The Real Job of a Real Estate Agent Wigand Crowston and Sawyer 2001 observes

The real job of a real estate agent wigand crowston

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The Real Job of a Real Estate Agent Wigand, Crowston and Sawyer (2001) observes that there are seven distinct steps in the real es-tate process: listing a house, marking the listing, finding a buyer, helping a buyer select a house, ne-gotiating a contract, removing contract contingen-cies and closing the sale of the house. Whether rep-resenting the buyer or the seller, the real estate Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management 149
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Waleed A. Muhanna, James R. Wolf agent plays a key role in each of these steps. The Internet may provide buyers and sellers increased real estate transaction information, but having gathered all that information most people need someone to help them sort through and interpret it. This is probably why the Internet has had little effect so far on the public’s perception of the agent’s role. An NAR study cited by Freedman (2000) shows that buyers using the Internet to search for homes actually utilize real estate agents more often than non- Internet home shoppers— 87% vs. 76%. According to that study, sellers want a real estate agent to find a buyer, sell within a time frame, set a price, negotiate with the buyer and complete the paperwork. Freedman reports that the same study found that buyers expected agents to find the right house, negotiate price, com-plete paperwork, calculate purchasing power and to arrange financing. The Internet can provide only some of the services mentioned above. For example, several online real estate sites and financial services and allow buyers to calculate their purchasing power and even ob-tain pre-approval for a home loan. The Internet also makes listing a home to a worldwide market fairly simple. However, it may be difficult for a seller to choose the best website to list their home without the help of an experienced agent. In addi- tion, it is difficult to imagine that the tasks of ne-gotiating with the buyer and seller or of trouble-shooting the wide variety of problems that may arise could be successfully automated. When making a home purchase, typically the sin-gle most expensive investment and complex trans-action for most people, buyers feel the need for a relationship with a professional real estate agent. When putting their home on the market, sellers need assistance in setting a price, marketing the property, finding a buyer and closing the sale. Real estate professionals fill the dual role of a marketing / sales agent and counselor, making it unlikely that they will be disintermediated by on-line services. As Wigand, Crowston and Sawyer (2001) notes, real estate sales agents use social capital—the set of social resources embedded in re-lationships—to establish their stake in the value chain, and that agents actively manage their social capital. This idea seems to be supported by NAR research that shows realtors’ incomes increase with experience. As realtors develop richer social networks, they are more able to exploit their net-works for gain.
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