A new referral service will help home sellers find a suitable real estate agent.
The close-your-eyes-and-choose-out-of-the-phone-book method of selecting a real estate agent is probably not going to uncover the best agent to sell your house.
A new service free to consumers was founded this month called The Real Estate Referral Service, the first one in Lawrence.
Even though it is free to clients, it is a for-profit business founded by J.R. Demby, a longtime Lawrence real estate agent.
"Sometimes people have forgotten who the last agent was who sold their home or they just don't know anyone in town, so they pick up the phone book and go with whatever agent happens to pick up the phone," said Demby, who opened his first business in January, J.R. Demby The Buyers Choice. Demby serves as a buyers agent, working solely for home buyers to negotiate the best contract.
In fact, it was The Buyers Choice that prompted the need for a referral service. While working with home buyers, Demby encountered many people who were looking to sell their homes. Instead of just offering his personal opinion about real estate agents, Demby has created a service that will electronically match a home seller with a real estate agent using specific criteria.
The service will use a new software program that is hooked into the Lawrence Board of Realtors computers, drawing up-to-date information about area real estate agents.
"The program will come up with the most likely person for the seller depending on the agent's previous and present status," he said.
Demby still suggests home sellers interview several agents to discover who will best suit their individual situation. The computerized referral service can narrow the list to three agents, giving the seller a choice.
If the home is sold by the referred real estate agent, Demby's company is paid a portion of the real estate agent's fee.
"What happens is that some Realtors are good at selling one type of home, such as a townhome, or because of their clientele, they are good at selling homes in a certain price range," Demby said. "Just like sports, we'll have statistics on all of these things."
The service will also provide answers to questions about the real estate market and laws and regulations. Demby said his buyers agency will be kept separate from the referral business.