Running across these signs on the Fairfax County Parkway made me think about how real estate brokerages have evolved over the last 10-15 years. Just as Amazon started selling one product (books) to diversify and become the largest on-line retailer, real estate brokerages have gone from only selling real estate to assembling a line of “affiliated business partners” for one stop home shopping.
Do you think the reason this phenomena has occurred is to help a home buyer get the best deal on all of the services they need to buy their dream home? In a 2013 Thought Leader Survey, real estate executives were asked to select the top benefits from offering ancillary services, “79 percent said higher profits.”
In an interesting corollary, a survey done by the National Association of Realtors®, 78% of consumers said they thought one stop shopping would save them money. But does it? How does the average home buyer know if they are saving money by using the services of an “affiliated business partner?” Do they check or do they accept the word of their agent without considering any other options?
Don’t get me wrong, not all affiliated business relationships are bad or problematic but they have led to complaints, lawsuits and increased government regulations to protect home buyers from unscrupulous business practices.
Buying a new home isn’t the same as buying a book on Amazon.com. It might be convenient to have a lender down the hall and a settlement company next door but is it right for you. If your Realtor® presents you with an “affiliated business disclosure” you need to ask “is this the best deal for me?” You are about to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. Take the time to talk to multiple lenders or title companies before you agree to the one stop shopping phenomena.
If you aren’t already working with a local Realtor® give me a call. I’ll put you touch with multiple lenders and other local service providers with no strings attached and no additional profit for our company.