Home Selling in Newton>Question Details

Marco Bitran, Home Buyer in Brookline, MA

Follow up question: I own a $900,000 house in Newton ...

Asked by Marco Bitran, Brookline, MA Sun Aug 29, 2010

I recently asked whether there were any full service brokers willing to sell my home in Newton (which I value conservatively at $900k) for 1% commission. I appreciate the good replies. Not knowing enough about the process, I should have asked my question differently. I basically am wondering if any brokers are willing to negotiate on the commission. I appreciate the services offered by brokers very much. However I can't stomach the 5% hit right now - times are too tight. Any commission break would be appreciated and would help me make a decision. I hope to list in the early fall.

Thank you

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi there, good that you came back to clarify...commissions are negotiable. My suggestion is to interview 3 or 4 agents and select the one that can best meet your needs. Remember you only pay commission if you sell, so my recommendation is to select the agent that can best get the job done and negotiate a fair commission with her. The agent that will agree to the lowest commission may well be the one that will deliver the least service and then the entire discussion is really in vain. It takes the full force and expertise of an experienced and dedicated (full time!!) agent to get the job done. Anything short of that and you are selling yourself short.

Once you've selected an agent you respect, listen to her. It is critical that your price correctly, and if you do you will get more not less than if you test the market by overpricing - don't do it, chasing a market is like falling on a sword -- very, very uncomfortable!

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 29, 2010
Hello Brooklinema,

It may be a good idea for you to sell it yourself. You can pay for the signage, advertising, take your time and effort and enter the listing information into MLS, Trulia and Zillow, etc., spend your weekends doing showings and open houses. Keep in mind that you will be sending and receiving emails constantly, fielding phone calls for showings and questions about the home 7 days a week and about 14 hours a day. You can also give yourself advice on how to stage the home, make sure that there is curb appeal, appraise the home, gather information, and print up listing sheets-ensuring that all the data is correct so, that you are not sued. You can make all the follow up phone calls to the potential buyers who have seen your home and agents who have shown your property, however you may not get any agents to show the property for a .5% commission.

Once you have a buyer there is much more to do: ascertain that the buyer can buy the property, also, there are negotiations, offers, inspections, purchase and sale agreements, lead forms, extensions, conversations with the buyer or buyer's agent, mortgage company reps, and attorneys. If you are lucky, and all goes well, then there will be a closing.

In a perfect world, from start to finish, the selling of a home is about 3 months.

Real estate agents have the tools, know-how and put a lot of time and effort into their listings. They deserve a fair wage. Your proposed 1% commission would net out as follows:
Sale price $900,000
1% commission $ 9,000
To Listing Office $ 4,500
To Listing Agent $ 2,700 approx - depends on brokerage agreement
To Buyer Office $ 4,500
To Listing Agent $ 2,700 approx - depends on brokerage agreement

Do you think $2,700 is a fair wage for 3 months work?
By the way are you also negotiating with the bank and the attorney on their fees?

There is a lot to do to sell a house; if you hire a professional, you should want to pay them accordingly for their services. There is a very old saying, "you get what you pay for."

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Jessica Harvey
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
I've followed the three questions you posted here. I agree with much of the comments/advise that has been given you. But let me reiterate the facts;
1. In Massachusetts, all commissions are negotiable, however most firms set the fee policies vs. the individual agents. As in real estate and in life, there are always exceptions to this rule.
2. You should explore full service brokerages as well as the discount brokerages, prior to hiring an agent. The differences and similarities might surprise you.
3. As you approach the possibility of selling your home you should evaluate all of the variables prior to hiring an agent.
4. Given the economy you might be surprised what the right agent and the firm supporting him/her is willing to do to help you reach your goals.

I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck in selling your home.
- K. L. Santos
Web Reference: http://www.kevinlsantos.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 30, 2010
There are many option that you may find fit with your budget. It is not something any real estate broker can discuss on the internet. Every situation is different. I would like to help, but I can start from commission, it is not in my practice. Knowing what your goals are, I can find out what I can and will be able to help. Please, feel free to contact me if you think I can provide good advices or services.
Web Reference: http://www.teanwong.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 29, 2010
I will admit that the market is very challenging.However,you will need to hire the most experienced,results oriented,and above all the most innovative agent,who will know how to get you the most money for your house.In addition a good agent will lower the commission as well,thus fullfiling your needs completely.As a agent,in the last 25 years,i have sold well over 650 homes,and most of my clients have referred me to their friends and relatives.I will strive to make you very happy.Please write me any time with your questions,and my email address is:jhandal123@hotmail.com ,or you could call me at:617-957-5447.I reside next door ,in the town of Wellesley.I hope that we will get connected soon.Regards.Jacques Handal of Success Real Estate.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
Dear Marco,
The time you took to reframe your question is appreciated. It also shows more respect for brokerage services. I would be willing to meet with you and discuss what would result in a win win outcome for both of us.
Jan Crosby
RE/MAX First Realty
369 Boylston Street
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
Dear Homeowner,I hope that i am not too late responding to your question.I am Jacques Handal.I have been a Real Estate agent in the last 25 years,and most of my clients have referred me to their friends and relatives.I have sold more than 650 homes,and each transaction did require a special marketing assessment.I am ready to view your home,and i am willing to offer you a comprehensive marketing plan as how/when your home will be sold.I will negotiate the fee within reason.Please contact me at: jhandal123@hotmail.com or 617-957-5447.I wish you all the best.Jacques Handal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 31, 2010
Firstly, if you want to sell in a competitive market place where the standard comission is 5%, the questions you want to ask is that by trying to get the comission discounted, are you cutting the buyer broker commission who might have a buyer for your property? What is prompting the buyer broker to really put your property on the top of the list with other $900K houses? Are you hurting chances of your house getting the maximum exposure? Secondly, is the broker cutting part of the marketting expenses to fit your expectation of a lower rate? I would highly encourage you to try to sell your place yourself and if that doesnt work or meet your expectation, go with a reputable local company in Newton who does this day in day out and are experts in the region for a reason. Hope this helps. Thanks.

Jeet Shahani
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 20, 2010
I suggest to reframe your approach. Define your goals, sort out the reasons: why sell the house? how fast? for how much? when? and only after that define your approach together with any good Realtor by talking frankly, listening attentively and brainstorming what your best options are.

A home is, typically, the most prised possession anyone has and it's value must be understood in order to sell it for the right price. Why would you want to trust it to someone you do not know and who does not value their own services?!
Web Reference: http://boc-re.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
The best answer to you is to find a good, honest and straightforward Realtor with a reputable full service brokerage company, as they will do a lot of work especially a lot of work behind the curtains, marketing, advertising, ads on as many as possible internet sites, invites, open houses, events, and interoffice communication with colleague agents, who may just have the buyers for your home.... etc. etc., but most
of all, find an agent who will be honest with you about the current true value of your home....

That market value is really what a ready and willing Buyer is ready and willing to pay.... That said a good Realtor will try to get you as much as possible, but of course they (or we the Realtor community) cannot do miracles.
We are in a difficult market, a buyers market, simply because there are many many more properties on the market than there are buyers looking to seriously buy property, often they need to sell themselves a smaller home first and then they can pick from a huge amount of available properties and they can pick the best for them at the lowest possible price....

So you want a Realtor who not only knows your area, knows the market and will inform and educate you well about the current market conditions, he or she should show you on paper what has recently sold in your area, in your type style and size of home, but also in your app. price range, as there may have sold homes in the same or similar price range that are much bigger, or newer or on bigger land.... Then the Agent you trust and want to work with should also take you to look at a few currently competing homes, so that you can see
for yourself how your home compares in the eyes of a potential buyer.

When it comes to the commission, you can always negotiate and the Realtor and his / her brokerage will let you know what they normally charge for your type and kind of home .....
Properties currently stay longer on the market, and if they are not priced aggressively even longer...
So price, curb appeal, staging, and condition of home and size will make all the difference and you want a good negotiator in your Agent.....

Remember that the commission paid by you the seller is always split, in most cases 4 ways!!!!
Part 1) goes to the listing agent (your agent) and his brokerage and they have split between them
Part 2) goes to the brokerage company and her agent who is bringing the buyer - and they too have a split
amongst them

So talk with your Realtor and see what commission they would be able to charge you....

Good Luck!
Edith YourRealtor4Life
Your Chicago and Northern Illinois Expert
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 30, 2010
In that case, assume 6% is the standard rate right. If you can't do 5% total, the minimum to the buyers agent is a at least 2% ( now thats a bit low) but because you how is listed at 900K, 18K gross should get enough bites for some buyers agents. Now you can probably get away with 4% total. Thats probably the lowest you can get and still get full service.

Good Luck

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 29, 2010
Hi there Brooklinema, thank you for your "best answer" award! Now follow the good advice you've gotten here and line up those interviews - looks like you've got some good contenders right here on Trulia to start with.

Best of luck to you! Price it wisely and you should do just fine.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 29, 2010
I like Jeanne's answer.

Your best bet is to interview a couple brokers and find the best fit. Don't judge purely based on commission.

I know it is so hard to imagine, but there are so many potential costs involved in selling a home, it is difficult to truly quantify what else you would be saving when you go with a full service broker (i.e. in staging, marketing, advertising, troubleshooting, online layout plan? virtual tour? home warranty? peace of mind?)

In this tough economy, selling house takes more than just "putting it out there". I would argue, if anything, in this current economy, you need a full service broker more than ever before.

The bottomline is ... commissions are negotiable, the question is ... the terms and conditions and whether you're willing to live with them.

Let me know if I can be of service. GreerHomes@gmail.com (617) 308-6583
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 29, 2010
How did you figure your home is worth $900,000?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 29, 2010
YOU WILL GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR in any case, money is in fact tight hence the competition you will encounter just by asking the question.

I don't care who you hire as long as your comfortable with them, just be sure you feel they are working for YOU cause your NOT working for THEM.

Make sure you have a REALTOR not just an agent and you should be alright.

You have the right to sell it on your own without any agent at all, it is not the best advised option but it is a fact.

Don't hesitate to call with any questions, most Realtors out here will give sound advise for free.

Jamin Jones
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 29, 2010
All commissions are negotiable. On more expensive home I sometimes am willing to work a flat rate or reduced commission depending on the sellers willingness to cooperate, their motivation to sell and other variables.

I also caution you to not completely focus on commission. I have many samples of home that expired with other agents that I sold immediately or identical homes that were on the market at the same time where I sold in much less time and for way more money. Also many agents that work a reduced commission up front also offer reduced services. Know what your are getting into and focus on an agents marketing plan and not so much what they are charging for a commission.

Here is such a sample http://www.thehousewiz.com/Not_all_agents_are_created_equal/… In this case I was able to get 5% more than the other agent. Regardless of what I charged for a commission, the seller would have made more money listing with me. The more important thing to look at is what is an agent willing to do to sell a home.
Web Reference: http://thehhousewiz.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 29, 2010
Every office sets their own policy - give me a call to discuss.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 29, 2010
I would be happy to talk about negotiating commission with you. You can check some of my client testimonials at http://www.ellenfriedman.biz. Give me a ring or send me an e-mail.
Ellen Friedman, Keller Williams Realty, ellengfriedman@comcast.net or 617-448-1542. I look forward to hearing from you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 29, 2010
A listing agreement is a confidential matter and best discussed in person. There are various ways to address Sellers concerns, however the most important decision to make is not the amount of comissions, rather who is the best person to sell your home.

I suggest to choose a local agent you can trust and with whom you would not mind staying in touch often once your home is on the market :). My office has been in Newton Center for over 23 years and I am a resident of Brookline now, so don't be shy getting in touch and ask as many questions as it takes to get you comfortable :)
Web Reference: http://boc-re.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 29, 2010
It can be done for less but it is not usually discussed online due to a feeding frenzy effect. :)

If you would like my amount just email me at jmjonesrealtor@gmail.com - I will respond shortly and you can decide to accepot or decline with no further issue.

I will be happy to tell you what Centruy 21 can sell the property for.

Jamin Jones
Century 21 Northshore
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 29, 2010
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