I’m having a hard time keeping up with the changing facets in the Boston downtown real estate industry.

Here’s the latest

From The Wall Street Journal: Struggling Real Estate Giant Realogy Strike deal with Amazon 

Real-estate brokerage giant Realogy Holdings Corp. launched a new partnership with Amazon.com Inc., in a fresh attempt at jump-starting the property firm’s flagging business and tumbling share prices.

Under the new program, known as TurnKey,  Boston downtown real estate buyers searching for an agent on Amazon.com will be directed to a Realogy agent in their market. These buyers get up to $5,000 of smart home devices and free home services from Amazon.

Realogy is hoping the power of the Amazon brand can energize its own amid a prolonged slide in its stock price. The company declined to comment on the agreement’s specific financial terms but said it is footing the bill for the home services from commissions earned from deals that the venture with Amazon is anticipated to generate.

Who pays for the service?

The agents do, and it can be a hefty referral fee – usually 25% to 40% of the commission.

However, you don’t get directed to the best agent in the area, oh no. You get directed to the best agent in the area who is willing to pay their fee.

We call this, “Buying The Business” and it’s what agents do who can’t earn the business otherwise.  Either agents can demonstrate their skill-level and abilities to consumers to earn their business, or for the agents who can’t, gimmicks or discounted commissions are used to ‘buy’ their business instead.

It’s just one more thing about the real-estate-selling business that isn’t disclosed to the public.

This gimmick is a way for Realogy to provide leads and keep more of their agent’s commission:

Will the public ever catch on to how the game is played?

The agents who are willing to pay for the leads either don’t have the skills, or can’t demonstrate them.( I’m sure I’ll get a email on the last statement).

Going through Zillow isn’t much better. The big realtor teams get the best leads there, and pass them off to their new agents and then take a large chunk of their commission.

Bottom Line: 

Agents all look the same, and the industry does nothing to help you differentiate.  You must do your own investigation to find out if your agent has the skills and ability to provide the help you need.

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What do they get?

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