Ben Stern, Vice President and Associate Broker with Buyer’s Edge, is Inducted into Greater Washington Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

Ben Stern, Vice President and Associate Broker with Buyer’s Edge, is Inducted into Greater Washington Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

Leading Bethesda, MD-based Exclusive Buyer Brokerage firm, Buyer's Edge is pleased to announce that Ben Stern, Vice President and Associate Broker has recently been inducted into the Greater Washington Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Ben has been one of the top residential real estate specialists providing homebuyer services in the Washington, DC Metro area since joining the firm over ten years ago.

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In Loving Memory of John F. Sullivan - Dear Friend, Vice President and Exclusive Buyer’s Broker with Buyer's Edge

John and Sally Sullivan

John and Sally Sullivan

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our dear friend and colleague John F. Sullivan who passed away on September 16, 2018. I was deeply honored when Sally, John’s wife of 49 years, asked me to share some memories of John at his Memorial Service today in Baltimore, Maryland. I had the great privilege of working with John for over 20 years. With our long working history together, it was difficult to select just a few memories to share with John’s friends and family. John’s death has been a inexpressible loss to the Buyer’s Edge family both in our hearts and in our professional lives.

John and Sally Sullivan are here on the far left along with rest of the Buyer’s Edge Real Estate gang.

John and Sally Sullivan are here on the far left along with rest of the Buyer’s Edge Real Estate gang.

A few days after John passed, our company came together to share  memories, thoughts and stories of John from over the years. One thing that was strikingly clear was that John was the consummate teacher. He was a true mentor to so many in our company and around the country in the Exclusive Buyer Brokerage business. We all relied on him to stay on top of all the latest real estate legislative changes and challenges both locally and on the national level. John never missed a beat and was always the first to share his knowledge with his fellow buyer’s agents. We are unclear how we will ever fill that enormous void.

John Sullivan opened the Buyer’s Edge  office in Baltimore, MD .

John Sullivan opened the Buyer’s Edge office in Baltimore, MD.

Without question we all agreed that John also was the most dedicated advocate for his clients we have ever known. John truly loved his job and was absolutely unrelenting in his pursuit of the right answers. He would never compromise in anyway that wasn’t in the very best interests of his client.

John simply hated a robust Seller’s market. Not because it made his job harder, which it did, but because he couldn’t stand the idea of bidding wars where selling prices were escalated to unreasonable levels. John was "appalled" when people even thought about having to waive off on contingencies in order to purchase their dream home. He would jump through a thousand hoops to make sure that his clients were fully informed, protected and that the home buying process was completely transparent.

John at the Buyer’s Edge bethesda, Maryland Office.

John at the Buyer’s Edge bethesda, Maryland Office.

John also was a doer extraordinaire. With unwavering focus, he took pride in helping to transform the centuries old model of real estate transactions that favored the seller to the buyer's disadvantage. He did this by putting in a phenomenal amount of time and energy as the President and as a Board Member of the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents and as a broker, testifying before committees on the federal, state and local level about the "evils" of legally sanctioned dual agency in all of it’s forms. John was instrumental in creating many of the agency disclosure forms that are currently in use around the country today, but was never satisfied that enough was being done. He championed the cause with appearances before and participation in the Consumer Federation of America and on committees for both the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors® and the Maryland Association of Realtors. He especially loved his time spent with the Federal Hill Main Street and Live Baltimore groups.

John was a noted resource on real estate issues for NPR, The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine and other publications and news sources.

John had this kind of humor made us all smile year in and year out. We loved his signature, fun bow-ties and crazy colored outfits. He even loved his sandals and knew they were the Perfect Foil for doing battle with the Gucci clad clan of agents who believe that dual agency is okay and that pocket listings are even better.

John and Sally at a Buyer’s Edge gathering. John is in his signature bow-tie and bright orange sweater.

John and Sally at a Buyer’s Edge gathering. John is in his signature bow-tie and bright orange sweater.

John was so passionate! He was a very talented photographer, he loved the opera and was a serious wine enthusiast. John loved to share his works and wine with friends and most thankfully with his co-workers.

He loved baseball too, but it was obvious to all that Sally and Nora were his biggest passions. He set the bar high for the role of devoted husband and father for all of us at the Edge. At office meetings, John loved talking about Nora and her accomplishments and was so happy she found a good partner in James. He loved spending time with Sally and taking their trips all over the country together. The last time I spoke with John, he was so pleased and happy that they had recently shared their 49th wedding anniversary together. Sally and Nora were the loves of his life. He knew he was a very, lucky man.

Sally, Nora and John Sullivan on Nora’s Wedding day.

Sally, Nora and John Sullivan on Nora’s Wedding day.

His tireless dedication and passion for doing the right thing for America’s homebuyers has left behind a very real legacy, which will affect the way we do things at Buyer’s Edge and in the entire real estate industry for generations to come. On a personal level, everyone of us who knew John and worked alongside him will remember him with great love and affection. When all is said and done, however much you love your work, it’s the people that you meet in it that really matter. Colleagues who then become dear friends, like John, are something very special; you don’t come across many of them and when you do, they leave a lasting impression. John, we’re really going to miss your warmth, kindness, wisdom and friendship.

John called me a week before he died at 7am in the morning and, as always, was discussing all of the deals for his buyer clients.

John’s parting words to me were, "I feel bad that I didn’t take down dual agency, yet, I’ll keep at it from the other side."

By: Stephen Carpenter-Israel - President and Broker of Buyer’s Edge

8 Top Tips When Selling Your Home

8 Top Tips When Selling Your Home

8  Top Tips to Sell your home fast!  Buyer's Edge, exclusive buyer's agents in Maryland, Virginia, and DC, share their perspective. Pretty Much A No-Brainer. So Why Do So Many Sellers WITH Brains Forget To Follow These Top 8 Tips?

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Is The Traditional Real Estate Model Under Pressure?


Posted on Monday, May 22nd, 2017 at 3:42pm.

Is The Traditional Real Estate Model Under Pressure?

Asked to comment on changes affecting the traditional real estate model, Stephen Carpenter-Israel, President and Broker of Buyer's Edge, said that the increased use of house hunting websites, as well as a recent California Supreme Court ruling on the practice known as "dual agency" are shaking the industry to its core.  

Stephen Carpenter-Israel - President & Broker of Buyer's Edge

Stephen Carpenter-Israel - President & Broker of Buyer's Edge


Tech Has Led to Increased Demand for Transparency

Over the past decade, consumers' widespread embrace of technology spurred the creation of firms such as Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin.  "These online databases disrupted the 'cartel' of the old brokerages that used to monopolize access to property data" explained Carpenter-Israel.

In essence, these tech firms revolutionized house hunting by giving consumers free access to information on their smartphones, empowering them to look for better ways to buy or sell their homes.  While this disruption brought greater transparency to the way the industry operates, "homebuyers are still turning to agents to help them parse through the noise and evaluate the true value of properties," said Carpenter-Israel.

With more information at their fingertips, there is a trend toward better-educated homebuyers and sellers becoming skeptical of the traditional brokerage model.  "As clients become savvier, they are increasingly looking for a true fiduciary relationship with their realtor," said Carpenter-Israel.  "They are demanding transparency and loyalty with no conflicts or competing interests."

Own Tech Couple Dog Bed OWN Real Estate Logo from Phone..jpg


California Legal Battle: The End of Dual Agency?

In fact, the courts are beginning to pressure brokerages to deal more openly with what has historically been a fairly secretive system explained Carpenter-Israel. "In fact," he said, "The need for increased transparency and full disclosure was the focus of a recent California Supreme Court ruling that may change the structure of the industry." 

The litigation revolved around the practice of "dual agency" when a real estate broker is representing both the buyer and seller. In this case, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the home purchaser who said he overpaid because the size of the house was misrepresented by the listing agent, who worked for the same company as his buyer's agent.

"The ramifications of this ruling may lend credence to the case for eliminating dual agency and push the industry to accelerate the trend towards brokerages choosing to exclusively represent either buyers or sellers, but never both," said Carpenter-Israel. "With 25 states having already eliminated an individual agent's ability to serve as a dual agent, the timing may be right for a meaningful change."

Own Stocksy Supreme Court Reimage w Photo By- Chris Stone.jpg

Recently, California state representative Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher introduced legislation that would prohibit the practice of dual agency in commercial real estate transactions.

The proposed legislation may be the first of many efforts across the country that would fracture the traditional model of commercial and residential real estate firms representing both sides the deal. Ultimately, the outcome of these legal battles may require completely separate real estate firms to represent each side, not just provide a disclosure of the conflicts.


Top Ten Tips: Selecting the Best Seller's/Listing Agent

By Wendy Carpenter-Israel

FREE Unsplash dog on step Buyer’s Edge –Where Dream Homes Come True Exclusive DC, MD, VA Photo From-

Choosing the best Realtor to market and negotiate the sale of your home or condo is one of the most important decisions when you are ready to sell your home in Washington, DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland. Selling a home should be like any other important business transaction, but unfortunately many Sellers make impulsive and emotional decisions that inevitably cost them loads of frustration, time and tons of money.

When past clients of Buyer’s Edge (Buyer Brokerage Real Estate Company) are ready to sell their home, they often give us a call. They ask about the current housing market conditions, how to sell a home and whom they should hire to help sell their property. They know our exclusive buyers agents never act as seller's/listing agents, since we choose to represent homebuyers 100% of the time. But our past clients still ask our advice, knowing that we work day-in-and-day-out with some of the best seller’s agents in DC, MD, VA. As a result, we know which listing agents are the most professional and work the hardest for their seller clients. Here are the Buyer's Edge:

Top Tips for Selecting a Great Seller’s/Listing Agent.


1. Interview a minimum of three listing real estate agents. 

Okay, so this one’s obvious, but it’s remarkable how many people tell themselves they will comparison shop agents and then don’t. It is vitally important to get pricing quotes and a marketing plan from several listing agents (and make sure they’re from different companies). This will minimize “group think” pricing that may occur when a pack of agents from one office come through the house or condo to help the listing agent price the property. The goal of having a group of agents give their recommendations for price is to get a realistic listing price for the property. However, many times if an experienced agent recommends one price the other agents often will just follow along with the pack.  Interviewing a number of agents also will help you spot low-ball pricing by agents who already have buyers for your property in their back pocket. Most importantly, before interviewing agents, don’t forget to do your pricing homework. Look up recent property sales in your neighborhood with web sites like and You also are more than welcome to call the Buyer’s Edge and we will be happy to provide you with current and reliable home sales data in Maryland, Virginia and DC.

2. Choose a Washington, DC real estate listing agent who is an experienced, full-time professional. 

Listing agents don’t have to have decades of experience to be good at their jobs. However, they need enough experience to guide you through today’s complicated home-selling process in which contracts run to more than 50 pages and hazards abound for seller’s who are not well represented. A good seller’s agent will keep you out of hot water, and, in a multiple bidding war, recognize what is truly the best offer on the table. Often times the highest offer is not, in fact, the “best deal” in the long, or even medium, run.

3. Choose an Realtor who is a tech-savvy marketer. 

When you interview listing agents agent find out how they plan to market your property. A good listing agent will be gifted at staging homes and creating compelling virtual tours. Ask to see examples of tours and brochures. They should be of the highest quality, with photographs shot by professionals. Ask also how they plan to make use of social media. Do they tweet out newly-listed homes? To how many followers? Do they have a personal website or an active FaceBook page, Instagram account? 

4. Be wary of real estate agents who promote the fact that a large proportion of the properties they list are sold “in house.” 

An “in house” sale is one in which real estate agents from a single company represent both the buyer and seller of a house. Such “dual agency” sales generally are not in the best interests of either party. Why? Think about it: If you were being sued by an individual represented by a big law firm in town, would you hire for your defense a lawyer who worked for the same firm? Of course you wouldn’t. And, in fact, in the real world, law firms can’t do that. But in the crazy world of real estate, dual agency deals are still perfectly legal in most states. Indeed, traditional real estate companies like them so much (the entire sales commission stays in house), many offer their agents bonuses for dual agency deals.

5. Consider working with a listing agent who works for a small real estate company.

Big companies with battalions of agents naturally end up doing more dual agency transactions. At the Buyer’s Edge we recommend that sellers always ask prospective listing agents a few key questions: What happens if you or another agent in your company finds a buyer for my home? How do you protect my best interests?  And do you or the buyer's agent receive a bonus if the buyer for my home is working with an agent from your company?

6. Be leery of listing agents who say they’ll sell your home without listing it in the Multiple List Service.

“Save yourself the hassle, inconvenience and dangers of having strangers in your home,” says the listing agent. But whose interests are really served in this situation?  Not yours if you’re looking for the most qualified buyer and the highest sales price. You want all qualified buyers out there to have the opportunity to see your home, and so possibly bid on it. If you’re uncomfortable with a lot of the foot traffic through your home, tell the listing agent not to host “open houses.” The overwhelming majority of house sales don’t start with an open house anyway.

7. Choose an agent who is a hard-nosed negotiator. 

Good listing agents have an excellent reputation in the real estate community and work for respected companies. They love what they do. They are professional and nice, but also tough negotiators, who work hard to sell their clients’ homes on the best possible terms.

8. Don’t favor “neighborhood specialists” over outside listing agents. 

In fact, an agent who hasn't sold a lot of properties in a neighborhood may do a better job for you than an agent who specializes in your community. Outsiders may be more motivated to get the highest price: They have no conflicts about which of several listings to promote with a potential buyer and no neighbors to please. Yes, it’s important for sellers to understand the factors affecting home values in their community. But experienced, first-rate listing agents can and will do the research needed to dig out that information before putting your home on the market.

9.  Work with an accessible agent.

Too often a listing agent will tell sellers not to expect instant callbacks because the agent, too, “has a life.” For most people, however, selling a home is one of the most important and daunting financial transactions of their lives. So, if, for no other reason than this one, listing agents should be accessible 24/7. If you need another reason, though, consider that if your agent responds quickly to you, she’s likely doing the same with agents working with potential buyers. So be sure to ask prospective listing agents when and how (text, email, office or cell phone?) you can contact them. If the answer isn't 24/7, you may want to move on to the next candidate.

10. Work with a listing agent who has a history of pushing up the market price of properties.

Sellers should work with seller’s agent that has a pulse on the current real estate market conditions. This is not the same as pricing a property low and having the negotiated sales price go way up in a multiple contract bidding war if you're lucky.  An excellent listing agent has a history and motivation to consistently raise the bar on the homes and condominiums that they list for sale. 

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on April 12, 2013. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 



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