Inman News talked to Lincoln, Nebraska broker/co-owner Steve Wiley about his innovative Smarter Choice Real Estate brokerage and the state of the local and national real estate industry. Wiley revealed that his firm now offers a number of flexible payment options to its home sellers, with the lowest fee paid if they find the buyer themselves.

Wiley believes that many real estate agents don’t need brokers, and that buyers and sellers are far more in need of agents than they are of brokerages.

Real estate trends in his area, (much of which, according to the experts on the Trulia Real Estate State of the Union call, is nationwide):

“First-time buyers are the largest percentage by market segment, and short sales are the fastest-growing transaction segment,” Wiley told Inman News. “Buyers seem to be less excited than before about foreclosure listings, since in most cases there is little they or their agent can do to eliminate the inherent and higher as is/where is risks that are typically associated with these properties.  Also, since many foreclosure sales garner multiple — and often blind — offers, buyers have recognized that the resulting auction effect doesn’t help them get great deals.”

Top tier and upper-middle income homes are slow to sell in Lincoln, and elsewhere. The home buyer demographics are changing, with more minorities purchasing homes, as well as more single, divorced, and single-parent family buyers.

Here’s the complete conversation.