New risk in being a real estate agent

Fickle buyers, unforeseen structural risks, financing

Real estate agents put in long hours of upfront work with no guarantee of ever securing a paycheck. An article in The Wall Street Journal addressed many of the issues plaguing real estate agents today, and the worst part is there is now a new deal breaker going around for borrowers: an overheated housing market.

The article explained that agents already lose deals from fickle buyers, unforeseen structural issues and setbacks in financing, to now deal with an overheated housing market in which frenzied bidding wars lead to rash decisions—followed by buyers’ remorse.

“It’s such a fast-paced market right now. Buyers are expected to make offers after seeing a place once at a packed house, so they don’t have time to think things through,” says Kaitlin Adams, an agent with New York-based Compass.

The problem is that most people aren’t ready for this decision, leaving agents after they put in long hours of work.

The war stories come mostly at the high end in select markets, where affluent buyers are less affected by the prospect of losing thousands in earnest money or down payments. Cormac O’Herlihy of Sotheby’s International Realty in Los Angeles recently had buyers he calls “nervous nellies” back out on a $6 million house. “They enjoy an overabundance of financial ability,” Mr. O’Herlihy says.

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3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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