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Clearwater Florida Real Estate Agents Online and Going out of Business…

 stack of identical blue jeans

Online Clearwater Florida Real Estate Services  

Clearwater, FLorida – Ever heard, “What real estate commission do you charge to help us sell our home? What’s your rate?…. Are you more than your rate or commission? 

I wrote an article asking Do Home Buyers Get Full Service or is it Pump it Yourself?   

It generated a lot of thoughtful responses and one by Steven L. Smith inspired this post. Steven talks about how everyone he knows now books their travel online – ergo the demise of the brick and mortar travel agency.

It got me to thinking about various Florida Real Estate & Mortgage industry models and how they are changing before out eyes.  Blogging, IDX – MLS; home value estimators online, daily email updates, online mortgage applications etc. There’s no denying it’s changing – but will it good for me or put me out of business? 

Clearwater Florida Home Buyers

I was out with some Tampa Bay home buyers today. We had been looking at houses when they first relocated to Clearwater a year ago. They weren’t ready to buy then because of their job changes and the shock of what houses were selling for so they decided to wait. With the change in the market they realized now is a great time to buy and get the most home for their money, especially since they’re looking to live in their home for the long haul.

So, for the good side of technology – we’ve been able to send them daily updates of every home for sale by every real estate company for the last year so when they were ready to buy a home in the Tampa Bay area they called us to say “let’s go” – because on the human side – when they looked last year they saw what true advocates we were for them:

So when we started talking about making an offer I verified that their mortgage prequalification was ready to go. I had referred them to a good Tampa mortgage broker for their home loan last year but he hadn’t stayed in touch with them. I was shocked when they told me they had gotten approved from @ending tree online.  They have a credit score of over 800, have 15% to put down and the house they’re interested in is in their price range. By all accounts a Tampa mortgage brokers dream client. 

Now my experience is that many of my clients have been quoted teaser rates and costs for these Online Mortgage companies only to find out they are significantly more at closing. I suggested they might want to get another quote from a local mortgage lender and Active Rain member we’ve had great experiences with, Leah Ross.

Leah has helped many of our clients, from Clearwater first time homebuyers to Clearwater luxury home buyers. She approaches mortgages the way we do real estate – as a consultant and advocate. We always get rave reviews from our clients that work with her. They feel they get great value from working with her.

However, it’s a real reminder that we all have to be aware of what value we’re giving. I am seeing more and more buyers calling “online lenders” first – thinking all mortgage services are the same and it’s all about “rate”. Unfortunately there’s so much more to mortgages than “Rates” and so much more to real estate than, “What commission do you charge?”  

I realized, like Steven pointed out in his comments, when consumer’s perception of value changes – the market place changes too- but not necessarily for the best for consumers or traditional businesses.

Most potential clients don’t realize the integrated complexities of a real estate transaction. The fact that over 48 people from 7 industries will be involved – which means problems happen – you NEED an experienced pro at the helm.

Home buyers and sellers don’t understand:

Consider – if the stack of blue jeans in the picture above was your and your real estate or mortgage competition – could potential clients pick you out?  When they can’t, then experience shows you’re viewed as a commodity and commodities are chosen based on PRICE so then the only question customers ask is:

  1. “What’s your rate?” or
  2. “What commission to you charge?” 

So, now that we’re online – will it help us add more value and free us up for more time with our clients or will it ultimately put us out of business?       

About Cyndee Haydon

Cyndee Haydon, Realtor with Future Home Realty specializing in luxury waterfront and beach homes of Clearwater Beach - St Pete - Tampa Bay area with her husband and partner, Jack Haydon Cyndee's Google Profile

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