree you can successfully and securely sell property for thousands less in commissions.

Companies such as ours, the Los Angeles Listing Club, offer full service as well as bundled services, where the seller pays dramatically less in commissions. In the Westside market, this can [mean] tens of thousands of dollars in savings per seller. Discounts in commissions do not necessarily mean reduced service. "Service" in selling property is protecting the seller's interests and placing the most money possible in the seller's pocket at the close of escrow. I am truly convinced that 6% commissions are as relevant today as the computer keypunch card.

BARRY LAWS

Los Angeles

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